SCRCA Note: regarding 'Hangman's Bridge'

Submitted by mark.harvey / Mon, 09/12/2013 - 16:59
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A structure listing obtained from Network Rail personnel some years ago assigns the name 'Hangman's Bridge' to Bridge 141 (SCRCA Structure ID 261090) so the name was applied to Bridge 141 when the Draft Structure List was initially drawn-up. However, during a structure survey in summer 2013, a local landowner advised the surveyor that local people apply the term 'Hangman's Bridge' to Bridge 138 (SCRCA Structure ID 260850), not Bridge 141. A number of well-respected authors also refer to Bridge 138 as 'Hangman's Bridge' in their publications relating to the Settle-Carlisle Railway.

The Network Rail listing is known to contain a number of factual errors and the SCRCA Project Team feels that local knowledge is more likely to be accurate in this case than the Network Rail listing. A key factor considered when reaching this decision is that it would have been difficult to attach a rope to any part of Bridge 141 (which was and is a single brick-arched structure), but relatively easy to attach a rope to Bridge 138 (which was a timber-built structure). The name 'Hangman's Bridge' has therefore been transferred to Bridge 138.

We have not yet been able to obtain any documentary or folk-memory evidence to suggest who, if anyone, hung themselves (or was hung) from a bridge in this area, or why.

If anyone reading this note can shed any light on this topic, please contact the SCRCA Project Team via the 'Contact Us' facility.