CORNER OF YORKSHIRE:
THERE are many well preserved packhorse bridges in Yorkshire, but none has the romantic legend of Beggar’s Bridge in Eskdale. Straddling the Esk near Glaisdale, it was built around 1620 with low parapets to allow horses with fully laden panniers to cross without touching the sides. However, the structure’s other name of “Lover’s Bridge” suggests there was more to it than permitting the transport of goods through the North York Moors.
According to legend, the bridge was built by Tom Ferres, son of a poor sheep farmer who fell in love with Agnes Richardson, daughter of a wealthy Glaisdale landowner on the other side of the then unbridged river.
Ferres was told they could marry only if he became rich, so he sailed to the Caribbean and made his fortune.
On his return, he claimed his bride, became Lord Mayor of Hull and built the bridge so that future lovers would not be kept apart by the Esk.