BRIDGE AND CHAPEL.
This bridge, which consists of nine arches, was built in the reign of Edward III. The pointed Gothic arch,
according to its original design, is still preserved on its eastern side; and it is much to be lamented that a due
regard to architectural consistency was not observed, when, about fifty or sixty years ago, it was widened and
rendered more commodious. According to Leland, the battle of Wakefield, between the houses of York and
Lancaster, was fought a little to the south of this bridge; and it was to perpetuate the memory of his
father, and to secure constant requiems for the souls of the slain, that Edward duke of York, afterwards
Edward IV., re-endowed that " right goodly chapel of our Lady," which for a century preceding had not
only constituted an interesting feature in the landscape, but had proved a guide to many a benighted traveller. From its contiguity to the spot where the Earl of Rutland fell (which even now bears the name of
" the fallings"), it is conjectured, and with every colour of probability, that he was hastening thither to a
place of sanctuary when overtaken by the murderous Clifford.
This little chantry, together with the antique bridge, forms a pleasing and picturesque combination of
objects, especially from the road leading toward Heath. Being built upon a small island immediately contiguous to the bridge, and projecting eastward about 30 feet, it overhangs the river Calder, in whose waves it is
reflected; whilst its western front, measuring about 18 feet, ranges in a direct line with the battlement parallel
with the footpath. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to convey an adequate idea of the varied beauties of
this little structure except through the medium of an architectural drawing upon a large scale, carefully made
out in all its details.
The architect and the antiquary have each essayed to delineate them, and to hold them up to general
admiration; and, despite the " botch-work by which it has been attempted to be repaired/' this little chantry,
challenging competition with any similar structure in the kingdom, seldom fails to rivet the attention even of the
casual passenger. In describing what he saw in 1799, an architect who made a tour throughout Yorkshire, and
published his memoranda in The Gentleman's Magazine in 1806, under the title, t€ Pursuits of Architectural
Innovation," states, that the east window had at that time much tracery; that the parapet was perforated; and
that the windows on each side the building, north and south, were equally rich: " but all embellishment," he
observes, " seems inconsiderable, and all praise inadequate, when referring to the west front."
After particularising its inimitable Gothic ornaments, consisting of buttresses and recesses with pointed
arched heads and lofty pediments; its entablature supporting niches, turrets, and basso-relievos, the latter
crowned with small battlements—the tourist proceeds to supply the reader with an account of the subjects
upon which the sculptor had expended the labours of his chisel:—" The basso-relievos," says he, " shew the
Nativity, Resurrection, and Ascension*—the fourth not quite intelligible (being, with the rest, much mutilated),
but appears to contain two personages, one on each side an altar." Supported by evidence of this character
* A gentleman now resident in London, having examined this composition many years ago, remembers to have seen a representation
of the soles of the feet of Christ immediately above the heads of the disciples; and the Rev. William Carr, of Bolton Abbey, has in his
possession a rude caning of the Ascension similarly represented.