Harper Bridges

Sellack Boat, R. Wye, 1895

Sellack Boat, Ross on Wye

September 2005. The day was fine and we had a beautiful view of the bridge as we came over the hill and down to the church at Sellack some two miles north of Ross-on-Wye. There were field of sheep between the church and the bridge, with a grass track and stiles between the two. Photos were taken of the bridge and tensioning arrangements (which looked unique). The deck was semirigid (no cable) and a plaque on the pier bore the date 1895. We returned to the church to find an exhibition about the bridge. Included was this account of the early history of the bridge.

'Not all was peace and jollity however - with King's Caple a daughter church to Sellack, it was not always easy for the vicar, who lived in Sellack, to reach the other village. Originally a ford and then later a ferry, the crossing could be difficult.

'The boathouse, the residence of the ferryman, (the family name was Harris) is still on the King's Caple side. Certain boatmen could be very awkward (and often were), refusing to take the vicar across! (One cleric is reported to have frequently crossed the river on stilts). This continued strife caused much local outcry and resulted in a public petition for a bridge to be built. This was finally done due in main to the energies of the Rev Augustin Ley (1877-1908) and largely at his expense! A fine suspension bridge. Under the bridge is a stone built into the buttress with the inscription - 'To the honour of God and the lasting union of these parishes'.