What if I told you that building a bridge could get you into heaven?
Dartmoor is heavenly in places (hell in others), but what if I told you that building a bridge here could guarantee your immortal soul goes to heaven when you die?
That’s exactly what folks were told by the church in days gone by, and it’s an approach that saw everyone benefit.
The theory goes like this: you have some money, you may have some sins that worry you, the church can offset the sins against the good that you will do each time someone walks over your bridge.
Each day you get to offset more and more bad stuff – it’s a self-feeding beast. Whack a bridge up (although laid differently, most clapper bridges would be called megalithic monuments, ahem Merrivale, looking at you), and accumulate points as you eat, sleep and count your money.
The grander and more useful the bridge, the stronger its power. And if you had made a LOT of money, in a guilt laden way perhaps, then you might expect a visit from the church.
The Postbridge Clapper Bridge was erected in 1380 and each stone weighs around eight tons! Some bridges have been swept away by floods, others pilfered for building materials.
If building a bridge was good for your soul, I wonder how it felt to live in a home built with stolen stones?