The romantic legend that has been built up around this bridge focuses on a poor boy, Thomas Ferris, who fell for the daughter of a squire, Agnes Richardson, and began a secret relationship. The well-to-do-family lived on the opposite side of the Esk, Thomas was to cross the river anytime he wanted to see his love.
The family of Agnes found out about their relationship and strongly disproved of the poor boy and his attempts to prove he was worthy of their beautiful daughter. Thomas could only do one thing; get rich.
Ferris set sail from Whitby to try and find his fortunes, the night he left there was a flood on the Esk and it was impossible for him to cross and see his lady for one last visit – who knows if he would make it back from his sea ventures?
Thomas did make it back, and he had found his fortune and was granted permission to marry his love, who he had never forgotten about whilst he was away.
In 1619 Thomas built the bridge so that no other lovers would ever have to be separated by the river (though some sources state that the bridge was built so Thomas could prove his merit to the family of Agnes).
A film has been made of this romantic tale, named Begger’s Bridge, which is available to buy online here.