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Berwick Bridge

Old Bridge

Berwick Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: May 13, 2018

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
West Street Over River Tweed
Location
Berwick-upon-Tweed: North East, England: United Kingdom
Structure Type
Stone Segmental Deck Arch, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1624 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
75 Feet (23 Meters)
Structure Length
1,164 Feet (355 Meters)
Roadway Width
Not Available
Spans
15 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

Among surviving ancient stone arch bridges in the United Kingdom, this bridge stands out as a particularly long example. It also is noted for its excellent historic integrity especially considering its age. It remains open to one-way traffic.

Official Heritage Listing Information and Findings

Listed At: Grade I
Scheduled Monument

Discussion:

List Entry Number: 1041695
Monument List Entry Number: 1003654

Reasons for Designation
Multi span bridges are structures of two or more arches supported on piers. They were constructed throughout the medieval and early post-medieval period for the use of pedestrians and packhorse or vehicular traffic, crossing rivers or streams, often replacing or supplementing earlier fords. During the early medieval period timber was used, but from the 12th century stone (and later brick) bridges became more common, with the piers sometimes supported by a timber raft. The bridge abutments and revetting of the river banks also form part of the bridge. The roadway was often originally cobbled or gravelled.

Berwick Bridge survives in excellent condition and is regarded as one of the finest bridges in England. Beneath the current road surface archaeological evidence of the bridges original surface will survive. The rest of the structure of the bridge survives in good condition and will contain evidence on the original construction and consequent maintenance of the bridge.

Details
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 11 May 2016. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes a bridge of 17th century date, spanning the River Tweed at Berwick-upon-Tweed and linking Main Street with Bridge End. The bridge has fifteen arches with cutwaters having columns and busts. The bridge is 355m long and 5m wide. The arches increase in height at the northern end and stand up to a maximum height of 14m. The construction of the bridge, also known as the Old Bridge, commenced on 19th June 1611 and was virtually complete by 1625-1626, however, there are references to paving the bridge and finishing in the parapet in 1626-27. The bridge succeeded several former bridges, which were constructed from wood and date back to at least the 12th century.

Test pit excavation in 2001 exposed the original bridge structure surviving beneath road levelling deposits, some of which are themselves pre-20th century. The bridge is a Grade I listed building and is currently in use as a road bridge.

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Maps and Links: Berwick Bridge

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