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Powick Stone Bridge

Powick Old Bridge

Powick Stone Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: May 11, 2018

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Old Road Over River Teme
Location
Powick and Worcester: West Midlands, England: United Kingdom
Structure Type
Stone Segmental Deck Arch, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1447 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
Not Available
Structure Length
197 Feet (60 Meters)
Roadway Width
Not Available
Spans
5 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This ancient stone arch bridge has been preserved for pedestrian use. A beautiful cast iron bridge, which was the replacement for this bridge, is nearby.

Official Heritage Listing Information and Findings

Listed At: Grade I (Scheduled Monument)

Discussion:

List Entry Number: 1005268

Reasons for Designation
Multi-span bridges are structures of two or more arches supported on piers. They were constructed throughout the 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. Most stone or brick bridges were constructed with pointed arches, although semicircular and segmental examples are also known. A common medieval feature is the presence of stone ashlar ribs underneath the arch. The bridge abutments and revetting of the river banks also form part of the bridge. Where medieval bridges have been altered in later centuries, original features are sometimes concealed behind later stonework, including remains of earlier timber bridges. The roadway was often originally cobbled or gravelled. The building and maintenance of bridges was frequently carried out by the church and by guilds, although landowners were also required to maintain bridges. Medieval multi-span bridges must have been numerous throughout England, but most have been rebuilt or replaced and less than 200 examples are now known to survive. As a rare monument type largely unaltered, surviving examples and examples that retain significant medieval and post- medieval fabric are considered to be of national importance.

Despite partial demolition and the insertion of a road surface, the remains of Powick Old Bridge survives comparatively well and contains a number of architectural features of considerable interest. Elements of the original structure will remain concealed behind later stone and brickwork and will provide important information on its construction and rebuilding. The significance of this site as part of the defence of Worcester during the Civil War and the battle fought here considerably enhances the importance of this monument.

History
See Details.

Details
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 19 May 2015. 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.

This monument includes a multi-span bridge situated across Langhern Brook and the River Teme, west of its confluence with the River Severn, south of Worcester. The monument survives as a five-span bridge divided into two sections. The bridge is orientated north east to south west with Langhern Brook flowing through the two northern arches and the River Teme passing under the three southern arches. The western side of the bridge abuts a headland between the river and brook. The bridge was constructed before 1447 and was partially rebuilt during the 17th century. It is constructed from stone with brick and is approximately 60m long and up to 7m wide. The bridge has a brick parapet approximately 1m high with chamfered stone coping except on the west where it is interrupted by a road. The two arches over the brook have segmental heads and stone voussoirs and the southern arch is brick faced on the north western side. The three arches over the Teme are higher than the brook arches and are slightly angled south west to north east to match the course of the river. The arches are evenly spaced with segmental heads and stone voussoirs. On the eastern and western sides of the bridge are three pointed cut waters that rise up to become pedestrian passing places on the top of the bridge.

The original bridge was constructed before 1447 by monks from Malvern Priory. In September 1642 a skirmish took place at the bridge that subsequently became known as the Battle of Powick Bridge. The two arches over the brook were deliberately broken down in 1651 as part of Worcesters defences during the battle of Worcester and rebuilt during the 17th century.

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