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Gateshead Bridge Gate

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Newcastle-upon-Tyne Bridge

In the civil parish of Gateshead.
In the historic county of Durham.
Modern Authority of Gateshead.
1974 county of Tyne and Wear.
Medieval County of County Palatinate of Durham.

OS Map Grid Reference: NZ25376369
Latitude 54.96724° Longitude -1.60517°

Gateshead Bridge Gate has been described as a certain Fortified Bridge.

There are masonry footings remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


Leland writes "A stronge wardyd gate at Geteshed (There is a strong guarded gate at Gateshead–Chandler)"

The bridge, after the conflagration in 1248, was rebuilt on twelve stone arches, three of which, by the construction of quays, on the Newcastle side, were thought unnecessary, and converted into cellars : About the middle of the bridge a tower was erected, with machicolations and iron gates; a little to the southward of which the boundry stone was fixed, to distinguish the division of the counties; the end from thence to Gateshead belonging to the bishop of Durham. At the south end was another tower, and from the vacancy in the archings, there wanting an arch near the southern tower, it has been presumed there was in that space a draw-bridge. (Hutchinson 1785)

The medieval Tyne Bridge lay on the line of the Swing Bridge, upon or close to the remains of the Roman bridge, and is probably late 12th century in origin. It is said to have been 560 feet, or 12 arches, long, of which 3 were cellars by the 18th century. At the south end was a tower with portcullis and drawbridge, in the centre a tower with portcullis, and at the north end the magazine and a 17th century gatetower. Houses were also built on the bridge, though just when is uncertain. The Blue Stone marked the boundary on the bridge between Newcastle and the Palatinate of Durham. The bridge was demolished after being damaged in the flood of 1771. One complete land arch survives under the Swing Bridge and the east face of a second may exist in the basement of Watergate Buildings. The surviving arch is described as 44 feet wide with a span of 21 feet. (Tyne and Wear HER)

Although Leland does not mention the bridge it would seem reasonable to presume Leland's gate is the one on the south end of the bridge described by Hutchinson. This would be a useful toll gate as well as controlling access to Gateshead and being a useful policing device. The surviving parts of the bridge are slight but are listed and scheduled, this is a span of the northern (Newcastle) end of the bridge and not part of the defensive towers. The map reference given here is for the approximate location of the southern (Gateshead) tower and drawbridge.
Generally mentioned as part of the defences of Newcastle upon Tyne, although actually separately owned by the Bishop of Durham, who's manor and jurisdiction was in Gateshead. The original gate was on the Gateshead side of the river. However, the later developments on the bridge, including other gates, probably originated from Newcastle. For a full bibliography see the record for Newcastle-upon-Tyne town walls.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:08

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