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Bewdley Bridge

In the civil parish of Bewdley.
In the historic county of Worcestershire.
Modern Authority of Worcestershire.
1974 county of Hereford and Worcester.
Medieval County of Worcestershire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO78777538
Latitude 52.37616° Longitude -2.31326°

Bewdley Bridge has been described as a certain Fortified Bridge.

There are no visible remains.


The first bridge between Wribbenhall and Bewdley was probably begun about 1447, when John Carpenter, Bishop of Worcester, granted an indulgence of forty days to all who contributed to the work. It was at least partly built of stone, and must have been destroyed about 1459, when the town was taken by the Lancastrians, for the stones were then granted to her old enemy Worcester for the repair of walls, gates and bridge there. The men of Bewdley, however, undeterred by this disaster, seem to have set to work at once to build a new bridge of the timber fortunately so easy to obtain, and though both this and the ferry were put under the care of a Lancastrian warden in May 1460, it was not long before the Earl of March enjoyed his own again and the king's too. The timber bridge lasted until 1483, when a third bridge was built, towards the expenses of which King Richard III gave 20 marks. As there is no further record of bridge-building in Bewdley till 1795, when an Act was passed for rebuilding the bridge, it may perhaps be assumed that this was the stone bridge which was still standing at the end of the 18th century, a curious patchwork of much damage and many repairs.
There are two sketches of this bridge preserved in the council chamber of Bewdley Town Hall. It was of five arches, and on the third pier from Bewdley stood a timbered gate-house with strong gates on the Wribbenhall side. The north end of this gate-house served as a dwelling for the toll-gatherer, and the other, called the Bridge House, was used as a corporation prison. (VCH)

Three bridges preceeded the one built in 1798 by Thomas Telford. The bridges were built on the site of a Roman and Saxon ford. The 1447 bridge may only have been a footbridge and was broken down during the War of the Roses, its remains helping to rebuild the town's fortifications. It was replaced in 1460 by a wooden bridge which stood on its predecessors remains. This in its turn was replaced by a stone bridge in 1483, on which was built a wooden gatehouse which housed the toll collector's dwelling. The other structure called the Bridge House was in fact a prison and a chapel was built on the north side of the bridge. This bridge was washed away in 1795. (PastScape ref. WAS 1985)
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:28

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