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Holt Bridge

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Farndon Bridge

In the community of Holt.
In the historic county of Denbighshire.
Modern authority of Wrexham.
Preserved county of Clwyd.

OS Map Grid Reference: SJ41155438
Latitude 53.08334° Longitude -2.88001°

Holt Bridge has been described as a certain Fortified Bridge.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

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


Spanning the broad River Dee which forms the boundary between Wales and England. Carries the main road, formerly the A 534, between Holt and Farndon
Medieval road bridge of uncertain date. In 1368 a trial at the County Court of Chester refers to a bridge between Farndon and Le Holt, with a fortified gateway, constructed by John, Earl of Warenne; it states that the said bridge was built in the 12th year of the reign of Edward III which would be 1338-9. However the present structure, which has no fortified gateway is more likely to be C15 or C16. Leland recorded "a great stone bridge on Dee Ryver" and it was also described by Pennant in 1778 - he mentioned 10 arches so one may have been lost at E end. Civil War damage; modern restoration.
Built of local red sandstone. 8 segmental arches cross the river, separated on both sides by prominent pointed cutwaters with refuges, and a 9th arch exists in the causeway on the Welsh side. Narrow, single carriageway, bridge with gently ramped roadway spanning approximately 84m. Stringcourse to base of parapet and chamfered voussoirs to 2-order arches which are of varying height suggesting alterations. The 3rd arch from the Welsh bank may mark the position of the gateway or guardhouse with drawbridge - see the high arch ring and masonry changes. Pitched stone coping to parapet. Modern resurfacing of roadway. At E downstream side the parapet is corbelled back at a skewed angle to end in a simple pier; on upstream side the parapet turns N with the line of the road and tapers down to a low pier; modern railings although sockets for older railings exist. At W the parapet continues on both sides along a causeway across low lying ground; turns S and tapers, cut on downstream side and ending at gated entry to field on upstream side. (Listed Building Report)

The monument includes a red sandstone bridge of circa 1345 date which links Cheshire with Clwyd. It comprises five arches over the River Dee with one flood arch on the east (Farndon) side and two on the west (Holt) side in Clwyd. The abutments have been widened and rebilt in the early 19th century. The western-most river arch (in Clwyd) has a single ring of voussoirs rising above a flatter 20th century lower arch. According to tradition, the bridge was fortified and this altered arch may replace a draw-span. The western (Clwyd) abutment, has a rebuilt eastern flood arch. Between the flood-arches and abutments the medieval bridge is unwidened and little altered. (PastScape)

The bridge spans the Dee, which is the national boundary at this point. The gate was mid stream on the fifth arch but seems to be intended to control access into Holt, that is the defenses 'protected' welsh Holt. However the funding of the bridge was ambiguous and for much of the time it seems to have been funded with money from Cheshire.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 06/07/2016 16:37:11