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Chepstow Bridge

In the community of Chepstow.
In the historic county of Monmouthshire.
Modern authority of Monmouthshire.
Preserved county of Gwent.

OS Map Grid Reference: ST539934
Latitude 51.63751° Longitude -2.66752°

Chepstow Bridge has been described as a Fortified Bridge although is doubtful that it was such.

There are no visible remains.


(ST 539934) A bridge or ferry between Tallard's Marsh and the south end of Chepstow town walls is recorded by Wakeman who states that he had seen the foundations of abutments formed of piles and squared stones visible at low water on either side of the Wye. He suggests that Leland's (1535-43) reference to Chepstow town walls beginning "at the ende of the great bridge over Wy, and so cam to the castel, the which yet standeth...not far from the ruin of the bridge" means that the "great bridge" stood at Tallard's Marsh and "the ruins of the bridge" was on the site of the present Chepstow Bridge. (Wakeman; Leland).
There is no trace of a bridge here. Waters and Clark, both local historians, had no knowledge of it. (F1 DWE 12-NOV-57) . (PastScape 198747)

Half a century ago the foundations of the piers and abutments of this bridge were very visible at low water, and perhaps are at present, but some years have passed since I visited the spot. Near to it, on the Gloucestershire side, stood the little chapel of St. David. Part of the walls, with the lower portion of the east window and the entrance door, were standing within my remembrance. All traces of it have now disappeared, and even the site is known but to few of the present generation. (Wakeman 1855 p. 250)

There are considerable unanswered queations as to Chepstows medieval bridge(s). Were there two as suggested by Wakefield? Was one of these of stone (Leland records a timber bridge)? Were Wakeman's abutments for a bridge or just for a wharf? What, if any fortification did either bridge have? Wakeman specifically states there were no fortification on the river side of the town. The building he called a chapel was on the Gloucestershire side of the river but again there is nothing to suggest this was fortified.
Gatehouse is of the opinion that Wakefield misinterpreted some wharf abutments and, rather understandable, Leland's comments. There was one wooden medieval bridge at a site on or very close to the current bridge at ST53609438 and that it was not fortified. It may well have had a drawbridge to allow masted ships to pass up river but there is no evidence for that speculation.
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This record last updated before 1 February 2016