Wednesday, 13 November 2013


Beggar’s Bridge


A fine stone bridge over the River Esk near to Glaisdale in North Yorkshire bears the date 1619 and the initials T.F.  Thomas Ferris was a young farm labourer who live in Glaisdale in the 17th century.   When young Tom visited his sweetheart, Agnes Richardson, who lived at Egton on the other side of the river, he was often obliged to either wade or swim across the sometimes turbulent river because there was no bridge.   Agnes was the daughter of the local Squire who strongly disapproved of the relationship and legend has it that Tom went to sea to seek his fortune and actually sailed on the Spanish Main, where he helped to capture a galleon and shared in the plunder of gold and precious stones.    He returned to marry his sweetheart and became Lord Mayor of Hull.

Tom built Beggar’s Bridge to fulfil a vow that young lovers in the area would be able to meet under drier conditions and in gratitude for his own good fortune.

 Beggar's Bridge



Duck Bridge


Another fine stone bridge spans the Esk near Danby and bears the coat of arms of the Neville family, important local landowners in the middle ages.  It is known as ‘Duck Bridge’ and is said to be over 600 years old.   Local legend claims that the bridge was built by the Neville family so that their ducks could cross the river without getting their feet wet!     Duck is in fact a local surname and two vicars of Danby were called by that name.

 Duck Bridge




World’s End


A very picturesque packhorse bridge over Codbeck in the lovely village of Sowerby near Thirsk in North Yorkshire was built in 1672.   Known as ‘World’s End’, it was the only way into the village from the south, other than by ford, until 1929.   It is now dwarfed by the huge road bridge carrying the A168 road as it by-passes nearby Thirsk.
World's End

The Funeral Bridge
The old pack-horse bridge over the River Dulnain at Carrbridge in Speyside, Scotand, is one of the oldest stone bridges in the Highlands. It was built in 1717 by a mason called John Niccelsone. Brigadier-General Alexander Grant of Grant paid for the cost of the Bridge of £100. The reason that the bridge was built was to ensure that funerals could still take place at Duthil Church over the river when it was in spate and unfordable.
It has always been referred to as The Funeral or Coffin Bridge.

The Funeral Bridge
© Copyright Gordon McKinlay and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The Funeral Bridge
 Photo fromWikipedia Commons
I am grateful for the use of these two photographs
Sweet revenge
A very fine bridge over the River Teith at Doune, Perthshire, was originally built in 1535, by James Spittal, wealthy tailor to James 1V.  The story goes that when he arrived at the former ferry without any money, Spittal was refused passage by the ferryman.  He built the bridge out of spite in order to deprive the ferryman of his living.

Spite Bridge


Devil's Bridge

According to legend the bridge at Kirby Londsdale in Cumbria was built by the Devil. The story goes that an old lady herder had trouble getting to her cattle over the River Lune and made a pact with the Devil who agreed to build a bridge and in return would receive the first soul to cross his bridge. The Devil kept his part of the bargain but the woman coaxed her dog to be the first to cross and so outwhitted the Devil.

This legend may be related to folk memory when it is thought that a dog was sacrificed when bridges were built to guard against the spirits of the river, or to protect the bridge from evil spirits and occurs in various parts of Britain and Europe.




Devil's Bridge



 Devil's Bridge 2



Devil’s Bridge is situated high above Aberystwyth on the edge of the Cambrian Mountains in Wales and is the terminus of the narrow gauge Vale of Rheidol Railway (1902).  The hamlet gets its name from the bridge which crosses a deep 300feet gorge on the B4574 road, through which passes the tiny Mynach River.
There is a similar legend about the old lady and her cow and the pact with the devil, hence the name of the bridge.
The original bridge (1075-1200) is still there but it is topped by a second stone carriage bridge (1753) and indeed by a third iron road bridge (1901) which now carries the B4574 road. A very unusual sight indeed.  







Wansford in England






The village of Wansford,  situated on the River Nene in Cambridgshire at the junction of the A1 and the A47, is a very pretty village with stone built houses and a very fine stone arched bridge crossing the river.   The Haycock Hotel is a lovely old coaching hostelry and its colourful signboard tells a very interesting story….  Passers-by on the bridge one morning were most surprised to see a local rustic floating on the water underneath on a hay- cock.  Apparently he had been sleeping on the hay during which time it had been swept away by a sudden flood.  Where am I?” he shouted, not knowing how long he had been asleep or how far he had travelled on the hay-cock.  When told that he was at Wansford the rustic said, “ What, Wansford in England?”  The village has been known as ‘Wansford in England’ ever since.
 Wansford Bridge
 The Trestle Bridge

This bridge at Fort Augustus at the western end of Loch Ness in Scotland was originally a stone bridge built by soldiers after the Jacobite defeat in 1746. On the main road south it carried,
not only the military but also thousands of cattle, sheep and ponies on the Drove Route to markets in the south.
In 1849 disaster struck when great floods destroyed two of its three stone arches. Local man Joseph Mitchell, who had trained under Thomas Telford whilst building the Caledonian Canal, obtained permission to repair the bridge and used the centuries old trestle style as a 'temporary' repair which is still in position today and is a listed monument. It was subsequently replaced by the fine stone bridge close by as used today and is no longer in use.
A Preservation Trust is hoping to restore this historic bridge to its former state of 1840

The Trestle Bridge

Pultenay Bridge
Built in Bath stone, Pultenay Bridge at Bath  crosses the River Avon near the city centre and was built in 1774. Commisioned by William Johnstone a wealthy lawyer and MP and named after his wife Frances Pultenay, it was designed in Palladium style by Robert Adam. It is one of only four bridges in the world with shops across its full span on both sides.  Grade 1 listed, it is 980ft long and 58ft wide, and is still used by buses and taxis.
Reminiscent of Ponte Vecchio in Florence it is part of a World Heritage Site.
 Pultenay Bridge








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