Ancient Monuments

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Roughway Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Plaxtol, Kent

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Latitude: 51.2505 / 51°15'1"N

Longitude: 0.3138 / 0°18'49"E

OS Eastings: 561576.244227

OS Northings: 152688.99538

OS Grid: TQ615526

Mapcode National: GBR NPT.G6B

Mapcode Global: VHHPV.DT8R

Entry Name: Roughway Bridge

Scheduled Date: 29 March 1978

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004194

English Heritage Legacy ID: KE 330

County: Kent

Civil Parish: Plaxtol

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

Church of England Parish: Plaxtol

Church of England Diocese: Rochester


Roughway Bridge 58m WNW of Parchal Place.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 18 March 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes a 16th century multi-span bridge situated over the River Bourne south-west of Roughway.

The bridge has two horse-shoe shaped arches and is built of Kentish ragstone ashlar but is reinforced with concrete. It is thought to have been built in the 16th century for the crossing of packhorses but was widened on the south side by about 0.9m in the 17th or 18th century to allow carts to cross. The bridge was repaired in the later 20th century and now has a modern wooden rail on each side of Roughway Lane.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Multi-span bridges are structures of two or more arches supported on piers. They were constructed throughout the medieval period for the use of pedestrians and packhorse or vehicular traffic, crossing rivers or streams, often replacing or supplementing earlier fords. During the early medieval period timber was used, but from the 12th century stone (and later brick) bridges became more common, with the piers sometimes supported by a timber raft. Most stone or brick bridges were constructed with pointed arches, although semicircular and segmental examples are also known. A common medieval feature is the presence of stone ashlar ribs underneath the arch.

The bridge abutments and revetting of the river banks also form part of the bridge. Where medieval bridges have been altered in later centuries, original features are sometimes concealed behind later stonework, including remains of earlier timber bridges. The roadway was often originally cobbled or gravelled. The building and maintenance of bridges was frequently carried out by the church and by guilds, although landowners were also required to maintain bridges. From the mid-13th century the right to collect tolls, known as pontage, was granted to many bridges, usually for repairs; for this purpose many urban bridges had houses or chapels on them, and some were fortified with a defensive gateway. Medieval multi-span bridges must have been numerous throughout England, but most have been rebuilt or replaced and less than 200 examples are now known to survive. As a rare monument type largely unaltered, surviving examples and examples that retain significant medieval and post-medieval fabric are considered to be of national importance.

Despite later alterations and repair work, Roughway Bridge survives well. The bridge will retain significant evidence of 16th century construction and masonry techniques.

Source: Historic England


Kent HER TQ 65 SW 27. NMR TQ 65 SW 27. PastScape 413056.

Source: Historic England

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