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Atcham Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Atcham, Shropshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.6795 / 52°40'46"N

Longitude: -2.6811 / 2°40'51"W

OS Eastings: 354048.852248

OS Northings: 309306.162142

OS Grid: SJ540093

Mapcode National: GBR BM.48N4

Mapcode Global: WH8BV.SXG6

Entry Name: Atcham Bridge

Scheduled Date: 3 April 1925

Last Amended: 1 January 1900

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004780

English Heritage Legacy ID: SA 11

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Atcham

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Atcham St Eata

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield

Summary

Multi-span bridge known as Atcham Bridge (old) 90m north-west of The Mytton and Mermaid Hotel.

Source: Historic England

Details

This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17 June 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. As such they do not yet have the full descriptions of their modernised counterparts available. Please contact us if you would like further information.

The monument includes a multi-span road bridge crossing the river Severn situated at the western end of the village of Atcham. It is built of grey sandstone ashlar and is approximately 115m in length and 6m wide, humped-back with 7 graded round arches with banded rusticated soffits and voussoirs, triple keystones consisting of fluted outer stones flanking a central stone with vermiculated rustication, and separated by breakwaters with concave caps. The outer pedestrian arches have banded rusticated surrounds and keystones with vermiculated rustication. Coped parapets ramp up to central pedimented datestones and are buttressed by small carved scrolls at the approaches where the lower parapets curve out to pyramidal end-piers. There is evidence of former railings flanking the central parapet datestones. A bypass bridge was built immediately to the north in 1929 and Atcham Bridge (old) was closed to traffic. According to Eyton, there is a record of a bridge at Atcham as early as the C13th and timber piles of this bridge may have been discovered during the construction of the new bridge. However, an alternative location may be just north of St. Eata’s church where a medieval bridge abutment was identified. In 1550 Sir Rowland Hill built a stone bridge with 18 arches which was replaced by the present bridge which dates from 1769-71 and designed by John Gwynne.

The bridge is also a listed at Grade II*.

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.

The multi-span bridge known as Atcham Bridge (old) 90m north-west of The Mytton and Mermaid Hotel survives well as a good example of an C18 bridge construction which may retain medieval features behind the present structure or survive as archaeological deposits beneath.

Source: Historic England

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