Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cast iron single-span bridge 110m WNW of Sherbourne House

A Scheduled Monument in Sherbourne, Coventry

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Latitude: 52.4066 / 52°24'23"N

Longitude: -1.5208 / 1°31'14"W

OS Eastings: 432697.650465

OS Northings: 278838.689256

OS Grid: SP326788

Mapcode National: GBR HBN.XB

Mapcode Global: VHBWY.LRDZ

Entry Name: Cast iron single-span bridge 110m WNW of Sherbourne House

Scheduled Date: 19 March 1970

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1005883

English Heritage Legacy ID: WM 36

County: Coventry

Electoral Ward/Division: Sherbourne

Built-Up Area: Coventry

Traditional County: Warwickshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Midlands

Church of England Parish: Coventry St John Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Coventry


The monument includes a cast iron single-span footbridge, locally known as 'Vignoles Bridge', which crosses the River Sherbourne close to the centre of the present city of Coventry. The bridge survives as a painted metal bridge with a single elliptical arched span, geometric pierced balustrades, brick-built splayed abutments and parapets and with a tarmac covered walkway. Built in about 1835, it was designed by Charles Vignoles and cast by the Horsley Iron Works of Tipton, Staffordshire, whose name is cast onto the half arch spans on one side of the bridge. It originally spanned a branch of the Oxford canal and was moved to its present site in 1969.

Sources: PastScape 869478

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Iron was used as one of the components of bridge construction for at least a thousand years before it was first used as the principal construction material in the Iron Bridge erected by Abraham Darby in 1779 over the Severn at Coalbrookdale. Despite its use of iron, however, the Iron Bridge simply copied existing construction techniques suited to timber, and therefore did not maximise the potential of this new material. The engineer Thomas Telford subsequently recognised that the lighter cast iron frames allowed the use of flatter angles and less substantial foundations, whilst still enabling single spans and avoiding the central piers which hindered navigation and caused instability by attracting water-scouring. The development of the single span cast iron bridge thus represented a turning point in British bridge design and engineering. All examples which retain significant original fabric are of importance. Despite having been moved the cast iron single span bridge 110m WNW of Sherbourne House survives well and retains its original features thus demonstrating its engineering design and reflecting the manufacturing process.

Source: Historic England

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