Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Monnow Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Monmouth (Trefynwy), Monmouthshire (Sir Fynwy)

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »
Street or Overhead View
Contributor Photos »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.

Coordinates

Latitude: 51.809 / 51°48'32"N

Longitude: -2.72 / 2°43'12"W

OS Eastings: 350454

OS Northings: 212505

OS Grid: SO504125

Mapcode National: GBR FK.XCWL

Mapcode Global: VH86T.SSWM

Entry Name: Monnow Bridge

Scheduled Date: 24 July 1974

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 219

Cadw Legacy ID: MM008

Schedule Class: Transport

Category: Bridge

Period: Medieval

County: Monmouthshire (Sir Fynwy)

Community: Monmouth (Trefynwy)

Built-Up Area: Monmouth

Traditional County: Monmouthshire

Description

The monument consists of the remains of a bridge, dating to the medieval period, and represents the only surviving example of a fortified bridge in Britain. The bridge dates to 1272 and carried the road westwards out of Monmouth. The gatehouse was added 25 years later, around 1297, when the town's wooden defences were being replaced by stone walls, for use as a toll gate and to provide added protection on the most vulnerable side of the town. The townspeople had received a murage grant from Edward I, enabling them to raise tolls on a range of goods including salmon, salt, honey and iron, to pay for the new stone defences. The original gate was a very different design to the modern structure, comprising a narrow tower with a crenelated parapet and a guardroom over a single arched gateway through which both pedestrians and traffic would have passed. The bridge itself would also have been much narrower, with the original span visible in the three medieval arches underneath. The bridge was used for defensive purposes during the Civil War, and by the early 18th century was in need of repair. In 1705 Monmouth Common Council issued a contract for the gatehouse to be repaired and converted to a dwelling, after which the battlements were rebuilt as solid walls and the level raised, and a pitched and tiled roof built. In addition to these works, a wooden extension was added to the E corner of the tower, overhanging the river and supported by a stone pillar and a wooden beam. The contract for the lease of the dwelling did, however, contain a clause that it must be vacated if the gate was required for use by the militia in defence of the town. In the 1810s the wooden extension was demolished and a pedestrian passage cut through the tower on the upstream side. The pedestrian passage on the downstream side of the bridge was built in 1845. The bridge remained in use for both pedestrians and vehicles until 2004 when a new bridge was built downstream, after which the medieval bridge was pedestrianised.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of medieval construction techniques and transportation systems. It retains significant archaeological potential, with a strong probability of the presence of associated archaeological features and deposits. The structure itself may be expected to contain archaeological information concerning chronology and building techniques.

The scheduled area comprises the remains described and areas around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive.

Source: Cadw

Other nearby scheduled monuments

AncientMonuments.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact AncientMonuments.uk for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself.

AncientMonuments.uk is a Good Stuff website.