Eashing Bridge, 130m south-east of Wey Cottage
Reasons for Designation
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.
Eashing Bridge is well preserved despite post-medieval additions and its remains will provide evidence of medieval bridge construction. Its significance is further enhanced by its association with Waverley Abbey and a string of medieval bridges in the surrounding area, which provide a unique insight into the organisation of the medieval landscape. Deposits buried underneath the bridge will preserve valuable artefactual, ecofactual and environmental evidence, shedding a light on the human and natural history of the site prior to the construction of the bridge.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17/10/14. 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 medieval multi-span bridge situated across two branches of the River Wey at Lower Eashing. The bridge is built of Bargate and local sandstone rubble and consists of two spans joined by a causeway. Each span originally probably consisted of five arches, as the cutwaters buried in the banks suggest, yet at present only three are visible at the eastern terminal, and four at the western terminal. The remaining arches survive buried in the banks, while the medieval connecting road is buried underneath the modern road surface. All arches have double voussoirs. The cutwaters are pointed on the upstream side and rounded on the downstream side. The bridge was repaired in 1766, when a low brick parapet was added, and later timber rails fixed to the oak bearers running through the bridges. Four pairs of Victorian ties strengthen the western arches. Given the alignment of the two bridges and the levels of the road surfaces it is likely that the two parts of the bridge were once connected.
Eashing Bridge was built in about the 13th century. It is one of a chain of medieval bridges across the River Wey between Farnham and Guildford, which are considered to be the work of the Cistercian monks of Waverley Abbey. Similarities in construction suggest that they were built around the same time, possibly after the floods of 1233, when many of the earlier bridges were destroyed.
The bridge is listed Grade I.
A short distance to the east of the bridge is an Anglo-Saxon fortified centre, surviving in the form of earthworks and below ground archaeological features, which forms a separate scheduled monument. It protected a contemporary river crossing that was superseded by the medieval Eashing Bridge.
On the upstream (south-western) and downstream (north-eastern) sides the scheduling of Eashing Bridge follows the outlines of the causeway and the two parts of the bridge, including the cutwaters and abutments. At the northern and southern terminals it includes a 5m margin to protect the remains of the associated medieval road surface.