Teston Bridge, over the Medway
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1005185
Date first listed: 05-Dec-1928
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Maidstone (District Authority)
District: Maidstone (District Authority)
Parish: West Farleigh
National Grid Reference: TQ 70887 53269
Teston Bridge, 318m north of Mill House.
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.
Despite later alterations and repair work, Teston Bridge is a well preserved medieval multi-span bridge. It is a good example of its type and will retain evidence of medieval methods of construction. Deposits buried underneath the bridge will preserve artefactual, ecofactual and environmental evidence, providing information 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 December 2014. The 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 over the River Medway south-east of Teston.
The bridge is constructed of coursed ragstone and includes six round-headed arches. There are three spanning the river, the central arch of which is taller, two smaller arches to the west and one even smaller arch to the east. The central arch is double chamfered but the rest are single chamfered. There are six pointed cutwaters on the upstream (south) side and four on the downstream (north) side. These rise up to the level of the parapet, where they form pedestrian refuges.
Teston Bridge dates to about the 15th century and is one of a series of medieval bridges across the River Medway. The three outer arches were rebuilt in the early 19th century. The parapet has ashlar coping, and has possibly been renewed at a later date. Teston Bridge is Grade I listed.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: KE 29
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
Kent HER TQ 75 SW 37. NMR TQ75SW37. PastScape 415865. LBS 433576.
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing