Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1005187
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)
National Grid Reference: TQ 69734 49974
Yalding Bridge, 147m south-west of St Peter and St Paul’s Church.
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, Yalding Bridge is a well preserved medieval multi-span bridge. It is of exceptional length and is indeed considered to be the longest medieval bridge in Kent. The bridge is known to contain evidence of medieval workmanship and information about methods of medieval bridge construction. Deposits buried underneath the bridge will preserve valuable artefactual, ecofactual and environmental evidence, providing information about 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 Beult, the main tributary of the River Medway, at Yielding. It carries the High Street (B2010) across two branches of river.
The bridge is constructed of Kentish ragstone and includes six arches, three of which cross the main branch of the river. Two of these are pointed arches and one is a round-headed arch. It has pointed cutwaters on the north-west side and is supported by buttressing.
Yalding bridge dates to at least the 15th century and was probably built on the site of an earlier wooden bridge. In 1474 and 1475 money was left in two wills for the upkeep of the bridge. It is also referred to in the mid 16th century by John Ireland, the Royal Antiquary of King Henry VIII. The bridge was widened in 1848. The site was partially excavated in 1969, which found that the bridge comprised of two major constructions one alongside the other; the carriageway having been widened. The stone foundations were found to rest on a layer of brushwood. The finds included medieval pottery, roof tiles, oyster shells, butchered animal bones, a silver penny of Edward 1 (1272-1307 AD), part of a Cresset-lamp, as well as post-medieval pottery and glass bottles. A cess pit was also uncovered.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: KE 31
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
Parsons, J, ‘Excavation of Yalding “Town Bridge” site, Kent’, Kent Archaeological Review, Vol 31 (1973), accessed 14 Jan 2010 from http://cka.moon-demon.co.uk/KAR031/KAR031_Yalding.htm
NMR TQ65SE3. PastScape 412839.
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