Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1005268
Date first listed: 26-Jun-1924
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Malvern Hills (District Authority)
District: Worcester (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: SO 83519 52483
Powick Old Bridge 520m north of Cromwells Tavern.
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. 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 partial demolition and the insertion of a road surface, the remains of Powick Old Bridge survives comparatively well and contains a number of architectural features of considerable interest. Elements of the original structure will remain concealed behind later stone and brickwork and will provide important information on its construction and rebuilding. The significance of this site as part of the defence of Worcester during the Civil War and the battle fought here considerably enhances the importance of this monument.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 19 May 2015. 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.
This monument includes a multi-span bridge situated across Langhern Brook and the River Teme, west of its confluence with the River Severn, south of Worcester. The monument survives as a five-span bridge divided into two sections. The bridge is orientated north east to south west with Langhern Brook flowing through the two northern arches and the River Teme passing under the three southern arches. The western side of the bridge abuts a headland between the river and brook. The bridge was constructed before 1447 and was partially rebuilt during the 17th century. It is constructed from stone with brick and is approximately 60m long and up to 7m wide. The bridge has a brick parapet approximately 1m high with chamfered stone coping except on the west where it is interrupted by a road. The two arches over the brook have segmental heads and stone voussoirs and the southern arch is brick faced on the north western side. The three arches over the Teme are higher than the brook arches and are slightly angled south west to north east to match the course of the river. The arches are evenly spaced with segmental heads and stone voussoirs. On the eastern and western sides of the bridge are three pointed cut waters that rise up to become pedestrian passing places on the top of the bridge.
The original bridge was constructed before 1447 by monks from Malvern Priory. In September 1642 a skirmish took place at the bridge that subsequently became known as the ‘Battle of Powick Bridge’. The two arches over the brook were deliberately broken down in 1651 as part of Worcester’s defences during the battle of Worcester and rebuilt during the 17th century.
Powick Old Bridge is Listed Grade I.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: WT 323
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
Pastscape Monument Nos:- 116236, 1041382 & 116185
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