East Farleigh Bridge, over the Medway
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Maidstone (District Authority)
- Maidstone (District Authority)
- East Farleigh
- National Grid Reference:
- TQ 73480 53518
East Farleigh Bridge, 62m north-west of Lock 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.
Despite later alterations and repair work, East Farleigh Bridge is a well preserved medieval multi-span bridge. It is one of the finest examples of its type in southern England and will retain significant evidence of medieval bridge design and workmanship. Deposits buried underneath the bridge will preserve valuable artefactual, ecofactual and environmental evidence, providing evidence for 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 at East Farleigh.
The bridge is constructed of Kentish ragstone with five pointed arches including four main arches spanning the river. The main arches have chamfered ribs. On the north bank is a smaller arch with stone voussoirs; a later addition which spans the tow path. There is also a blind arch spanning the angle between the bridge and retaining wall on the south approach and acting as a buttress supporting the bridge at this end. Between the arches are pointed cutwaters rising to the level of the stone parapet.
East Farleigh Bridge dates to about the fourteenth century and underwent repair in 1843. It is one of a series of well preserved medieval bridges acrioss the River Medway.
East Farleigh Bridge is Grade I listed.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- KE 28
- Legacy System:
- RSM - OCN
Kent HER TQ 75 SW 25. NMR TQ75SW25. PastScape 415833. LBS 431881.
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