Woolbeding Bridge


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.

West Sussex
Chichester (District Authority)
Woolbeding with Redford
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SU 87276 22042


Woolbeding Bridge, 344m NNW of Manor 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. 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 some repair work and alteration, Woolbeding Bridge survives in a good state of preservation. It is a good example of a medieval multi-span bridge, which is largely unaltered.


See Details


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.

DESCRIPTION The monument includes a 15th or 16th century multi-span stone bridge over the River Rother, south of Woolbeding.

The bridge has four semi-circular arches each supported by three chamfered ribs. There are three buttresses with pointed cutwaters rising near to the level of the parapet on each side. The bridge was restored in 1919 and the parapet renewed. Further repair work and restoration was carried out in the late 20th century. An archaeological excavation and survey was carried out as part of this work in 1994. This revealed the phasing of the construction of the bridge and the layers of road surfacing across it. The first road surface was of compacted flint, sand and gravel, which was part-replaced in about 1625 by a cobbled surface. The third road surface, dating to about 1828, included wheel ruts indicative of a long, or heavy, period of use. Fragments of medieval pottery and roof tile were also found.

The bridge is Grade II* listed.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
WS 72
Legacy System:


West Sussex HER 1176 - MWS5185. NMR SU82SE22. PastScape 246834. LBS 413412.


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

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