Medieval multi-span bridge, 90m north-west of Oak 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 that retain significant medieval and post-medieval fabric are considered to be of national importance.
The medieval multi-span bridge, 90m north-west of Oak Cottage is well preserved despite 20th century additions and its remains will provide rare evidence of medieval bridge construction. Its significance is further enhanced by its association with Waverley Abbey and a string of medieval bridges in the surrounding area, which provide a unique insight into the organisation of the medieval landscape. Deposits buried underneath the bridge will preserve valuable artefactual, ecofactual and environmental evidence, shedding light 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 27 November 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 13th century multi-span stone bridge. It is situated over the south branch of the River Wey in the village of Tilford. The bridge is constructed of local iron-stone with four visible arches and a fifth marked by an upstream cutwater and downstream projection. The arches increase both in span and height towards the centre of the bridge. The cutwaters are pointed on the upstream side and rounded on the downstream side. The wooden posts and rails along the top of the bridge are of 20th century date.
The bridge at the north end of Tilford Green is one of a chain of medieval bridges across the River Wey between Farnham and Guildford, which are considered the work of the Cistercian monks of Waverley Abbey. Similarities in construction suggest that they were built around the same time, possibly after the floods of 1233, when many of the earlier bridges were destroyed.
Another medieval bridge is situated about 230m to the south-east, at the eastern tip of Tilford Green and is subject to a separate scheduling. Several documents relate to the cost of repair of the two Tilford bridges. In 1249, the Bishop of Winchester bequeathed a fishpond to Waverley Abbey for the upkeep of one of the Tilford bridges, while in 1574 a piece of land close to Tilford Green was set aside for their repair.
The bridge is Grade I listed.