Bridge, east end of Tilford Common
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1005938
Date first listed: 13-Jun-1968
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Waverley (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: SU 87382 43448
Medieval multi-span bridge, 76m WSW of Fir Tree 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.
The medieval bridge at the east end of Tilford Green is well preserved despite later 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 provides 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, which is located at the east end of Tilford Green. The bridge is situated immediately downstream of the confluence of two branches of the River Wey, and beside a ford. The bridge is made of rough Bargate stone and includes seven arches, which increase in height and span towards the centre. Six are semi-circular with voussoirs made of local rubble stone. However the westernmost arch was rebuilt in Victorian brick and is elliptical in shape. It is separated from the adjacent arches by a 4m wide, probably later extended cutwater. The bridge has rounded cutwaters on the downstream side and pointed cutwaters upstream. On both sides of the central arch are Victorian ties. The original medieval bridge had no parapet and later timber rails were added, which were fixed to the oak bearers running through the bridge. In 1969-70 a footpath was added to the upstream side and the bridge was saddled in 1997. It is listed Grade I.
The bridge at the east 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 north-west, at the northern tip of Tilford Green and is subject to a separate scheduling.
On the upstream (north) and downstream (south) sides the scheduling follows the outlines of the bridge including abutments and cutwaters. At its eastern and western terminals it includes a 5m margin to protect the remains of the associated road surface.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: SU 141
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
Surrey HER 1593.
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