Alresford Bridge


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Alresford Bridge
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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This copy shows the entry on 20-Oct-2019 at 04:21:32.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Winchester (District Authority)
New Alresford
National Grid Reference:
SU 58803 32925

Reasons for Designation

Medieval and early post-medieval single span bridges are structures designed to carry a road or track over a river by means of a single arch, typically 3m- 6m in span. They were constructed throughout the medieval period, most commonly using timber. Stone began to be used instead of timber in the 12th century and became increasingly common in the 14th and 15th centuries. Many medieval bridges were repaired, modified or extensively rebuilt in the post- medieval period. During the medieval period the construction and maintenance of bridges was frequently carried out by large estates and the Church, especially monastic institutions which developed long distance packhorse routes between their landholdings. Some stone built medieval bridges still survive. These can be classified into three main types based on the profile of the arch which is typically pointed, semi-circular or flattened. 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. Bridges were common and important features of medieval towns and the countryside and allowed easy access along a well developed road and trackway system. However, only around 16 largely unaltered medieval single span bridges have so far been recognised to survive in England. All these are considered to be of national importance. A larger number retain significant medieval or post-medieval remains, allowing the original form of the bridge to be determined. These examples are also nationally important.

Alresford Bridge, despite post-medieval additions, remains well-preserved and is amongst the earliest stone bridges surviving nationally. Its remains will provide rare evidence of early medieval masonry bridge construction and offers a testimony to the engineering work which made the River Itchen navigable and transformed the area economically. Deposits preserved underneath the bridge will preserve valuable artefact and environmental evidence, shedding light on the human and natural history of the site prior to construction.


The monument includes Alresford Bridge, a late 12th century stone single arched bridge, spanning the overflow channel from Old Alresford Pond. It is also known as the Soke Bridge and is Listed Grade II*. The bridge and pond were created by Godfrey de Lucy, Bishop of Winchester (1189-1204), as part of a scheme to make the River Itchen navigable from its source at Bramdean to Winchester and Southampton. Alresford Pond, which originally covered 200 acres (approximately 81ha), acted as a reservoir, in which the water of several local streams was collected to be channelled through the River Alre to the River Itchen. Alresford Bridge was constructed c.1190 and comprises a single gothic arch of cut stone voussoirs, which remains visible on the downstream (north west) side. Underneath the arch at water level are rectangular recesses, which may have supported a timber framework during the construction of the bridge. The arch is flanked by two stepped stone buttresses, of which the easternmost is encased within the wall supporting the neighbouring patio. The medieval bridge, which measures approximately 3m wide, was modified and extended in at least two stages. The bridge was widened on the upstream (south east) side with a 3m wide brick arch at an unknown date before 1870, as mapped evidence suggests. During the 17th century a brick parapet was added on the downstream side, topped by copings, which are possibly the original reused 12th century stones. The upstream face of the bridge was modified in 1881, when a red brick arch and parapet were added. A number of features are excluded from the scheduling. These are: the post-medieval extensions, such as the brick parapets and arch, which are protected through their listed status, the adjacent pavement and patio surfaces on the downstream side, fences and lamp-posts, the modern tarmac surfacing of the bridge and all adjacent buildings. The bridge fabric beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


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

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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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