City Bridge at the junction of High Street and Bridge Street


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


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

Winchester (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SU 48606 29294

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 City Bridge at the junction of High Street and Bridge Street is well- preserved and is largely unaltered since its construction in the early 19th century. Situated at the main crossing place of medieval Winchester, the monument preserves archaeological deposits of significance, such as the remains of a medieval bridge. Deposits underneath the foundations of the bridge will contain valuable artefactual and environmental evidence shedding light on the human and natural history of the site prior to construction.


The monument includes the City Bridge at the junction of High Street and Bridge Street in Winchester, a 19th century single arch stone bridge spanning the River Itchen. It is also known as St Swithun or Soke Bridge and is Listed Grade I. The City Bridge occupies a strategic position at the city's ancient crossing place and eastern entrance, and replaces at least one earlier structure. Remains of a medieval bridge, including three arches, survive underneath the road surface immediately east of the current bridge, while medieval masonry, probably associated with the bridge, remains embedded along the river at number 23 Bridge Street. The City Bridge was designed by George Forder and built in 1813. It is made of limestone ashlar masonry and consists of a single arch with alternate projecting voussoirs capped by a small moulded string course. The balustraded parapet is slightly humped with piers at the terminals and at mid-span on each side. Some of the decorative panels on the piers carry inscriptions, such as `Arms on the East gate, Duke of Albemarle', accompanied by a coat of arms (on the western terminal downstream side), and `The first city bridge built by St Swithun 852-863. This bridge built 1813'(central pier upstream side). The scheduling includes a 15m margin to the east to protect the three medieval arches underneath Bridge Street and a 10m margin to the south to preserve in situ medieval masonry along the river. To the north and west the margin measures 5m to preserve the relationship with associated deposits. Excluded from the scheduling are fences, sign and lamp posts, the modern tarmac surfacing of the carriageway across the bridge, the parapet above the level of the road surface, as well as the adjacent buildings, although the bridge fabric below 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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