Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:


© Crown Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2021. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1394463.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 18-Sep-2021 at 21:32:35.


Statutory Address:

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

Bath and North East Somerset (Unitary Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
ST 76076 63327


This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 16/12/2015


PRIOR PARK Palladian Bridge in grounds of Prior Park


GV I Ornamental bridge crossing waterworks. 1755.

MATERIALS: Limestone ashlar, slate roof. Bridge with wide central segmental arch flanked by smaller arches, and further arch under approach steps each side. Sub-structure with V-joint rustication has broad impost bands returned through arches, and plain keystones, but scrolled to centre arch. Weir formed by ashlar slab wall across all arches, and south, upstream side of bridge has square buttressing to section below water level. Rising from bold capping band roofed section, carried through to pediments either end, and cross-gabled to pedimented tribunes over arches either end, with moulded architraves and square responds, unfluted Ionic half-columns on pedestals at height of balustrades. Entablature with pulvinated frieze carried across set back centre section over four Ionic columns and responds, centre opening being slightly wider than others. Each end full width set of slow going steps with ramped balustrades returned to wider bottom landings, with square piers carrying bold ball finials.

HISTORY: The Palladian bridge, based on Palladio’s famous design which had previously been used as the basis for bridges at Wilton (Wilts. 1736-7), and at Stowe (Bucks. 1738), forms the principal visual accent in the dramatic Prior Park landscape (Grade I on Historic England’s Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest). Built in 1755 by Richard Jones, the bridge is first evidenced on Thomas Robins’ 1758 view of Prior Park.

In 1726 Ralph Allen purchased part of an estate between Widcombe and Combe Down. He was by then a leading citizen in Bath, with interests in the postal service and in the Bath stone quarries on Combe Down. He extended his estate in 1728. Later that year he commissioned designs for a new house from John Wood the Elder (1704-54), who was already leading the renaissance of Bath as a fashionable spa town. This, Prior Park, went up between c.1733 and c.1750.

Between 1734 and c.1740, with advice from Alexander Pope (1688-1744) as well as Wood, Allen developed a formal landscape north of and below the house and a rococo wilderness to the north-west, with a triangular lawn north of the house descending to a formal pond and a boundary wall. The design featured a grotto, the serpentine river with a sham bridge and cascade, a statue of Moses, and the green 'cabinet' at the foot of the cascade with arti-natural winding paths around it. Wood's employment ended in 1748 before the house was complete, and Richard Jones, Allen's clerk of works at Prior Park, took over. In a second phase of works in the 1750s, the landscape was extended northwards and the Palladian bridge and a central cascade were introduced. Finally, a third phase can be identified after c.1760-4 when Allen employed Lancelot Brown (1716-83), who removed the central cascade to make the whole of the combe a single sweep and further naturalized the planting. After Allen’s death 1764 the designed landscape was relatively little altered until its core was acquired by the National Trust in 1993.

SOURCES: The Buildings of England: Foyle A and Pevsner N: Somerset North and Bristol: London: 2011-: 200-203; Colvin H: A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1660-1840: London: 1978-: 474; Clarke G: Prior Park - A Compleat Landscape: Bath: 1987-: 53.

Listing NGR: ST7607663327


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Clarke, G, Prior Park A Compleat Landscape: Bath, (1987), 53
Colvin, H M, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, (1978), 474
Pevsner, N, Foyle, A, The Buildings of England: Somerset: North and Bristol, (2011), 200-203


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].