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High Bridge - High Street, Lincoln, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 53° 13.713 W 000° 32.431
30U E 664169 N 5900518
Quick Description: High Bridge carries Lincoln High Street across the River Whitham. The Grade I listed bridge was built c1160 and is the oldest bridge in the United Kingdom still to have buildings on it.
Location: East Midlands, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 10/22/2019 12:10:23 AM
Waymark Code: WM11GQF
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member fi67
Views: 0

Long Description:

Wikipedia has an article about High Bridge that tells us:

High Bridge carries the High Street across the River Witham in Lincoln in eastern England. It is the oldest bridge in the United Kingdom which still has buildings on it. The bridge was built about 1160 AD and a bridge chapel was built dedicated to Thomas Becket in 1235 on the east side of the bridge. The chapel was removed in 1762. The current row of timber framed shops on the west side of the bridge date from about 1550. The two upper storeys of the shops are jettied forward and at the corners there are carved figures of angels. The shops were partly dismantled and re-erected in 1901–02 under the supervision of the Lincoln architect William Watkins.

Bridges like this were common in the Middle Ages, the best known being London Bridge, but most have long since been demolished because of their obstruction to the river flow and to shipping.

The Glory Hole is the name given by generations of boaters to the High Bridge in Lincoln. It has a narrow and crooked arch which sets a limit on the size of boats using the Witham and going from Brayford Pool, at the start of Foss Dyke, to Boston and the sea.

Since the 14th century the bridge has contributed to floods in Lincoln and after any heavy rain the bridge is virtually unnavigable, which may be why it got its name. A design by William Jessop in the 19th century to reroute the waters of the Witham through the south of the town was never implemented.

The bridge is both a grade I listed building and a scheduled monument.

As mentioned, High Bridge is Grade I listed with the entry at the Historic England website advising:

Road bridge carrying shops and houses. C12, with C13 and C16 additions, restored and partly reconstructed 1902 by William Watkins of Lincoln.

Bridge has an ashlar semicircular arch with chamfered transverse ribs and a single bay with diagonal ribs. West end has imposts and small chamfered slits in the spandrels. East end has a renewed chamfered opening with pierced balustrade and coped piers. The range of shops and houses at the west end, C16, is a careful and thorough reconstruction.

Timber framed, the west side partly roughcast, with dressed stone and brick underbuild and plain tile roof. Much of the original close studded framing survives, with renewed rendered nogging. Original angle brackets in the form of angels. 3 storeys plus attics, 2 jetties, 6 bays.

East front has to the left a glazing bar shop window and door. To right, 2 doors flanked by single plain windows. The doors have Tudor arched heads. Above, 2 floors, each with six 3-light leaded casements, all projecting like oriels. Above again, 3 gabled dormers with 2-light casements.

Rear has a renewed 2 storey underbuild to the left, and above the bridge, a 6-light hooded window flanked by small single light windows. Above, 2 windows flanked by single plain oriels, and to left, a larger window. Above again, exposed timber framing with 5 windows. Attics have 3 dormers similar to those at the front.

INTERIOR retains much of the original structure, with renewed nogging and joinery in a matching style. This building is the only surviving example in England of a medieval bridge carrying shops and houses.

Length of bridge: Approx 5 metres

Height of bridge: Varies with tide

What type of traffic does this bridge support?: Pedestrians and cyclists

What kind of gap does this bridge cross?:

Date constructed: 1160

Is the bridge still in service for its original purpose?: Yes

Name of road or trail the bridge services: High Street


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