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Old Bridge, Bridgend
River Ogmore, Bridgend, Wales, UK
Old Bridge, Bridgend
associated engineer
Not known
date  c.1425, 1775
era  Medieval  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  SS903798
ICE reference number  HEW 1031
photo   Chris Andrews and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Bridgend's name in Welsh is Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr, which means "main bridge on the River Ogmore", and refers to this structure, which is medieval in origin. The bridge's configuration has been much changed over the centuries through rebuilding and repairs, and it is now used as a footbridge. The surviving structure is Grade II* listed and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
The Old Bridge (Yr Hen Bont) is thought to have been built in stone around 1425, originally with five spans. Contemporary records mentioning the bridge survive from 1444 and 1452. Until it was constructed, travellers crossed the river at a ford, north of this site, between the Norman settlements of Oldcastle (SS905794), or Nolton, on the east side and Newcastle (SS902800) on the west. The town that developed at the eastern end of the bridge was named Bridgend, and it grew to absorb Nolton and Newcastle and much of the surrounding area.
The original five-span structure had three river arches with voussoirs, and a smaller flood arch on each bank. The piers had straight pointed cutwaters, and the roadway ramped up to the centre of the bridge.
On 21st August 1775, a flood demolished the western river pier, partially destroying the two arches on the west side of the river. They were rebuilt as a single arch of double span, which is what we have today.
The flood arches have disappeared, as building development has encroached on the river banks. The east end of the bridge has been amalgamated into the rear of buildings on Dunraven Place, which were constructed sometime before 1830. The two segmental arches that survive span 13.7m (west) and 6.9m (east), and the roadway is 2.6m wide between parapets.
Records show the bridge was last used by a motor vehicle in 1920, but it remains in use as a footbridge. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument (GM049) and a Grade II* listed structure.
In 2005, the bridge was restored and, in 2011, its cobbled footway was relaid using traditional lime mortar to reset the pebbles.
When the Old Bridge and access routes to it became too narrow for the increasing road traffic, in 1821, a wider three-arch masonry bridge New Bridge (SS904798) was constructed a short distance upstream (north). Increasing usage by motorised traffic led to this bridge being replaced in 1912, by an even wider single span reinforced concrete structure at the same location, also called New Bridge.
In 1997, the A4061 Brewery Bridge (SS905800) was constructed further upstream, as part of the Cross Valley Link Road. As a result, New Bridge was replaced by a single span concrete footbridge in 1998.
RCAHMW_NPRN 24136
Research: ECPK
bibliography
Information from 1998 plaque on nearby modern footbridge, describing bridges of Bridgend.
http://cadw.wales.gov.uk
http://hellohistoria.blogspot.co.uk
www.coflein.gov.uk
www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info
www.thetimetrekker.com
www.visionofbritain.org.uk
Location

Old Bridge, Bridgend