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New Bridge, Chester-le-Street
River Wear, Black Drive, Lambton Park, County Durham, UK
New Bridge, Chester-le-Street
associated engineer
Not known
date  circa 14th century
era  Medieval  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  NZ283522
ICE reference number  HEW 331
photo  Jane Joyce
Now bypassed, the medieval masonry bridge at Lambton Park was the furthest downstream bridge crossing of the River Wear until the bridge at Sunderland was constructed some four centuries later. It carries a single track road and remains in use.
New Bridge, to the north east of Chester-le-Street, was built as part of the access road to the city of Sunderland. Though it's possible there was an earlier bridge here, the present structure is thought to date from the 14th century, or possibly the 15th century. It was the furthest downstream permanent crossing of the River Wear until Sunderland Bridge (NZ396574) was completed in 1796.
The bridge is about 45m long with four pointed arches of dressed stone. The spans nearest the banks measure 8.1m and the two central spans 9.9m. Each span includes voussoirs rings and five arch ribs, springing from the bases of the piers and/or abutments.
The three river piers are 3m wide with chamfered plinths. The pointed ends of the piers act as cutwaters and rise as triangular hipped buttresses to the base of the parapets. The parapets project slightly from the spandrel faces, and the coping may have been restored in places. The deck is 5m wide between parapets and a maximum of 10.1m above river level.
In 1926, New Bridge was bypassed by the A183 Chester Road Bridge and now leads only to Lambton Park, carrying Black Drive. At the east end of the bridge, an arched gateway designed by architect Ignatius Bonomi (1787-1870), erected in 1815, marks the entrance to the estate.
New Bridge can be seen just east of the M1 at junction 63. It was Grade II* listed in February 1987, and is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
Research: ECPK
reference sources   CEH North

New Bridge, Chester-le-Street