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Ribchester Bridge
River Ribble, east of Ribchester, Lancashire
Ribchester Bridge
associated engineer
Not known
date  1775 - 1776
era  Georgian  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  SD661356
ICE reference number  HEW 1789
photo  Paul Dunkerley / ICE R&D Fund
Many of the bridges we can see today are descendants of earlier bridges and the impressive Grade II listed Ribchester Bridge is no exception. Its immediate predecessor, dating from 1669, was sited about 80m upstream, on the site of an ancient Roman ford, and was washed away in 1772.
We don't know who designed it but we do know that the agreement drawn up in January 1775 for the construction of the bridge named five stonemasons. Their leader was John Law (1730-81), who later became Bridgemaster of Salford Hundred, an ancient division of the county of Lancashire in the area of present-day Greater Manchester.
The bridge is made of stone and has three segmental circular arches. The arches have single rings of voussoirs (wedge-shaped stones) and coursed masonry spandrels (in-fill between the arches and the horizontal elements). The three spans measure 21m, 23.2m and 22.4m, with rises of 4.5m, 5.5m and 4.1m respectively.
The river piers are 2.6m wide and have pointed cutwaters, which take the brunt of the force of the water when the river is running high.
The overall length of the bridge is 71.8m. Its deck is 6.2m wide between the 300mm-wide solid stone parapets and takes the B6245 road from Longridge to Wilpshire across the River Ribble.
Research: PHEW / PD
"The Ancient Bridges of the North of England" by E. Jervoise
EP Publishing Ltd, 1973

Ribchester Bridge