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Lostwithiel Bridge
River Fowey, Lostwithiel, Cornwall
associated engineer
Not known
date  circa late 1300 onwards
era  Medieval  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  SX105598
ICE reference number  HEW 1602
Lostwithiel Bridge is a Scheduled Ancient Monument situated in the town centre at the lowest crossing of the River Fowey — at its tidal limit. The bridge is likely to date from the Medieval era when Lostwithiel was capital of the Duchy of Cornwall, and a busy port for the export of tin.
By comparing it to the architectural styles of buildings in Lostwithiel, historians have dated at least part of the bridge to either the late 13th century or early 14th century, although there are no records of its construction. However, it is mentioned as a place in records of 1314 and instructions were issued for its repair in 1357. In 1437, Bishop Lacy of Exeter granted an Indulgence for its repair, and in 1533 a survey carried out for Henry VIII recorded that the bridge was an ancient structure.
The bridge is of stone construction and has nine spans. The western end is oldest and has five pointed arches with cutwaters between — triangular projections that offer pedestrian refuges at road level and resistance to the strength of the river in flood at water level. The pointed arches vary in span from 3.35m to 3.81m.
Some time in the 16th century, a new channel was dug in the river to the east of the bridge and a timber structure carried traffic from the stone bridge to the riverbank. This was replaced by a stone structure, possibly in Tudor times. Further work was carried out in the 17th and 18th centuries. There is a stone in the southern bridge parapet dated 1676.
The middle section of the bridge consists of two rounded arches 4.34m and 1.9m in span over the island between the two river channels, while the easternmost two arches are each of 3.12m span.
Going over the bridge, the distance between the parapets varies from 3.5m to 4.5m. The bridge is open to two-way traffic, although vehicles must give way, but there is no footway.
Research: ECPK
bibliography
"A L Rowse’s Cornwall" by A.L. Rowse
George Weidenfeld & Nicolson Limited, London, 1988
www.lostwithiel.org.uk
reference sources   CEH South
Location

Lostwithiel Bridge