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Musgrave Bridge
River Eden, B6259, southwest of Great Musgrave, Cumbria
Musgrave Bridge
associated engineer
Not known
date  1825
era  Georgian  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  NY764131
photo  Paul Dunkerley / ICE R&D Fund
Musgrave Bridge was originally called Musgrave Wath Bridge and was built of wood — ‘wath’ was the Norse word for ‘ford’. Its more recent stone incarnation carries the B6259 road from Warcop to Kirkby Stephen over the River Eden.
After being damaged in the civil wars 1642-1649, the original bridge on this site was maintained by Quarter Sessions' order after the Restoration. Those responsible for the repairs were Thomas Birbeck, John Morland and John Smith. In 1709 the bridge was reinforced with oak supports and was rebuilt in 1732. However, the bridge collapsed in 1734.
The contract for the construction of the present Musgrave Bridge was issued on 29th January 1825. Its value was £1,630 and it was given to Brown & Broderick, who possibly designed the bridge as well as built it. On 25th July 1830, the building of a tunnel designed to take storm water overflow was ordered.
The bridge has two segmental arch spans and pointed cutwaters on either side but no pedestrian refuges on the deck. The arches have two decorative rings, inner ones with voussoirs on edge, upper ones with voussoirs on flat. The arches carry a stringcourse and a parapet wall either side. At each end of the bridge is a pair of pillars with pyramidal capstones.
To the east of the bridge is the site of the dismantled Waitby railway line. Just northeast is a footpath leading to St Theobald’s Church. This church still observes the annual ‘Rushbearing’ ceremony, of 14th century origin. Churches once commonly had earthern floors covered in rushes, which were replaced during this ceremony, a practice that died out in the 19th century when the laying of flagstones became widespread.
Contractor: Brown & Broderick
Research: PD and AJD
bibliography
"Walking in Eden" by Ron Scholes
Sigma Leisure, Wilmslow, 2006
www.british-history.ac.uk
Location

Musgrave Bridge