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Middleton Bridge
River Rawthey, 4km southwest of Sedbergh, Cumbria
Middleton Bridge
associated engineer
Not known
date  possibly 1670
era  Stuart  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  SD629897
ICE reference number  HEW 2102
photo  Paul Dunkerley / ICE R&D Fund
A single masonry arch road bridge across the River Rawthey just near its confluence with the River Lune. This bridge is sometimes confusingly referred to as Rawthey Bridge, but there is another old bridge of this name a little further upstream.
We don't know for certain when Middleton Bridge was constructed but it might have been 1670, since this date is carved into the parapet stonework. It is referred to as “Old Bridge” on a map of 1775, so we can assume it was in place by that date.
The bridge is constructed in rubble masonry. It's arch spans 18.6m and rises some 4m measured on one side, 4.6m measured on the other. Round the arch is a ring of large roughly hewn stones, each measuring about 840mm across. The roadway is some 3m wide.
An unusual feature is a second, partial arch ring set just above the principal arch ring. It measures 13.4m in span and is 460mm deep. Its function is unknown.
In 1911, the bridge was strengthened. A reinforced concrete (ferro-concrete) 'saddle' was added. At the same date, two rectangular masonry pedestrian refuges were added to the centre of the bridge, one each side. They are supported on concrete slabs, in turn supported by stone corbelling. These are referred to by Jervoise as "horrible concrete 'balcon[ies]'".
Middleton Bridge is a Grade II listed structure. It carries the A683, running from from Kirkby Lonsdale to Sedbergh in Cumbria.
Research: PD and AJD
bibliography
"The Ancient Bridges of the North of England" by E. Jervoise
EP Publishing Limited, 1973
Location

Middleton Bridge