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New Bridge, Gunnislake
River Tamar, Gunnislake, Cornwall
associated engineer
Not known
date  circa 1520
era  Tudor  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  SX432722
ICE reference number  HEW 274
New Bridge, Gunnislake, is the furthest downstream of three ancient crossing River Tamar points — the others are at Greystone and Horsebridge. It remained the lowest downstream road bridge, just 0.8km upstream of the tidal limit, until the opening of the Tamar Suspension Bridge in 1961. New Bridge now carries traffic using the roads between Liskeard and Tavistock.
New Bridge was built in approximately 1520 by Sir Piers Edgcumbe, the owner of Cotehele and Mount Edgcumbe. It is constructed of dressed granite or moorstone masonry, with four slightly pointed arches of 6.4m span, plus one of 5.5m and another of 4.3m. They spring from 8.2m above water level. The pier cutwaters (projections into the river flow) extend up to parapet level, 12.8m above the river bed, to provide pedestrian refuges. The road width is 3.7m.
The bridge formed part of the main route into south east Cornwall, and was the site of a Civil War battle on 20th July 1644. The Parliamentarian forces won, losing 40 men and the Royalists lost 200 men, either killed or taken prisoner. The bridge is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
Joseph Mallord William Turner visited Gunnislake in 1813 to sketch and paint. His work Crossing the Bridge was often described as depicting an imaginary Italian location but is actually a view of Gunnislake bridge.
Reserach: ECPK
reference sources   CEH South

New Bridge, Gunnislake