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Historic England Research Records

Exeter Bridge

Hob Uid: 448321
Location :
Non Civil Parish
Grid Ref : SX9160092110
Summary : Medieval bridge first mentioned in 1196 with a chapel at each end. Possibly built on the site of a Roman bridge. The original bridge is thought to have consisted of 17 or 18 arches, but only 8 are now fully visible. Remains of several of the original arches survive on the West Gate side. Scheduled and listed.
More information : (SX 91609211) Bridge (NR) (site of) (NAT) (1)

The old Exe Bridge ran in a line with the west gate along the present Edmund Street and across the river diagonally, finishing where the
present bridge does on the St Thomas side. It seems likely, because of the alignment on the Roman West Gate, that there was a bridge in Roman times, but the earliest documentary mention is in 1196. The founders of the medieval bridge were Nicholas Gervase, mayor of Exeter, and his son Walter who raised 10,000 marks for its building and the purchase of land to maintain it.
Damage and repairs are recorded throughout the bridge's life, and it
is evident that in 1447 only the piers were of stone, the remainder
being timber; in 1599 repairs were effected with stone from the
lately dissolved priory of St Nicholas. The bridge extended almost
from the West Gate of Exeter, outside which in medieval times there
was a waterlogged marsh, and was probably at least 700 ft long (3).
It has numerous arches, variously given as 12 in 1290 (Inquisition),
16 in the 15th century (William of Worcester). 14 in the 16th century (Leland) and 'probably 18' (3).
The bridge was replaced in 1778 by the present Exe Bridge, when its
arches over the river were demolished. But several of the original
arches survive on the West Gate side of the river. (2&3)

Old Exe Bridge, Edmund Street. Grade 2.
SX 9192 SE 5/147. First Listed 29 1 53.
Mediaeval. Seven arches (5 semi-circular and 2 pointed) remain of the original bridge probably C14. Two are in the crypt of St Edmunds Church together with the piers on which the church stood. Base of the remaining piers can be seen in bed of River Exe. (4)

SX 919921. Old Exe Bridge. Scheduled. (5)

Remains of the medieval Exe Bridge were excavated by the Exeter
Museums Archaeological Field Unit in 1975-9. Eight and a half
complete arches survived totalling 82.2m in length. They probably all belong to the original construction of the bridge in circa 1200, though some have been extensively repaired since. Detailed survey
demonstrated that the arches were probably built in sequence from NE
to SW, and construction is likely to have been completed by circa 1214 when the two chapels which stood at either end of the bridge are first mentioned. The bridge seems to have originally possessed 17 arches spaning a distance between the abutments of circa 172m, so that exactly half the total arches remain. The remains of the bridge have been restored and are open to the public. (6 & 7)

SX 91659216. Old Exe Bridge. Scheduling amended. (8)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 1:2500 1967
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Source Number : 2
Source : Old Devon bridges
Source details : Old Devon Bridges 1938 (C Henderson & E Jervoise)
Page(s) : 61-7
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Two thousand years in Exeter
Source details : Two Thousand Years in Exeter 1969 (W G Hoskins)
Page(s) : 28-31
Figs. :
Plates :
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Source Number : 4
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Exeter District (Exeter Area) 18-6-74
Page(s) : 71
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : List of ancient monuments in England: Volume 1, Northern England; Volume 2, Southern England; Volume 3, East Anglia and the Midlands
Source details :
Page(s) : 58
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 2
Source Number : 6
Source : Archaeology in Devon, annual report
Source details : Apr-78
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 7
Source : Archaeology in Devon, annual report
Source details : Apr-80
Page(s) : 10
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : EH Scheduling amendment, 06-DEC-2002
Page(s) :
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Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Roman
Monument End Date : 410
Monument Start Date : 43
Monument Type : Bridge
Evidence : Conjectural Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : First mentioned 1196
Monument End Date : 1196
Monument Start Date : 1066
Monument Type : Bridge, Bridge Chapel
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Partly demolished in 1778
Monument End Date : 1778
Monument Start Date : 1778
Monument Type : Bridge
Evidence : Structure

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : DV 167
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 89046
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 33046
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SX 99 SW 31
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, EXE BRIDGE,FROG STREET
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1975-01-01
End Date : 1979-12-31