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Name:Swarkestone Bridge and Causeway to Stanton by Bridge
HER No.:26404
Type of Record:Monument
Designation:Listed Building (I)
Scheduled Monument 1007076: SWARKESTONE BRIDGE


One of the outstanding historic bridges of England, first referred to in 1204, with further work and reparation carried out over succeeding centuries

Grid Reference:SK 369 280

Monument Types

  • CAUSEWAY (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1200 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ROAD BRIDGE (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1200 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds: None recorded

Associated Events

  • EDR1342 - Ordnance Survey Field Report, 23-SEP-66
  • EDR3448 - Structure appraisal, Swarkestone Bridge, by Derbyshire Records Office, in 1978

Full Description

[SK 3695 2791] Swarkestone Bridge [T.I.] (1) Swarkestone Bridge. Grade I. 13th/14th century. A unique structure three-quarters of a mile long, consisting of a sequence of bridges and causeways. Ashlar. Seventeen arches. The part actually crossing the river dates from 1796-7. (2). Scheduled (3).

This feature extends for over 1100m across the river Trent and the adjacent flood plain to the south; the earliest masonry evident is heavy, rough hand cut soffit and plinth stones with stone guttering and drainage channels. There have been many phases of restoration, rebuilding and widening, the latter - in all cases - having been to the east. The more recent restoration/repair has incorporated Staffordshire "blue" brick into the fabric. In all, 36 arches are now visible. The earliest work is possibly 13th/14th century but precise dating is difficult and the most obvious work is of the 16th-18th century periods with 19th-20th century restoration. GP.A0/66/171/4-5. (4)

Swarkestone Bridge and causeway, three quarters of a mile long. A bridge is first referred to in 1204. The present causeway dates from the late 13th or early 14th centuries. The bridge itself was destroyed by floods in 1795 and replaced 1795-7 by a new bridge, probably designed by Thomas Sykes, the county surveyor. Repairs 1632, repairs and widening, 1799,1808, 1803, 1852-4 and blue brick strengthening arches inserted 1899. Grade I. (5)

Swarkestone is one of the outstanding historic bridges of England. It was certainly built by 1204, when it is first documented as 'ponte de Cordy', probably indicating that the bridge and causeway (usually referred to as a single unit) was built by the Cordy family. Its construction must have immediately channelled all heavy land traffic and long distance traffic through Stanton and Swarkestone and Derby was quick to claim its tolls. The revenue was intended both to keep the bridge in repair and to swell the profits of the recipients. There are several records of such repairs being made in the 14th century. The bridge was also an important factor in any military development. At the beginning of the civil war in late 1642/early 1643 the northern end of the bridge was fortified. As a result it was attacked by Sir John Gell, who succeeded in capturing it and securing it for Parliament. As late as 1745 Charles James Stuart's advance troops secured the Swarkestone crossing whilst the main body was still entering Derby. The repair of key bridges was recognised as a county responsibility in 1555, and the bridge is known to have been repaired at the county's expense I 1682 and on successive occasions until early in 1795 when it was swept away by floodwaters. Rebuilding was completed in 1797. The old bridge had nine arches and part of the piers remained as late as 1863. The new bridge had five arches. The medieval stone causeway supported by arches was strengthened and widened on various occasions and in 1899 some of the pointed arches were strengthened with blue bricks. Round arches were also inserted in the modern period. Both bridge and causeway are now listed as Ancient Monuments. (7)

<1> Ordnance Survey (OS), 1955, 6" (Map). SDR11765.

<2> M.H.L.G. 2362/11A Dec 1960 33 (Bibliographic reference). SDR8413.

<3> Ministry of Works, 1961, Ancient Monuments of England and Wales (Scheduling record). SDR750.

<4> F1 FC 23-SEP-66 (Personal Observation). SDR6185.

<5> DOE Listed Bldgs. Dist of South Derbyshire. Derby 11 Mar 1987 161 (Bibliographic reference). SDR5370.

<6> TPAT, 2471 (Index). SDR17794.

<7> Design and Conservation Team, D.C.C., 1978, Swarkestone Bridge: An Appraisal (Monograph). SDR18868.

Sources and Further Reading

[1]SDR11765 - Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). 1955. 6".
[2]SDR8413 - Bibliographic reference: M.H.L.G. 2362/11A Dec 1960 33.
[3]SDR750 - Scheduling record: Ministry of Works. 1961. Ancient Monuments of England and Wales.
[4]SDR6185 - Personal Observation: F1 FC 23-SEP-66.
[5]SDR5370 - Bibliographic reference: DOE Listed Bldgs. Dist of South Derbyshire. Derby 11 Mar 1987 161.
[6]SDR17794 - Index: TPAT. 2471. 2471.
[7]SDR18868 - Monograph: Design and Conservation Team, D.C.C.. 1978. Swarkestone Bridge: An Appraisal.