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HER Number:MDV9056
Name:Totnes Bridge, Totnes


Totnes Bridge was erected in the 12th century and rebuilt in 1828.


Grid Reference:SX 806 602
Map Sheet:SX86SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishTotnes
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishBERRY POMEROY

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX86SW/13
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II*)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • BRIDGE (Early Medieval to XXI - 1066 AD to 2009 AD (Between))

Full description

Eaton, 1856, Proceedings, 262 (Article in Serial). SDV337096.

A portion of oak timber cut from one of the piles, forming the foundation of the old bridge bearing the date 1205 was exhibited by Mr Eaton in 1856.

Windeatt, E., 1880, An Historical Sketch of Totnes, 165-6 and 189 (Article in Serial). SDV168929.

Old Totnes Bridge erected in the 12th century. A bridge of eight arches, so narrow that it was taken down and a new one erected in 1828. Some parts of the old bridge were widened in 1692. Similar to Staverton Bridge. May have been wooden.

Unknown, 1897, Untitled Source (Monograph). SDV337095.

The present bridge is a stone bridge of three arches designed by the local architect Charles Fowler who designed the higher and lower markets in Exeter. Completed at a cost of $12,000 (sic) in 1828. Tolls were abolished 1st November 1881. Steps descend from the bridge to a small island which was laid out in walks and planted with trees and shrubs for the use of the public at the expense of the late Duke of Somerset.

Rea, C. F., 1923, Totnes in Bygone Days, 7 & 9 (Un-published). SDV337093.

The old bridge across the River Dart was narrow with V-shaped recesses in the roadway. Said to have been built in the reign of King John. Foundations of the old bridge on the north side of the present bridge, can still be seen at low water. The new bridge was opened in 1832. Bishop Lacy of Exeter in 1434 granted 'indulgence for forty days to all contributing to the Bridge of Totton', it is not stated whether for its erection or repair. Paper read to the Totnes Antiquarian Society.

Chope, R. P., 1926 - 1927, Early Bridges, 93-6 (Article in Serial). SDV2294.

Bequests granted by Bishop Stafford for upkeep in 1406 and 1418, and indulgences granted for same by Bishop Lacy in 1434 and 1441.

Henderson, C. + Jervoise, E., 1938, Old Devon Bridges, 37 (Monograph). SDV2296.

There is mention of a chapel on the bridge dedicated to St Edmund in a document of 1283. Bequests and indulgences granted for the maintenance of the bridge several times in the 15th century.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1951, SX86SW 25 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV337094.

In a direct line with Fore Street, there are four evenly spaced accumulations of stone in the river which would appear to mark the sites of four piers of the old bridge. These stoney patches show quite clearly at low water on the north side of the present bridge. No certain evidence of abuttments on either bank.

English Heritage, 1952, Totnes (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV336358.

Totnes Bridge built 1826-28 (under Act of 1825) by architect Charles Fowler; the bridgehead was sited at the lowest fording-point of the tidal River Dart. Tradition dated the first stone bridge from around 1215. Fine triple-arched bridge over main river with smaller arch over western area. Devonian limestone ashlar with granite cutwaters. Segmental arches with vermiculated, rusticated voussoirs. Cutwater piers with rusticated pilasters with triangular caps. Bridge ends with wide, pedimented piers with niches. Parapet and coping with moulded cornice below.

Hoskins, W. G., 1954, A New Survey of England: Devon, 507 (Monograph). SDV17562.

Minchinton, W. E., 1973, Industrial Archaeology in Devon, 4 (Monograph). SDV7016.

Robinson, R., 1984, Untitled Source (Site Visit). SDV337097.

Field Monument Warden visit.

Department of Environment, 1988, Totnes Bridge (Schedule Document). SDV326571.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted for pedestrian access through the downstream parapet of the bridge.

Lowe, M. C., 1990, The Turnpike Trusts in Devon and their roads: 1753-1889, 67 (Article in Serial). SDV25125.

Department of Environment, 1990, Totnes Bridge (Schedule Document). SDV170156.

Department of Environment, 1992, Totnes Bridge (Schedule Document). SDV170137.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted for the removal of vegetation.

Stewart Brown Associates, 1998, Harrison's Garage, The Plains, Totnes: An archaeological desk based assessment (Report - Assessment). SDV337098.

An archaeological desk-based assessment of Harrison's Garage site on the northeast side of the bridge reproduces several illustrations of the old bridge showing at least seven of the arches.

DCMS, 2000, Totnes Bridge (Schedule Document). SDV170140.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted (subject to conditions) for works comprising:-.
(a) an excavation to expose the buried bridge parapet wall, the capping of the wall and the erection of metal railings; and.
(b) the removal of a section of handrail to allow access to the proposed timber walkway.

DCMS, 2002, Totnes Bridge (Schedule Document). SDV170142.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted, subject to conditions, for works concerning the relining of 122 meters of existing 5 inch water main with in-situ rapid set polymeric lining, and removing and replacing the existing sluice valves.

Department of Environment, 2002, Totnes Bridge (Schedule Document). SDV170143.

Formerly scheduled under DV239. Descheduled March 2002 under SM 91330.

Manning, P. T., 2002, Totnes Bridge (Report - Assessment). SDV337099.

Cobbled surface identified, of at least 19th century date, on the west side of the bridge, probably representing an earlier road surface. Exposed during excavation work for South West Water whilst relining the existing water main.

Exeter Archaeology, 2003, Archaeological watching brief at Totnes Bridge (Report - Watching Brief). SDV337100.

Ordnance Survey, 2012, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV348725.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV168929Article in Serial: Windeatt, E.. 1880. An Historical Sketch of Totnes. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 12. Hardback Volume. 165-6 and 189.
SDV170137Schedule Document: Department of Environment. 1992. Totnes Bridge. The Schedule of Monuments. Letter.
SDV170140Schedule Document: DCMS. 2000. Totnes Bridge. The Schedule of Monuments. Letter.
SDV170142Schedule Document: DCMS. 2002. Totnes Bridge. The Schedule of Monuments. Letter.
SDV170143Schedule Document: Department of Environment. 2002. Totnes Bridge. The Schedule of Monuments. Letter.
SDV170156Schedule Document: Department of Environment. 1990. Totnes Bridge. The Schedule of Monuments. Letter.
SDV17562Monograph: Hoskins, W. G.. 1954. A New Survey of England: Devon. A New Survey of England: Devon. A5 Hardback. 507.
SDV2294Article in Serial: Chope, R. P.. 1926 - 1927. Early Bridges. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 14. Unknown. 93-6.
SDV2296Monograph: Henderson, C. + Jervoise, E.. 1938. Old Devon Bridges. Old Devon Bridges. Unknown. 37.
SDV25125Article in Serial: Lowe, M. C.. 1990. The Turnpike Trusts in Devon and their roads: 1753-1889. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 122. A5 Paperback. 67.
SDV326571Schedule Document: Department of Environment. 1988. Totnes Bridge. The Schedule of Monuments. Letter.
SDV336358List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: English Heritage. 1952. Totnes. Historic Houses Register. Website.
SDV337093Un-published: Rea, C. F.. 1923. Totnes in Bygone Days. Unknown. 7 & 9.
SDV337094Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1951. SX86SW 25. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV337095Monograph: Unknown. 1897. Kelly's Directory of Devon. Unknown.
SDV337096Article in Serial: Eaton. 1856. Proceedings. Journal of the British Archaeological Association. 12. Unknown. 262.
SDV337097Site Visit: Robinson, R.. 1984. Field Monument Warden Visit.
SDV337098Report - Assessment: Stewart Brown Associates. 1998. Harrison's Garage, The Plains, Totnes: An archaeological desk based assessment. Stewart Brown Associates Report. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV337099Report - Assessment: Manning, P. T.. 2002. Totnes Bridge. Exeter Archaeology Report. Project No 4406. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV337100Report - Watching Brief: Exeter Archaeology. 2003. Archaeological watching brief at Totnes Bridge. Exeter Archaeology Report. Project No 4761. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV348725Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2012. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #109258 ]
SDV7016Monograph: Minchinton, W. E.. 1973. Industrial Archaeology in Devon. Industrial Archaeology in Devon. Paperback Volume. 4.

Associated Monuments

MDV12890Related to: The Toll House, Totnes Bridge, Totnes (Building)
MDV92290Related to: Two Toll Gate Piers, The Plains, Totnes (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Oct 25 2013 1:24PM