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Record Details

MonUID:MST912
HER Number:00914
Type of record:Monument
Name:Burton Bridge (Medieval Bridge), Burton upon Trent

Summary

The site of a bridge crossing the River Trent which may have been built as early as the early 12th century. A stone bridge is certainly recorded in 1322 and Plot described it in the 17th century as having 34 arches. It has been the scene of several battles during the medieval period and in the Civil War. It was dismantled piecemeal in 1864.

Grid Reference:SK 2558 2328
Map Sheet:SK22SE
Parish:Winshill, East Staffordshire Borough
Burton, East Staffordshire Borough
Map:Show location on Streetmap

Monument Type(s):

Full description

There was a road bridge across the Trent at Burton in the 12th century. It was the scene of several skirmishes during the Civil War, from 1643 onwards. Tradition has it that at one such engagement Prince Rupert led a charge across the bridge. In March 1322 a force under Edward, Earl of Lancaster fortified Burton Bridge against the forces of King Edward II. With Lancaster's men holding the western end of the bridge the King's men attacked for a full day and made no progress. When the attack was renewed the greater part of the King's force outflanked Lancaster's men by crossing via an upstream ford (at Walton). Lancaster's men abandoned their position and fired the town. <1>

Plot describes the bridge as having 34 arches. Supposed built to commemorate Edward II's victory over Edward of Lancaster. Chapel and gateway probably demolished 1777 when this part of the bridge was widened. Possibly rebuilt at the end of the High Street. <2>

Edward II built a chapel over the gateway on the western end of the bridge. <3>

A drawing by Wyatt shows a bridge of 36 arches. <4>

Two 14th or 15th century arches of this bridge survive under the grounds of Trent Bridge House at the southern end of Burton Meadow. Originally circa 5m wide but later widened to the north. <8>

Structural elements of the bridge were still extant in 1982. (SB, 13-Jul-2010) <9>

There was a bridge over the Trent at the north end of town by the early 12th century. It is presumed to have had its east end in Winshill, although it is not known whether it crossed both the main course of the river and the west arm. It had certainly reached its full extent about 1200 when burgages were laid out in Horninglow Street westwards from 'the great bridge'. It was probably built of stone, or at least had stone footings. First surviving mention of a stone bridge occurs in 1322. The exact form of the structure is unknown, but providing it was not substantially altered it would have been as described in the 18th century. A new bridge was apparently under consideration in 1840 and in 1853 plans were drawn were submitted. Nothing happened until 1859 when the Midland Railway Co. promoted an Act which authorised its demolition and the construction of a new straight bridge (cf. PRN 54617). The medieval bridge was dismantled piecemeal after the new bridge was opened in 1864. (DAT, 09/01/2012) <10>


A bridge across the Trent was evidently in existence at Burton as early as the 12th century, for a grant of land for the benefit of the bridge is recorded in 1175 and is mentioned again in the 13th and 14th centuries. In the 19th century, when it was demolished to make way for the present bridge, it had thirty-six
arches. The existing bridge, of thirty-two arches, is a 19th century rebuilding in dressed stone, widened in 1926 (see PRN 54617). A medieval arch from Burton Bridge was re-erected at Newton Park. (SB, 18-Feb-2014) <11>

The Battle of Burton Bridge was fought in 1321 or 1322 between the forces of Edward II and the Earl of Lancaster, who held the bridge and denied the king access to the town. Lancaster was outflanked and had to evacuate the bridge, and later the town. (SB< 18-Feb-2014) <12>

In 1321, when the forces of Edward II and those of the Earl of Lancaster fought the Battle of Burton Bridge the western end of the bridge was guarded by a strongly fortified gateway. The King succeeded in taking the town, and in commemoration of his victory built a chapel over the gateway on the bridge, dedicated to Saint James. By 1975 no traces of the chapel or gate-house remained. (SB, 18-Feb-2014) <13>

Sources and further reading

<1>SST390 - Index: Ordnance Survey. See cards. Ordnance Survey Card Index. SK 22 SE - 11 ('Gentleman's Magazine' Volume 21, 1751, pages 406-407 & Illustration page 296).
<2>SST529 - Published Book: Robert Plot. 1686. The Natural History of Staffordshire. Page 372.
<3>SST390 - Index: Ordnance Survey. See cards. Ordnance Survey Card Index. SK 22 SE - 11 ('History of Burton on Trent' by W. Molyneux, 1869, pages 54-62).
<4>SST594 - Published Book: Stebbing Shaw. 1798. The History and Antiquities of Staffordshire Volume 1 (1798). Volume 1 - pages 14-21.
<5>SST390 - Index: Ordnance Survey. See cards. Ordnance Survey Card Index. SK 22 SE - 11 (T.B.N.H.A.S. Volume 5 - Part 1 (1903) pages 4-21 (by H. A. Rye)).
<6>SST390 - Index: Ordnance Survey. See cards. Ordnance Survey Card Index. SK 22 SE - 11 ('Survey of Staffordshire' by S. Erdeswick, 1717, pages 180-181).
<7>SST390 - Index: Ordnance Survey. See cards. Ordnance Survey Card Index. SK 22 SE - 11 ('The Ancient Bridges of Mid & Eastern England' by E. Jervoise, 1932, pages 5-6).
<8>SST3521 - Verbal communication: Chris Wardle (Staffordshire County Council). up to 2004. Observations by a member of the Historic Environment Team, Staffordshire County Council. 1996.
<9>SST1142 - Photographic: Staffordshire County Council. 1982. Black and white photographs of Burton Bridge. Digital Photography.
<10>SST1692 - Published Book: The Victoria History of the Counties of England (Edited by N. J. Tringham). 2003. (VCH Volume 9) A History of the County of Stafford, Volume IX - Burton-upon-Trent. Pages 25-26.
<11>SST12 - Map: National Monument Record. 1993. National Forest Project Maps / Pastscape Records. SK 22 SE 11.
<12>SST12 - Map: National Monument Record. 1993. National Forest Project Maps / Pastscape Records. SK 22 SE 13.

Related records

58461Part of: Ashby de La Zouch to Tutbury Turnpike Road (Monument)

Images

Black and white photographs of Burton Bridge  © Staffordshire County Council

Black and white photographs of Burton Bridge © Staffordshire County Council

Black and white photographs of Burton Bridge  © Staffordshire County Council

Black and white photographs of Burton Bridge © Staffordshire County Council

Black and white photographs of Burton Bridge  © Staffordshire County Council

Black and white photographs of Burton Bridge © Staffordshire County Council

Black and white photographs of Burton Bridge  © Staffordshire County Council

Black and white photographs of Burton Bridge © Staffordshire County Council

Black and white photographs of Burton Bridge  © Staffordshire County Council

Black and white photographs of Burton Bridge © Staffordshire County Council

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