High Bridge, Lincoln

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High Bridge, Lincoln

The High Bridge in Lincoln, England, is the oldest bridge in the United Kingdom which still has buildings on it.[1] The bridge was built about 1160 AD and a bridge chapel was built dedicated to Thomas Becket in 1235 on the east side of the bridge. The chapel was removed in 1762. The current row of timber framed shops on the west side of the bridge date from about 1550. The two upper storeys of the shops are jettied forward and at the corners there are carved figures of angels. The shops were partly dismantled and re-erected in 1901–02 under the supervision of the Lincoln architect William Watkins.[2]

Bridges like this were common in the Middle Ages, the best known being London Bridge, but most have long since been demolished because of their obstruction to the river flow and to shipping.

The 'Glory Hole'

The Glory Hole is the name given by generations of boaters to the High Bridge in Lincoln.[3] It has a narrow and crooked arch which sets a limit on the size of boats using the Witham and going from Brayford Pool, at the start of Foss Dyke, to Boston and the sea.

Since the 14th century the bridge has contributed to floods in Lincoln and after any heavy rain the bridge is virtually unnavigable, which may be why it got its name.[clarification needed] A design by William Jessop in the 19th century to reroute the waters of the Witham through the south of the town was never implemented.


  1. ^ High Bridge, City of Lincoln Council, retrieved 22 March 2011 
  2. ^ Antram N (revised), Pevsner N & Harris J, (1989), The Buildings of England: Lincolnshire, Yale University Press, p. 523
  3. ^ Lincoln, retrieved 22 March 2011 

Coordinates: 53°13′42.7″N 0°32′26.4″W / 53.228528°N 0.540667°W / 53.228528; -0.540667