Newbridge, River Thames

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Newbridge, Oxfordshire)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

New Bridge
Newbridge, Oxfordshire.jpg
New Bridge (from the south bank of the Thames)
Coordinates51°42′36″N 01°25′02″W / 51.71000°N 1.41722°W / 51.71000; -1.41722Coordinates: 51°42′36″N 01°25′02″W / 51.71000°N 1.41722°W / 51.71000; -1.41722
CarriesA415 road, Thames Path
CrossesRiver Thames
Maintained byOxfordshire County Council
Heritage statusGrade I & II* listed
Height11 feet 6 inches (3.51 m)
No. of spans12
Piers in water5
Load limit18 tonnes (18 long tons; 20 short tons)

New Bridge is a 13th-century bridge carrying the A415 road over the River Thames in Oxfordshire, between Abingdon and Witney, close to the Thames' confluence with the River Windrush. It is one of the two oldest surviving bridges across the Thames, part Grade I and part Grade II*-listed.[1][2]

The bridge is in a rural setting, with a public house at either end: the Maybush Eco Inn on the south bank and the Rose Revived on the other.

The bridge consists of two spans, where the northern span crosses the river and the southern span, south of the Maybush, is dry underneath except when the river floods.[3]


The bridge dates from the 13th century[4] and is built of Taynton stone in the same way as Radcot Bridge, which is slightly older. They were built by monks on the orders of King John in order to improve communications between the wool towns in the south of England, and the Cotswold farms, and named "New Bridge" as it was the youngest out of the three bridges built at the time (the third being the Lechlade bridge, replaced in the 19th century). It was also very much longer than it is now, with 51 arches and being 726 yards (664 m) long, compared with the current 12 arches.[3]

Whether New Bridge or Radcot Bridge is the oldest bridge today across the Thames is debatable — Radcot Bridge is older however it was extensively damaged during the Wars of the Roses and had to be greatly rebuilt; furthermore Radcot Bridge no longer crosses the main channel of the river since local reroutings in 1787.[3]

In 1644, in the English Civil War, the Battle of Newbridge was fought on the banks of the river. Parliamentarian William Waller attempted to cross in order to surround Oxford and capture King Charles, but was defeated.[5][6]

In 2007 the area was flooded extensively.[7]

Current status[edit]

New Bridge during the floods in the summer of 2007

The bridge is controlled by traffic lights, not being designed to carry modern traffic, and an 18-tonne (18-long-ton; 20-short-ton) weight limit is imposed to protect its weakening structure.[8] Further reductions are considered likely by local authorities.[9] According to a 1996 survey, one of the arches is only capable of carrying its own weight, though it was decided that there was enough leeway to allow traffic to continue across the bridge. The likelihood of collapse is considered "slim".[9] Local authorities have decided to enter into negotiations to buy land that could be used to build a new bridge 270 yards (250 m) upriver,[10] believing that this is the only long-term option available.[11] The idea of a new bridge is opposed by local residents of Standlake[12][13] who would prefer to see the existing bridge remain open for light traffic only.[14] Oxfordshire County Council has installed number-plate recognition cameras to protect Newbridge from overweight vehicles, the first time that APNR cameras were used to enforce a road weight restriction in the county.[15]

The bridge has national recognition and statutory protection from alteration. The northern span is listed at maximal Grade I[1] whereas the southern at Grade II*,[2] the second-highest of the three grades of listing, designating "particularly important buildings of more than special interest".[4][16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Historic England. "NEW BRIDGE AND FLANKING WALLS (THAT PART IN NORTHMOOR CIVIL PARISH)  (Grade I) (1368262)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  2. ^ a b Historic England. "NEW BRIDGE AND FLANKING WALLS (THAT PART IN KINGSTON BAGPUIZE CIVIL PARISH), WITNEY ROAD  (Grade II*) (1048348)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Carmichael, Ron (1991). "New Bridge - the oldest bridge over the Thames" (PDF). Vale and Downland Museum. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 September 2007. Retrieved 18 August 2007.
  4. ^ a b "New Bridge – Oldest Bridge over the Thames" (PDF).
  5. ^ "Let Battle Commence". BBC. 20 July 2007. Retrieved 18 August 2007.
  6. ^ Steane, John (1997). "Medieval Bridges in Oxfordshire" (PDF). Vale & Downland Museum. Retrieved 30 May 2012.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Floods begin to ebb in western England". USA Today. 24 July 2007. Retrieved 18 August 2007.
  8. ^ "Crackdown on lorries using bridge". BBC. 15 May 2007. Retrieved 18 August 2007.
  9. ^ a b "Notes of a public meeting on the future of Newbridge and the A415". Standlake Parish Council. 10 October 2006. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 18 August 2007.
  10. ^ "New bridge at Newbridge plans move forward". Oxfordshire County Council. 6 September 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2007.
  11. ^ "Transport Decisions Committee - 6 September 2007, A415 Newbridge River Thames Crossing, Report by Head of Transport". Oxfordshire County Council. Retrieved 6 September 2007.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "Standlake Traffic – Mitigation of effects of possible new crossing at Newbridge". Standlake Parish Council. 23 July 2007. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 18 August 2007.
  13. ^ "Standlake Traffic – Mitigation of effects of possible new crossing at Newbridge". Standlake Parish Council. 23 July 2007. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 18 August 2007.
  14. ^ "Standlake Parish Council minutes, 10 July 2007". Standlake Parish Council. 10 July 2007. Archived from the original on 27 August 2008. Retrieved 6 September 2007.
  15. ^ "First anniversary of Newbridge CCTV… Dramatic fall in overweight vehicles helps preserve important transport link". Oxfordshire County Council. 29 October 2018. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  16. ^ "Listed Buildings". English Heritage. Retrieved 30 May 2012.

Further reading[edit]

Next crossing upstream River Thames Next crossing downstream
Duxford Ford and Shifford Lock Cut footbridge Newbridge, River Thames Hart's Weir Footbridge
Next crossing upstream Thames Path Next crossing downstream
southern bank
Tenfoot Bridge
Newbridge, River Thames northern bank
Pinkhill Lock