Heritage Locations

Radcot Bridge


The oldest bridge across the Thames, though no longer across the main stream.

Constructor:
Unclassified

Period of construction:
1600 - 1649

Transport Trust plaque:
No

Transport Mode:
Road

Address:
Swan Hotel, Radcot, OX18 2SX

Postcode:
OX18 2SX

Nearest Town:
Faringdon

Heritage Centre:
No


There are in fact three stone bridges at this point on the Thames, from south to north: Radcot Bridge, the Canal Bridge and Pidnell Bridge. Oddly, the first is nearest to Pidnell (a hamlet in Faringdon parish) and the last is nearest to Radcot. Whilst built on the Thames, Radcot Bridge is strictly speaking, now on a backwater, since the construction, in 1787, of a new cut for the Thames & Severn Canal. The Canal Bridge was built at the same time.

Radcot Bridge is often claimed as the ‘oldest bridge on the Thames', having been built, with pointed arches of Taynton stone, around 1200. The Cistercian monks of St Mary at Cîteaux in Normandy were granted land for the purpose by King John. Much of the structure was broken down during the famous battle which took place here in 1387, although it was apparently reconstructed six years later. The bridge was again severely damaged during the Wars of the Roses, and was largely rebuilt as we see it today with a flattened centre arch.

Radcot Bridge became a toll bridge and its wharf was commercially important as the highest shipping point on the Thames, with the junction of the Severn-Thames canal not far away at Lechlade .


Bibliography:

Addison, Sir William. The Old Roads of England ISBN 0 7134 1714 5 (1980)

Albert, W. The Turnpike Road System in England 1663- 1840. Camb. Univ. Press. ISBN O 5210 3391 8 (1972)

Harrison, David. The Bridges of Medieval England. Oxford. ISBN 978-0-19-922685-6 (2004)

Hindle, P. Roads and Tracks for Historians. ISBN 1 86077 182 3 (2001)

Hindley, G. History of the Roads. Peter Davies. ISBN 0 8065 0290 8 (1971)

Jackson, Gibbard. From Track to Highway. (1935)

Jervoise, E. Ancient Bridges of England. Architectural Press. (1932)

Sheldon, G. From Trackway to Turnpike. Oxfd. Univ. Press. (1928)

Taylor, C. Roads and Tracks of Britain. ISBN 0 460 04329 3 (1979)



Opening Times:
Open at all times

How To Find:
By Road: On the Thames Path and A4095


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