Explore Bradford: The Town Bridge

Town Bridge, an early 19th century engravingThe bridge is at the centre of Bradford on Avon, the focus of all the roads. It is the icon of the town and has been chosen to figure in the logo of local organisations, including that of Bradford on Avon Museum.

A bridge was mentioned in the time of Edward II (1307-27), so it was perhaps built early in the 14th century to replace the broad ford that gives the town its name, although perhaps not in the same place and was recorded in 1400. Two arches of that bridge remain, but most of it today dates from an 18th century rebuild and doubling in width.

The small building on one of the cut-waters is a 17th century lock-up for holding prisoners until they could be brought before a magistrate. It has been claimed to be a chapel and there might well have been one there before the lock-up replaced it. On top is a fish-shaped weather vane: the Bradford Gudgeon; prisoners were said to be “below the fish and over the water”.

See old photographs of the Town Bridge

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