Piercebridge Roman Bridge

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Piercebridge Roman Bridge

Piercebridge Roman Bridge is the ruin of a Roman bridge in South Teesdale in the North Riding of Yorkshire. In its day it spanned the River Tees, but the course of the river has shifted northwards since Roman days, leaving the remains of the bridge high and dry on the Yorkshire bank of the river. It is found near the Yorkshire village of Piercebridge.

The bridge carried Dere Street, a Roman road, across the river. Piercebridge Roman Fort guarded the bridge.

The Tees has narrowed and changed its course over the centuries so the remains lie in a field around a hundred yards south of the current course of the river, and about 500 yards east of Piercebridge.

What remains of the bridge are massive masonry blocks that formed its piers. The lower courses of one of the abutments still stand, partially complete, and it is possible to see the holes into which the wooden structure of the bridge would have fitted. All of the timber has disappeared in the nearly 16 centuries since the end of the Roman occupation.

Alternative interpretation

Whilst the majority opinion among archaeologists is that the structure is a bridge, an alternative interpretation has been proposed by amateur archaeologist Raymond Selkirk, who contends that the structure is a navigation dam with an overspill channel. From this, and other evidence he argues that the Romans made far greater use of river transport than is generally recognised. His views are set out in his books The Piercebridge Formula (1983), On the Trail of the Legions (1995) and Chester-le-Street & Its Place in History (2000).[1] So far, Selkirk is alone in this analysis: nor does it explain how Dere Street might have crossed the Tees were there not a bridge at this point.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Piercebridge Roman Bridge)


  1. Selkirk, Raymond (2000). Chester-le-Street & Its Place in History. Birtley, County Durham: Casdec Print & Design Centre. pp. 93–122. ISBN 1-900456-05-2.