Radcot Bridge

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Radcot Bridge
Radcot Bridge.JPG
Radcot Bridge
Carrying: A4095 road
Crossing: River Thames
Location: 51°41’35"N, 1°35’19"W
Design: arch
Material: stone
Built circa 1200

Radcot Bridge is a crossing of the River Thames in Oxfordshire, to the south of Radcot and not far north of Faringdon, Berkshire. It carries the A4095 road across the river on the reach above Radcot Lock. Adjoining the bridge is the Swan Inn and slight earthworks of Matilda's Castle.

The bridges

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. The first is nearest to Pidnell, which crosses into Berkshire; and the last is nearest to Radcot. Whilst originally built on the Thames, Radcot Bridge is now on a backwater since the construction, in 1787, of a new cut for the Thames and 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 battle which took place here in 1387 between Henry Bolingbroke (the future Henry IV) and troops loyal to Richard II, although it was reconstructed in 1393 [six years later]. The bridge was again severely damaged during the Wars of the Roses, and was largely rebuilt as it appears 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 (Gloucestershire).

The Thames Path crosses the bridges.

Matilda's Castle

In a programme in the Time Team series broadcast on 15 February 2009 an excavation of Matilda's Castle was undertaken. The results showed that earthworks visible in a field near the bridge dated from the Civil War, when Parliamentary Forces built them to support cannon used to bombard Royalist Forces holed up in Radcot House. Underneath some of these earthworks were found remains of a Norman keep dating from the time of The Anarchy, much of them damaged because of the later construction. Some Roman remains, possibly from a villa, were also found.[1]

See also


Further reading

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Radcot Bridge)

Bridges and crossings on the River Thames
Bloomers Hole Footbridge Buscot Lock Eaton Footbridge Radcot Bridge Old Man's Bridge Rushey Lock Tadpole Bridge