The History Blog Site” Blog Site Archive” Oldest in situ stays of bridge discovered in Scotland

The remains of a medieval bridge over the River Teviot near Ancrum in the Scottish Borders have actually been found under the periods of the 18th bridge that eclipsed it. The bridge had actually dropped the memory hole after the building of the 1784 Toll Bridge, called Ancrum Old Bridge today to contrast it with the Trunk Roadway bridge integrated in 1939. Its presence was uncovered in 2018 by members of the Ancrum and District Heritage Society (ADHS), a regional volunteer archaeology group, who stumbled upon a recommendation to it in the minutes of a council conference from 1674. A little more research study discovered it marked on a 1654 map, and volunteers struck the Teviot riverbank with a drone trying to find any traces of the middle ages bridge. A stone platform with an ingrained wood was caught in among the drone’s aerial pictures.

With moneying from Historic Environment Scotland, ADHS volunteers and specialists from Wessex Archaeology surveyed and examined the remains. Radiocarbon dating of the woods verified that the bridge was integrated in the middle of the 14th century. That makes this the earliest set of bridge stays discovered in their initial place in Scotland. Dendrochronologist Dr. Coralie Mills determined the woods as native oak which is seldom discovered in Scottish building after 1450.

Dr Mills stated: “The wood structure found by ADHS in the River Teviot near Ancrum is an unusual survival of part of an early bridge in an extremely tactical historic place. The oak woods remain in incredibly great condition and offer truly essential regional product for tree-ring analysis in an area where couple of middle ages structures endured the devastations of war …” […]

Dr Bob MacKintosh of Wessex Archaeology Coastal & & Marine stated: “The outcomes are truly interesting. In addition to the remarkably early date, it appears the structures were developed utilizing branders, a wood frame laid on the riverbed upon which the courses of stone were positioned. This is the newbie branders have actually been discovered in a historical context in Scotland. They are otherwise just understood from historic sources and 2 accounts of engineering deals with extant bridges finished in the 19th and early 20th century.”

Simply 10 miles from the border with England, the bridge linked the abbey and royal castle in Jedburgh to Acrum throughout the river. From there, trade paths went to abbeys and castles in Selkirk to the west and Roxburgh and Melrose to the north, so the bridge was essential to the motion of products and cash in Scotland. It was preserved by the Augustinian abbey of Jedburgh who benefited from the toll costs.

Constructed throughout the reigns of David II of Scotland and Edward III of England, the bridge is of historical and tactical nationwide significance. The bridge crossed the River Teviot, bring the ‘Via Regia’ (The Kings Method), on its method from Edinburgh to Jedburgh and the Border. James V would have crossed here in 1526, as would Mary Queen of Scots returning from her trip of the Borders in 1566, and the Marquis of Montrose on his method to fight at Philiphaugh in 1645.

Come the Scottish Reformation in 1560, the abbey was ruined and control of the bridge and its toll earnings moved to Royal Burgh of Jedburgh. Time, a vigorous existing and near-constant war left the bridge in increasing disrepair. Many efforts were made in the 17th century to get funds to fix the bridge (that’s what a great deal of those town council minutes had to do with), however they came to naught and by 1698 the bridge was no longer useable. It took almost a century for it to be changed by what is now Ancrum Old Bridge.


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