Old Dee Bridge

Old Dee Bridge

Old Dee Bridge
Carries Vehicles and pedestrians
Crosses River Dee
Locale Chester, Cheshire, England
Design Arch bridge
Material Sandstone
Number of spans 7
Toll None
Heritage status Grade I
Coordinates 53°11′08″N 2°53′19″W / 53.185506°N 2.888718°W / 53.185506; -2.888718
Old Dee Bridge from a painting dated 1765–80

The Old Dee Bridge, in Chester, Cheshire, England, is the oldest bridge in the city. It crosses the River Dee carrying the road which leads from the bottom of Lower Bridge Street and the Bridgegate to Handbridge. A bridge on this site was originally built by the Romans and the present bridge is largely the result of a major rebuilding in 1387. It has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade I listed building,[1] and is a scheduled monument.[2][3]



The original bridge was built by the Romans and was probably constructed of stone piers with a timber carriageway. It is likely that this structure was still present at the time of the Norman Conquest. Repairs were made to it during the next two centuries but in 1279–80 the timber superstructure was swept away. Further repairs were carried out in the 1340s and the 1350s. In 1387 the citizens of Chester were allowed to convert the murage (the toll for repair of the town walls) for a further repair. It is likely that this work resulted in the bridge which is present today.[4] In 1826 it was widened to provide a footway on the upstream side.[1] Around this time it was decided that it was becoming inadequate for the expected traffic and it was decided to build an additional bridge to link the city with North Wales. This resulted in the Grosvenor Bridge, designed by Thomas Harrison and opened in 1832 (although it was not finished until the following year).[5]


The bridge is built in local red sandstone. It has seven arches, all of which are of unequal dimensions.[1] The two northernmost arches formerly spanned the leat leading to the mills. The southernmost arch replaced the medieval drawbridge. The arch next to it formerly contained the base of a defensive gatehouse that was demolished in 1781.[6]

See also

  • List of Grade I listed buildings in Chester


  1. ^ a b c "Old Dee Bridge", The National Heritage List for England (English Heritage), 2011, http://list.english-heritage.org.uk/resultsingle.aspx?uid=1375850, retrieved 30 April 2011 
  2. ^ Pastscape: Dee Bridge, English Heritage, http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=69114, retrieved 4 April 2009 
  3. ^ "Dee Bridge", The National Heritage List for England (English Heritage), 2011, http://list.english-heritage.org.uk/resultsingle.aspx?uid=1006771, retrieved 30 April 2011 
  4. ^ Ward 2009, p. 56.
  5. ^ Ward 2009, pp. 83–86.
  6. ^ Langtree & Comyns 2001, pp. 84–85.
  • Langtree, Stephen; Comyns, Alan, eds. (2001), 2000 Years of Building: Chester's Architectural Legacy, Chester: Chester Civic Trust, ISBN 0-9540152-0-7 
  • Ward, Simon (2009), Chester: A History, Chichester: Phillimore, ISBN 978-1-86077-499-7 

External links

Coordinates: 53°11′08″N 2°53′19″W / 53.185506°N 2.888718°W / 53.185506; -2.888718

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