We woke up to the most horrible day. Rain and wind. Not the best day for me to drive down the M5 and certainly not for poor James on the first day of his holiday.
I didn’t rush to get away – Richard and James weren’t going anywhere! I left about midday and drove down the M5. When I got onto the motorway the satnav told me that I had 100 and something miles to go on it ☹ It wasn’t a good journey though the heavy rain which had been forecast didn’t materialise. The middle lane of the motorway seemed to be hogged by people doing about 65 mph which was really annoying. Too slow for me but to overtake I had to join the outside lane brigade at anything up to 80 mph! I started to feel really tired with about 15 miles left on the motorway but I struggled on and turned off at Exeter. From the motorway it was only about 10 miles.
So here I am in a soggy Devon and will be spending the next week with my sister and brother-in-law. I will be keeping the blog up while I am away as I have done quite a bit of research on places as we headed to Tewkesbury and I don’t want to just delete it. I also have a lot of photos which I haven’t used so I will add those to the post. I hope you enjoy my history lessons – the first one is today!
There are four beautiful old bridges over the River Severn. St. John’s Bridge, Eckington and Bidford.
St. John’s Bridge, in Tewkesbury, it is a beautiful old structure and is Grade II listed. It was originally built c1190, but has been frequently repaired or rebuilt, including substantial remedial works in 1747, 1783, and 1810, culminating in major restructuring in 1824. General reconstruction completed in 1962. It is built of coursed sandstone ashlar. On the north side is a plaque giving historical information, including long quotation from Leland (1769) concerning King John's involvement in the earlier bridge.
Eckington Bridge is made of stone and is Grade II listed and has been scheduled as an ancient monument. The first bridge at the site was built in 1440, replacing an earlier ferry, but this fell into disrepair and was replaced by the current stone bridge in the 1720s. It consists of six arches built of red sandstone. During 2011 and 2012 repairs were undertaken by Worcestershire County Council at a cost of £240,000.
Workman bridge, Evesham, was erected in 1856, under the auspices of Henry Workman, long-time mayor of Evesham and is now Grade II listed. At the same time as building the bridge, the River Avon was dredged, and the sediment was used to create the adjacent Workman Gardens. The bridge has been threatened when the River Avon has flooded over the years, but despite debris such as boats, caravans etc. being thrown at the bridge during floods, it has so far survived intact.
Bidford Bridge is a scheduled monument and is Grade I listed. The bridge is wider than a typical packhorse bridge. It dates from the early 15th century but has been repaired many times; in the 16th century stone from Alcester's demolished priory was used. In 1644, supporters of Charles I demolished the bridge to cover his retreat from Worcester to Oxford - this was repaired in 1650 by Quarter Sessions, for whom Bidford Bridge was a 'county bridge' under its control. In June 2015, a farm vehicle passing over the bridge struck the parapet, resulting in "significant damage" and the bridge's closure to all but cyclists and pedestrians. Following inspection of the cut-water (nose of pier) at river level, further damage to the sandstone blockwork was identified at this low level. Approximately 15 courses of White Hollington stone were used.