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Kelso, Old Bridge

Road Bridge (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Kelso, Old Bridge

Classification Road Bridge (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) River Tweed; Kelso Bridge, Old Bridge

Canmore ID 158680

Site Number NT73SW 64

NGR NT 72789 33615

NGR Description NT c. 72789 33615

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Scottish Borders, The
  • Parish Kelso
  • Former Region Borders
  • Former District Roxburgh
  • Former County Roxburghshire

Accessing Scotland's Past Project

Before the mid-eighteenth century the only means of crossing the River Tweed at Kelso was by ferry. Not only was this dangerous during bad weather, but it also limited the volume of traffic coming into the town from the south. In 1752 a public subscription, supplemented by generous donations from the local masonic lodge, paid for the building of a six-arched bridge at a cost of #3,000.

Accounts of the time record that the laying of the foundation stone of the bridge in 1754 was largely arranged by members of the Masonic Lodge. Every working mason in Kelso volunteered a day's labour on the bridge, and when the bridge opened they paraded through the town with a band, and even had special medals struck to commemorate the day.

Unfortunately no money had been set aside for maintenance of the new bridge, and no tolls were charged to help pay for this. In 1756 the middle arch collapsed killing six people. A collection to pay for its repair was organised by the church, with Kelso divided into districts to raise money. The bridge remained in use until it was swept away by a flood in 1797.

Text prepared by RCAHMS as part of the Accessing Scotland's Past project

Archaeology Notes

NT73SW 64.00 c. 72789 33615

NT73SW 64.01 NT 7273 3355 to NT 7285 3368 Kelso Bridge [present bridge]

For sucessor and present bridge, see NT73SW 64.01.

Location also cited as NT 7273 3355 to NT 7285 3368

This bridge was built in 1754 and swept away in 1797.

C A Strang 1994.

This bridge formerly carried the road out of Kelso to the S over the River Tweed. Its location remains unverified, but it presumably occupied the same site as the present and successor bridge (NT73SW 64.01).

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 1 February 2006.


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