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Fochabers, Old Spey Bridge

Road Bridge (19th Century)

Site Name Fochabers, Old Spey Bridge

Classification Road Bridge (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) River Spey; Fochabers Bridge

Canmore ID 16899

Site Number NJ35NW 24

NGR NJ 34001 59453

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2021.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Moray
  • Parish Speymouth
  • Former Region Grampian
  • Former District Moray
  • Former County Morayshire

Archaeology Notes

NJ35NW 24.00 34001 59453

Fochabers Bridge [NAT]

OS (GIS) AIB, April 2006.

NJ35NW 24.01 NJ 33984 59499 Tollhouse

Location formerly entered as NJ 33998 59437.

For successor and present bridge (adjacent to NE), see NJ35NW 244.

(Location cited as NJ 340 594). Old Spey Bridge, Fochabers, completed 1806, engineer Thomas Telford, rebuilt 1852 after the floods of 1829. A three-span bridge with two masonry arches and one three-rib, cast-iron arch (1852), all segmental. The masonry spans have dressed-stone arch rings, rubble spandrels with oculi, and bracketted ironm footpaths.

J R Hume 1977.

Spey Bridge, opened 1804. Until this bridge was built, the Spey, with its notorious and dangerous flash floods, could only be crossed by the ferry of Boat of Bog. Built by George Burn, perhaps to a design by Thomas Telford, in 1801-4, the bridge was an elegant three-arch bridge, an oculus above each quarter. The Muckle Spate washed away the two western arches, which were replaced by a single timber arch, designed by Archibald Simpson, in turn replaced in 1852 by a cast-iron version, a wooden model of which is in Fochabers Folk Museum.

C McKean 1987.

This bridge carries the former line of the A96 (T) public road over the River Spey on the western outskirts of Fochabers (NJ35NW 23). The river here forms the boundary between the parishes of Bellie (to the E) and Speymouth (to the W).

The location assigned to this record defines the apparent midpoint of the structure. The available map evidence indicates that it extends from NJ c. 33975 59478 to NJ c. 34082 59379.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 7 April 2006.

Architecture Notes


Architect: George Burn 1801-1804

Archibald Simpson, repairs, 1831


Scottish Record Office:

Gordon Castle Muniments (183 & 184, a/cs 1805-1818

Letter to D of Gordon from Wn Shaw, architect, Glasgow, 11th July 1801 recommending himself as overseer for building the Spey bridge. "The deceased Mr Alexr Stevens amd I having done more in this way (building large and difficult bridges) than any I know.

Undertook building of Glasgow New Bridge & 30 more in this country, 3 large in Ireland. Head agent & resident engineer of 25 miles of canal in england to include 107 bridge & aquducts.

Memorial respecting new bridge over River Spey at Fochabers. Work of the bridge begun in 1801 & early 1802 a contract was entered between the Duke and Messrs Burn, Architects building the bridge at the sum of #11.000.

Fochabers 24th Feb 1804. Compeared George Burn, architect, residing in Fochabers, and exhibited a contract entereed into betwixt the Duke and him and James Burn, architect, brother dated May & June 1802 for buidling a bridge over the River Spey on the line of the military post road near Fochabers agreable to the sketch proposed. Duke undertook to pay the said George & James Burn the sum of #11,700 for buidling and finishing the bridge.

George Burn gives his opinion as to probable cost to make approaches.

Scottish Record Office:

Papers concerning the financing of the project.

[Architect George Burn (working 1797-1817)]

1800-06 GD 44/sec 42/4/Bundle 35

Letters, accounts, receipts and work sheets.

Architect George Burn [working 1997-1817]

1803-04 GD 44/sec 51/Bundle 389

Letters, receipts and estimates for iron bridge.

George Burn, architect, is bankrupt and Thomas Sellar has become the Trustee of funds for payments.

1803-05 GD 44/sec 51/Bundle 389

Report on the completed bridge.

Discharge, amounting to #13,516.14. 7.

Request from the Treasury for an account of the #6,000 granted towards the cost.

1805-07 GD 44/sec 51/Bundle 389

Rebuilding the Bridge of Spey.

Estimated cost is #4,103.

The central span of the stone bridge is to be replaced by a timber arch.

Architect: Archibald Simpson [1790-1847].

Petitions, Acts of Parliament, minutes, letters, specifications, estimates and contract with leslie and Minto, contarctors.

1829-36 GD 44/sec 53/Box 1

Repair of the piers of the Bridge of Spey.


1844 GD 44/sec 43/Bundle 233.

(Undated) information in NMRS.


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