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Essential maintenance

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Tullibody, Stirling Road, Old Bridge

Road Bridge (16th Century)

Site Name Tullibody, Stirling Road, Old Bridge

Classification Road Bridge (16th Century)

Alternative Name(s) River Devon; Bridgend; East Gogar

Canmore ID 47145

Site Number NS89NW 4

NGR NS 84651 95138

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Clackmannan
  • Parish Alloa
  • Former Region Central
  • Former District Clackmannan
  • Former County Clackmannanshire

Archaeology Notes

NS89NW 4 84651 95138

For successive replacement bridges (adjacent to N), see NS89NW 47 and NS89NW 153.

Not to be confused with Tullibody Bridge (to the N of Tullibody, at NS 85732 95960), for which see NS89NE 39.


Architect: Contract between Tobias Bauchop, mason, and the Earl of Mar, January 1697 'he shall construct and build a new arch to the east end of the bridge at Tullibody'.


Edinburgh City Library: 'Memorials of Alloa' by John Crawford.

(Undated) information in NMRS.

(NS 8465 9514) The old Bridge at Bridgend is no longer in use. It was constructed in three sections and measures about 442ft [134.8m]. The two arches spanning the river appear to have constituted the original early 16th century bridge. Before 1616 the bridge had been extended to the west and one arch survives from this period. The western end is of relatively late date.

The bridge is said to have been built by Robert Sibbald, tailor to James IV but no authority is given for this attribution.

RCAHMS 1933.

The bridge is much restored, the whole of the parapet appearing modern. Fragments of old masonry are visible in the central portion.

Visited by OS (JD) 10 June 1953.

(Listed among 'Bridges not carrying important roads at entry to large towns').

T Ruddock 1984.

This bridge carries the former line of the A907 public road over the River Devon about 1.6km NNW of its debouchement into the River Forth and just W of Alloa (NS89SE 45). This bridge differs from its successors (NS89NW47 and NS89NW 153) in that both ends fall within the parish of Alloa.

This bridge is depicted, but not noted, on the latest OS 1:10,000 map [no date available] and the current OS (GIS) AIB. The location assigned to this record defines the midpoint of the structure. The available map evidence indicates that the bridge itself extends from NS c. 84642 95139 to NS c. 84662 95139, but it is approached over lengthy embanked causeways on both sides.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 2 June 2006.


Field Visit (2 May 1929)

Old Bridge, Bridgend.

This bridge is scheduled for protection under the Ancient Monuments Acts and is no longer in use. It crosses the Devon about a mile west of Tullibody, where the river is some 50 feet wide. As the stream, though normally sluggish, is liable to heavy floods, which, at this part, overflow the western bank, the bridge extends westward to cross the flood area. It is thus of abnormal length, measuring about 442 feet along the parapets. The roadway is hogbacked and unusually winding, varying from 11 ½ to 20 feet in width. The parapet is about 5 feet 4 inches in height. The bridge has been constructed in three sections. The eastern portion spans the river on two obtusely pointed arches, each having four stout ribs on the soffit, but the more easterly arch has been extensively repaired. This part dates from the early 16th century and appears to have constituted the original bridge; the parapets at the abutments are everted in the usual manner. There are heavy counterforts on the mid-pier and at the abutments.

Some time before 1616 the bridge had been extended to the west (4), and at that date included other two arches, of which one has survived some 58 feet west of the river, where it spans a by-pass. This arch is almost semi-circular in shape but otherwise similar to the river arches .To the third stage of construction may be assigned the western end, consisting of two small arches which are of relatively late date; one, if not both, of these arches may have served for the passage of a mill-race.

HISTORICAL NOTE. - The Bridge of Tullibody was described as the only passage upon the water of Devon, in the winter-time, from the shire of Stirling and other places on the west to the Sheriffdoms of Clackmannan and Fife, or, conversely, as "the principal pass and road to Stirling, Glasgow and all the west from Alloway, Clackmannan, and the shire of Fife" (1). It is said to have been built by Robert Sibbald, tailor to King James IV, who made a bridge over the Teith in 1535, but in the latter case there is an inscribed panel recording the fact, while at Tullibody Bridge there is nothing of the kind, and no authority is given for the attribution. On 23 January, 1560, when the French were retiring out of Fife towards Stirling, "William Kirkcaldie [of Grange] cutt the Brig of Tullibodye," but the French removed the roof of a parish kirk and made a bridge for their troops with the material (2), The town council of Stirling took a special interest in the upkeep of the bridge. In 1600 Robert Seton, brother of the laird of Touch, was admitted to the freedom of that burgh in recognition of the improving ("beitting") and repairing of the bridge carried out by him at their request (3). Sixteen years later, the bridge, now described as of "four bowis," was again very ruinous and money was provided by a toll for the necessary work (4). By 1663 the two chief arches were decayed and fallen, and repairs were to be made by voluntary contributions from the neighbouring presbyteries. Parliament ratified this arrangement at the instance of Sir Harry Bruce of Clackmannan (5). But in 1665 the town council of Stirling found it necessary to remind the laird of Clackmannan of his undertaking and to request him to do something towards the repair of the bridge (6). Sixteen years later it could be again described as "in a very ruinous and decayed condition ... some of the arches and bowes being fallen down," so that unless something was speedily done it would all go to ruin. To secure the necessary funds a toll was to be imposed on all using the bridge for the next nineteen years (7).

RCAHMS 1933, visited 2 May 1929.

(1) Acts Parl. Scot., App. vii, p. 97; viii, p.364. (2) Knox, Historie of the Reformatioun (ed.1732), p. 203. (3) Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Stirling, p. 96. (4) Reg. Pro Co., x, ,p. 555. (5) Acts Parl. Scot., App. vii, p. 97. (6) Extracts, &c., p. 249. (7) Acts Parl. Scot., viii, p.364.

Project (2007)

This project was undertaken to input site information listed in 'Civil engineering heritage: Scotland - Lowlands and Borders' by R Paxton and J Shipway, 2007.

Publication Account (2007)

This 16th century bridge over the Devon near Alloa is 442 ft in length, has ribbed main arches of 18 ft span and is 1012 ft– 20 ft wide. It has been described as the finest example in Scotland of a fortified bridge in which a series of twists are produced designed to effect the throwing of a body of horsemen into confusion. The eastern part is said to date from before 1555 and an extension westward completed before 1616.

This bridge, now confined to pedestrian use, was bypassed ca.1920 by a single-span steel truss bridge [Canmore ID 47153] alongside (now demolished). It had arrow-slitted abutment towers designed to harmonise with the old bridge. The trusses were of the Pratt or N-girder type with diagonals curiously in compression instead of tension. This departure from normal practice led to speculation that the girders may have been erected upside down.

R Paxton and J Shipway 2007

Reproduced from 'Civil Engineering heritage: Scotland - Lowlands and Borders' with kind permission from Thomas Telford Publishers.


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