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Haddington, Abbey Bridge

Road Bridge (16th Century)

Site Name Haddington, Abbey Bridge

Classification Road Bridge (16th Century)

Alternative Name(s) River Tyne; Abbeymill Farm

Canmore ID 56574

Site Number NT57SW 8

NGR NT 53297 74546

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council East Lothian
  • Parish Haddington
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District East Lothian
  • Former County East Lothian

Archaeology Notes

NT57SW 8 53297 74546

(NT 5331 7453) Abbey Bridge (NR)

OS 6" map (1969).

Abbey Bridge is an early 16th century structure with a total span, on three pointed drop-centred arches, of 131ft, and is 16ft wide. A panel over the S arch records, with indecipherable date, that the bridge was repaired; on the W coping the incised date '1870' probably records a later repair.

RCAHMS 1924, visited 1913

As described above. Only the southernmost of the three arches now spans the river.

Visited by OS (BS) 7 July 1975.

(Location cited as NT 533 476). Abbey Bridge, 16th century. A fine 3-span bridge with pointed arches and triangular cutwaters. The voussoirs are dressed stone and the rest of the masonry is rubble.

J R Hume 1976.

NT 5331 7453. A watching brief was undertaken by Kirkdale Archaeology in January 1996 during the excavation of three test pits on the top of the bridge. The bridge spans the Tyne, approximately 1km E of Haddington, and features three drop-centred arches. Monitoring revealed the substantial construction of the late medieval bridge, which was constructed of large sandstone blocks. A former surface, beneath the present tarmac road, was located in one of the pits. This surface did not survive in the other two pits, where the road directly overlay the original masonry. Three phases of construction and repair were recorded, and a graphic and photographic record was made.

Sponsor: Lothian Region.

G Ewart and D Murray 1996.

(Former scheduling no. 781). Haddington, Abbey Bridge. Descheduled.

Information from Historic Scotland, Certificate of Exclusion from Schedule dated 28 February 2000.

This bridge carries an unclassified public road over the River Tyne about 2km below (to the ENE of) Haddington (NT57SW 65), and to the SW of Abbeymill Farm (NT57SW 37.00).

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 7 March 2006.


Field Visit (1 July 1913)

A little over ¾ mile east of the town of Haddington, the river Tyne, on emerging from the policies of Amisfield House, is spanned by a bridge of the early 16th century (fig. 91 [SC 1126856]).

The structure has a total span of 131 feet by 16 feet in width and is borne on three pointed drop-centred arches. These arches had originally five ribs with chamfered edges, each 1 foot 6 ½ inches broad, dividing the vault into six bays; the ribs of the central arch are complete, three ribs have been removed from the north arch and two from the southern.

Two courses above the archivolts a row of corbels of slight projection carry the overhang of the parapet and appear to indicate a subsequent widening of the roadway, which now is 13 feet 6 inches wide. The piers between the arches have projecting cutwaters terminating in sloping tops at the level of the corbels. A panel over the southern arch records that the bridge was repaired, but the date is indecipherable. On the west coping the date 1870 is incised and probably records a later repair. The bridge is in use and in good condition.

RCAHMS, visited 1 July 1913.

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)

A masonry bridge with three pointed arches over the Tyne dated by Inglis to the 1440 to 1540 period, probably early- 16th century. Each arch is of about 37 ft span and originally had five masonry ribs 18 in. broad with chamfered edges, some of which have been cut away on each side arch without apparently affecting stability. The ribs were built first, and then slabbed over transversely.

The width is 1312 ft between parapets and 16 ft overall. The west side has been rebuilt in a different style and probably at a later date with slight corbelling and a string course at road level. An inscription of 1870 on the west coping probably indicates a repair date. The bridge was probably financed by pre-reformation churches or abbeys. The bridge is well maintained and in regular use for local access.

R Paxton and J Shipway 2007

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


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