Font Size

100% 150% 200%

Background Colour

Default Contrast
Close Reset

Ken Bridge

Road Bridge (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Ken Bridge

Classification Road Bridge (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Water Of Ken; Dalarran; River Ken; New Galloway

Canmore ID 64216

Site Number NX67NW 7

NGR NX 64048 78357

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

Toggle Aerial | View on large map

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Dumfries And Galloway
  • Parish Kells
  • Former Region Dumfries And Galloway
  • Former District Stewartry
  • Former County Kirkcudbrightshire

Archaeology Notes

NX67NW 7 64048 78357

For Ken Bridge Hotel (adjacent to SE), see NX67NW 46.

Ken Bridge [NAT]

OS 1:10,000 map, 1980.

(Location cited as NX 640 783). Ken Bridge: the original bridge, designed by Rennie and built in 1811, was destroyed by floods soon after completion, and the present structure (also by Rennie) was not built until 1821-2. It comprises a fine, five-arched granite structure 340ft [103.7m] long with an 18ft 3ins [5.6m] carriageway, with former coaching inn (NX67NW 46) adjoining the W [E] end.

I Donnachie 1971.

(Location cited as NX 640 783). Ken Bridge, New Galloway: built 1821-2 by John Rennie, engineer. A beutiful 5-span masonry bridge, 340 ft (103.6m) long, with segmental arches increasing in size to the centre. The cutwaters are rounded.

J R Hume 1976.

Ken Bridge by John Rennie, 1820-1.

J Gifford 1996.

Ken Bridge, 1820-1, John Rennie. Most elegant of Rennie's bridges in the South-West; granite throughout. Five graded segmental arches leap the Ken's floodplain in a long, low streamlined curve.

J R Hume 2000.

This bridge carries the A712 public road across the Water of Ken to the NE of New Galloway (NX67NW 13). The river here forms the boundary between the parishes of Kells (to the W) and Balmacellan (to the E).

The location assigned to this record defines the midpoint of the structure.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 16 March 2006.


Publication Account (2007)

This bridge, now carrying the A712 over the Ken, was one of Rennie’s last bridges, built from 1820–24. It has five segmental arches increasing in span towards the central one of 90 ft, the whole elevation having an elegantly curved parapet line. The contractor was Kenneth Mathieson and the cost £10 960. Numerous marks identifying the work of particular masons can be conveniently seen from the Ken Bridge Hotel garden. The bridge’s plain lines in substantially-built coursed grey granite perhaps reflect something of Rennie’s character of ‘severe truthfulness’.

A bridge near the site, built in 1795–97, was destroyed by floods in 1806. Both Telford and Rennie made proposals to the Commissioners of Supply for its replacement in 1811–12. Telford’s proposal was for a 150 ft span cast-iron arch of the Bonar Bridge type estimated to cost £6715. This was turned down for the rather specious reasons of its vertical ‘curvature’ and supposed greater cost than a stone bridge. In the event, the stone bridge was to cost much more than the iron arch although its eventual total waterway was much greater.

A three-arch masonry design of John Hall, who had been inspector of works at Newton Stewart Bridge, with spans of 65 ft and 70 ft, was accepted with Telford’s approval for the parliamentary financial contribution. The contractor was John Simpson and work started in 1814, but on 25 August 1815 (two months after Simpson’s death) the partially completed bridge was destroyed by a flood. The contractor was held responsible and his surety Loxdale was eventually required to pay compensation of £2250.


R Paxton and J Shipway 2007

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


MyCanmore Image Contributions

Contribute an Image

MyCanmore Text Contributions