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Auldgirth Bridge

Road Bridge (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Auldgirth Bridge

Classification Road Bridge (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) River Nith; Auldgirth, Old Bridge

Canmore ID 65793

Site Number NX98NW 23

NGR NX 91165 86353

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Dumfries And Galloway
  • Parish Keir
  • Former Region Dumfries And Galloway
  • Former District Nithsdale
  • Former County Dumfries-shire

Archaeology Notes

NX98NW 23 91159 86345

Location formerly cited as NX 91165 86353.

For (successor and present) Auldgirth, New Bridge (adjacent to SE), see NX98NW 80.

Auldgirth Bridge [NAT]

OS 1:10,000 map, 1982.

(Location cited as NX 912 864). Auldgirth Bridge: built about 1780. A handsome three-span bridge 200 ft long, of dressed stone construction, with segmental arches on narrow piers, with rounded cutwaters extended upwards to form unusual pedestrian refuges with curved heads. (At the E end is a distinctive inn with Gothic windows).

J R Hume 1976.

The red sandstone Old Bridge over the Nith was designed by David Henderson and built by William Stewart in 1781-2. Three segmental arches of ashlar. Bow-ended cutwaters of hammer-dressed masonry, each surmounted by a pair of coupled pilasters carrying an entablature topped by a half-dome; this top part forms a refuge in which a pedestrian could crouch to escape the bridge's traffic.

J Gifford 1996.


Historic Scotland - delisted 23.10.2000.

(Undated) information in NMRS.

Auldgirth Bridge, 1782, David Henderson. Three segmental arches over the Nith; paired pilasters on cutwaters either side of arches support pedestrian refuges. Thomas Carlyle's father was employed as a hewer on its construction.

J R Hume 2000.

This bridge carries the former line of the A76 (T) public road across the River Nith immediately SW of Auldgirth village (NX98NW 79). The river here forms the boundary between the parishes of Closeburn (tro the NE) and Keir (to the SW).

The location assigned to this record defines the midpoint of the structure. The available map evidence indicates that it extends from NX c. 91149 86332 to NX c. 91172 86364.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 22 March 2006.


Publication Account (2007)

A substantial three-span masonry arch bridge constructed over the Nith about seven miles north-west of Dumfries in 1782. The spans are each 56 ft and the width between parapets is 25 ft 8 in. The bridge carried the A76 road until it was bypassed in 1979.

The bridge, now used as a cycle path, is notable as a design of David Henderson, Edinburgh architect and

bridge builder. Alexander Stevens had, in 1779, advised taking down and replacing the bridge with two arches of 80 ft span. Henderson was commissioned in ca.1780 to report on the then unfinished bridge with a fractured

pier begun by William Morton of Old Cumnock in 1773.

Morton’s work was demolished and a well-known local bridge builder, William Stewart, contracted for the bridge to Henderson’s design which was completed in November 1782 at a cost of £1486.

Henderson produced ‘a design of original architecture, three equal segmental arches framed over the cutwaters with pairs of thick ashlar pilasters which at parapet level carry a cornice running round the base of a refuge which is covered by a semi-dome giving shelter from rain for travellers on foot’. (Ruddock).

It is said that the father of Thomas Carlisle worked on the bridge’s construction as a stonemason.

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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