CLATTERN BRIDGE -A MEDIEVAL BRIDGE – KINGSTON UPON THAMES

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CLATTERN BRIDGE Photo @Matt Brown

Clattern Bridge, Kingston upon Thames, was built prior to 1293 to replace an even older Saxon bridge and amazingly is still in use today.  A good example of a medieval multi-span bridge and still containing impressive medieval masonry.  The first Saxon bridge, probably built to replace an even older ford,  dated from the late 12th century and was known  as Clatrung Bridge but when this was replaced with  the present bridge  it became known as Clateryngbrugge  perhaps because of the sound horses made crossing it.  It’s a nice explation and entirely plausible.  The red brick parapet seen in the bridge today  is a result of the bridge being widened in 1758 and it seems it is from this time onwards the bridge became known as Clattern Bridge.  This wonderful old bridge  doesn’t actually cross the Thames, but the Hogsmill River which is a tributary of the Thames.

Unfortunately I can find no trace of a person of high status ever clattering across the bridge although there is a tenuous link to Richard III   –  Shakespeare’s King Richard III has been performed at various times  at the Rose Theatre which is but  a short distance away from the bridge.  A further tenuous link to Richard is that the funeral cortège of his young niece, Princess Mary Plantagenet crossed over a nearby,  earlier  Kingston Bridge – which stood very close by to the present one –  on her way to burial at St George’s Chapel, Windsor.  Mary was the daughter of Edward IV who  died at Greenwich Palace in May 1482 shortly before her 15th birthday.  But that really is it folks..

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Possible portrait of Princess Mary  from the Royal Window Canterbury. Restored and now in the Burrell Collection Glasgow.

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Clattern Bridge shown as Clayton Bridge John Roque’s map  c1761.  

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Plaque on Clattern Bridge.   Photo@Eric Hands

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Clattern Bridge today.  Photo @ Lloyd Rich

Lovely old Clattern Bridge, what a story its stones could tell if they could only speak,  including being utilised as a place to duck the local ‘scolds’.  Now  Grade 1 listed and according to Historic England  a  Scheduled Ancient Monument of national importance.

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