Piercebridge Roman Bridge
Bridge Darlington County Durham

Piercebridge Roman Bridge

Bridge In Darlington, County Durham

Remains of a Roman Bridge that carried Dere Street over the River Tees.

Nestled along the banks of the River Tees in County Durham, lie the remains of what would have been a fantastic piece of architecture for its time - the Piercebridge Roman Bridge.

Built around the 3rd century, the Piercebridge bridge served as a vital artery within the Roman Empire's infrastructure. It originally carried Dere Street, a major Roman road that linked York with Corbridge, near Hadrian's Wall, facilitating the movement of troops, supplies, and trade goods across the River Tees. The bridge played a crucial role in consolidating Roman control over Britain and fostering cultural exchange. The remains visible are actually a second bridge that was built around 180m downstream of the original.

Constructed with meticulous skill, the bridge showcased the advanced engineering capabilities of the Romans. Made from locally quarried sandstone, supporting stone piers and arches. This innovative design ensured stability and resilience, enabling the bridge to withstand the turbulent waters of the Tees for centuries. Indeed the original bridge, built of timber on timber piles, is thought to have been washed away by one of the frequent floods.

The Piercebridge bridge wasn't merely a utilitarian structure; it served as a potent symbol of Roman power and dominance. Its sheer scale and grandeur instilled awe in local communities, solidifying Roman authority and demonstrating their engineering prowess. Coupled with the nearby Roman Fort, it must have been quite the display of authority. Though it does look a little odd in its current location, due to the fact that the River Tees has shifted its course over the past 2000 years or so.

Though centuries shrouded the bridge in mystery, its story began to unfold in the 20th century, when it was discovered during gravel quarrying in 1972. Extensive excavations unearthed valuable clues about its construction, usage, and subsequent fate. Discoveries included stonework debris, fragments of pottery and tools, and even coins. These artifacts paint a vivid picture of daily life on and around the bridge, offering invaluable insights into Roman society and culture in this region. It is thought that the bridge may well have been in use until the medieval period, possibly even up until 1500 when the current bridge was built.

The story of the Piercebridge bridge extends beyond its physical structure. The surrounding landscape holds further evidence of Roman presence. Traces of a fort guarding the bridge, civilian settlements, and agricultural land paint a picture of a vibrant Roman community that thrived around this vital transportation hub. Exploring these sites allows us to reconstruct a more comprehensive picture of Roman life in northern England.

The bridge is incredibly significant as it is one of only a few that have survived, and it is listed as a Scheduled Monument by Historic England, and looked after by English Heritage.

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How To Find Piercebridge Roman Bridge

Where Is Piercebridge Roman Bridge?

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54.534996, -1.670313

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Where To Park For Piercebridge Roman Bridge?

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54.534161, 54.534161

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Parking is available adjacent to the the George of Piercebridge Hotel a short walk from the site.

Contributed by Andrew Gardner

I love being outdoors, in nature, and experiencing the relaxation it brings. Wandering through the northern countryside seeing unexpected buildings, historic places and occasionally surprised wildlife is one of life's great pleasures.

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Andrew Gardner

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Piercebridge Roman Bridge was listed in Bridge // County Durham // Darlington