Chiselhampton Bridge

Has been described as a Rejected Fortified Bridge

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameChiselhampton Bridge
Alternative Names
Historic CountryOxfordshire
Modern AuthorityOxfordshire
1974 AuthorityOxfordshire
Civil ParishStadhampton

Chislehampton Bridge is now 178 feet long and has eight arches and five stone pillars. About 40 feet to the south there is a subsidiary bridge of one arch, which spans a small tributary of the Thame. The main bridge over the Thame has been of importance from an early date. In 1444 the 'good men' of Chislehampton were granted pontage for five years to be applied by the survey and control of Drew Barentine and Richard Quatremain. In 1500 the bridge was described by John Leland. He wrote that he rode over three little bridges of wood and then over a 'great bridge' over the Thame. There were 'five great pillars of stone, upon the which was laid a timber bridge'. As the masonry in the north-east side of the existing bridge seems to date from the late 16th century the timber structure was probably replaced by a stone bridge at that date. (VCH)

Chiselhampton Bridge. Over the river Thame, 178 feet long, has 8 arches and five stone cutwaters. First mentioned in 1444 when pontage rights were granted. In 1500 Leland rode over a great bridge "with five great pillers of stone apon the which was layid a timbre bridge". This took an important part in the civil wars, being fortified by gates. Rupert crossed it with 1,700 men and returned the same way after his victory at Chalgrove in 1643. Shortly afterwards it was broken down. It was repaired with Headington stone in 1690 and widened by 8 feet in 1899. (John Steane 1997)

Gatehouse Comments

What was the form of the gates which 'fortified' the bridge in the Civil War? Were these actually just bar gates of a type that may well have been on the medieval bridge and the purpose of which was to regulate traffic and ease toll collection. Rejected as a medieval fortified bridge.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 2 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSU593987
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  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1907, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 1 p. 116 online copy


  • Stearne, J., 1981, South Midlands Archaeology: CBA Group 9 Newsletter p. 93-5 online copy


  • Bruce Watson, 2013 Sept, Gazetteer of fortified bridges (reject defences C17 only) (working list kindly shared with Gatehouse)