Banbury Bridge

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Bridge

There are masonry footings remains

NameBanbury Bridge
Alternative NamesEast Bridge; Millstream Bridge
Historic CountryOxfordshire
Modern AuthorityOxfordshire
1974 AuthorityOxfordshire
Civil ParishBanbury

An East Bar, mentioned in 1351 and 1355, (J.I. 2/130, mm. 2, 3.) may have stood at the bridge over the Cherwell, (Beesley, Hist. Banbury, 209, speaks of a Bridge Gate, but cites no evidence for its existence.) but is more likely to have been the Cole Bar of 1441. (Bodl. MS. dep. b 7.). (Harvey 1969)

The important bridge over the River Cherwell was first recorded in 1294. In the early 16th century it was called East Bridge, but seems usually to have been called simply Banbury Bridge. Although some 13th-century stonework survives there is no indication whether there was an earlier bridge or simply a ford. By the 18th century the bridge was c. 258 feet long and contained seven pointed arches, three over the main stream, two over the mill stream, and between the streams two small arches which were usually dry; a level causeway connected the arches and on the north side the cutwaters were carried up to parapet-level to provide recesses for the safety of pedestrians. About 1540 the bridge was said to have only four arches. When the canal was built a 'disgraceful brick arch' raised the height of the bridge at the town end, and the old bridge was finally destroyed when the building of the railway led to the diversion of the main stream of the river, the erection of a new bridge, and the construction of an embankment in which some of the old arches were apparently buried. On the old bridge in 1694 and 1730 was an elaborately decorated post, marking the county boundary and probably 17th-century in origin. Bequests for the bridge's repair occur from 1505 onwards. In the 16th century there was a bridge hermit who lived probably at the Northamptonshire end, 'at the bridge foot'. (VCH)

Bridge. Medieval. Original C13 bridge now mainly obscured by the construction of a railway bridge in the C19. Limestone with pointed arches and ribs. Previously Banbury Bridge was noted as having 7 pointed arches, of which only the westernmost appear to survive

(Listed Building Report)

Gatehouse Comments

The hermit, who may have resided at the Northamptonshire (east) end of the bridge, may well have been a 'toll' collector (He certainly would have collected alms and the voluntary nature of this charitable donation may have been ambiguous) and a toll house and gate are a possibility. A defensive gate seems less likely.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

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 ReferenceSP460405
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  • Crossley, Alan (ed), 1972, VCH Oxfordshire Vol. 10 p. 23-4 online transcription
  • Harvey, P.D.A., 1969, 'Banbury' in Lobel, M.D. (ed), Historic Towns: Maps and Plans of Towns and Cities in the British Isles, with Historical Commentaries, from Earliest Times to 1800 Vol. 1 (London: Lovell Johns-Cook, Hammond and Kell Organization) online copy
  • Potts, W., 1958, History of Banbury (Banbury Guardian) p. 26, 95
  • Beesley, 1841, History of Banbury: including copious historical and antiquarian notices of the neighbourhood (London) p. 207-10 plate xxi online copy


  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1908, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 2 p. 39 online copy