Bere Regis Village, Dorset
Bere Regis Village
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The History of the Bere

Regis Bridges

In   medieval   times   when   roads   were   little   more   than   footpaths,   crossings   over   small   rivers   or   streams   were   no   more   elaborate,   being   normally achieved by means of fords combined with stepping stones or footbridges for pedestrians. This is still the case at Hollow Oak, Doddings. Such   a   method   was   not   of   course   practicable   over   wider   and   deeper   rivers   where   more   elaborate   stone   or   brick   bridges   were   normally   necessary, and   hence   in   Dorset   we   have   a   number   of   very   fine   mediaeval   bridges   spanning   the   River   Stour,   but   none   of   that   age   over   the   much   smaller   rivers such as the Piddle or Bere stream which run through Bere Regis parish. These   fords   and   footbridges   remained   in   use   until   the   advent   of   the   18th   and   19th   century   turnpike   trusts   where   higher   road standards   necessitated   the   building   of   vehicular   bridges   over   these   smaller   streams,   so   that   the   older   bridges   in   this   parish date   from   the   18th   century,   although   in   almost   all   cases   the   parapets   have   since   been   rebuilt.   More   recent   road   widening schemes   in   this   century   have   involved   complete   demolition   of   some   old   bridges   and   replacement   with   new   structures, notably   at   Chamberlaynes   and   Southbrook,   but   fortunately   the   existence   of   old   drawings   and   photographs   enables   the original   bridges   to   be   illustrated   in   figure   50.   Even   the   old   bridges   have   little   of   interest   to   be   seen   from   the   road   side, b    u    t      viewed   from   the   river   side   the   picture   is   very   different,   when   the   arches   may   be   seen   to   vary   considerably   from   one bridge   to   another   in   both   number   and   form.   The   older   parish   bridges   are   illustrated   in   the   drawings   below,   and   the   following descriptions are in the order in which they occur on the Bere stream and river Piddle respectively: Roke   (Bridge   A).    The   Bere   stream   which   rises   at   Milton   Abbas,   flows   through   the   valley   to   Roke   by   way   of   Milborne   and   Ashley   Barn,   and   is reinforced   by   the   effluent   from   Roke   Pond,   over   which   this   bridge   stands.   It   is   probably   of   late   18th   or   early   19th   century   date   and   consists   of   a single   segmental   arch   of   alternate   stretchers   and   pairs   of   headers   springing   at   water   level.   The   parapets   are   in   Flemish   garden   wall   bond   with moulded brick copings and buttresses on the river side. Dorchester   Road   (Bridge   B) .   Built   in   1840   in   association   with   the   new   section   of   turnpike   road   from   the   top   of   Dorchester   Hill   to   West   Mill.   Both   its parapets   were   formerly   no   higher   than   road   level,   and   the   continuation   of   the   roadside   hedges   on   each   side   effectively   obscured   any   sign   of   the existence   of   a   bridge   from   the   road,   but   a   conventional   parapet   has   recently   been   added   on   the   upstream   side.   The   bridge   consists   of   a   single segmental   arch   of   alternate   stretchers   and   pairs   of   headers   springing   above   water   level   with   brick   on   edge   capped   parapets   and   piers   on   the   river side. As   the   road   crosses   the   river   at   an   oblique   angle   the   tunnel   is   very   long   and   the   header   walls   are   not   opposite   each   other   relative   to   the   road. There   was   until   about   1930   a   mill   stream   branching   off   the   main   stream   to   serve   West   Mill,   with   a   bridge   under   the   road   at   that   point,   also   built   in 1840, and the remains of the parapet are still just visible among brambles and other growth at the junction with Roke Road. Shitterton   (Bridge   C) .   Again   a   single   segmental   arch   with   springing   at   or   below   water   level,   but   in   two   concentric   courses   of   headers.   Each parapet,   with   splayed   ends   and   brick   on   edge   copings,   has   four   square   piers   with   cement   rendered   weathered   caps,   and   the   brickwork   is   in   a mixture of stretcher, English and Flemish bonds, probably denoting sectional rebuilding at various times. Southbrook   (Bridge   D) .   The   present   bridge   was   built   in   1956   in   reinforced   concrete   with   brick   parapets   as   a   result   of   road   widening,   but   its predecessor,   in   use   until   that   date   was   a   fine   brick   bridge   having   splayed   parapets   with   moulded   brick   copings   and   terminal   piers,   a   pair   of segmental   arches   in   two   concentric   courses   of   headers   springing   above   water   level,   and   triangular   plan   cutwaters.   It   was   probably   built   in   the   18th century, and is said to have been repaired in 1806. See photographs of the bridge below - Snatford   (Bridge   E).   Apart   from   a   ford   at   Doddings   the   next   downstream   crossing   of   the   Bere   stream   is   at   Snatford,   where   as   the   name   implies   a ford   crossing   formerly   existed,   and   the   present   bridge   probably   dates   from   about   1765   when   this   section   of   turnpike   road   was   constructed.   It   is   very similar   to   the   old   Southbrook   bridge,   having   a   pair   of   segmental   arches   in   two   concentric   courses   of   headers,   springing   above   water   level.   The splayed   parapets   with   brick   on   edge   copings   have   been   rebuilt   on   a   number   of   occasions.   Tanpits   (Fig.   50F).   Near   this   point   the   Bere   stream divides,   one   section   crossing   the   road   under   Stockley   Bridge,   a   recently   rebuilt   reinforced   concrete   and   brick   structure,   and   the   other   section crossing   under   Tanpits   Bridge.   Although   the   parapets   have   been   recently   rebuilt,   the   arches   themselves   are   older,   consisting   of   a   pair   of   shallow segmental arches, each of a single course of headers, springing at or below water level. Cicely   Bridge   (Bridge   G).   This   bridge   spans   the   River   Piddle   which   forms   the   parish   boundary   at   that   point,   and   appears   to   have   been   lengthened northwards   at   some   time.   Of   its   three   arches,   the   two   southerly   ones   are   semi-circular,   but   the   northerly   one   is   segmental   with   springing   above water   line.   They   are   all   three   constructed   with   alternate   stretchers   and   pairs   of   headers,   and   there   is   an   iron   tie   bar   and   plate   over   the   centre   arch. The parapets, without terminal piers, are in Flemish garden wall bond with stone copings, and splayed at the ends. Chamberlaynes   (Bridge   H).    The   present   bridge   in   reinforced   concrete   with   tubular   metal   parapet   rails   was   built   in   about   1955   in   conjunction   with road   widening,   and   after   its   predecessor   had   suffered   considerable   damage   from   military   vehicles   during   the   second   world   war.   The   original   bridge was   of   brick   with   three   segmental   arches   springing   above   water   level,   triangular   plan   cutwaters   and   straight   parapets   with   stone   capped   terminal piers.   It   is   said   to   have   been   "built   by   subscription   for   the   benefit   of   the   public   in   1790",   and   to   have   been   repaired   in   1809.   When   the   old   bridge was   demolished   in   1955   the   rubble   seems   to   have   found   its   way   to   a   dump   near   Wareham,   as   a   stone   was   later   recovered   from   it   bearing   the inscription: CHAMBERLAINS BRIDGE REBUILT 1881 WALTER J. FLETCHER COUNTY SURVEYOR WILLIAM HAMMETT BUILDER
© 2003, Bere Regis Village Website.
Bere Regis Village
Bere Regis Village Website

The History of the Bere Regis Bridges

In    medieval    times    when    roads    were    little    more    than    footpaths, crossings   over   small   rivers   or   streams   were no   more   elaborate,   being   normally   achieved by   means   of   fords   combined   with   stepping stones   or   footbridges   for   pedestrians.   This   is still the case at Hollow Oak, Doddings. Such   a   method   was   not   of   course   practicable   over   wider   and   deeper rivers   where   more   elaborate   stone   or   brick   bridges   were   normally necessary,    and    hence    in    Dorset    we    have    a    number    of    very    fine mediaeval   bridges   spanning   the   River   Stour,   but   none   of   that   age   over the   much   smaller   rivers   such   as   the   Piddle   or   Bere   stream   which   run through Bere Regis parish. These   fords   and   footbridges   remained   in   use   until   the   advent   of   the 18th   and   19th   century   turnpike   trusts   where   higher   road   standards necessitated    the    building    of    vehicular    bridges    over    these    smaller streams,   so   that   the   older   bridges   in   this   parish   date   from   the   18th century,   although   in   almost   all   cases   the   parapets   have   since   been rebuilt.    More    recent    road    widening    schemes    in    this    century    have involved   complete   demolition   of   some   old   bridges   and   replacement with   new   structures,   notably   at   Chamberlaynes   and   Southbrook,   but fortunately   the   existence   of   old   drawings   and   photographs   enables   the original   bridges   to   be   illustrated   in   figure   50.   Even   the   old   bridges   have little   of   interest   to   be   seen   from   the   road   side,   but   viewed   from   the river   side   the   picture   is   very   different,   when   the   arches   may   be   seen   to vary   considerably   from   one   bridge   to   another   in   both   number   and form.   The   older   parish   bridges   are   illustrated   in   the   drawings   below, and   the   following   descriptions   are   in   the   order   in   which   they   occur   on the Bere stream and river Piddle respectively: Roke   (Bridge   A).    The   Bere   stream   which   rises   at   Milton Abbas,   flows through   the   valley   to   Roke   by   way   of   Milborne and    Ashley    Barn,    and    is    reinforced    by    the effluent   from   Roke   Pond,   over   which   this   bridge stands.   It   is   probably   of   late   18th   or   early 19th   century   date   and   consists   of   a   single segmental   arch   of   alternate   stretchers and   pairs   of   headers   springing   at   water   level. The   parapets   are   in   Flemish   garden   wall   bond with   moulded   brick   copings   and   buttresses   on the river side. Dorchester   Road   (Bridge   B) .   Built   in   1840   in   association   with   the new   section   of   turnpike   road   from   the   top   of   Dorchester   Hill   to   West Mill.   Both   its   parapets   were   formerly   no   higher   than   road   level,   and   the continuation   of   the   roadside   hedges   on   each   side   effectively   obscured any   sign   of   the   existence   of   a   bridge   from   the   road,   but   a   conventional parapet   has   recently   been   added   on   the   upstream   side.   The   bridge consists   of   a   single   segmental   arch   of   alternate   stretchers   and   pairs   of headers    springing    above    water    level    with    brick    on    edge    capped parapets   and   piers   on   the   river   side.   As   the   road   crosses   the   river   at an   oblique   angle   the   tunnel   is   very   long   and   the   header   walls   are   not opposite   each   other   relative   to   the   road.   There   was   until   about   1930   a mill   stream   branching   off   the   main   stream   to   serve   West   Mill,   with   a bridge   under   the   road   at   that   point,   also   built   in   1840,   and   the   remains of   the   parapet   are   still   just   visible   among   brambles   and   other   growth   at the junction with Roke Road. Shitterton   (Bridge   C) .   Again   a   single   segmental   arch   with   springing at   or   below   water   level,   but   in   two   concentric   courses   of   headers. Each   parapet,   with   splayed   ends   and   brick   on   edge   copings,   has   four square   piers   with   cement   rendered   weathered   caps,   and   the   brickwork is    in    a    mixture    of    stretcher,    English    and    Flemish    bonds,    probably denoting sectional rebuilding at various times. Southbrook   (Bridge   D) .   The   present   bridge   was   built   in   1956   in reinforced   concrete   with   brick   parapets   as   a   result   of   road   widening, but   its   predecessor,   in   use   until   that   date   was   a   fine   brick   bridge having    splayed    parapets    with    moulded    brick    copings    and    terminal piers,   a   pair   of   segmental   arches   in   two   concentric   courses   of   headers springing    above    water    level,    and    triangular    plan    cutwaters.    It    was probably   built   in   the   18th   century,   and   is   said   to   have   been   repaired   in 1806. See photographs of the bridge below - Snatford    (Bridge    E).     Apart    from    a    ford    at    Doddings    the    next downstream   crossing   of   the   Bere   stream   is   at   Snatford,   where   as   the name   implies   a   ford   crossing   formerly   existed,   and   the   present   bridge probably   dates   from   about   1765   when   this   section   of   turnpike   road was   constructed.   It   is   very   similar   to   the   old   Southbrook   bridge,   having a   pair   of   segmental   arches   in   two   concentric   courses   of   headers, springing   above   water   level.   The   splayed   parapets   with   brick   on   edge copings   have   been   rebuilt   on   a   number   of   occasions.   Tanpits   (Fig. 50F).   Near   this   point   the   Bere   stream   divides,   one   section   crossing   the road   under   Stockley   Bridge,   a   recently   rebuilt   reinforced   concrete   and brick   structure,   and   the   other   section   crossing   under   Tanpits   Bridge. Although     the     parapets     have     been     recently     rebuilt,     the     arches themselves    are    older,    consisting    of    a    pair    of    shallow    segmental arches,   each   of   a   single   course   of   headers,   springing   at   or   below water level. Cicely   Bridge   (Bridge   G).    This   bridge   spans   the   River   Piddle   which forms   the   parish   boundary   at   that   point,   and   appears   to   have   been lengthened   northwards   at   some   time.   Of   its   three   arches,   the   two southerly   ones   are   semi-circular,   but   the   northerly   one   is   segmental with   springing   above   water   line.   They   are   all   three   constructed   with alternate   stretchers   and   pairs   of   headers,   and   there   is   an   iron   tie   bar and   plate   over   the   centre   arch.   The   parapets,   without   terminal   piers, are   in   Flemish   garden   wall   bond   with   stone   copings,   and   splayed   at the ends. Chamberlaynes     (Bridge     H).     The     present     bridge     in     reinforced concrete   with   tubular   metal   parapet   rails   was   built   in   about   1955   in conjunction   with   road   widening,   and   after   its   predecessor   had   suffered considerable   damage   from   military   vehicles   during   the   second   world war.   The   original   bridge   was   of   brick   with   three   segmental   arches springing   above   water   level,   triangular   plan   cutwaters   and   straight parapets   with   stone   capped   terminal   piers.   It   is   said   to   have   been "built   by   subscription   for   the   benefit   of   the   public   in   1790",   and   to   have been   repaired   in   1809.   When   the   old   bridge   was   demolished   in   1955 the   rubble   seems   to   have   found   its   way   to   a   dump   near   Wareham,   as a stone was later recovered from it bearing the inscription: CHAMBERLAINS BRIDGE REBUILT 1881 WALTER J. FLETCHER COUNTY SURVEYOR WILLIAM HAMMETT BUILDER
© 2003, Bere Regis Village Website.