Heritage Locations

Mythe Bridge and Toll House, Tewkesbury


Telford designed bridge over the River Severn and associated toll house

Constructor:
W Bell

Period of construction:
1800 - 1849

Transport Trust plaque:
No

Transport Mode:
Road

Address:
Ledbury Road, Tewkesbury GL20 6AA

Postcode:
GL20 6AA

Nearest Town:
Tewkesbury

Heritage Centre:
No


Telford was appointed to design this bridge over the Severn in 1823, following a dispute between the bridge trustees and their existing architect, who had proposed a bridge with three shorter iron arches. Telford changed the scheme to a single span so as to reduce interference with navigation of the river, and also to eliminate the expense of construction foundations in the river gravels.

Like Telford's Craigellachie Bridge, Mythe Bridge was cast by William Hazledine, and is similar in form to Telford's Galton Bridge, which spans the Birmingham Canal at Smethwick. It has six cast iron ribs, each cast in 23-foot lengths, with spandrels filled with X-shaped bracing. Telford described the iron as "best Shropshire iron, commonly called No. 2"'. The arch rises 17 feet, one tenth of the span.

The total cost of the bridge including masonry approaches was £14,500. It was originally a toll bridge, but tolls were removed in 1850. Telford wrote 'I reckon this the most handsomest bridge which has been built under my direction.' The unusual and charming toll house at Mythe Bridge is thought to have been built for the Tewkesbury Turnpike Trust in 1826 in the form of a lodge cottage with protruding front.

External features consist of: single-storey on canted bay front with two wings floor plan, having a gabled, gable over bay, roof, with walls mainly of squared stone, roofed in slate, Gothick arch headed windows with casements, an open porch with a Gothic arch headed doorway. The porch is flanked by a crenellated frame. The quoins and stonework of walls are of contrasting colours. It is said to have been designed by Telford's Office.

On the other side of the road there is an unusual little toll booth. It is thought to have been built at the same time as the toll house for the Tewkesbury Turnpike Trust in 1826. It is in the form of a simple booth. It is single-storey on an octagonal floor plan, having a pyramidal roof, with walls mainly of squared stone, roofed in slate. It has Gothick arch headed windows with casements. There is no porch but a round arch headed doorway, and it matches the toll house opposite.

In 2005 the structure was strapped together to prevent collapse. The bridge, booth and toll house are Listed Grade II.


Bibliography:

Addison, Sir William, The Old Roads of England, Harper Collins, ISBN-10: 0713417145 (1980)

Albert, W., The Turnpike Road System in England 1663- 1840, Cambridge University Press, ISBN-10: O521033918 (1972)

Barker, Theo & Gerhold, Dorian, The Rise and Rise of Road Transport, 1700-1990, Cambridge University Press, ISBN-10: 0521557739 (1995)

Davies, Hugh, Roman Roads, Shire Publications, ISBN-10: 074780690X (2008)

Gerhold, Dorian, Carriers and Coachmasters: Trade and Travel Before the Turnpikes, Phillimore & Co,ISBN-10: 1860773273 (2005)

Hindle, P., Roads and Tracks for Historians, Phillimore & Co, ISBN-10: 1860771823 (2001)

Hindley, G., History of the Roads.,Peter Davies, ISBN-10: 0806502908 (1971)

Jackson, Gibbard, From Track to Highway: A Book of British Roads, Ivor Nicholson & Watson, ASIN: B00085R4D8 (1935)

Jervoise, E., Ancient Bridges of England, Architectural Press, ASIN: B001CD3LXC (1932)

Searle, Mark, Turnpikes and Toll-Bars, Hutchinson, ASIN: B0017XBUSK (1930)

Sheldon, G., From Trackway to Turnpike, Oxford University Press, ASIN: B0026KBSZS (1928)

Taylor, C., Roads and Tracks of Britain, Orion, ISBN-10: 1857973402 (1994)

Wright, Geoffery, Turnpike Roads, Shire Publications, ISBN-10: 074780155X (2008)



Opening Times:
Viewable at all times

How To Find:
By Road: On A 438 west of Tewkesbury


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