River Parrett Structures

Burrow Bridge


Bridge Name:   Burrow Bridge
No.:   35
Location:   Burrowbridge
Build Date:   1825
Engineer:   Philip Ilett designer and John Stone of Yarcombe Builder

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Single segmental arch with a 68 foot span. Possibly the longest masonary span for a road bridge in somerset. The arch is built of granite and the remainder lias limestone. Carries the A361. Replaced a medieval bridge built in the early 17th century.1

The bridge over the Parrett at Burrow consisted until the earlier 19th century of three high arches with cutwaters. It was replaced in 1826 by a wider bridge slightly to the north, designed by P. B. Ilett of Taunton. Tolls, let annually by sand-glass auction, were charged until 1945.

The bridge at Burrow was recognized as of strategic importance during the Civil War, and a fort was built, presumably on the hill above. It was taken from the royalists after the battle of Langport in 1645. In 1685 Lord Feversham secured the Parrett crossing shortly before the battle of Sedgemoor.2

In a survey of the Tone navigation in 1824, John Armstrong recommended the demolition of the three arch bridge because it was slowing the barge traffic between Bridgwater and Taunton. The Traffic Commissioners promoted a Bill to Parliament for a new bridge, the Bill was passed the same year.3

Whereas there have been many pains taken by some Justices and other Commissioners of Sewers touching the repairing and new-building of Borowe-bridge, which the inhabitants of divers parishes near did agree to perform with stone ; and that it now appeareth that the bridge will be far more conveniently erected with timber, as it hath ever been heretofore, for with stone it is likely to prove very prejudicial to the country and the owners of land near unto ; and whereas the Court doth consider that the bridge should be repaired by order of the Sessions rather than by the Commissioners of Sewers : Ordered, with the consent of the parishes of Weston, Middlezoy, Othery, Grinton, Morlinch, Aishcott, Chedsay, and North Petherton, that a rate be forthwith levied to pay for the erecting, and that four overseers be appointed to receive and pay all monies laid out and to be spent, as Sir Edward Hext and Marmaduke Jennings, esq., shall think fit; and that the bridge be sufficiently finished for the passage of boats under the arches and carriages over the same by Bartholomew Day next.4

On complaint by the parishioners of Weston Zoyland, Midlezoy, Othery, Greynton, Ashcott, Moorelinch, Chedzoy and Northpetherton that the bridge called Burroughbridge (which is on a great travelling road) is ruinous and dangerous for travellers ; the Court orders that the sum of 20l. 2s. 11d., at which the cost of repairing the same is estimated, be levied by a rate on the said parishes in the proportions already agreed on between them, and that the collectors thereof pay the moneys they receive to John Bunington of Weston Zoyland, George Hooper of the same, and John Dible of Midlezoy, the treasurers appointed by the Court, that they may disbursethe same for the above purpose.5

References:   1.Civil Engineering Heritage by R.A.Otter
2.British History on Line compid=18538
3. By Waterway to Taunton – Tony Haskells
4. Quarter Sessins Ilchester 30th April,1st and 2nd May, 20 James [1622] 5. Quarter Sessions 5 October, 21 Charles II. [1669.]Somerset Record Society V34