The History Anorak

The History Anorak

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Another romantic bridge

The 13th century Swarkestone Bridge and Causeway, at almost a mile in length, is the longest stone bridge in England. Some historians think that the stone bridge was constructed to replace an earlier wooden one. At one time a chapel and toll house stood on the causeway but there is little sign of them now.

The structure's 17 arches cross the River Trent flood plain between Swarkestone and Stanton-by-Bridge. It is still a significant route for travellers passing from Derby to Melbourne: believe it or not there is a regular bus service across it!

According to local legend the causeway is the work of two local sisters whose fianc├ęs drowned while trying to cross the flood plain in high water. The horrified sisters saw the men swept away by the river and vowed that no-one else would suffer the same fate. They spent the rest of their lives building and maintaining the causeway and bridge and so were penniless when they died.

Listed Grade I and Scheduled Ancient Monument.


  1. I used to go over that a lot at one time but didn't know that legend.

  2. I haven't heard of this bridge before - what a sad legend goes with it. Itmust be one of the oldest bridges in the country - do you know how much of the original bridge and causeway survives? There must have been a lot of repairs and rebuilding over the centuries.

    1. You're right, of course, but it feels as if it's almost original when you cross it. It's worth a visit!

  3. It is a sad story but a wonderful bridge. I love going over it - we crossed it not so long ago on our way into South Derbyshire to do a bit of family history:)


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