Scheduled Monuments- Full Report

Summary Description of a Scheduled Monument

Reference Number
Monnow Bridge  
Date of Designation


Unitary Authority

Broad Class
Site Type


Summary Description and Reason for Designation
The following provides a general description of the Scheduled Ancient Monument. The monument consists of the remains of a bridge, dating to the medieval period, and represents the only surviving example of a fortified bridge in Britain. The bridge dates to 1272 and carried the road westwards out of Monmouth. The gatehouse was added 25 years later, around 1297, when the town's wooden defences were being replaced by stone walls, for use as a toll gate and to provide added protection on the most vulnerable side of the town. The townspeople had received a murage grant from Edward I, enabling them to raise tolls on a range of goods including salmon, salt, honey and iron, to pay for the new stone defences. The original gate was a very different design to the modern structure, comprising a narrow tower with a crenelated parapet and a guardroom over a single arched gateway through which both pedestrians and traffic would have passed. The bridge itself would also have been much narrower, with the original span visible in the three medieval arches underneath. The bridge was used for defensive purposes during the Civil War, and by the early 18th century was in need of repair. In 1705 Monmouth Common Council issued a contract for the gatehouse to be repaired and converted to a dwelling, after which the battlements were rebuilt as solid walls and the level raised, and a pitched and tiled roof built. In addition to these works, a wooden extension was added to the E corner of the tower, overhanging the river and supported by a stone pillar and a wooden beam. The contract for the lease of the dwelling did, however, contain a clause that it must be vacated if the gate was required for use by the militia in defence of the town. In the 1810s the wooden extension was demolished and a pedestrian passage cut through the tower on the upstream side. The pedestrian passage on the downstream side of the bridge was built in 1845. The bridge remained in use for both pedestrians and vehicles until 2004 when a new bridge was built downstream, after which the medieval bridge was pedestrianised. The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of medieval construction techniques and transportation systems. It retains significant archaeological potential, with a strong probability of the presence of associated archaeological features and deposits. The structure itself may be expected to contain archaeological information concerning chronology and building techniques. The scheduled area comprises the remains described and areas around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive.  

Cadw : Scheduled Monuments- Full Report [ Records 1 of 1 ]