WALLINGFORD BRIDGE

WALLINGFORD BRIDGE

1910: Wallingford in Thames Valley Villages by Charles G Harper

Wallingford Moorings:

Our moorings are situated on the River Thames adjacent to our beautiful ancient bridge with access to the town centre shops, pubs, restaurants and amenities within easy walking distance.
The moorings in Wallingford can be used free of charge from 9am until 7.30pm daily.
Overnight stays on the moorings are currently charged at £5 per boat per night, which will be collected by a member of Wallingford Town Council staff or a representative
Boat owners or users wishing to stay for more than five nights can make a request to the Wallingford Town Council representative collecting the fees in advance at the start of their stay
Boat owners and users can apply to Wallingford Town Council to use the moorings on a longer term basis during the off-peak period (1 October – 31 March)
For more information, contact Wallingford Town Council at queries@wallingfordtc.co.uk or call 01491 835373.

Oxford University Boathouse

Left bank, a few hundred yards below Wallingford Bridge
Opened in 2007 (see Boathouses in the Oxford section)

OUBC Wallingford
The new Oxford University Boathouse

OUBC Wallingford
The new Oxford University Boathouse

Wallingford Rowing Club

Left bank below Wallingford Bridge.

Wallingford Bridge
Wallingford Bridge

Wallingford History website

Camping: beside river - Riverside Park, The Street, Wallingford, Oxon, OX10 8EB
01491 835232. 25 pitches, May to September, WC, showers, wash basins, shop, swimming/paddling
Camping:  400 yards from river - Bridge Villa Caravan and Camping International, The Street, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, Oxon OX10 8HB
01491 836860. 111 pitches, 1st February to 31st December, WC, Elan disposal, showers, wash basins, shaver points, shop, hair dryer points, ironing facilities.

937?:  See the comment on Shillingford Bridge.
1066: William the Conqueror crossed the Thames here
1153:  King Stephen built a strong wooden tower at the foot of the bridge over the Thames.
1250: First stone bridge built by Richard, brother of Henry III.
1344:  Grant of ‘pontage’ (dues payable for crossing) “The structure threatened to become a ruin.
1530: Leland: '“A large thing of stone over the Tamise' Extensive repairs were made in this year.
& 1633:  The Navy Authority complain that no barge wider than 16 ft 4in. could pass.
1646:  During the civil war four arches were removed and wooden drawbridges substituted.
1671:  In one of the plague years we hear of wardens being “set at the bridge to keep out all Crowmarsh and Newnham people out of Wallingford”.
& 1692:  Baskervile – “Wallingford Bridge is 310 yards over & has 19 Arches”
& 1751:  The civil war damage was made good. The four removed arches were rebuilt in brick with stone facing.
1792: Samuel Ireland -

The antiquity of the bridge, from its appearance, seems to vie with the oldest structure of the kind on the Thames : it is truly Gothic, and of immense strength. The pointed angular sterlings on the upper side are so well constructed, as to be capable of resisting the most violent torrent of water from the winter floods.

Oh dear - you really shouldn't say things like that - see 1809

Wallingford Ireland 1792
Wallingford Bridge and Church, Samuel Ireland, 1792

1793:  Wallingford Bridge and Church, Boydell

Wallingford Boydell 1793
Wallingford. June 1, 1793. J. Farington R.A. delt. J.C. Stadler sculpt.
(Published) by J. & J. Boydell, Shakespeare Gally. Pall Mall & (No. 90) Cheapside (London).

1809: Five arches were so damaged by flood that they had to be rebuilt.  They were replaced by three wider arches. At the same time the bridge was widened by adding about seven feet on its north side and a toll house erected midway across the bridge.
1812: Wallingford Bridge during the rebuilding from Havell's "Picturesque Views of the River Thames" (Black & White copy in "The Story of the Thames" by J E Vincent) -

1812:  Wallingford Bridge
1812: Wallingford Bridge

In the above fascinating picture various things stand out -
I think the two men on the temporary platform to the left of the pillar foundation are operating a handpump. The output of the pump can be seen cascading into the river.
The two men inside the pillar footings are working on the foundations with a simple rope and pulley to lift stones from boats and lower them into place.
The two barges have as their sole means of propulsion one punter. Presumably they would have been normally towed by horses (or men) and in the picture are simply manoeuvring near the building works.
On the right is possibly a temporary bridge with cattle being driven across.

1834: Tombleson -


Wallingford Bridge, Tombleson, 1834

1880: Wallingford Bridge and Church, Henry Taunt -

Wallingford Bridge and Church, Henry Taunt, 1880
Wallingford Bridge and Church, Henry Taunt, 1880
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive; HT2420

1881: The toll gate was removed.
1881:  George Leslie: –'“Wallingford Bridge is a good old stone one”'
1886: Julia Isham Taylor “Down the Thames” writes as an American:

Have we anything, though, in this new world so delightful to the eye as the rural English bridges?
I can think of nothing to compare with those low reposeful arches of dark moss-smeared stone rising from the shallow meadow streams, their every line in rhythm with the sluggard water and the placid fields. 
They are the very epitome of English pastoral.

1891: The Stream of Pleasure, Joseph & Elizabeth Robins Pennell -

Our resting place for the night was Wallingford, a town with much history and little to show for it ...
A band kept on playing while we ate our tea with a party of flannelled record-breakers who were in fine spirits. They blew their own trumpets almost as loud as the cornets outside because they had sculled twenty miles since morning.
"Not bad for the first day out, by Jove, you know!"
"Twenty miles," said Joseph, not in the least impressed; "Why, we may have come only eight by the map, but it was full twenty and a half by [our] steering."

[ If I may sound my own trumpet, since no one else will, I have managed twenty four miles a day, punting. ]

Wallingford Bridge (1883-1908?) Magic Lantern Slide by W C Hughes. Original 2Mb Wallingford Bridge

1899:  Below Wallingford Bridge, Francis Frith -

1899:  Below Wallingford Bridge, Francis Frith
1899:  Below Wallingford Bridge, Francis Frith

1906: G E Mitton –

The bridge is fair, and, seen from below, where a weeping willow falls softly over one bank, the view is pretty.

1909:  Mortimer Menpes -

Wallingford Bidge 1909
Wallingford Bridge in 1909

1912: The south wall was buttressed between arches No.5 and No.8, and a flight of steps leading to the meadow on the north side was built.

1929: A Thames Survey -

Wallingford Bridge on the site of an old Saxon ford or wooden bridge. First stone bridge built about 1250 by Richard, brother of Henry III. Four arches (one blocked) of this bridge still exist.
In 1530 extensive repairs carried out.
In 1646 four arches were removed and wooden drawbridges substituted during the siege of Wallingford; but in 1751 these four arches were rebuilt of brick with stone facings.
In 1809 five arches, damaged by floods, were taken down and three wider arches erected in their place; also the whole bridge was widened 7 feet on the north side and the toll-house erected midway across the bridge.
In 1881 the toll-gate was removed.
In 1912 the south wall was buttressed between arches No.5 and No.8, and a flight of steps leading to the meadow on the north side was built.
The Mary Grace, an ancient chapel over the west end of the bridge, was partly demolished during the Civil Wars, and its ruins, as an embattled building over the bridge, are shown in several prints prior to 1809.
Wallingford Bridge appears to be entirely adequate to meet the present volume of traffic, and by reason of its beauty and historical interest it should be preserved.
Note. - There is a flood-mark on the bridge just below the crown of the arches indicating the high-water mark in 1894.
It should be pointed out that if the bridge were again widened it would necessitate also the widening of the High Street, which is most undesirable. As the bridge is, however, limited to vehicles of ten tons, some consideration should be given in the future for an east-and-west by-pass and new bridge elsewhere that will carry loads greater than ten tons. There would appear to be no necessity at present for this project to be carried out.

1999:-

Wallingford Bridge 1999
Wallingford Bridge in 1999.

Wallingford Bridge, Doug Myers © 2005
Wallingford Bridge, Doug Myers © 2005

1792: Samuel Ireland -

The spire of the church was built about eighteen years since, at the sole expence of the late Judge Blackstone; and, though singular in its taste, is not an unpleasing object.

1881: George Leslie -

Wallingford Bridge is a good old stone one, but the gas-works and spire of the church spoil the effect of the bridge, and give a taint of ugliness to the place, which the fine old town itself does not deserve.

1885: The Royal River –

Against the bridge rises the tall and unutterably inelegant spire of St Helen's Church, the hideous product of a mind unhappily diverted from law to ecclesiology ...
St Peter’s is the burial-place of Sir William Blackstone, “one of the judges of His Majesty’s Superior Courts at Westminster”, and Recorder of Wallingford, who built the flint tower, with its uncomfortable spire – both monuments of the architectural decadence – and died in 1780 ...
It is charitable to suppose that his lordship’s legal acumen was superior to his architectural taste.

1886: Julia Isham Taylor “Down the Thames” -

The Church of St Peter at Wallingford contains the bones of Sir William Blackstone who was buried there in 1780.  An unkind tradition accuses Sir William of the design and erection of St Peter’s fearfully mean looking spire, but we made it a point to be skeptical about this legend.

1906: G.E.Mitton -

A conspicuous feature is the steeple of the church near, looking as if it had been joined on to the body without any thought of continuity of style.

There was (maybe) a slipway above the bridge on west bank next to the BoatHouse. There are now 5 substantial bollards preventing access.

1881: George Leslie -

The river here being narrow, and not very deep, I am sometimes puzzled to know where all the water has gone to, as the stream is not particularly strong, and there are immense volumes of water just above Benson lock, and plenty down below Moulsford. 
A fine baronial sort of residence built of red brick, standing in a small park, skirts the Oxfordshire shore between Wallingford and Benson.

Site of Pollington’s Weir (between Benson & Wallingford)
& 1574:-

Radalphus Pollington caused to be buylt one Locke or Weare over the water of Thamys to force the water to goe to the new erected fullinge mylles upon parcell of the fyshenge in the said water of Thamys of the late King Edwardes

1791:-

Clearing away formearly an Old Lock.  Drawd Operd [upward] of 60 piles.

Wallingford Castle Meadows

Wallingford Castle Meadows covers some 16.6 hectares on the banks of the River Thames in Wallingford. The meadows contain the site of Wallingford Castle which has a long and complex history. All that remains of the castle are two sections of wall which are Grade 1 listed and the bank and ditch earthworks which form part of the Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Right bank Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Research