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Kellaways Bridge

For centuries inhabitants from the area surrounding Langley Burrell trudged through the village on their way to the weekly market in Chippenham. The pathways were likely rough, and the route was rendered more laborious by the river, the (Bristol) Avon, which often flooded. In 1474 a gift was made by a wealthy widow, Maud Heath, that gave land and property in trust for the construction of a raised path so that those going to market could remain dry-shod. Maud Heath Causeway was thereafter created from Bremhill Wick to Chippenham. It crossed the river at Kellaways. The 'Caisway Bridge' was later mentioned by chronicler John Leland in 1542. Unfortunately, he did not give a description.

By 1853 the stone bridge at Kellaways over the Avon had been widened and altered over many years. It had three broad piers and was traversed by low-lying arches. Several ‘additions’ to the bridge had been made that included a separate footway across the river. Residents complained the design of the bridge prevented the free flow of river water and was causing an additional flooding risk to the surrounding area. Reportedly it was also 'in such a bad state as to be dangerous to persons passing.''

A new stone and iron bridge was opened in December 1853. But it too was rendered dangerous in 1885 and required extensive repairs.

The current bridge is made of steel and was completed in 1961 after cracks were found in its Victorian predecessor. Its construction was innovative as it was the first structure in the country that used pre-flex steel beams. Its design attracted interest, and it was featured in journal articles in the UK and Italy, where it appeared in the magazine Acciaio (Trans. Steel).

 

Kellaways Bridge,
Maud Heath's Causeway,
Kellaways

 

NGRef: ST 94686 75797

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