Canongate Bridge

History & Heritage
Built in the 16th century, this is an attractive three-arched bridge. Now used only as a footbridge, this was at one time the principal route into the town
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About Canongate Bridge

Now used only as a footbridge, this was at one time the principal route into the town. It is interesting to note that for defensive reasons, the approaches to the bridge are more or less at 90 degrees. Built in the 16th century, this is an attractive three-arched bridge. Under each arch are chamfered ribs. Originally each span had four ribs but the easternmost arch now has only two. Notice the way the cutwaters -which relieve the pressure of the flowing water on the bridge -carry right up to parapet level. When you get onto the bridge itself, you see the reason for this, in that they form refuges where pedestrians could get out of the way safely of traffic, predominantly horses, including the stagecoach from Edinburgh to Newcastle. The eastern refuges contain chamfered stones, possibly from the Jedburgh Friary.
On the upstream side of the bridge is a ford across the Jed Water. This ford is still used by horse riders instead of the bridge and each year during the Callant’s Festival when the Callant is followed across the ford by massed ranks of riders.
Across the bridge you will see a large 1930s building on the left, which occupies the site of Well House, a reminder that Jedburgh’s water supply was not always piped. The steps on the right hand side of the building lead down to the well which is no longer in use.
The road beside this building was the original approach to the town from the north and this would have been the route that Bonnie Prince Charlie took on his way into England. The grassy hill you see behind and to the left of Well House is Stone Hill, where there used to be a stone tower, the walls of which were 2 metres (7 feet) thick. This was only one of a number of towers located in and around the town. In 1523, the Earl of Surrey reported that Jedburgh had “six good towers therin, which towne and toweris be clenely Monumentto Hutton’s Unconformity destroyed, brent and throwne downe”. The foundations of the tower were removed in 1852 and sadly nothing remains of it today.

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