Devorgilla's Bridge

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Devorgilla's Bridge is one of the oldest bridges still in use in Scotland.

About Devorgilla's Bridge

The bridge is named after Lady Devorgilla who ordered the structure to be built around the year 1270. Devorgilla was the last in the line of the historic rulers of Galloway. She was married to John Balliol of Northumberland and their son, also called John Balliol, became King of Scotland in 1292. Devorgilla was possibly the most powerful woman in Scotland during the latter half of the 13th Century.

In 1270 Devorgilla ordered a wooden bridge to be built across the Nith to allow easier and quicker access into Dumfries from her Galloway base as she had ordered a Franciscan monastery to be built in the centre of Dumfries. She was also in the process of getting a lasting memory to her now deceased husband built which is known today as Sweetheart Abbey. The bridge was a new and more accessible crossing across the river for people to be able to visit both places.

The wooden bridge of 1270 was replaced by a much stronger structure made from stone around 1432. The bridge had to be rebuilt again in 1621 due to severe flooding and one single gothic arch at the western end of the bridge still remains from this time. The other 8 new arches were semicircular in shape to provide some more strength to the imposing structure. The last major changes were made in 1794 when three arches were removed at the eastern end of the bridge as the newly built Buccleuch Street bridge would now be carrying all wheeled traffic. This is now the iconic red sandstone bridge that we know and love today.

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