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Old Exe Bridge, Exeter: Oldest Medieval Stone Bridge in England

Old Exe Bridge in Exeter holds the distinction of being the oldest medieval stone bridge in England and the oldest bridge in Britain with a chapel still intact. Construction of this historic landmark began in 1190 and was completed by 1214, replacing earlier crossings that dated back to Roman times. The bridge spanned the River Exe for nearly 600 years, serving as a vital artery for trade and transportation.

St. Edmund’s Church, situated on the bridge itself, was built concurrently with the bridge’s construction. Bridge chapels were common during the Middle Ages, providing travellers with a place to pray and give thanks for safe journeys. The alms collected at these chapels often went towards the maintenance of the bridge.

Over the centuries, the Old Exe Bridge underwent numerous repairs and reconstructions due to the forces of nature and the demands of increasing traffic. Despite its resilience, the medieval bridge eventually gave way to modernity, with a replacement bridge constructed in 1778. Subsequent bridges followed in 1905 and 1969, with the remnants of the medieval bridge left as a historic attraction in a public park near Frog Street.

Today, visitors to Exeter can explore the remnants of the Old Exe Bridge and St. Edmund’s Church, experiencing a tangible connection to the city’s rich history. Reviews on TripAdvisor reflect the bridge’s significance as a historical landmark, with many visitors appreciating its architectural beauty and cultural importance.

In addition to the Old Exe Bridge, visitors to Exeter can also marvel at The House That Moved, a medieval timber-framed house relocated in 1961 to save it from demolition. This remarkable feat of engineering showcases Exeter’s commitment to preserving its heritage for future generations to enjoy.

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