Bridges

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This is a backup of the West Yorkshire Archive Service's "Off the Record" wiki from 2015. The live went offline in 2016 and remains unavailable.

The Statute of Bridges, 1531 (22 Hen. VIII c.5) made the county liable for the maintenance of public bridges which were not known to be the responsibility of any other body. The records of the West Riding Surveyor, including those concerned with the repair of bridges, are to be found at ref. QD3. The records of the clerk of the peace (ref. QD1) relating to bridges are concerned with legal matters.

The Book of Bridges of 1752 (ref. QD1/461) was commissioned to provide the justices with a definitive statement of their liability. The compilation was undertaken by Robert Carr and John Watson, the bridge surveyors, but at least three dozen of the plans were drawn by John Carr (1723-1807), the son of Robert, and the most prominent architect of northern England in the later eighteenth century. Many of the other records are contracts for repairs, and the register begun following the County Rate Act, 1739 (ref. QD1/460) contains transcripts of many contracts which no longer exist in the original.

No records are extant concerning the case Rex v. West Riding of Yorkshire, 1780, in respect of Glusburn bridge which radically widened the scope of county liability for bridge repair, (see S and B Webb, The Story of the King's Highway, pp. 98-101).


  • for an Index to bridges named in entries in Quarter Sessions rolls, indictment boooks and order books 1637-1699, compiled c1882 (ref. QD1/706) see here
  • for an Index to bridges bames in entries in Quarter Sessions rolls and order books c1670-c1880, compiled c1882 (ref. QD1/707) see here