|This bridge is the entrance into the town manor and parish of Alcester from Henley - in - Arden and spans the River Arrow The present bridge is obviously the successor of an earlier structure. 'Gunnyld bridge' is mentioned in 1274 and is probably one of the earliest bridges in the area. In 1543 Sir Fulke Greville, Alcester's lord, took responsibility for its maintenance. The third Sir Fulke, in 1613, offered to build, at his own expense, a good Stone Bridge lyklie to enduier to Posterytie', as the court of the Hundred of Barlichway had found the bridge in great decay but were unsure who was liable. This apparently did not settle the matter, for in 1667 Lord Brooke (a Greville and lord of Alcester) and the Quarter Sessions were in dispute over repairs. It had not, in effect, been accepted as a County Bridge by Quarter Sessions.|
It was, by all accounts, a very narrow bridge and probably unsafe for wheeled traffic. it must, therefore, have been the tumpiking of the Alcester to Wootton Wawen road in 1814 which led to the three arches which we see at present. In modern times, a separate footbridge has been added.
The name itself is of interest, having a Scandinavian ring to it. But Alcester was not in the Danelaw, so perhaps there was once a Viking family settled by the bridge. It is anyone's guess.
Summer 1991 Index
© Alcester & District Local History Society 1991