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Hardwick Bridge Kempston Hardwick

Hardwick Bridge October 2007
Hardwick Bridge October 2007

The Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record [HER] contains information on the county's historic buildings and landscapes and summaries of each entry can now be found online as part of the Heritage Gateway website. Hardwick Bridge [HER 4442] lies in Manor Road, not far from Elms Farm.

It is a stone structure with twin arches and a brick parapet. "Herdwyckbrigg" is mentioned in 1430 in the manor court rolls of the Manor of Kempston Brucebury [PE466/7/1] and may be this bridge, but the modern form has been widened to three times its original width. A sum of three shillings and fourpence was willed to the bridge by Bartholomew Jordan in 1517.

In 1625 Thomas Parson was presented at the manor court because he had not made "a sufficient foot causeway beyond the bridge called Hardwick Bridge in the way there leading aforesaid to Hardwicke and that he has not made the aforeaaid bridge sufficient [PE466/2]. In 1635 William Pierson was presented at the same court for taking stepping stones away from the bridge [PE466/2]. The Manor of Kempston Hardwick was conveyed to Thomas Parsons in 1606 and he sold it in 1627 to the Governors of Christ's Hospital, London. It thus looks as if the Lord of the Manor was responsible for repairing the bridge, though why William Pierson was presented in 1635 when Christ's Hospital then had the manor is not clear. He may have been the local steward for the Hospital.

The present bridge is believed to date from the 18th or 19th century. In 1986 the bridge was strengthened by underpinning and concrete reinforcement of the arch.