Clattern Bridge – Kingston-Upon-Thames (c. 1175 CE)

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Clattern Bridge – Historic England

originally, there was a Saxon bridge on this site (over the Hogsmill River) which flows into the Thames. It is thought that the Normans then built a slightly bigger and more robust bridge around 1175 CE, although the earliest mention of this post-Saxon bridge in a document that can be found today, is that of 1203 CE. The name ‘Clattern’ may derive from the sound of horse’s hooves as they ‘clattered’ across the stone structure of the bridge. By modern standards this bridge was not big (compared to the other building projects the Normans undertook in the UK), but it was important for the local people and in keeping traffic moving across the river. Although enlarged in relatively modern times, (1758 and 1852), and was declared a listed Grade 1 building in 1938. Indeed, so strong is the Norman design that the bridge continues to bear the heavy load of modern traffic. In 2012, special tiles were affixed to the smooth underside of the bridge (on the riverbed) so that the local eel population could migrate up the Hogsmill River with a greater ease. As late as 1775, women ducked into the water for any number of supposed crimes. Up until 1867, Clattern Bridge served as one of the goals in the local football match (the other goal being the main bridge over the River Thames). These were highly competitive, violent affairs that saw the ball kicked and carried by two teams of varying number. This is how British football evolved, with many local areas separating into two teams and beating the hell out of one another (usually irrespective of who actually possessed the ball!! Eventually, the Local Authorities transferred these games to purpose-built playing fields and the modern game of football was developed.

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