Henley's Medieval Bridge
Henley from the Wargrave Road (detail) by Jan Siberechts: from an original painting in the River & Rowing Museum, Henley-on-Thames
Physical remains suggest that Henley's bridge was built (or possibly rebuilt) around the 1170s, perhaps when the planned town was laid out. The earliest documentary reference dates from 1225. The 12th-century bridge may have been of stone, but the main span was of timber by the 16th century, and survived in an increasingly patched-up state until c.1784-5. It was finally demolished when the existing bridge was built immediately along its northern side between 1782 and 1786, designed by William Hayward of Shrewsbury. The old bridge can be seen in late 17th-century paintings of Henley by the Dutch painter Jan Siberechts.
Since no detailed descriptions survive of the medieval structure, we can reconstruct it only from a combination of documentary references, architectural remains, and post-medieval accounts and illustrations. Find out more , or read a fuller account on the VCH Oxfordshire website.