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Tern Bridge

A Grade II* Listed Building in Atcham, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.6797 / 52°40'46"N

Longitude: -2.6633 / 2°39'47"W

OS Eastings: 355250

OS Northings: 309312

OS Grid: SJ552093

Mapcode National: GBR BN.470C

Mapcode Global: WH9D0.2X02

Entry Name: Tern Bridge

Listing Date: 29 January 1952

Last Amended: 15 August 2017

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1055124

English Heritage Legacy ID: 259232

Location: Atcham, Shropshire, SY5

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Atcham

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Atcham St Eata

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield

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Listing Text

SJ 50 NE


Tern Bridge




Road bridge. Dated 1780 and signed by William Hayward, but also attributed to Robert Mylne of 1774; widened to the south in 1932. Grey sandstone ashlar. Single wide segmental arch with banded rusticated soffit and voussoirs with triple keystone consisting of fluted keys flanking central carved face; abutments with rusticated Tuscan half-columns flanking arched niches; continuous frieze, cornice, and balustraded parapet, breaking forward over abutments; curved retaining walls with square end piers and battered buttresses. Secondary retaining walls also added circa 1932. Lugged half-H panel in centre of parapet inscribed: "THIS BRIDGE/was erected at the Expense of the County/A.D. MDCCLXXX/ and decorated at the Expense of/Noel Hill Esq/WILLIAM HAYWARD ARCHITECT"; smaller plates record that the bridge was: "WIDENED 1932 BY/THE REINFORCED CONCRETE/CONSTRUCTION CO LTD/OLD TRAFFORD MANCHESTER".

In his Red Book of 1797-88 Humphry Repton suggested making the bridge more monumental, which appears to have involved adding an arch to the east, but this was not carried out. H.M. Colvin refers to an inscription on the central (sic) arch recording that the bridge was "the last Edifice erected by that ingenious Architect William Hayward" but his was not visible at time of survey (January 1985). Pevsner (B.o.E.) however attributes the design to Robert Mylne (1733-1811). Comparison with the small bridge in Attingham Park (q.v.) which is attributed to Hayward suggests that the more elegant and sophisticated Tern Bridge is by Mylne but construction may have been supervised by Hayward.

This entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 23 March 2017.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.


Road bridge, built in 1771-1780, designed by William Hayward for the County of Shropshire and Noel Hill, 2nd Baron of Berwick. The road was widened in 1932.


Road bridge, built in 1771-1780, designed by William Hayward for the County of Shropshire and Noel Hill, 2nd Baron of Berwick. The road was widened in 1932.

MATERIAL: grey sandstone ashlar.

DESCRIPTION: the bridge consists of a single, wide, segmental arch with rusticated voussoirs. At the centre is a triple keystone consisting of fluted keys flanking a central carved face. Above is a continuous frieze and cornice, topped by a balustrade parapet interrupted by intermittent square blocking. At either end of the arch is an arched niche flanked by rusticated Tuscan half-columns and the parapet above breaks forward of the bridge line. The bridge is flanked by curved retaining walls that have square-end piers and battered buttresses. A plaque in the centre of the parapet is inscribed ‘THIS BRIDGE/WAS ERECTED AT THE EXPENSE OF THE COUNTY/A.D. MDCCLXXX/ AND DECORATED AT THE EXPENSE OF/NOEL HILL ESQ/WILLIAM HAYWARD ARCHITECT’. Smaller plates records that the bridge ‘WIDENED 1932 BY/THE REINFORCED CONCRETE/CONSTRUCTION CO LTD/OLD TRAFFORD MANCHESTER’.


Tern Bridge stands on the southern boundary of Attingham Park (Grade II* registered), an C18 Picturesque landscape through which runs the River Tern. The northern side of park was landscaped by Thomas Legget in 1769-1772. The bridge was built in 1777-1780, replacing an earlier bridge located 150m to the north. The crossing was moved to create a new route for the Holyhead road (B4380), thereby enlarging Attingham Park. William Hayward was commissioned to design and build the bridge. The County of Shropshire paid for its construction and the decoration was funded by Noel Hill, 2nd Baron of Berwick who inherited Attingham Park in 1768. Hill’s interest was due to the prominent view between the bridge and the main house. Hill went on to make major alterations to the estate, including the rebuilding of the main house in the 1780s (Grade I listed). He also commissioned Humphry Repton to make improvements to the landscape in 1797, including improving the view to Tern Bridge. Repton’s Red Book of 1797-1798 includes a picture of the bridge with a proposed additional pedestrian arch and a realigned parapet, neither of which were carried out. Further retaining walls topped by railings were added in the late C18 to the either end of the bridge on the north side (Grade II listed). The roadway was widened to the south in around1932.

William Hayward (about 1740-1782) was an architect and bridge builder. He was the son of the mason John Hayward of Lincoln and father of the architect William Hayward of Lincoln (d.1825). William Hayward designed several bridges including Walcot Mill Bridge, also on the River Tern, built in 1782 (Grade II listed) and Henley Bridge, Henley on Thames, designed 1781 and constructed after his death by John Townsend (Grade I listed).

Reasons for Listing

Tern Bridge, built in 1771-1780 to designs by William Hayward, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:
* It is an elegant, classically-style, single-span road bridge, employing high-quality stone and craftsmanship;
* It displays a high level of decorative attention, which was afforded due to its prominent visual relationship with the adjacent designed landscape of Attingham Park.

Historic interest:
* It was designed by the notable bridge designer William Hayward, who was responsible for several important crossings including Walcot Mill Bridge, Shropshire (Grade II listed) and Henley Bridge, Henley on Thames (Grade I listed).

Group value:
* With a number of designated assets including the adjacent landscape garden at Attingham Park (Grade II* registered) and the main house (Grade I listed), as well as Atcham Bridge (Grade II* listed) to the west.

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