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Bridge on former Rother Navigation (at SU 98291882)

A Grade II Listed Building in Sutton, West Sussex

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Latitude: 50.9605 / 50°57'37"N

Longitude: -0.6018 / 0°36'6"W

OS Eastings: 498290

OS Northings: 118828

OS Grid: SU982188

Mapcode National: GBR FGS.QNF

Mapcode Global: FRA 96MK.WXK

Entry Name: Bridge on former Rother Navigation (at SU 98291882)

Listing Date: 13 November 2007

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1392320

English Heritage Legacy ID: 503085

Location: Sutton, Chichester, West Sussex, GU28

County: West Sussex

District: Chichester

Civil Parish: Sutton

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Sutton St John the Baptist with Bignor Holy Cross

Church of England Diocese: Chichester

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Listing Text


427/0/10033 Bridge on former Rother Navigation (at
13-NOV-07 SU98291882)

DESCRIPTION: A canal bridge dating to the 1790s of red and grey brick. This is a single round-headed arched bridge with a parapet which has a cement coping. Each end of each parapet terminates in a brick pier which also has a cement coping.
The red and grey brick are random patterned in English Bond. The arch is formed by ashlar quoins supporting an arch of vertical bricks, above which are two courses of stretcher bond followed by two offset courses of header bond.

HISTORY: It was recognised in the C18 that an alternative means of transport was needed in Sussex as the roads were notoriously bad; timber from the Weald could take up to three years to reach the shipyards. The rivers of Sussex have long been used for transport. The River Arun's lower reaches have been used for navigation since the C11, and during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I the Arun was made navigable from Littlehampton to its junction with the River Rother. Also the traditional sinuous routes of some of the county's rivers were straightened in the C16 to make them navigable. Further improvements were made in the late C18 and early C19 by building artificial cuts with locks and canals.

The canals and canalised waterways of Sussex were not comparable in size and importance with those of the Midlands and the North of England, but they were a significant part of the county's transport system for 300 years. The waterways were at their zenith in the 1830s, but the advent of the railways across West Sussex in the mid-C19 brought competition which was ultimately to sound the death knell of water-borne transport on a commercial basis. The Chichester & Arundel section of the Portsmouth & Arundel Canal was the first to become derelict in the 1850s and by 1900 only the occasional barge was present on the river and canal system.

The River Rother between Midhurst and the point where it meets the River Arun Navigation was known as the Rother Navigation, and was built between 1791 and 1795 by the third Earl of Egremont so that coal could be taken to Midhurst and Petworth, and corn and timber could be exported from the area. The line of the canal was surveyed by William Jessop and for the most part it followed the natural course of the river. It had only 2 miles of artificial cuts along its total 11 ΒΌ mile length, and rose by 54ft with the aid of 8 locks. When the railway to Midhurst was completed in 1866 the fortune of the Rother Navigation started to decline, although it did remain in commercial use until March 1888.

The bridge at Shopham which is the subject of this listing lies adjacent to Shopham Lock, and is close to the point where the Petworth Canal, a canalised stream which had only two locks, leaves the Rother Navigation on its route to Haslingbourne Bridge. The bridge, both by form of brick and design, can be attributed to the period of canal construction. This bridge is shown on an Ordnance Survey map published in 1880.

P A L Vine, West Sussex Waterways (1985)
P A L Vine, London's Lost Route To Midhurst The Earl of Egremont's Navigation (1995)

The Bridge at Shopham, Sutton is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* The bridge, dating to the 1790s, is in original condition with some minor repairs
* The bridge is of architectural interest in the context of both the Rother Navigation and the wider Sussex canal network
* The bridge is of historic interest as part of the national waterways system of the late C18

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

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