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River Black Underbridge

A Grade II Listed Building in Cornelly (Corneli), Bridgend

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.5292 / 51°31'45"N

Longitude: -3.7113 / 3°42'40"W

OS Eastings: 281389

OS Northings: 182533

OS Grid: SS813825

Mapcode National: GBR H6.GZ36

Mapcode Global: VH5H8.MTCK

Entry Name: River Black Underbridge

Listing Date: 5 April 2016

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 87693

Location: Over the Afon Cynffig, accessed via a footpath from Plwerin to Llanmihangel. (Partly in Cynffig Community, Bridgend)

County: Bridgend

Community: Cornelly (Corneli)

Community: Cornelly

Locality: Llanmihangel

Traditional County: Glamorgan

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North Cornelly

History

Constructed as part of the development of the South Wales Railway (SWR) from 1844 by the Great Western Railway (GWR). The Chief Engineer of the GWR Isambard Kingdom Brunel was appointed as engineer for the SWR. No direct evidence exists that shows that Brunel was directly responsible for the engineering of the line but is probable that he had direct influence on the laying out of the line and the design of the structures along it.

Initially the SWR was connected to the Cheltenham branch of the GWR across the Severn estuary, to Chepstow and then Newport, Cardiff, Bridgend, Neath and Swansea, eventually to Carmarthen, Fishguard and Pembroke. The route was laid out to follow the largely level coastal plain, avoiding the difficult contours of the South Wales Valleys but still requiring substantial engineering works along the line, notably at Neath (the Neath Abbey Viaduct across the River Clydach) and Landore (where a timber viaduct was constructed). Brunel would have been responsible for designing or supervising these works.

Work on the construction of the SWR began in 1846 with the line from Chepstow to Swansea opening in 1850. With the construction of the Wye Bridge in 1852 the South Wales Railway was connected to the rest of the railway network via Gloucester. The Severn Tunnel was constructed in 1886 taking the line on the more direct route from Severn Tunnel Junction to Bristol. To further improve journey times the line from Newport to Cardiff was quadrupled in 1941, removing many of the original line structures. The line west of Cardiff has not been quadrupled.

The River Black underbridge carries the railway over the Afon Cynffig and is a substantial well preserved bridge dating to the original phase of construction of the SWR. It is comparable in design with the Mill Bridge 500m to the east which also carries the railway over a loop of the Afon Cynffig.

Exterior

Railway bridge, single span masonry underbridge with projecting wingwalls. Constructed from coursed and squared rock faced sandstone with rusticated voussoirs. Parapet with later metal railings. Plain sloping wingwalls.

Reasons for Listing

Included for its special architectural interest as a well preserved example of a mid C19 railway bridge, one of the original structures of the South Wales Railway.

It is also of special historic interest for being associated with the renowned Victorian engineer IK Brunel, forming part of a remarkably complete body of work by him and a significant contribution to the engineering heritage of the UK. It forms part of the growth of the railway network in the age of ‘Railway Mania’ in the mid C19, a period when long distance travel was revolutionised and South Wales became linked much closer to England, leading in part to the industrial and urban boom of Victorian South Wales.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

  • II* Llanmihangel
    Located at the end of a track which runs N off Marlas Road, Pyle. N of Llanmihangel Mill Farm.
  • II Mill Bridge Underbridge
    Over the Afon Cynffig, down river from Llanmihangel Mill Farm. (Partly in the Cynffig Community, Bridgend).
  • II* Llanmihangel Mill
    Located N of the Afon Cynffig on a track which leads off Marlas Road in Pyle. Part of Llanmihangel Mill Farm.
  • II Marlas House
    The farm stands on the S bank of the Afon Cynffig, close to the railway bridge and the road from North Cornelly to Kenfig, which runs alongside the N side of the N wing.
  • II Bridge near Llanmihangel Mill
    The bridge carries a track over the Afon Cynffig to the SE of Llanmihangel Mill Farm.
  • II Marlas Road Overbridge
    On Marlas Road near to its junction with Kenfig Road
  • II* Church of St Mary Magdalen, Pyle with Kenfig.
    The church stands in a raised curvilinear churchyard on a high prominence above the former site of Kenfig, by the junction of the side road into Maudlam village.
  • II Chest tomb in the graveyard of the Church of St Mary Magdalen, Pyle with Kenfig.
    Maudlam hamlet stands on elevated ground NE of the former borough of Kenfig. The tomb stands on the N side of the axial path leading to the W porch of the church, and 5m W of the porch.

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