The bridge we see today at Yarm was commissioned around 1400AD by Walter Skirlaw, the Bishop of Durham. It replaced an earlier bridge which had been built around 1200AD.
The bridge connects Yarm to Egglescliffe and, prior to the opening of the Tees Barrage in 1995, marked the furthest reach of tidal flow up the River Tees. The barrage now regulates the river flow above Stockton.
The northernmost arch, on the Egglescliffe side, had a drawbridge built into it as a defensive measure during the English Civil War to prevent Parliamentary troops in the area from crossing the bridge and marching on the town of Stockton – then held by the Royalists. This drawbridge was in place until 1785 when it was removed as the bridge was undergoing one of its many renovations.
The existing stone bridge was replaced in 1805 by an iron bridge when concerns were raised over the bridge piers obstructing the river flow which was causing Yarm to flood. Unfortunately, after being in use for less than a year, the iron bridge became unusable when one of the arches collapsed. The old stone bridge which was still in place was brought back into service after widening alterations were done. Though much repaired down the years, it still stands today.
Did you know… Before 1825, on Sunday evenings, carts would line up on the Yarm side of the bridge waiting to cross the river to collect coal from the Durham mines. The bridge was traditionally closed from midnight on Saturday until midnight on Sunday.