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The Oxford to Cambridge Arc
Ogilby’s 1675 route
The hamlet of Sherington Bridge is on the North side of the bridge right on the border of the parish on the road towards Newport Pagnell. It is not known when the first bridge was built, but one of the first known references to the bridge is in the 13th century. It is thought that the original construction of the bridgehad a stone or rubble base and a wooden upper part. The bridge has beenreplaced a number of times since then, the most recent being in the early 1970's with a concrete construction. The picture above shows the previous bridge with the pedestrian passing places between the arches. ( From http://www.mkheritage.co.uk/shhs/tour11.htm )
Newport Pagnell to Bedford
Our principal map makers chose a number of different options for this section of the journey.*
Extracted from John Ogilby's Britannia, 1675
From Newport Pagnell, Ogilby notes two stone bridges before reaching Chichley. These are Lathbury Bridge (a little north of the North Bridge in Newport Pagnell itself) and Sherrington Bridge.
After Chichley, Ogilby’s route passed through Astwood and Stagsden. (Present day Stagsden was bypassed in 1992 and Astwood’s bypass must have been completed around the same time, though I have yet to confirm the date.)
The route passed straight into Bromham, to cross the Owse Flu (River Great Ouse) via the old Bromham Bridge. Today’s bridge has 26 arches. It looks at first glance to be of medieval origin. It is, however, largely a product of the rebuilding of 1813, though a bridge has existed on the site since the early Middle Ages.
Thomas Fisher's painting of Bromham Bridge in 1812, just before reconstruction and widening. This might well have been the bridge crossed by Ogilby.
Between Bromham and Bedford, Ogilby notes Fordend House as a landmark to the right of the road into Bedford. At least two hundred years old when Ogilby passed by, the Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record notes that the house was demolished around 1960.