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Where Berkshire meets Oxfordshire

  • In Saxon & Norman times, there was only a ferry across the River Thames between Reading and Caversham.
  • When William Marshal ran England for the young Henry III, he lived at Caversham Castle. The King had to cross the river by ferry to see him.
  • In the 1220s, when he was older, King Henry paid for a bridge to be built instead.
  • The bridge had a chapel dedicated to St. Anne standing on an island in the middle of the River. Travellers stopped there to pray for a safe journey. Pilgrims also came to visit the relics that it had.
  • The bridge had a wooden drawbridge at the Reading end. This could be raised to control the traffic in times of trouble, or at night.
  • The chapel was closed by Dr. John London in 1538. It became a house.
  • During the Civil War, King Charles I & his army lost the Battle of Caversham Bridge while trying to help their friends being besieged in Reading. It was too late anyway, as Reading had already surrendered.
  • In the early 19th century, the bridge was in such a bad state that people kept falling off where there was no parapet!
  • The medieval stone and brick bridge was replaced by an iron bridge in 1868.
  • The present concrete bridge was built in 1926.

   

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