Bishop Bridge

‘An antique bridge communicating with a long and narrow suburb’ from Lavengro by George Borrow.

My River Wensum series starts with a photo tour of bridges. I began with Carrow Bridge as it is the nearest to my apartment. Traveling along the Wensum up towards the city, the next bridge featured in this series is the Novi Sad Friendship Bridge, followed by the Lady Julian Bridge and from there we arrived next at Foundry Bridge . After Foundry bridge, if you were traveling towards the city in a boat, to your left you would see Pull’s Ferry and Norwich Cathedral as you headed towards Bishop Bridge. The next bridge in this series…

Bishop Bridge in Autumn – prints via the link

Bishop Bridge is probably the bridge I photograph the most. It is the only surviving medieval bridge in Norwich, and I love the shape and the ancient colourful flint stones and bricks that form it. It is a wide footbridge and is photogenic from every angle; it is beautiful by day or by night.

There is a pretty view of the cathedral spire and leafy views of the Wensum either side. We often watch bats flit along the river, and you can also see the sparkly lights of the Red Lion pub, a popular riverside watering hole. 

View from near Bishop Bridge – prints via the link

Bishop Bridge was built in 1340 and has been maintained by the city since 1393. It is made of flint and brick. See more details via the Heritage Norfolk site. It is one of the oldest active bridges in Britain, with the origins of a gatehouse there being traced back to 1275. 

Bishop Bridge at Night

Britainexpress give a few more interesting facts about the bridge.

Whenever we walk over the bridge, my boyfriend gives a shudder. As scenic as the bridge is, it carries with it a dark history of the Lollards, who used to cross it on the way to their execution (by burning at the stake) at Lollards Pit outside the city walls. Lollardy was a Proto-Protestant movement that existed from the mid-14th century until the 16th century reformation. 

Bishop Bridge view from the Red Lion Public House

While researching Lollards, I discovered that, originally, the Dutch word was a colloquial name for a group of the buriers of the dead during the Black Death. Their song was a ‘lollon’, which meant to sing softly, from their chants for the dead. You can read more about them via Wikipedia. It makes for a fascinating read. 

We have yet to see a Lollard’s ghost, but if you are interested in the ghosts of Norwich, The Norfolk Local Guide gives a good tour of ghosts and haunted places around the city.

Standing in the middle of Bishop Bridge looking down the river, listening to the sweet chirps of the birds, watching the trees blow in the breeze, and seeing paddle boarders or canoes pass under, you have to feel thankful that the terrible times of the Lollards have long since passed.

Bishop Bridge framed prints

If you’d like to see old pictures of Bishop Bridge and the city of Norwich, the Francis Frith Collection is well worth a visit. 

Next in my River Wensum Bridges series is the Jarrold Bridge. From ancient to modern we go…

Please subscribe to keep updated with this River Wensum series. You can also buy notebooks and greeting card of Norwich and the bridges featured in this series, please see below.