Fye Bridge

On a blissful summer’s evening walk along the River Wensum a couple of weeks ago, we came across one of the city’s ghostly storytellers regaling a sizeable group with tales of the women suspected of being witches who were ducked and drowned from Fye Bridge.

Matthew Hopkins, the Witchfinder General, and his colleague in terror, John Stearne, carried out the witch hunts between 1644 and 1647. You can read more about their evil endeavours at CulturaObscura.


The bridge itself looks innocently picturesque in the balmy evening light, but once it held nothing but terror for some of the folk of Norwich, mostly women, but also dishonest tradesmen. 


Fye Bridge is the oldest known bridge site in Norwich. Even older than Bishop Bridge, the bridge was rebuilt in the early 1930’s, so it has a more modern appearance. The bridge site dates back to 1153, a timber structure replaced with stone in the early 15th century. You can see more details and images of the construction of Fye Bridge via George Plunkett.

Personally, I love the shape of Fye bridge, the low curves and contrasting brickwork. It’s nice to sit with a drink at the Ribs of Beef and watch river life glide by.

Fye Bridge shot from a Thorpe Island Canoe

Sometimes you can see Kingfishers doing a spot of fishing. I’ve heard otters are sometimes around, but we have yet to see one.

Fye Bridge Quayside viewpoint


As with many old sites in Norwich, there are stories of a ghost. I will return to ghostly goings on in more detail as this Wensum series progresses, but the likelihood of me ever catching one on camera is extremely remote. If I ever do, the images will appear here first!

From NorfolkLive.co.uk—”Fye Bridge still stands today, and although the days of dunking suspected witches into the river are over, the bridge is said to be home to the ghost of a woman who was tried at the site. She was later burned for witchcraft at the nearby Lollard’s Pit, which is now a local pub. According to those who have had sightings of the ghost, she is dressed in rags and begs strangers to help her pick up a dropped bundle of sticks that were used to kindle the fire that killed her. It’s also believed that those that are kind enough to stop and help her will die in a fire within the year. “

It is always in my nature to help where needed, but I may avoid helping this ghost, I’ve far too many blog posts to get done yet!

Fye Bridge Willows

The name Fye, comes from Magdalen Street which was originally called Fybriggate meaning the street leading to Fye Bridge. (Heritage Norfolk). 

Please visit the sites I have linked for more information. I find the George Plunkett site particularly fascinating because of the old images of the bridges along the Wensum. It is well worth a look.

Under Fye Bridge

If you are interested to learn more of the history of old Norwich, the sites mentioned above give great information. Nick Stone of Invisible Works also makes for a fascinating and in depth read.

If you are new to Norwich I hope you will enjoy learning more about this fine city with its incredible history. If you already have lived here for years, I am sure like me, you are always learning new things about this remarkable place. Hopefully my River Wensum series will spark more interest and you will enjoy my images.

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Please see other posts in the River Wensum Series below. It begins with the bridges, and I will go on to write about the buildings and wildlife (including some of the humans) along the river.

Images of Bridges along the Wensum by MyriadLifePhoto

Please scroll down to find links to the other River Wensum bridges in this series.

Carrow Bridge

Novi Sad Friendship Bridge

Lady Julian Bridge

Foundry Bridge

Bishop Bridge

Jarrold Bridge

Whitefriars Bridge

Bridges O’er The Wensum – Carrow Bridge

As part of my River Wensum photographic record, I am going to post about each of the bridges along the Wensum, starting here with Carrow Bridge.

Carrow Bridge is a lifting bridge. Unfortunately, I have never been lucky enough to see it lift up. I like to peer into the little control hut and imagine it in operation. Despite my best attempts to find a video of it opening, so far, I haven’t been successful. All I can find is a video of the test opening in 2018 to allow TS Lord Nelson aka HMS Vale pass through, which isn’t particularly interesting!

The current Carrow Bridge was constructed in 1923 to replace the old bridge to the South. More recently, there have been plans by the council to weld the bridge shut. Read a press release from the Norwich Society about this here

Reginald Dann, lived in Carrow Bridge House (the former bridge master’s house) for more than 50 years until it was sold at auction. Thankfully, a plan by the county council to demolish it was defeated by the city council.

You can see images of the bridge open here in an EDP article, when the TS Lord Nelson passed through in 2004. There is also a nice image in the article of the The ship “Paullgate” of Hull carrying cargo under Carrow bridge at the port of Norwich. Dated 20 May 1966. The TS Lord Nelson was eventually decommissioned and now rests in Bristol.

I walk across the bridge at least once every day, and I also cross it every night. I enjoy looking out over both sides of Carrow bridge, but my favourite view is looking back up the river past the Devil’s Tower towards old Paper Mill Yard.

You can read more about the history of the Devil’s Tower here – it is a virtually unique structure in England, built in the early 14th century. Directly opposite is the Windlass Tower.

I will write more about the Wensum Boom Towers in future posts.

A view further up from Carrow Bridge.

Up river towards the old Colman’s factory site.
The Broads Authority River Ranger making checks near Carrow Bridge

Carrow Bridge by night.

I frequently pass under the bridge, on the way into the city. It is a favourite spot for pigeons to court in the spring. There is also the occasional dove.

Sometimes swans sit in the wooden under-structure compartments as if they were stables. I am sure there is a technical name for the structure, but I have no idea what it is.

Carrow Bridge by night.

Eric and Erica, the Egyptian geese, like to perch on the wooden sidings that are there to guide boats through, but usually they are keeping guard on the river bank. Occasionally, a heron perches near the bridge too.

On summer nights, if you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of bats performing aerobatics around the bridge.

Eric and Erica keeping watch near Carrow Bridge

Street Art under Carrow Bridge

Every now and then, new street art appears under the bridge. These images have disappeared now, which is a shame because I really liked them. They are preferable to the meaningless tagging that crops up everywhere (not meaningless to gangs, I guess, but still an eyesore). 

To see old pictures of Carrow Bridge and the rest of the city, you may enjoy visiting the Francis Frith Collection.

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Sources used for this blog post: EDP24, The Norwich Society, the Francis Frith Collection, Norwich.Gov.uk, WivenhoeHistory.org.uk