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Trinity Bridge: The Orphaned Bridge of Crowland

In the heart of Crowland, a small town in Lincolnshire, England, is a unique attraction—a 14th century stone arch bridge standing by the side of a road junction, long away from any river. But before it was left high and dry the bridge was a vital crossing point in south Lincolnshire dating back to Anglo-Saxon times.

Long, long ago, the River Welland flowed through Crowland, splitting at a point where the bridge stands today. One arm of the river continued north following more or less the present course of the river, while the other arm went south to join River Nene near Wisbech. Then sometime in the middle of 17th century, as part of a land reclamation project, River Welland was embanked and rerouted about a kilometer away from the bridge. The tiny stream that still flowed under the bridge was covered and became sewers.

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Photo credit: Electric Egg / Shutterstock.com

The Trinity Bridge has three stairways that converge at the top, and hence its name “Trinity” or three in one. The three-way structure allowed people to cross the two watercourses at their confluence without the need for two or even three separate bridges.

The bridge once had a large cross at its apex. During the Middle Ages, it may have been used as a platform by preaching monks and as a center of devotion for pilgrims approaching the abbey. Occasional outdoor religious services still take place there.

The current bridge, built between 1360 and 1390, is the second bridge to span the confluence. It replaced an earlier wooden bridge that dates at least six centuries further back.

A similar bridge in dry land, no longer crossing water, exist in Zrenjanin, Serbia.

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Photo credit: Electric Egg / Shutterstock.com

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Photo credit: Andy/Flickr

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