Bottesford Bridges

A survey in pictures

By Peggy Topps

The bridge to the west of the village goes over the River Devon and carries the railway from Nottingham to Grantham. The railway opened in 1850 and the bridge may date from this time.
Moving upstream, the next bridge known locally as Catfish Bridge used to carry the railway lines that branched off the Grantham line to Newark and Leicester. This track was put down in 1860 and closed in 1960.
The next bridge is a farm bridge at the end of Pinfold Lane adjacent to Rectory Farm.
Further along is a small footbridge that leads from Riverside Close across to Devon Farm.
At the end of Albert Street there is another small bridge that also leads to Devon Farm.
We then have The Green footbridge and the only surviving ford. This is an 18th Century bridge, built alongside the ford where Devon Lane crosses the river.
Taken by Mrs Peggy Topps.
The next bridge is a low level one near the west end of the church, which carries the road to Newark. This floods on a regular basis due to the fact that it carries a number of small tunnels, which often get blocked with twigs and leaves floating down the river. Early photographs show the ford before this structure was built. Today, it keeps the roadway clear of the water most of the time, though it can become flooded during periods of heavy rain - cars then pass through carefully, some don't make it and have to pushed or towed out.
Alongside this is a wooden footbridge. The river then winds around the church perimeter. Some 70 yards upstream there used to be a footbridge connecting The Rectory grounds with the church but this was removed when The Rectory was sold for development on the 1980s.
We now come to the Packhorse Bridge or Dr. Fleming's bridge, possibly the prettiest in the village. This was built in 1590 by Dr. Fleming, rector of Bottesford. One day, while trying to cross the river to church when the river was in flood, he had to be rescued. As a debt of gratitude he had the bridge built.
The final bridge at the east end of the village is a large concrete structure that straddles the old A52. This was built in the 1930s when the road was re-aligned. Before this date, the main road running east towards Muston and Grantham ran along what is now Rutland Lane, turned along Easthorpe Lane and crossed the river by the old Washdyke Bridge. On the northern side of the river it turned sharply to run eastwards parallel to the river.
The Three Arch Bridge, built in 1860, stood in the fields to the North of the village. It spanned both the River Devon and the railway line which once ran between Newark and Leicester.
Sadly after the heavy rains of June 2007 the bridge collapsed when the bank of the stream was suddenly eroded. This may well have been the result of neglect of the bridge over the decades since the line closed in the 1960s.
The replacement 'Three Arch Bridge' now just spanning the River Devon - lacking the architectural presence of the old bridge, to put it mildly!

Bottesford stands on the River Devon (pronounced ‘deven’), which rises in the hills south of the village and flows approximately northwards until it enters the Trent south of Newark. The village stands where north-south and east-west routes cross the river, originally by means of one or more fords, two of which remain today although one is crossed by a shallow road bridge which is flooded only infrequently.

These pictures show a series of bridges which carry roads, railways and farm tracks across the river. The oldest was built in the 17th Century by Dr Samuel Fleming, Rector of Bottesford. The newest bridge was built in 1989 to carry the A52 Bottesford bye-pass over it.  This bridge is situated where you turn off the A52 from Grantham to enter into Bottesford.

This page was added on 20/02/2007.

Comments about this page

  • Arthur Marsden (a veteran of WW 1 and long term resident of Bottesford) used to recall that he watched Council workmen putting in the culvert piped low bridge at the ford by the Church on Normanton Road. The workmen were advised by local residents that the pipes would not take the volume of water through the ford. This was borne out when the River Devon suddenly rose just as they were completing the project and washed away tools they had left on the road during their lunch break.

    By David Middleton (26/02/2007)
  • As long time visitors to Bottesford we were delighted to see all the bridges in Bottesford, many of which we did know existed. The photograhs by Peggy Topps are very professional and a credit to her skills.
    Clive Norris. 27/4/2007.

    By Mr. and Mrs. Clive Norris. (27/04/2007)
  • These pictures bring back so many happy memories of my childhood in Bottesford. Our cottage was on Church St next to The Six Bells and our friends the Bonds and have spent hours paddling in the streams and catching minnows!

    By Brenda Turier (nee Sellers) (05/05/2007)
  • Thank you for your comments. Please do contact us if you have any photographs of Bottesford and the cottages in Church Street you might like to have added to the site.

    By David Middleton (05/05/2007)
  • My wife and I have visited our friends Eric and Brenda Turier of Nottingham in the past. Brenda likes to mention Bottesford as that is where she had her childhood. We will make it a point to visit next time we are around as it looks to be quite an enchanting place.

    By Victor Camilleri -- Gozo, Malta. (06/05/2007)
  • What a wonderful surprise it was to read that our dear Gozitan friends Victor and Guza Camilleri had added a comment! I have told them so much about Bottesford and I have promised them that when they visit us again we will bring them over.
    Brenda Turier (nee Sellers)

    By Brenda Turier (nee Sellers) (11/06/2007)
  • Congratulations on a great website and to Peggy for such terrific photos. Mart and I remember seeing some of these bridges, especially Dr. Fleming’s bridge. We enjoyed the stories Peter and Peggy told us about the bridge immensely.

    By Georgia Cavanaugh (08/08/2007)
  • What a brilliant sequence of photographs and their accompanying commentaries. There are bridges here that I have never even seen – but I will do as I now plan to have another day there and take some of my own photographs. Many thanks for sharing these with us all.

    By John Carter (21/12/2007)
  • I and my sister Gill really love this trip down memory lane. My sister was born in 1944 in a dilapidated thatched roof cottage, where we lived during my fathers time in the RAF at Normanton aerodrome. We were initially billeted with a Mrs Bateson, before moving to the cottage, where my mother took great care of the bedridden resident Fanny?.. Can’t remember her last name but she was a dear soul. We then moved to Redmile after the war and our parents resided there for the rest of their lives. Don’t remember most of the bridges or the river Devon, but I did go to Melton Mowbray Grammar school with a Gina Topps. Any relation to Peggy ???

    By Ann Lucas née Hersey (24/06/2015)
  • Dear Ann, Thanks for getting in touch with us. It would be great to hear more of your memories. Can you recall where the thatched cottages was or anything else about it? Mrs Bateson lived in the Six Bells, which was once an ale-house. Her daughter was Ada Bateson, who became Ada Bond, and is now in a nursing home (aged 90+). Gina Topps was a daughter of Mary Topps, and her sister was (is) Wendy Cross, nee Topps. Wendy still lives in the village, but Gina sadly passed away a couple of years ago, not so long after she returned to live in Bottesford following her career as a nurse and nursing sister. She was not, as far as I know, related to Peggy, whose husband Peter is from a different branch of the Topps. There is a story on our website about Mary Topps and her family – type this into Google (or just type Mary Topps into the Search box on the website):

    The only Fanny I can think of was the wife of the rector during the war – Fanny Blackmore, but it doesn’t sound as if this is likely to have been the lady you mention.

    I am sure there is more to add. Please get back to us and tell us more of your memories. What was your dad’s work at the airfield?

    Neil Fortey

    By Neil Fortey (25/06/2015)
  • Hi Neil. Recently I have been chatting with Gill ( Nee Hersey) on Facebook, the sister of Ann Lucas and It raised my memories of her and also the old cottage they lived in, it was at almost the end of Pinfold Lane on the left ( The Nook ). It was thatched from memory and because of it’s condition was subsequently demolished, there was also another very old cottage on the other side of the lane. I also remember during this time before its demise looking through the old house and under some linoleum in the kitchen I found some old newspapers that had been used for undelay and on the headlines it carried, the story of the sinking of the Titanic.
    The land on which it stood from memory subsequently was used by Samuels Coal Merchants as a storage yard and also a small cottage was built on part of it by the Lee family Turf Contractors. It borders what is still I think Allotments.
    The Burrows and the Goodson,s farms were both accessed from Pinfold lane which is now no longer green fields but dwellings and at the bottom of the lane is that delightful brick bridge over the Devon that Peggy Topps photographed.
    My wife Liz worked in Grantham with Gill at Griffins Ladies Hairdressers and Gill like us moved to warmer climes, her to America in the late 60s and us to Australia in the 70s.
    The Bateson connection is also as you know the start in Bottesford that both families had and what a small world it is.
    Michael & Liz Bradshaw.

    By Michael Bradshaw (26/06/2015)
  • Hi Neil, we lived in a ratty old house in the Nook surrounded by farms. The roof finally caved in while I was sleeping and I woke up lying in a soaking bed and Double Pneumonia and was wonderfully taken care of by Dr Hudson, an Australian doctor who lived in Woolsthorpe. Our father was in the RAF for the whole six years and I believe ended up as a Warrant Officer there. He was in charge of the mechanics of the aero planes and would okay each plane before they took off on a bombing raid. Fanny was a sweet old lady whom my mother cared for! She never married, but had a son, Cyril, who lived in the Nottingham area! The cottage was very basic as I believe it dated back to the 13th century or thereabouts and had no running water, no electricity or gas and the loo wash away up the garden path and hilariously had side by side seating!!!! Mum would tear up newspaper squares and hang them on a nail as Toilet paper was a luxury.
    I remember tasting my first banana at age 7 as one of the pilots had acquired them and they were doled out to the officers with children! Mrs Morris was my first teacher and I fondly remember Miss Ford, who would read great stories like “the Children of the New Forest” and would illustrate it on the blackboard. I was horribly bullied by a gang of muscly girls, so my time in school was not happy, but I made it to Melton Mowbray Grammar School with Gina Topps, Kathleen Doubleday and June March, with whom I’m still in touch! I have lived in America for 41 yrs, half my lifetime, and have 4 “children” and 11 grandchildren. I was widowed in 2009. I’ve been very fortunate!

    By Ann Lucas - Hersey (27/06/2015)
  • The aforementioned Mrs Bateson’s daughter, Ada, met her husband who was stationed at Normanton and was a friend of my father’s and used to visit the house and met Ada that way! Mrs Bateson was lame and would hippity hop around her house continually singing “I’ll see you again”! Remember that? I tried to send a message to George Bolland as I saw him on here, but I couldn’t seem to be able to send it. I was born way too soon for all this darned technology!!!

    By Ann Lucas ( née Hersey) (27/06/2015)
  • Brings back so many childhood memories of fishing this river somewhere, I still have pics of flooding from 20 years ago, maybe longer, when the Landrover got washed down stream from the Ford etc. Is there still a deep pool in the river near the 3 Arch Bridge – used to be a cracking spot to fish, along with catfish bridge, both would throw out chub of 4-5 lb in the winter months and decent roach and bits in the summer. After the big floods, I have the pics of the river full of fish from the local canal when it went over the top of it. I didn’t realise the extent of the damage caused to the canal fish stocks till I started catching large bream and carp in bottles at the Ford and Muston.

    By Richard tasker (09/05/2017)
  • Hi Richard, Thanks for these memories. Someone should do a proper account of the history of fishing in Bottesford, and the floods. Is it right that you were catching bream and carp trapped in bottles after the canal overflowed? Meanwhile, it would be great to make copies of your pictures, if you could lend them to us for a day or two. With best wishes, Neil Fortey

    By Neil Fortey (09/05/2017)

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