Listed Building

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Status: Designated


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Date Added
Local Authority
Scottish Borders
Planning Authority
Scottish Borders
NT 57530 34668
357530, 634668


Alexander Stevens Snr, 1778-80. Late 18th century road bridge with 105ft wide central segmental archway flanked by round arches of 55ft, crossing the River Tweed. Smaller accommodation arch to south abutment. Red sandstone to spandrels; red and buff sandstone to parapet and foundations; narrow coursed whinstone to decorative panels. Rough-hewn pier foundations tied with iron cramps support curved and pointed cutwaters to central arch. Recessed circular panels with urn ornaments to spandrel faces. Dentilated string course. Triangular supporting piers enriched with quatrefoil medallions and terminating in angled refuges at road level. Coped parapet with pyramidal finials at either approach.

Statement of Special Interest

An exceptional, finely engineered and well-detailed road bridge of 1778 crossing the River Tweed at Leaderfoot. Elegantly proportioned, the crown of its broad central arch is less than 3ft thick. Longitudinal cavities within each spandrel are designed to reduce the weight of the structure. The use of prow-like cutwaters was also very new to Britain in 1780 and this is one of the first examples. The recessed roundels within the spandrels with carved urn ornaments provide additional character. The dentilled string course marks the level of the original roadway which was raised toward the ends at a later date to make the carriageway more level. The bridge remains an outstanding example of late 18th century bridge engineering.

Alexander Stevens was a renowned Scottish architect and engineer who specialised in Bridge building. 'The Buildings of Scotland' notes that the innovative use of French-style curved and pointed cutwaters were probably inspired by Robert Mylne's Blackfriars Bridge in London (1760-69). They also feature in Stevens's later design for Teviot Bridge in Kelso (see separate listing).

Drygrange Old Bridge carried the A68 trunk road traffic until 1974 when it was bypassed by a prefabricated box-girder bridge by Sir Alexander Gibb and Partners. A short distance upstream stands the towering, 126ft high Leaderfoot Railway Viaduct of 1865 (see separate listing). Together, these three intervisible bridges reflect changing approaches to bridge engineering over a two century period.

Old Drygrange Bridge is sometimes referred to as the 'Fly Boat' bridge in reference to an earlier ferry crossing at Leaderfoot.

List description updated at resurvey (2010).



RCAHMS, Inventory Volume II, p584 and illustration Vol I, fig 30. J R Hume, The Industrial Archaeology of Scotland, Lowlands and Borders (1976) p234. Ted Ruddock, Arch Bridges And Their Builders 1735-1835 (1979) pp120-3. Charles A Strang, Borders and Berwick (1994) p173. Kitty Cruft, John Dunbar, Richard Fawcett, The Buildings of Scotland - Borders (2006) pp66, 489. Roland Paxton and Jim Shipway, Civil Engineering Heritage - Scotland Lowlands and Borders (2007) pp81-82. Howard Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects (4th Edition - 2008) pp983-4.

About Listed Buildings

Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing and if a number or name is missing from a listing address it may still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing can also cover structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The planning authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. Since 1 October 2015 we have been able to exclude items from a listing. If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect current legislation.

If you want to alter, extend or demolish a listed building you need to contact your planning authority to see if you need listed building consent. The planning authority advises on the need for listed building consent and they also decide what a listing covers. The planning authority is the main point of contact for all applications for listed building consent.

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Printed: 23/03/2019 13:10