In a newspaper report on the marriage of Miss Miss Edith Ann
Arkwright of Willersley to Mr. Richard Digby Cleesby, a barrister,
that took place on 19 April 1870 in St. Mary's Church on the
far side of the bridge the journalist assigned to the story
allocated a good deal of his copy to describing the local
scenery. He wrote that Cromford Bridge was "formerly
... but a pack horse bridge, but now is twice its previous
width. It has peculiarities about it, one of which is that
the arches are pointed on one side and circular on the other.
The bridge is said to occupy the site of a Roman ford ...It
is also remarkable, as being the scene of a man named Froggatt,
whose horse leaped over the bridge into the river, the rider
retaining his seat, and both himself and horse escaping unhurt".
Edward Bradbury, the author and journalist known as "Strephon",
agreed that Cromford Bridge was an architectural curiosity: "it
was formerly a pack saddle structure and was widened during
the last century".
The exploits of William Froggat in 1697 were expanded further
in 1926 when it was said that the rider was travelling in the
direction of Cromford Bridge but was unable to negotiate the
curve. His horse leapt over the parapet into the swollen river.
Fortunately, both horse and rider escaped unhurt. The newspaper
correspondent stated:- "I examined the famous inscription
Cromford Bridge. It is on the face of one of the big stones
forming the bridge wall on the down-stream side of the road
at the Cromford end".
Charles Colledge, who took the picture, was looking upstream.
The entrance to Willersley is on the far right and he has quite
cleverly ensured that the Castle building is above the central
pointed arch of the bridge.
on the bridge can
be found amongst the Matlock MIs (scroll down).
Fay's article, "The End of a Long and Winding Road",
in the Matlock section of this website has a picture taken of
the restoration of the ancient medieval chapel next to the bridge
and two photos of the old fishing lodge that is by the roadside
(see images 11, 12 and 13).