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The Andrews Pages Picture Gallery : Godalming, Surrey
A selection of photographs and postcards of a Surrey country town
Eashing Bridge
Eashing Bridge, 1898

The mediaeval double stone bridge spanning the river Wey at Eashing was probably built in the thirteenth century. John Janaway suggests the builders could have been the monks of Waverley Abbey[1]. A slightly later record referring to the bridge dates from 1565[2].

The river divides upstream and the two sections rejoin on the far side of the bridge. The 1898 postcard, above, shows us Eashing Bridge and its wooden railings and features a horse and [water] cart in the river; there is a large barrel behind the horse. On the right hand side, before the bridge crosses the river, is a large barn which has subsequently been converted into a home. Next to it are two cottages, one timber framed and the other of stone. A modern bungalow has been built between the former barn and the cottages.

In 1876 W. More Molyneux of Losely Park placed a notice in a local newspaper declaring that Eashing Bridge had been found to be in a dangerous state and was to be closed to all traffic after 24 May until further notice[3]. By 1886 repairs to the road and structure of the bridge had become controversial as the ownership was in dispute. A Mr. Hodgson [James Stewart Hodgson] seemed to have become the owner of the manorial rights, but it was thought that Mr. More Molyneux was really responsible as his father had repaired the bridge and claimed some adjacent waste land where attention was then required[4]. A few weeks later it was agreed that the responsibility for repairing the fence here rested solely with the lord of the manor. Whilst no action was to be taken against the persons liable for the repair, the matter was to be brought before the county authorities[5].

The state of the bridge was still problematic in 1898. Godalming Rural Parish Council wrote to its Guildford counterpart, drawing attention to the bad state of the road over it. They pointed out, yet again, that the Lord of the Manor should keep it in repair. The traffic using the bridge had increased by this time[6].

The opposite side of the bridge, from a painting by A de B., before 1918.
The modern National Trust sign near the bridge refers to it as Eashing Bridges and ...
"the down-stream cutwaters which are rounded to prevent eddying of the water and
consequent weakening of the piers".

In the end the problem was solved when the bridge was given to the National Trust in 1901[7], so after the top picture was taken. One contemporary newspaper report described it as "a picturesque old structure dating from the time of King John", adding that it had been in danger of being "widened and strengthened" by the local authorities, but has now been made over to the National Trust together with a sim of Consol[e]s to cover the cost of future maintenance[7]. Shortly afterwards the Old Guildford Society noted that they had entered into some correspondence regarding the repair of Eashing Bridges, "now safely vested in the National Trust"[8].

In 1904 Guildford Rural District Council agreed to keep the road surface at Eashing Bridge in repair for an annual payment of £8 by the National Trust[9].

There was some concern for potential damage to the bridge when Godalming Corporation laid a water main over it in 1935. Mr. Thackeray Turner, then Chairman of the West Surrey Society, pointed out that all water mains had to be two feet below the surface. He raised concerns about frost affecting the bridge but was assured that 95 per cent. of the main had been laid on a concrete base and the remaining 5 per cent encased in concrete as it had not been possible to lay it at a the required dept. The then Chairman of Godalming Council's water committee stated the bridge was not in danger[10].

Eashing Bridge, no date
The River Wey is flowing downstream towards Godalming.
The card's publisher was still in Surrey in 1918 (see below),
but he has not yet been located after that date. About 1918.

Eashing was historically part of the Hundred of Godalming but in 1866 the ecclesiastical parish of Shackleford was formed and included the hamlets of Shackleford, Lower Eashing, Hurtmore, Gatwick, Lydling and Attleforde[11]. Both Upper and Lower Eashing are now administered by Guildford Borough Council.

1. "Eashing Bridge", published by F. Frith & Co. Ltd., Reigate, No.41806. Printed in Saxony. First published in 1898. Not posted. Frith took at least one more postcard of the bridge in 1898,
2. "Eashing Bridge, Nr. Godalming". Eyre & Spotiswoode's Woodbury Series, No.4067 [pre1918]. Not posted.
The first two postcards in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
3. "Eashing Bridge, Nr. Godalming". Published by [Samuel George] Eaton, Church Street, Godalming. No date. In the collection of, provided by and © Scott Green.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] Janaway, John "The Story of Godalming" (1983) Local Heritage Books, Newbury ISBN 1 86368005 4.

[2] The Surrey History Centre holds a record from the Loseley Manuscripts (records of the More and More Molyneux family of Loseley Park), dated 1585. Ref: LM/1022/1-4. The dorse [back] of sheet 4 records the state of repair of bridges to be repaired by the Queen within the hundreds of Woking and Godley and Godalming: ... Eashing Bridge ... (this information from TNA, but they do not hold the record).

[3] "Surrey Advertiser", 17 May 1879. Notice - Closure of Eashing Bridge.

[4] "West Surrey Times", 16 January 1886. Godalming Highways Board.

[5] "ibid.", 13 February 1886. Godalming Highways Board..

[6] "ibid.", 28 October 1898. Eashing Bridge. Godalming Rural Parish Council wrote to Guildford Rural District Council about the issue.

[7] "Weekly Dispatch" (London), 17 November 1901. Saved for the people. An Interesting old Surrey bridge. The web mistress notes that King John, who was mentioned in the article, reigned 1199-1216.

[7] National Trust sign at Eashing Bridges.

[8] "West Surrey Times", 23 August 1902. Old Guildford Society.
This was the society's fifth annual report, which had been formed for the preservation of the beauty and interest of Guildford and the neighbourhood.

[9] "ibid.", 2 January 1904. Guildford Rural District Council. Miscellaneous.

[10] "West Sussex Gazette", 25 July and 1 August 1935.

[11] "Kelly's Directory of Surrey", 1891.

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Mill Lane, 1907.
Describes why horses and carts went into the river