1474- TOWN BRIDGE.
Yalding Town Bridge is a Grade 1 listed Ancient Monument, and is the longest ancient stone bridge in the county with a total length of some 450 feet.
The earliest recorded benefactors to support the maintenance of this mediaeval structure that has survived the test of time, date from the 15th century.
These are :-
Thomas Brodyngbury 1474
gave a bequest for the repair of the bridge of Yalding.
John Church 1475
For the repair of the bridge of Yalding 3s. 4d.
( A similar amount was left for Twyford Bridge. )
Robert Parfett 1488
“Residue to reparacon of the brygge of Ealding,
the second parts to the brygge of Twyford.”
This stone structure originally built for pack-horses, wagons and pedestrians to cross the wide river Beult flood plain, now has to contend with 21st century juggernauts. Being a single lane carriageway, even in previous times it caused problems and delays, as recorded in the Maidstone Journal of November 18th 1845:-
“ The public have lately been obstructed and very much inconvenienced in not being able to pass over Yalding bridge. On Friday night a wagon laden with straw belonging to Mr Thurcroft of Brenchley was jammed between the houses of the extreme lower north end ( high houses ), and was detained for some time. This long narrow bridge in the centre of the town has for some time been a cause of complaint from the frequent stoppages that daily occur by persons being obliged to wait at one end while other persons are coming over.
It would confere a lasting benefit on the public if this bridge and its many inconveniences, could be brought under the notice of the county magistrates in a way which may induce them to make such alterations as are necessary for the accommodation of the public in this age of progression.”
This 1845 comment was heeded to, as in 1849 the bridge was widened by a metre on the upstream side, and maybe the lay-by was installed at that time.