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Question Re: Stamford Bridge - Does Anyone Know ... ?

Just some ideas:

- The village Stamford Bridge had a small mill back then. So the bridge had to be wide enough to enable at least one cart with crops or other usually load to cross. It was not necessary that two carts could pass and use the bridge at the same time.

- If built by Romans the bridge would have been made of stone. But 1066 the Romans were long gone and this was Viking territory for centuries. They preferred to use wood. Stone pillars would keep the wood from rotting in the water.

- The river must have been too wide and too deep to wade with full kit. Otherwise the Anglo-Saxon Army would have skipped the berserk on the bridge by wading through the water.

- Swimming wearing chainmail was no option. A reenactor told me that he tested it in a swimming pool and nearly drowned. Just 15 kilos of chainmail!

- There might have been a railing. If the story about the berserk is true, archers easily could have shot him if there had been free sight to the target. But a railing and masses of Anglo-Saxons on the bridge might have covered the Viking hero.

Dear Sax,

I like your points. I wonder the size of the river back then. You Tube shows some videos only being the equivalent of a stream. Hence the Saxon who dealt the fatal spear thrust from under the bridge killing the giant Viking only simply had to wade under the bridge. But other recounts mention a Saxon floating under the bridge in a barrel.

And you're right about the Roman influence. Surely there would have been several "100 Year Event" floods that would have washed away any bridges of those times.

Where I live now, we have been having a 100 year flood and rain. My dirt circular driveway was hard as concrete, but now a foot of the topsoil is washed away and the roadway ditches are full of silt and mud. T.V. warned us, 6 inches of rushing water is enough to knock you off your feet and 2 feet of water will carry you away. So like you mention, there could be many factors why the fully kitted soldiers would not want to risk wading across the river.

I couldn't imagine any bridge without rails. A groggy mule could easily steer a load off the edge without rails besides losing a few of the town's party-goers on a weekly basis.

I suppose until Dr. Who takes his time-booth back in one of his episodes, we'll never know the facts. So until then, lets have fun sleuthing, and besides, no matter what bridge design all of us come up with, one should be as good as the other!

OK, my friend - Cheers!

Question Re: Stamford Bridge - Does Anyone Know ... ?

Late to this debate, but here are a few thoughts, near here there is a Saxon church, one of the few left post 1066 and all that, a well built stone structure, so the Saxons were up to building lasting stone churches/bridges, also near here is Tar steppes , a basic stone bridge over a very fordable river, it gets washed away every few years of late with our increased rain fall, but there could be no sneaking up there. Also very near here a battle in Alfred`s time where the Anglo Saxons crept up while the Danes were asleep, took them by surprise and killed nearly all the army, only enough to man one long boat escaping, similar tactics at Stamford bridge ? . We will never know the truth and there will be some embellishment of any story over a thousand years. On to Hastings modern historians think battle hill where the battle was always thought to have been, may now not be the location, the actual battle site is looking like it was a short distance away on the edge of a marsh with both flanks protected by that marsh, battle hill can be easily out flanked, once again we may never know for sure.

Question Re: Stamford Bridge - Does Anyone Know ... ?

It seems likely as theres a Roman road at Stamford bridge that the Romans would have built a stone piered bridge to cross the river, but I dont think its where the current bridge is but possibly a bit downstream running in line with the road more or less... I'm not sure if you can say more then that, sure the Anglo Saxons built stone buildings but these were more to ensure their assendency to heaven.. a bridge doesn't do that and they tended to use what was already available...

Hastings: my view is that Hastings was fought at a bottleneck where the london road passes on to what was then the Hastings penninsula, Harald had only to survive and hold his poistion to Win, it was a purely defensive battle on the part of the Anglo-Saxons/Danes....
With the Normans not being able to break out the Army would have suffered over the winter likely eating thier horses(and dogs) to survive, and finally if not coming to terms bieng butchered peacemeal in the spring....

Question Re: Stamford Bridge - Does Anyone Know ... ?

The river must have been too wide and too deep to wade with full kit. Otherwise the Anglo-Saxon Army would have skipped the berserk on the bridge by wading through the water.

Good point, and less than 300yards from the present bridge and the site of the medieval bridges in the village there is a natural ridge of rock in the river bed which, at the time would have been a fording point except in times of flooding ( the area is prone to flooding at times). There is some belief that the name of the place is derived from "Stone Ford Bridge".

A mile or so south of the village however, there is a roman road on both banks of the river which archaeologists have determined was linked by a bridge.

From Here:

I wonder was the bridge where Harold's army crossed a wooden Saxon bridge built on the remains of a Roman bridge. Does the distance of this Roman bridge from the village and the proposed battle site help to explain why the Norse army were surprised by Harold's forces and why it was defended by such a small force until the rest of the Norse army got their act together.

The speed of Harold's advance on York is put down to the fact he marched on a good Roman road, Watling street, basically the current A1. Another Roman road, the current A166 led from York to Stamford Bridge and presumably crossed the river by the aforementioned bridge.

Question Re: Stamford Bridge - Does Anyone Know ... ?

if i remember right once the saxons were able to get over the bridge,they did it in a very quick way.forming up and suprising the had to be a fairly wide and stable bridge at the time to allow thousands of saxons to get past it fast.