Durham, Framwellgate Bridge f.213
Shelfmark: Additional MS 15538
This charming view shows one of the paths leading north from the Water Gate to Framwellgate Bridge. Here on the west side of the peninsula, the banks of the Wear are steep but wooded, rising directly into the walls of the cathedral and castle. Below, is the weir that holds back the waters to power the South Street and Fulling Mills, both of which still survive.
There has been a bridge on this spot since the early 12th century. It was built around 1120 by Bishop Rannulf Flambard to connect the boroughs he owned on either side of the river. In 1400 the original structure was damaged by floods and was rebuilt with three stone arches, fortifications and a gatehouse at the east end, protecting the entrance to the city. The gatehouse and fortifications were removed by 1760 to make the road approach wider, and in 1856 the bridge itself was substantially widened.
Over the years the bridge witnessed many notable events in Durham’s history, including the murder in 1318 of the Bishop’s steward Richard Fitzmarmaduke by his cousin Ralph Neville, who was popularly though insultingly known as the Peacock of the North. The murder took place on the bridge itself and was the final result of a long standing quarrel between these two wealthy men. The scene is remarkably similar today. The path is still in use, one of many along the banks that make Durham as entrancing an experience for today's visitors as they did for Samuel Grimm more than two hundred years ago.