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CANTLOP BRIDGE

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The site of Cantlop Bridge, a single span, cast iron bridge, which crosses the Cound Brook circa 600 metres south-east of Boreton, and dates to the early 19th century. The bridge originally carried the Shrewsbury to Pitchford road, but was closed to vehicles in the 1960s when a new road bridge was erected immediately to the west.

This section of the road was turnpiked in 1797, at which time the crossing was simply a horse bridge. The crossing was upgraded to a cast iron carriage bridge in 1812, however the design was unsuccessful and Thomas Telford, as County Surveyor, was commissioned to replace it. A plate set above the centre arch, engraved 'Thomas Telford Esqr, Engineer, 1818', appears in old photographs but is no longer present. It is not clear whether he personally designed it as he did not list it in his autobiography, although the design appears to be a scaled-down version of a bridge he designed at Meole Brace, Shropshire.

The development of the single span cast iron bridge thus represented a turning point in British bridge design and engineering. Cantlop Bridge is a fine very early example of a single span cast iron bridge, a class of monument which symbolises the heyday of British bridge design. It is possibly the only surviving example of Telford's bridges in Shropshire, and a rare survival nationally.

The painted iron superstructure of the bridge consists of four latticed ribs braced by five transverse members, forming a single segmental span of 9.5 metres. The arch is supported on sandstone and brick-faced abutments. The abutments have string courses and chamfered ashlar quoins, and are topped with moulded cornices. The original parapets have been replaced by painted iron railings. Its surface is formed of metal deck plates, tarmacked and now gravelled over. The site is in the care of English Heritage.

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Further information about monuments may be obtained by contacting Archive Services, through the Historic England website.