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HANGING BRIDGE

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Remains of a medieval bridge now incorporated in the basement of a visitor's centre for Manchester Cathedral. It was built to span the Hanging Ditch, which formed part of the defences of the medieval town, and acted as the principal approach from the town to the parish church (now the cathedral) during the medieval period. The earliest reference to the bridge occurs in 1343, but the present structure is a later rebuilding or remodelling, a likely date being circa 1421-1500, the period when the parish church was rebuilt. It is of coursed and dressed Collyhurst sandstone with only one arch now visible, though both survive. Drawings of the bridge taken in the 19th century, when it was exposed during building work, coupled with observations made from the basements of Hanging Bridge Chambers and Mynshull's House, have allowed a picture of the brudge to be built up. It appears that there are two Tudor arches with a central pier. The incorporation of the earlier bridge may be suggested by the irregularities in the alignment and masonry detail.

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