ONE of the “most important structures of medieval Scotland” has been rediscovered after being hidden beneath the waters of a Borders river for centuries.
Over two years of work by archaeologists has led to the discovery of the “lost” medieval bridge in the River Teviot near Ancrum.
Experts using radio carbon dating on pieces from the bridge have confirmed it is from the mid-1300s.
Historic Environment Scotland (HES) have funded the Ancrum and District Heritage Society (ADHS) work – in partnership with Dendrochronicle and Wessex Archaeology, which led to the discovery of the ‘lost’ medieval bridge.
The Ancrum Old Bridge Project is a multi-faceted, local community driven project, using historical research, field survey, drone photography, dendrochronology, underwater archaeology and radiocarbon dating.
Built during the reigns of David II of Scotland and Edward III of England, the bridge is of “historic and strategic national importance”.
The bridge crossed the River Teviot, carrying the ‘Via Regia’ (The Kings Way), on its way from Edinburgh to Jedburgh and the Border.
It is believed James V would have crossed here in 1526, as would Mary Queen of Scots returning from her tour of the Borders in 1566, and the Marquis of Montrose on his way to battle at Philiphaugh in 1645.
Kevin Grant, Archaeology Manager at HES, said: “This project shows that discoveries of immense importance remain to be found by local heritage groups –- and what can be achieved by bringing archaeological science and expertise together with local knowledge which has helped to unlock a centuries-held secret that will add to the fabric of Scotland’s story.”
Geoff Parkhouse from ADHS said: “Ancrum Old Bridge now has a 14th Century date. In Scotland there is not a standing bridge that is earlier than the 15th Century.
“In those times, during flood or highwater, the Ancrum Bridge may have been the only place to cross the Teviot between Hawick and Berwick, making it one of the most important structures in medieval Scotland.”