Stour Valley Heritage Compendia

Landscape view of a river

Managing a Masterpiece (MaM) was a three-and-a-half-year programme to understand, conserve and celebrate the landscape of the Stour Valley.

A film was produced by a local production house Aura Films and Amanda Findley, and is a 13-minute summary of the Managing a Masterpiece Programme.

As part of the evaluation of Managing a Masterpiece a series of Stour Valley Heritage Compendia were produced, detailing the landscape, cultural associations, built heritage of the Stour Valley, containing copies of original documents, maps and photographs

Artistic Heritage Compendium

Built Heritage Compendium

Landscape History Compendium

Natural History Compendium

Prehistory Compendium

Stour Navigation Compendium

Boxted Bridge

Boxted Bridge taken in 2016

Boxted bridge is a steel girder bridge built over the River Stour in North Essex in 1897. From Essex Records Office archives we know that it replaced an earlier wooden bridge, built after 1835, which had fallen into disrepair. 

On 14th November 1896, The Bury Free Press announced that ‘the tender of Mr George Double of Ipswich was accepted for the sum of £927 to build Boxted bridge by Essex and West Suffolk County Councils’ and on the 28th April 1897 The Evening Star reported that ‘The Boxted Bridge, which has been built by Mr George Double of Ipswich, is now completed and opened for traffic, so that the road to Nayland is once more available.’

Double also built two other bridges on the River Stour: Wormingford bridge, in 1891, and Dedham bridge, in 1900 (since replaced).

A steel girder on one of the exterior side plates on the north side of the bridge has revealed the name ‘Glengarnock Steel’. Glengarnock Ironworks in North Ayrshire, founded in 1843, pioneered the rolling of steel joists, which acquired a high reputation among structural engineers. One of the directors of the company was E Windsor Richards, one of the leading iron and steel masters of the day. Glengarnock Iron and Steel co was one of the first in Scotland to move into making H-beams for structures and bridges.

In the 1930s, the views from Boxted bridge inspired many paintings by both Sir Alfred Munnings and John Nash, followed in the 1960s by Anthony Atkinson. The

bridge is an important heritage feature of the village and well loved. Three country lanes converge at the Essex bridgehead, marked by a cast iron parish finger post standing in a vegetable garden nearby. This is stamped with ‘Maldon Ironworks’, with its half moon finial parish plate on top, unique to Essex.

Boxted Bridge lies in the centre of the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The surrounding fields are water meadows, where cattle and sheep graze

and cricket bat-willow plantations thrive. Down the road at High Lift, is the magnificent Langham Waterworks built in the Egyptian style in 1932 (the pioneering ferro-concrete work was undertaken by Messrs L G Mouchel & Partners Ltd) .