Kingston Bridge

Flow percentiles

Jerome K Jerome's heroes started from Kingston going up to Magna Carta Island on their first day.

Histories and Antiquities of Kingston-upon-Thames, A Anderson, 1821 -

This Bridge is undoubtedly the oldest on the river Thames except London Bridge. It is mentioned in a record of the Eighth year of Henry III.
This Bridge being almost the only passage over the Thames, was frequently liable to be destroyed, during the time of any intestine commotions, to cut off the communication between Surrey and Middlesex. This is known to have happened in the wars between the houses of York and Lancaster, and in Wyatts rebellion, when it was broken down by order of the privy council, to prevent his passing into Middlesex.
The Bridge in its present state is an ordinary structure of Timbers so inartificially put together, as would warrant us in pronouncing that, whatever changes it hath undergone in it's materials, from frequent repairs, there hath been no deviation from the plan on which it was originally built. The supporters, which are more than twenty in number, on each side, occupy the space of an hundred and twenty-six yards, exclusive of about forty yards of masonry employed at both ends.
On the 9th of August, 7 Hen. III, the bad state hereof being represented to the King, he committed the custody of it, and the inspection of it's repairs in future, to Henry de St. Alban and Matthew Fitz-Geffery de Kingston; with a special precept directed to the Bailiffs of the Town, and the Sheriff of the County, to furnish them completely with all such materials as from time to time should be necessary.
In the year following, the King issued his writ to the Sheriff to give seisin to the said Matthew de Kingston of the house belonging to the Bridge, with the Charters and other Muniments respecting the same.
John Lovekyn, who died 4 Aug. 42 Edw. III. 1368, left 10/- for repairing the Butting of the Bridge.
In 50 Edw. III. that Prince, by letters patent dated 30 April, vested the custody of the Bridge and Causeway, gone to ruin and decay, in the Bailiffs of the Town for the term of fifty-one years, with a power to Hugh Taverner and John Waigne (the Bailiffs probably of that year) and their successors, of taking certain Tolls for ten years from the date thereof.
In 27 Hen. VI. the king, in consideration of the ruinous and dilipidated state of the Bridge at that time, and of the Causeway thereof, granted to the Bailiffs and approved men of Kingston, and to their successors, the custody of the said Bridge and Causeway for the further term of fifty-one years; with his royal licence dated 2 Feb. 1448-9, to take a certain Toll of all goods passing by and under the said Bridge to the said Town, for Sale.
In 7 Eliz. 1565, Robert Hammond, one of the Bailiffs of the Town, settled lands to the value of 40/. per annum for the future support of the Bridge, and for exempting it from tolls; in remembrance of which the following distich was inscribed on a rail about the middle of the bridge:
"1565, Robert Hamond, Gentleman Bailiff of Kingston heretofore, He then made this Bridge toll free for erermore."
But the rails of the bridge having been re-placed, this is not now to be seen. Instead thereof, on a stone inserted in the brick-work on the north side of the abutment at the west end, is this Inscription:
"Robert Hamond, Gent, sometime Bayliff of this Towne of Kingston, made this Bridge tolle free, November the 15th, 1565."
The year before this gift of Hamond, the revenue of the bridge, including the toll, was about £25 per annum. In 1374, £53.10s. ... in 1791, £30.
The revenues are in the hands of two bridge-wardens chosen annually.
Aubrey says the length is 168 yards. The Middlesex side was considerably widened about the year 1791.

1170: The Charter Quay archaelogical dig revealed that the island of Kingston was carefully planned as a "new town" in about 1170.  The Market Place was laid out south of an existing settlement around All Saints Church, and four bridges were built to cross the Thames (Kingston Bridge), the Hogsmill (Clattern Bridge), the Downhall Ditch (Barre Bridge) and an eastern arm of the Hogsmill (Stone Bridge).  Clattern Bridge survives, albeit widened and strengthened. The other two have long since disappeared.
1224: Kingston Bridge of timber.
1318:  the bridge is in dangerous condition
1449:  A grant of pontage (right to charge tolls) granted to the bailiffs and good men of Kingston for repair of the bridge and causeways.

1539:  Leland –

Yn the old tyme the commune saying ys that the bridge, where the commune passage was over the Tamise at olde Kingstone, was lower on the Ryver then it is now.  And when men began the new town yn the Saxon Tymes they toke from the very Clive of Come Park Side & builde on the Thamise side:  and sette a new bridge hard by the same.

1567:  In a MS of 1710 –

The great wooden bridge hath twenty interstices:  two in the middle wide enough for barges.  On a post in the middle of this bridge is this inscription in brass:
‘1567: Robert Hamon, Gentleman, Bayliffe of Kingstone, heretofore hathen made this Bryge tollfre for evermore’.
  Hamon endowed the bridge with £40 annually.  It had 22 Pierres of wood, and in the middle two fair seates for passengers to avoid carts and to sit and enjoy the delightfull prospect.

1651:  The council of state ordered a drawbridge.

The Old Kingston Bridge -

Old Kingston Bridge
The Old Kingston Bridge

1745: April 27th, The Evening Post reported that at Twickenham Bridge -

Last week a woman that keeps the King's Head alehouse, Kingston, in Surrey, was ordered to be ducked for scolding, and was accordingly placed in the chair and ducked in the river Thames in the presence of two or three thousand people.

In my humble opinion there is only one class of people who deserve ducking more than a scold - and that is anyone who would want to watch!

1802: Picturesque Views on the Thames, Samuel Ireland -

THE old wooden bridge of Kingston consists of twenty arches ; it was originally supported by a toll, but in 1567 was endowed with lands amounting to forty pounds per annum, for the repairs, &c. from which time the toll has been taken off.

Kingston Bridge 1802 Ireland
Kingston Bridge 1802 Ireland

The history and antiquities of the ancient and royal town of Kingston-upon Thames by William Downing Biden (1852) -
View of Kingston before the destruction of the wooden Bridge -

View of Kingston before the destruction of the wooden Bridge
View of Kingston before the destruction of the wooden Bridge

1802: "A new arch much wanting:  the present navigation arch very dangerous, several barges having been sunk across the bridge."

1802: Report of certain Impediments and Obstructions in the Navigation of the River Thames, William Tatham

I understand the obstructions here have been matters of great and frequent deliberation between the counties of Middlesex, Surry, the city of London, and the town of Kingston, and that many and various opinions have been given. It strikes me, that if we sever these four interests, and confine ourselves solely to the River Navigation, on our parts, we shall settle the business. I beg leave to observe, that above the bridge, on the Middlesex shore, there is a shoal of about 100 yards, or more, and a strong ayte, which will admit of a cut and embankment down to the foot of the bridge. I would' propose, at this place, to render this cut a complete side navigation along the Middlesex shore, and to pass the cut and towingpath under the buildings at the bridge end in Hampton Wick.
By this measure, a safe passage would be completed, from the lower to the upper sheet of water, without endangering the bridge or the barges in striking against each other. The people of Kingston might, if they thought proper to do so, pursue a similar method, on their side, for the accommodation of the town; nor would it be a very difficult matter to dock or wharf the whole of their commerce.
Below the bridge, on the Middlesex side, I should recommend the continuation of the side-cut down into the good water below, and a small gate at the outfall of such cut, I apprehend this would be an efficient remedy; and when it is considered that the property at the foot of the bridge (if purchased) might be greatly improved by the measure. I am persuaded that it would, ultimately prove the cheapest, if not a pecuniary gain.

1825: A new Kingston Bridge was built

1828:  New bridge opened -

1828, New Kingston bridge

It is built of Portland stone, and consists of five elliptical arches, the centre arch being 60 feet span by 19 in height, and the side arches 56 and 52 feet span respectively. The abutments are terminated by towers or bastions, and the whole is surmounted by a cornice and balustrade, with galleries projecting over the pier; which give a bold relief to the general elevation. The length of the bridge is 382 feet by 27 feet in width. It is of chaste Grecian architecture, from the design of Mr. Lapidge, to whose courtesy we are indebted for the original of our engraving. The building contract was undertaken by Mr. Herbert for £26,800 and the extra work has not exceeded £100 a very rare, if not an unprecedented occurrence in either public or private undertakings of this description. The first stone was laid by the Earl of Liverpool, November 7, 1825, and the bridge was opened in due form by her royal highness the Duchess of Clarence, on July 17, 1828.

1830: House of Commons Journal Volume 85 Luno, 8 die Februarii; Anno 11 Georgii IV ti Regis

A Petition of the Bailiffs and Freemen of the town of Kingston-upon-Thames, in the county of Surrey, was presented, and read;
setting forth, That the Petitioners have, under the sanction of an Act of the sixth year of His present Majesty, built a Bridge across the river Thames, from the town of Kingston-upon-Thames aforesaid, to the hamlet of Hampton Wick, in the county of Middlesex;
but, from the inadequacy of the funds granted by the said Act, they have been unable to complete the whole of the necessary approaches thereto, or to purchase certain houses and buildings requisite to be taken for forming the same, and which, by the terms of the said Act, they are restricted from purchasing, unless with the consent of the owners thereof, after the expiration of five years from the passing of the said Act;
and that the necessity of the present application did not appear until a meeting of the said Bailiffs and Freemen, as Commissioners of the said Bridge, held on the third day of December last, …
and that from the dangerous and difficult approach to the said bridge, on that side thereof situate in the county of Surrey, great inconvenience must arise to the inhabitants of the said counties and to the public at large, if provision be not made for completing the same in the present Session of Parliament;
and praying, That leave may be given to bring in a Bill for the same.
Ordered, That leave be given to bring in a Bill accordingly: And that Mr. Charles Pallmer and Mr. Denison do prepare, and bring it in.

1831:  Kingston Bridge from the NEW AND COMPLETE HISTORY OF THE COUNTIES OF SURREY & SUSSEX by Thomas Allen (possibly by Nathaniel Whittock –

Kingston Bridge, 1831
Kingston Bridge, 1831

1846:  a resident of Wick suggested -

the removal of the carts and waggons left under the arch of the bridge, tenanted at night by vagabonds and people of the worst description

1859:  Woodcut of Kingston Bridge (Mr & Mrs Hall) –

Kingston Bridge, Mr & Mrs Hall, 1859
Kingston Bridge, Mr & Mrs Hall, 1859

1870: Kingston Bridge toll free (see 1567 above! Though I suppose it was technically a different bridge, and it was a few yards away from the old bridge) -

Kingston Bridge Toll Free 1870
Kingston Bridge Toll Free, 1870

1870: Kingston Bridge, Henry Taunt -

Kingston Bridge, Henry Taunt, 1870
Kingston Bridge, Henry Taunt, 1870
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive; HT00678

1880: William Morris, Putney to Kelmscott -

Rowed on as far as Teddington Lock where Biffen's men were dismissed. Eliza [housemaid] left the Ark and went home by train from Hampton Court Station. Hired a man to tow and went on without incident to Kingston. Hove to for tea on the [Right] bank just above Kingston about 7 o'clock. During tea man and pony from Oxford arrived and took the party in tow.

1889: Jerome K Jerome started his river trip here. A reconstructed log of his trip is on It leaves out the funny bits - but its not sad or dull because his humour shines through!

The quaint back streets of Kingston, where they came down to the water's edge, looked quite picturesque in the flashing sunlight, the glinting river with its drifting barges, the wooded towpath, the trim-kept villas on the other side, Harris, in a red and orange blazer, grunting away at the sculls, the distant glimpses of the grey old palace of the Tudors, all made a sunny picture, so bright but calm, so full of life, and yet so peaceful, that, early in the day though it was, I felt myself being dreamily lulled off into a musing fit.  I mused on Kingston, or "Kyningestun," as it was once called in the days when Saxon "kinges" were crowned there.

Dickens's Dictionary of the Thames names the Kings crowned at Kingston as:

901: Eadweard [ the elder, Ēadweard se Ieldra, son of Alfred the Great ]
923: Adelstan [ Æþelstān the Glorious ]
943: Eadmund [ Edmund I, Eadmund the Deed Doer, Edmund the Magnificent ]
946: Eadred [ Edred ]
955: Eadwig, [ Edwy All Fair ]
975: Eadweard [ II, Edward the Martyr ]
978: Ædelred [ Æþelræd, Ethelred the Unready(ie badly counselled), father of Edward the Confessor ]

[ I, John Eade, feel I owe it to the family to point this out. Ehommage via [about], above ]

1889: Jerome K Jerome continues -

  Great Caesar crossed the river there, and the Roman legions camped upon its sloping uplands.  Caesar, like, in later years, Elizabeth, seems to have stopped everywhere: only he was more respectable than good Queen Bess; he didn't put up at the public-houses.  .  .  .  Many of the old houses, round about, speak very plainly of those days when Kingston was a royal borough, and nobles and courtiers lived there, near their King, and the long road to the palace gates was gay all day with clanking steel and prancing palfreys, and rustling silks and velvets, and fair faces.  The large and spacious houses, with their oriel, latticed windows, their huge fireplaces, and their gabled roofs, breathe of the days of hose and doublet, of pearl-embroidered stomachers, and complicated oaths.  They were upraised in the days "when men knew how to build".  The hard red bricks have only grown more firmly set with time, and their oak stairs do not creak and grunt when you try to go down them quietly ...
I got out and took the tow-line ...

1890: Kingston Bridge, Francis Frith -

1890 Kingston Bridge, Frith
1890:  Kingston Bridge, Francis Frith

1896:  View from Kingston Bridge, Francis Frith -

1896: View from Kingston Bridge, Francis Frith
1896: View from Kingston Bridge, Francis Frith

1906:  G.E.Mitton -

The present Kingston Bridge is very narrow, and its convenience is not increased since a double line of tramways has been laid across it.

1914: Kingston Bridge was widened from 25 to 55 feet between the parapets.
2001:  Engineers strengthened the existing bridge and built a new one alongside in mirror image, reopened by HRH The Duke of Kent on Friday 29th June.

2003: Kingston Bridge was illuminated -

Kingston Bridge illuminated
Kingston Bridge illuminated

This is about celebrating the great things we have in Kingston. Kingston Bridge is a beautiful part of the town and the lighting scheme will show it off at its best, whilst brightening up the river walk for visitors to the bars and restaurants there.

Kingston Bridge, Doug Myers © 2005
Kingston Bridge, Doug Myers © 2005

Hogsmill River

Left bank
There is said to be a slipway on the Left bank half way between Kingston Bridge and Raven's Ait
I can't find it