Cardigan Bridge

Cardigan Bridge

A bridge has crossed the river Teifi here for many centuries. It is mentioned in Gerald of Wales’ journal of his journey through Wales in 1188 (see below).

The early timber bridges were vulnerable to flood damage. One was destroyed in the 13th century, another in the 16th. A timber bridge was also recorded in 1598.

The current stone bridge is thought to date from the early 18th century. One of the arches was built in 1726, according to a plaque above that arch.

The structure was enlarged in the 1870s as traffic increased. You can see the 18th-century arches as you cross the modern footbridge.

Gerald of Wales arrived in Cardigan on 30 March 1188 with Baldwin, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was touring Wales to recruit for the third crusade. Gerald recorded that a crowd gathered in a field south of the river, by the end of the bridge. In the centre of the crowd were Lord Rhys and his sons Maelgwn and Gruffydd. Baldwin and Gerald (the Archdeacon of Brecon) preached the Gospel and persuaded many people to “take the Cross” (sign up for the crusade).

One woman in the crowd physically stopped her husband from taking the Cross by grabbing his cloak and belt! Three nights later, a voice warned her in a dream that she would lose the thing dearest to her, as punishment for withholding “my servant”. In the morning she found that she’d rolled on top of her infant son, suffocating him. Gerald thought it was rash of her to allow the boy to sleep in her bed. The husband promptly took the Cross. His wife stitched the cross symbol onto his shoulder.

Gerald wrote that sick people visited the spot where Baldwin had preached, and many miracles resulted. Local people planned to build a chapel in the field, with the altar precisely where Baldwin had stood.

Postcode: SA43 1HY    View Location Map