National Library of Scotland 

1. William Roy's Military Survey of Scotland 1747-55.  The originals are  in the British Library: good copies, reduced versions and original protractions.   It was the only detailed and comprehensive map of Scotland in existence prior to 1800. The on-line digitised version is available provided by the  National Library of Scotland.  The map was conceived and commissioned exclusively for a military purpose, which is important because  bridges matter so much to the military.  It predated the Agricultural Revolution, the Industrial Revolution and  Turnpike roads.  Measurements were made with a Gunter's Chain and simple triangulation with a gun sited, non-optical, early theodolite.  Much of the detail was recorded by rough judgement and sketching.  There is an abundance of detail and waterways are carefully recorded with every contour.   Bridges are easily identifiable.  This makes it the perfect historical baseline resource.  On this site, the date ascribed to finding a bridge  on Roy's map is '1750'.  The Military Survey (on-line) can be found at  http://maps.nls.uk/roy/index.html

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2. Timothy Pont's manuscripts are available, digitised and on-line, provided by the  National Library of Scotland.  These late 16th century documents comprise the oldest detailed maps of the mainland but only a proportion still exist.  It is probable that Pont merely walked the course, but that alone, in its day, was a remarkable accomplishment.  Bridges are identified, though sometimes without much clarity and oaccasionally it can be difficult to distinguish them from other detail.  Many of the maps are more in the nature of sketches or drafts- often messy and over-written.   It can also be difficult to identify a Pont bridge and locate it on a modern OS: more interpretation and guesswork are required than with Roy.    Pont also provided a wealth of descriptive text and this  material along with his maps, on 38 sheets, was taken in hand by Balfour Scot and Gordon to provide the basis of Blaeu's Atlas.  On this site, the date ascribed to  finding a bridge on Pont's map is '1600', which may be rather later than the survey date.  Timothy Pont's maps, on-line,  may be found at http://maps.nls.uk/pont/

3.  Blaeu's Atlas Novus Vol V was published in 1654.   Much of the material was from Timothy Pont, who had died around 1613.   In 1629 Pont's  maps and manuscripts were bought from his family by the historian Sir James Balfour.  Balfour passed on the material to atlas maker William Blaeu in Amsterdam, who enlisted Sir Robert Gordon and Sir John Scot to assist in preparing  the maps for engraving and publication. The existing maps were expanded with  texts, other maps were consulted and some additional surveys were done.   The beautiful maps in the Blaeu atlas have a great deal more clarity but probably no more precision than Pont provided; the geographical area covered is considerably wider.   On this site, the date ascribed to a finding on this atlas is a compromise of '1640'.  The Blaeu Atlas on-line may be found at http://maps.nls.uk/atlas/blaeu/

4. John Adair was an early Scottish surveyor and mapmaker, contracted by the Privy Council of Scotland to survey the shires, around 1680. Surviving maps include those of Lothians, Stirling, Fife, Kinross, Southern Perthshire, Ayrshire and Lanarkshire.  These may be found on line at https://maps.nls.uk/mapmakers/adair.html

Other Links

Additional Information on William Roy, the Roy map and 18th century roads  and road network may be found at https://www.roysroads.co.uk

Many of the linked references have pointed the reader to the resource pages of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The main website URL is  http://www.rcahms.gov.uk/

Many links also take the reader to British Listed Buildings. 

Supporting material on engineering as well as for some individual bridges from The Institute of Civil Engineers.   http://www.ice.org.uk/topics/historicalengineering

Old Roads of Scotland has provided many items of supporting material and cross references. http://www.oldroadsofscotland.com

The Old and New Statistical accounts of Scotland have been regularly scrutinised; particularly the 1791-99 Old Accounts for every parish in Scotland, often describing roads and bridges.    edina.ac.uk/stat-acc-scot/ 

The Old Bridges of Great Britain and Ireland is an invaluable resource. Following in the 1930s tradition of Edwyn Jervoise, the web-document reflects personal visits to  some 850 bridges in the British Isles, each one older than 1700.  Every datasheet provides description, dating, history and photographs. Additional background context and comment is also provided. 

A further important reference is the three volume series of Walter Macfarlane’s Geographical Collections Relating to Scotland.  Volume 1 describes early 18th century parishes: not comprehensive geographically, but a range of attributed and unattributed essays on the geography and social history of the country.  Volumes II and III offer descriptions from the 16th and 17th centuries, more loosely based on parishes; this material has been largely attributed to Robert Sibbald, who in turn gathered information from Timothy Pont, John and Robert Gordon and others.   The material from these volumes is older than the Roy maps and older than the statistical accounts.   https://archive.org/details/geographicalcol00macfgoog


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Barrow,GWS. “Loads and Roads in Scotland” Edited by Fenton and Stell. John Donald. Edinburgh (1984)

Barrow,GWS(2) “Scotland and its Neighbours in the Middle Ages”. Hambleton (1992)

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Brown, DJ  "Bridges: Three thousand years of defying Nature", Mitchell Beazley, London 1993

Boece, Hector ”History and Chronicles of Scotland” translated by John Bellenden Vol 1. Edinburgh . Tait  1821

Chalmers, George 'Caledonia' 1807 1810 1824 Vols  II III V

Commissioners of Supply, Ayrshire. Minute books 1710 to 1820.  Ayrshire Archives, Auchencruive. 

Conway, Agnes “ Henry VIIs relations with Scotland and Ireland” Cambridge Univ. Press. 1932. 

Cook, Martin  "Medieval Bridges"   Shire Archaeology  1998DJ  

Couplet, P “De la poussée des voutes” Histoire de L’Academie Royale des sciences. 1729  and 1730 . 

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Curtis, GR “Roads and Bridges in The Scottish Highlands: the route between Dunked and Inverness 1725-1925."  PSAS 110 1978-80 p475

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Drysdale, William “Auld Biggins of Stirling, its closes, winds and neebor villages.”  Stirling. E.Mackay., 1904. 

Duncan, AAM “Scotland. The Making of a Kingdom”  Mercat Press 1996

Dymond DP  ‘Roman bridges on Dere Street. Appendix on evidence for Roman bridges in Britain’  Archaeological Journal. Vol 118 (1961)

Fenton, A and Stell, G  "Loads and Roads in Scotland and Beyond", Edinburgh 1984 (John Donald), 78-91.  Bridges and Roads in Scotland. Ted Ruddock

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Gautier, Henri  "Traité de Ponts"  (1716)  Cailleau.  Barnes&Noble BN.com

Gilbert, M. ‘Limit analysis applied to masonry arch bridges: state of the art and recent developments.  Arch ’07  5th International Conference on Arch bridges. Report. 

Haldane, ARB. “The Drove Roads of Scotland” 2008 edition. Birlinn. Edinburgh. 

Harrison(1) David “The Bridges of Medieval England. Transport and Society 400-1800” Clarendon. Oxford 2004

Harrison(2),JG. "Improving the roads and bridges of the Stirling area. 1660-1706” Proc.Soc.Antiq,135 (2005) 287.HG 

Harrison(2),JG. “Stirling Old Bridge. A 16th C.Reformation.”  Forth Naturalist and Historian, 20, 118.

Heyman, J “The stone skeleton” International Journal of Solids and Structures. 1966 2:246

Hinchcliffe Ernest “A guide to the Packhorse Bridges in England”, Cicerone Press 1994

Hughes, T.  "Foundations. in  The Theory, Practice, and Architecture of Bridges of Stone …," Volume 1. Hughes, London. 1839 

Hutton, Charles  “The Principles of Stone Bridges”  Saint. 1772 

Inglis. HG. 'The Ancient Bridges in Scotland, and their relation to the Roman and medieval bridges in Europe', PSAS Vol 46 (1911/12), pp151-177

Inglis. HG.  'The Most Ancient Bridges in Britain', PSAS Vol 49(1914/15), 256-274

Inglis. H.G.'The Roads and Bridges in the Early History of Scotland', PSAS Vol 47, (1912-13) pp303-333

Macfarlane, Walter. Geographical collections relating to Scotland. Scot Hist Socy. Edinburgh 1906.
( also, see above in links) 

Mair, Craig  “Stirling. The Royal Burgh” John Donald, Edinburgh 1990

Margary  Ivan “Roman Roads in Britain” John Baker 1967 

McFetrich, David "An Encyclopaedia of Britain's Bridges" Priory Ash Publishing, 2010

Maxwell,  GH "The Romans in Scotland ", James Thin 1989, Edinburgh. Ronald 

Milankovitch, M  "Theorie der Druckkurven", Zeitschrift für Mathematik und Physik, 55,  1907, pp. 1-27. 

Nelson, Gillian "Highland Bridges", West Port Books, Edinburgh 2006 (2nd.edition); also Aberdeen University Press 1990

Registrum Episcopatus Moraviensis.  Edinburgh 1828 ( on-line) Carte Hospitalis Pontis de Spey. Sect. 107. 

Nicholson, Ronald “Scotland. The Later Middle Ages”  Mercat Press 1974

Nimmo, William “The History of Stirlingshire” 1777.  Hamilton Adams. London (1880)

Page, R  'The Ancient Bridge of Stirling: Investigations 1988-2000', Scottish Archaeological Journal. EUP, Vol 23 pt.2 (Sept 2001)

Paterson, James “History of the County of Ayr” John Dick 1847. Edinburgh. 

Reed, Nicholas  'The Scottish Campaigns of Septimius Severus', PSAS;1975-76, pp 92-102

Reid, Thomas  'Fords, Ferries, Floats and Bridges near Lanark', PSAS, Vol 47, (1912-13), pps 209-256

Rigold SE. ‘Structural Aspects of Medieval Timber bridges’  Medieval Archaeology. Vol 19. 1975. 

Ronald, James  ‘Landmarks of Old Stirling’ Eneas Mackay.  Stirling.  1899.

Skene, James ‘Series of sketches alluded to in the Waverley novels” Cadell Edinburgh 1829

Skelton ,R.A. (1967) ' The Military Survey of Scotland 1747-1755'.  Scottish Geographical Magazine 83:5-16. Reprinted as Skelton, Raleigh A. (1967). 

Stevenson, Robert and Sons. Letter(with report paper dated 1838).  The Civil Engineer and Architects Journal.  July 1841 p 229. 

Taylor, William "The Military Roads of Scotland." SRP Ltd Exeter for House of Lochar. (1976, 1996)

Whittington, Graeme, and Gibson, Alexander JS,   'The Military Survey of Scotland 1747-1755: A Critique'. Historical GeographyResearch series, Number 18( Norwich: Geo Books,1985) 

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Dec. 2012                                      Site last updated  Feb 2019