During January 1995 an intermittent watching brief was maintained during arch strengthening and parapet repairs to St Radigund's Bridge. The work was funded by Kent County Council (Highways and Transportation).
The bridge forms part of the line of the city's defences, several short sections of which have been recorded in this area (Blockley 1984, 30; Anderson & Bennett 1991, 13-14; McKenna 1992, 9). It is known that the medieval defensive wall crossed the Stour at this point over three, apparently portcullised, arches. Indeed, according to Gostling (1825, 14) up until they were demolished in 1769, these arches supported the only river crossing inside the city whenever the Kings Bridge was flooded. Gostling further reports that part of one of the portcullis grooves was still visible in 1821 (ibid., 18 note 13).
It seems that there was no road crossing at the site of St Radigund's Bridge until the mid nineteenth century when a bridge is shown on Collard's map of 1843. A date stone survives on the northern parapet of the present bridge, but no inscription other than an Ordnance Survey bench mark is visible today.
The 1995 repair works involved stripping back the modern road surface on the western half of the bridge and the replacement of the northern parapet. It was hoped that parts of the city wall and possibly remnants of the fourteenth-century bridge might be observed during the work. In the event nothing of the early bridge was found.
However, a considerable length (c. 6 m.) of the city wall was observed and recorded at the western end of the bridge when the modern pavement was removed and a trench cut for the re-routing of electricity cables.
Our thanks are extended to Kent County Council and the contractors whose ready co-operation greatly assisted the progress of this watching brief.