Sellack/King’s Caple Bridge, River Wye, Herefordshire


Location N 51°56’56.06”

                 W 2°38’04.02”


Span 57.9m  (190 feet)

Width 1.8m (6 feet)

Status Open 

Date 1895

Designed by Louis Harper (1868-1940)

Manufactured by Harpers Limited, Craiginches Ironworks, Aberdeen


Level of evidence that this is a Harper bridge: definite.


This bridge was commissioned by the congregations of the churches of Sellack Boat and King’s Caple and built in 1895. The towers are of tubular cast iron, with nameplate transoms embossed “Louis Harper AIMCE, Maker, Aberdeen”.


The original cables to common anchorages are still in place, as are their hangers.  However, at some stage (nobody seems to know when or why) further short cables were clamped to the original, presumably to support areas of wear and avoid cable replacement.  This has led to crowding at the saddles.  However, the bridge is still used and the local churches continue to hold their ‘Bridge Thanksgiving’ ceremony each year.  This area is noted for its flooding but so far the bridge has held since the arched deck remains above the flow, although the approaches are inundated.   It lacks the original longitudinal deck boarding but the original camber is well maintained.


This bridge is the best illustration of the method of attachment of hangars to main cable employed by John and Louis Harper (see Technical).


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