It seems that George, Duke of Clarence, may have built a bridge in Tewkesbury. Known as Quay or Key Bridge, it crossed the river to Healings Mill on the island meadow known as The Ham, which is caught in the confluence of the Severn and the Avon.
Is this connection with George well known, making me a latecomer to the scene? Or is it something that has slipped general attention? The reference was found in a leaflet about The Ham at Tewkesbury. http://www.visittewkesbury.info/…/17…/hamhistoryleaflet2.pdf – which in turn points to a book called ‘The Book of Tewkesbury’, 1986, by Kathleen Ross, as the source. This title is available at Amazon http://tinyurl.com/z6rz45f
The above illustration is of the old Quay/Key Bridge. Not the original bridge of George’s, I’m sure, but its second incarnation. And here is a view of the bridge in modern times. (not my photograph)
The eagle-eyed Susan Kokomo Lamb (thank you, Sue!) also drew my attention to another interesting reference in the Tewkesbury leaflet about The Ham. It is again referenced to the same book by Kathleen Lamb, and concerns the Duke of Buckingham’s ill-fated rebellion of 1483. The flood that brought his plans to an ignominious halt was, according to the book, known in Tewkesbury as Buckingham’s Water. To me, the inference is that he was halted trying to cross the river at Tewkesbury. Well, I have never heard Tewkesbury given as a precise point.
I found the following alternative reference to the flood, which gives Gloucester as the duke’s intended crossing point: ‘In the second year of Richard III in the month of October 1483, as the Duke of Buckingham was advancing by long marches through the Forest of Dean to Gloucester, where he designed to pass with his army over the Severn, there was so great an inundation of water that men were drowned in their beds, houses were overturned, children were carried about the fields swimming in cradles, beasts were drowned on the hills. Which rage of water lasted for ten days and nights, and it is to this day in the counties thereabout called ‘The Great Water’ or ‘The Duke of Buckingham’s Water’ (Gloucester Journal November 1770) See http://www2.glos.ac.uk/severnfloods/Textsite/gloucs2.htm
But one thing is certain . . . there may be other interesting snippets in Kathleen Lamb’s ‘Book of Tewkesbury’. Maybe a detailed read would be in order?
Update: Having now acquired the book by Kathleen Ross, I can say that George, Duke of Clarence, appears to have been responsible for more than just Quay/Key Bridge, but also saw to the cutting of the Mill Avon, i.e. the branch of the Avon that now passes Quay Street and is probably the most well-known, most photographed waterway in Tewkesbury. See page 105.
There is another tradition that monks were responsible for both ventures. I prefer to think it was George.