Sunderland Bridge dates back to the 14th century and the woodland clustered around it is majestic. It is built of dressed sandstone with four semicircular arches. The bridge has undergone several rebuilds, with the end arches being rebuilt in 1770, the parapets widened in 1822, and new end walls built in the 19th century. It is a grade I listed structure.
Beautiful bridge playing a part in one of St Cuthbert’s miracles.
The River Wear winds ever closer on The Way of Life until at Sunderland Bridge you pass over it. There are two river crossings here. The four-arched sandstone bridge dates to the 14th century and the woodland clustered around it is majestic.
There was a more tumultuous time in this area’s history. In 1346, under the terms of the Scotland-France Auld Alliance, David II of Scotland was in the area with his men menacing the local populace. He met English forces under the Archbishop of York and the Bishops of Durham, Lincoln and Carlisle, with troops clashing first near here before meeting in open combat at Neville’s Cross closer to Durham. The Scots were resoundingly beaten. During the battle, the Durham prior and his monks supposedly knelt in a nearby wood and prayed for English victory, holding aloft thebanner of St Cuthbert impaled on a spear. If St Cuthbert or anything associated with him was already considered good luck, the saint’s belongings now became much more so. English forces would carry the banner into battle against the Scots several more times.