BRIG O'BALGOWNIE, ABERDEEN
The Brig o' Balgownie (originally Bridge of Don) is a 13th century bridge spanning the River Don in Aberdeen, Scotland.
Construction of the bridge was begun in the late 13th century by Richard Cementarius, although its completion was not until 1320 at the time of the Scottish War of Independence.
After falling into disrepair in the mid 16th century it was extensively renovated in 1605. In 1830 a newer bridge was built half a kilometer downstream which now bears that name of the Bridge of Don.
Throughout its history the bridge has been considered an important asset. For 5 centuries possession of the bridge was the only way to move large armies quickly along the eastern coast of Aberdeenshire.
It also provided a trade route to the wealthy areas of the north-east of Scotland.
The bridge is constructed of granite and sandstone. Its single gothic arch has span of over 12 metres and at low tide the apex of the arch lies over 17 metres above the water-line.
Today it is open to foot and bicycle traffic only.
Richard Cementarius (a.k.a. Richard the Mason) was a 13th century Scottish architect and became the first Provost of Aberdeen in 1272. He held the title of Kings Master Mason to King Alexander III of Scotland.
He is believed to have designed the old tower of Drum Castle and is known to be the architect of the Brig o' Balgownie, both of which contain distinctive pointed arches characteristic of his work.
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