HISTORY

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The Trust was possibly established as early as 1511 to care for the bridge. Legend has it that it was in response to complaints made by two ladies of the Parish who found it inconvenient to use the stepping stones crossing.

 

In 1531, The Statute of Bridges, in the reign of Henry VIII, handed responsibility for bridge maintenance to county authorities and by the mid-16th Century, the Trust had been endowed with land and property to enable it to fund the bridge's upkeep. (The Trust still owns several properties north-west of the bridge on the High Street.)

 

Two Bridge Wardens, appointed by the trustees, managed the income and maintenance and later, in 1853, the Commissioners of Charitable Trusts established tighter regulation upon them.

 

Accounts were kept in a locked chest with six keys. Income varied considerably and it was a close-run thing when the Trust needed the funding to replace the bridge in 1832.

 

The 1595 bridge had insufficient clearance and was eventually replaced, after 250 years, with the current bridge designed and built by William Ranger.

 

In the 1970s the Kent County Council took ownership of the bridge and the Trust, empowered by the Charity Commission, could use its income to give grants to benefit the inhabitants of Edenbridge, including grants to individuals if desired.

 

In addition, the Trust maintains land either side of the river by the bridge and the water meadows to the south west of the relief road for the benefit of local people and to enhance wildlife.