The bridge is named after Oliver Cromwell. In August 1648, the Parliamentarian leader marched the New Model Army over it to fight the Royalists at the Battle of Preston.
Cromwell’s decisive victory let to the end of the Second English Civil War and the execution of Charles I.
Prior to the battle, legend has it Oliver Cromwell slept in full body armour on a table at Stonyhurst. He refused to sleep in a bed, fearing the Catholic owners might assassinate him.
Cromwell’s Bridge is no longer in use, but is intact. It’s possible to walk across it.
Lower Hodder Bridge was completed in 1819 to replace it. This bridge is active use. It is crossed by the B6243 (Whalley Road); the road connecting Preston to Clitheroe.
To reach Cromwell’s Bridge, take the path that starts at the side of Lower Hodder Bridge.
Many claim that Cromwell’s Bridge was Tolkien’s inspiration for the Shire’s Brandywine Bridge in The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien spent time in the area while writing the book. The layout of the converging rivers in the area (Hodder, Ribble, and Calder) is very similar to the author’s map of the Shire’s rivers (Brandywine, Withywindle, and Shirebourne).
Cromwell’s Bridge and Lower Hodder Bridge is on the route of the Tolkien Trail. This fantastic walk starts in Hurst Green.