A wonderfully preserved 16thc or 17thc bridge.
This bridge, visible from the current road bridge, lies precisely on the Roman Road crossing of the Dean Water, adjacent to the Roman fort of Cardean.
Nine feet wide, the bridge comprises of two semicircular arches, wide, well dressed voussoirs and un-coursed red sandstone random rubble spandrels with multiple repairs.
Refuges overlying the cutwaters suggest a date of 16thc and it has cobbled decking. The parapets are well preserved (or repaired) with whinstone coping. Upstream it has very ancient corbelling below the parapets. The bridge had a major restructuring in 1878 in which the north arch was carefully rebuilt.
According to local legend, a noble lady was travelling through the area one late, stormy night. Her carriage came to the ford over the Dean River and over the coachman’s objections, she ordered him to try to make the passage. The river was too much and the driver was drowned. Local justice was served by requiring the said noble lady to have a bridge built.
Writing in the late 1800's, Alexander Warden recounts another local tale about the Witch of Cardean, who he described as 'a notable person in connection with the estate of that name and surrounding district'.
'Jean, the witch-wife of Cardean, lived in a solitary house, on the edge of a wood, near the banks of the Dean. She was believed in by gentle and semple in the neighbourhood. Her services were in great request for the cure of cattle diseases, and many wondrous cures she is said to have effected, for which she was liberally rewarded, and she made a good deal of money by the practice of her art — or of her craft.
Jean's services were frequently asked for to settle disputes between neighbours in her locality, and for these arbitration cases she was generally well paid. A story is told of two women who went from Forfar to obtain her decision regarding some property there, which had disappeared. By the influence of Jean over them, she obtained a confession from the one who had taken the property, gave her award, which was a just decision, received her fee, and after giving both some good advice, sent the women home again.
Her influence became so great, and she was so feared, that the people in the district would deny her nothing she asked, which it was in their power to give.
While going through a field the proprietor called on her to stop, and, she not complying, he overtook and scolded her in angry terms. After he was finished she, eyeing him contemptuously, asked him if he knew to whom he spoke. He declared that he neither knew nor cared. She told him who she was, and added if he did not leave her quickly she would make him dead where he stood. He was awestruck, and in mortal terror told her in soothing accents to go on, as he had nothing to say to her.
It was believed that Jean and his Satanic Majesty often met during the night in the wood close by her lone dwelling, and that they frequently quarrelled and buffeted each other. In the morning after these hostile meetings Jean bore the marks of the scratches she had got during the wrangling of the evil pair. The black fiend had obtained the mastery over Jean in one of these fisticuff scuffles, as report had it that she went out to meet her master, as was her wont, but instead of returning to her cottage after the meeting, her body was found floating in the Dean the next morning.'