Bude, Old Bridge
Publisher: Francis Frith & Co, Reigate
Alongside the sea and by the canal runs the river Neet (or Strat). The two halves of the town are connected by a small grade two listed building, a bridge called Nanny Moore’s, named after a 19th century ‘dipper’ who lived nearby. Beyond this lay the quay, rebuilt in 1577 with funds from the Blanchminster charity. The river divided the land owned by two Cornish families. South of the river was owned by Sir John Arundell, while land to the north was owned by Sir Richard Grenville of Stowe Barton, Kilkhampton. During the 1700-1800s, Bude was a thriving port used by smaller vessels. Over time, the land changed hands – the Grenville land passed to the Carterets/Thynnes while the Arundell land passed to the Aclands. Bude and neighbouring Stratton are relevant in the English Civil War, with Nanny Moore’s Bridge featuring as a passe over the river for the Royalists.
The three span bridge is a Grade II listed building and originally had a cantilevered section so that boats could proceed along the River Neet. Today it is only used by pedestrian but was built when carts and packhorses would trundle across. Until the nineteenth century it was simply known as Bude Bridge. So why the change to Nanny Moore’s bridge? Not sure exactly why the name was altered but it seems it was named after a ‘dipper’ who lived nearby. A dipper would escort and help ladies, who wanted to swim in the nearby sea. She would be a strong person, sometimes in charge of a bathing machine. This was to protect the modesty of 19th century ladies – no bikinis and the like back then!