A week for bridges. Until the building of the Tees Barrage towards the end of the 20th century the River Tees was still tidal at Yarm. A wooden bridge existed in the 13th century and to be replaced by a stone one in about 1500 thus ensuring Yarm became a strategic crossing point of the Tees. In 1643, at the height of the English Civil War, the bridge was narrower and incorporated a drawbridge across the northern arch.
By 1643 King Charles I had established his northern headquarters in York and his commander in the North, the Marquis of Newcastle, William Cavendish, ordered some of his troops to accompany a supply train south to York. The route would take them across the Tees at Yarm. Meanwhile a Parliamentarian force of around 400 plus three troops of cavalry led by Sir Hugh Chomeley of Whitby were at Guisborough, where they had routed a Royalist force on the 16 January 1643. On hearing of the supply train they hastened to Yarm where, on the 1st February, the two sides met. In spite of the Parliamentarians’ dominant defensive position the Royalists managed to cross the bridge and defeat the Roundheads, taking many prisoners. So ended the Battle of Yarm.