3) In Yorkshire documents ‘bow’ was the word most commonly used for the vaulted arch of a stone bridge.
References date from Elland’s three bowes or arches in 1579 and they are frequent in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. A sudden thaw in York in 1564-5 caused the river Ouse to flood and it destroyed the bridge, overthrowing two bowes … and twelve houses standing upon the same. The contract of 1486 for Sheffield’s Lady’s Bridge contains the phrase: whych shall be made v archys embowed. In 1682, there were severall holes worne under the Litle Bowes att the ends of Cottingley Bridge, a reference there to the arched sluices in the causeways. The place-name evidence indicates that the term was in use from much earlier.