1) A house situated by or close to a bridge.
In some cases the terms on which it was held made the tenant responsible for the bridge’s maintenance and protection. The OED has examples of the word from 1375 and it may explain how some minor place-names originated. In 1701, it was ordered that Martin Shillito have the little house formerly built at the charge of the Riding at Wakefield Bridge End to live in rent free provided he take care to sweep the bridge and cleanse the water spouts. It is uncertain how old this tradition was but the words as hath usually been done by those that have lived in the same house indicate that it was already an established custom. Articles of agreement, drawn up in 1683 between the Clerk of the Peace and Daniel Sheppard, an earlier tenant, tell us more about his role. He was put into possession of the new repaired house standing at the North end of Wakefield Bridge commonly called … the bridge house … during the term of his naturall life. Extracts from the conditions that applied define his tasks: 1 That he … dress Scower or cause to be dressed and Scowered the Water course, on both Sides of the said bridg, And keep open all and every of the Spouts thereunto belonging …2 That he … observe and take notice, from time to time when ever any of the pavement upon any part of the said bridg, shall be cast up. And that he immeadiatly … make up or cause to be made up and repaired the said breatch.3 That he … after any Flood of Water do observe and take notice … when any of the Stones commonly called Setters within any of the frames or Jewells under the bridg, chance to shrinke or fall by reason of the Washing of the gravell from under them: That so soone as he can come to the Same without danger
That he raise or cause to be raised the Same into their due place. Provided the Same So Happeing may be done in the Space of one days Worke by one man …4 That he keep and maintaine the said house in Sufficent repaire during the time he shall enjoy the Same …5 That he … Suffer the Surveyors appointed … for the repaire of the said bridg, to keep a stock of stones, and other Materialls necessary for the said repairs within the Seller under the said house, and that the said Surveyors … have ingress and regress, to carry into, and bring out of the said Seller such stones and other materials as they shall have use for … . Other parts of the agreement stressed that the provision of new stones and other materials was to be at the charge of the West Riding
that the tenant had right to half the cellar, and that his widow, in the event of his death, would have to vacate the premises within three months, to the end another Workman may be made choice of and admitted Tennant. This use of the word ‘workman’ suggests that the tenant had to possess certain basic skills.