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2. Bridge Street

The Town Mills and the River Anton from Bridge Street, Andover
View of the River Anton from Bridge Street

Look back past the Wesleyan Methodist Church (built in 1906) to the Viking artwork in the river. In the 10th century, the Vikings sailed their longboats up as far as Longstock on the River Test and then laid waste to the surrounding countryside. In AD 994 the Viking leader Olaf Tryggvason was confirmed as a Christian in St Mary’s Church by Bishop Alphege. King Ethelred “the Unready” acted as Olaf’s sponsor and on payment of 16,000 pounds in silver coins Olaf swore never to return to Britain. He returned to Norway where he became the king and converted citizens to Christianity and founded the city of Trondheim.

The Bridge bookshop/café, on the southern side of Bridge Street, was once The Katherine Wheel inn, a busy coaching inn whose landlord was also the town gaoler. From 1899 to the 1960s it housed the Town Library. Its clock originally kept time on the tollhouse at the start of the turnpike road to Salisbury.

You can also see the White Hart Hotel which has remained a hostelry since 1636 and was one of many coaching inns servicing the London turnpike.

The area immediately south of Bridge Street, now the site of Asda and Sainsburys, was once a thriving industrial area with the terminus of the AndoverRedbridge Canal and, following its closure, the Andover to Southampton railway line. The railway line closed in 1964 as part of the Beeching plan, but has now re-emerged as part of the beautiful 44 mile Test Way walk.