Keys to the Past

Glossary

Abutment

An abutment is the point where an arch (in a horizontal or vertical direction) or vault meets its solid support. For a bridge or dam this might be on the riverbanks or a pier projecting into the river. The failure of the abutment may mean the collapse of the bridge, (such as at Hexham, see Smeaton, John). There is a Roman example at Chesters Roman bridge, Northumberland, east side of the North Tyne, (a free English Heritage site). The Hexham bridge abutments are of historical importance - being the last bridge that Smeaton designed.
Diagram of bridge. Copyright Peter Ryder 2003.

To explore more glossary entries click on a letter.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Z 1-9