The Lion Bridge at Alnwick spans the river Aln and was built in 1770 to replace an earlier bridge which had been destroyed by flooding. It gets it’s name from the sculpture of the Percy Lion which is situated on the bridge.  The Percy Lion was made in 1773 by John Knowles and is distinctive for its long straight tail.  It is formed around cast lead and situated on a sandstone plinth forming part of the bridge.

When I viewed the Lion Bridge from the castle, I thought it would be nice to get a close-up photograph of the Lion. As I approached around the corner onto the bridge I got a shock; it looked rather like the Lion had had an umbrella stuck up his bum! I am not sure what caused the damage, but it gave me a challenge trying to get some decent photos…

The Bridge from the Castle

The Lion and the Castle

The Lion's Tale

12 Comments CherryPie on Nov 24th 2009

12 Responses to “The Percy Lion”

  1. jameshigham says:

    That must have been painful and I’ve never seen you use that word before. Shocked to the core!

    • CherryPie says:

      That was the least worst of the options I could choose to describe the view. The picture here doesn’t do the scene justice. On turning the corner you are faced with the back view of the lion, steadily moving towards you!!!

  2. MTG says:

    The obligatory encounter is known in the Tourist Trade as ‘Helluva Percy filth in your face’.

  3. I cannot understand why the lion’s tail is so sculptured. “It’s not natural” said Rocky when I asked him to model with my BMW umbrella!

  4. Bernard says:

    As an engineer, I noticed straight away that the ‘tail’ was, or looked, telescopic. I tell you what I think. Totally unfounded, but I would bet that it came from somewhere else. Statues were always being relocated. Swanage in Dorset is littered with statues and stonework recovered from London. However back to the lion. I think he came from a place high up, on a roof, or over an arch, and for safety reasons he was anchored back to the wall behind him. When he was relocated, the supporting rod went with him.

    • Bernard says:

      Or…looking a bit closer….is that a bit of broken off tail near his bottom? And has someone stuck a piece of iron railing into the stump to extend it? I bet the original tail got knocked off, fell in the river and was never found.

  5. CherryPie says:

    I have tried hard to find out what happened to the tail by searching on Google. But I have been unable to find anything about it.

    I remember what the tail should look like from when I last visited in 2007. Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of it that time.

    Here is a link to a photo on flickr that was taken from a similar perspective as my close up.

    It looks like the stone has fallen away from the tail.

  6. Phidelm says:

    Fascinating – and can’t offer any explanations; but the lion gives the first landscape pic an entirely surreal quality – love it (but not the idea of the umbrella ;-) )!