It has long been known that Godalming had a wooden bridge over the Wey on the site of the present bridge. This was a manorial bridge and was only opened for the populace to use in times of flood. At other times they had to use the ford beside it, evidence of which can still be seen. It was said that the old bridge had been constructed when the Bishop of Salisbury was Lord of the Manor and it was therefore known as 'the Bishop's bridge'.
The only known image of the old bridge was in a print that was dated to 1779, three years before the present bridge was built. That depiction showed a stone bridge the shape of which was different from the present bridge. The rest of the print is reasonably accurate and it was therefore difficult to account for this aberration.
In 2013 a document from 1758 was being studied and it was found to have a depiction of a wooden bridge on the site of the present bridge (see top). The shape is similar to the shape shown in 1779. This shape has been corroborated by a new find dated 1759.
In a way the 1758 and 1779 depictions corroborate each other. When the 1779 print was being made, it would have been known that the bridge was to be replaced and the artist appears to have tried to depict the proposed bridge by taking the old bridge and showing it made of stone.