Romney Lock

How is flow estimated?

* NOTE: Boveney Lock figures are not available online! The figures shown are on the assumption that the characteristics of the Bray - Boveney reach are the same as those of the Boulters - Bray reach

EA ROMNEY Downstream graph -
EA ROMNEY Upstream graph -

  Environment Agency Guide 2012-2013

Lock keeper (2016): Katie Marshall
Left bank lock, tel: 01753 860296, length: 257'7", width: 24'5"
Tom Jones Boatyard, Stanley & Thomas, Left bank. Road Access is from (the street called 'Farm Yard')

Romney Island

The artificial cut which makes Romney into an island is thought to have begun life as the intake for the "King's Engine" invented by Sir Samuel Morland in 1681 to pump water up to the castle.

In 1675, [Sir Samuel Morland] obtained a patent for a certain powerful machine to raise water. By the strength of eight men it forced water from the Thames to the top of Windsor castle, and sixty feet higher, in a continual stream at the rate of sixty barrels an hour.
This was repeated in 1681, before the King, Queen, and Court, at which time his majesty presented his Magister Mechanorum with a medal, having his effigy set around with diamonds.

This "engine" completely blocked the Windsor side of the Romney Island stream. [ see this next picture ] So, until the lock was built, this channel was not navigable and all barges would have gone the Eton side of Romney. There was no weir, and, no doubt, very considerable current.

Bird's eye view of Romney Island before the lock Bird's eye view of Romney Island before the lock
from the Eton Book of the River

The Cobler, the upstream extension of Romney Island was an artificial mole, created either to assure the water supply to the King's Engine, where the lock is now, or to enable barges to be towed up the weir stream almost to the bridge (or both!)

Towing upstream at Romney Island
Towing upstream at Romney Island
Seen from Windsor Bank, towing in what is now weir stream

[ See Windsor Bridge for the complex towing arrangements above Romney Island, before the lock was built ]
1774:  Poundlock decided on just above Windsor Bridge.   Materials and tools collected;  but the scheme fell through due to intense local hostility.
1797:  Romney Lock opened.  There was still at first no weir.  When a weir  was built it had opening tackle “so as to admit the largest barges navigated on the river to pass through”
1799:  Navigation “was found inconvenient from Windsor Bridge to the entrance to the new cut at Romney for want of a draught of water into the cut”

Romney Lock 1800-1850
Romney Lock 1800-1850
from the Eton Book of the River

1859: The Thames, Mr & Mrs Hall

WINDSOR LOCK [ now called Romney Lock ]

We soon pass through Windsor Lock, still lonely and retired, although so much of business and bustle is close at hand. *
* For the sketch we engrave we are indebted to Commander King, the gallant son of one of "the military knights", who, by the gracious kindness of his sovereign, "reposes" here in happy tranquillity, after a long life of honourable and active labour.
Captain King is well known to, and highly respected by, all artists and lovers of art. He was for many years a regular contributor to the walls of the Royal Academy; and his copies of Claude are among the best that have been made from the pictures of that great master.

1864: Eton College -

the works are so dangerously ruined that the College gave warning that the Commissioners would be held liable for any loss of life.  The whole might go away suddenly at any time.  One of the most important weirs in the river.

1869: Pound lock rebuilt
1888:  Romney Lock, Henry Taunt -

Romney Lock, Henry Taunt, 1888
Romney Lock, Henry Taunt, 1888
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive; HT5265

1890: Romney Lock –

Romney Lock 1890
Romney Lock in 1890

1893: The weir broke down in a great flood

1906: Romney Lock, Francis Frith

1906: Romney Lock, Francis Frith
1906: Romney Lock, Francis Frith

1979/80: Romney Lock rebuilt with an underfloor filling system
2011: A £1.7 million hydroelectric scheme installed at Romney Weir thought to be able to produce 1.7 million kilowatt hours per year. There are two 40 tonne Archimedes screws.