Note that Boveney Lock is enirely offline, and a proportion of the flow will be going via the Jubilee River (see below).
* 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. The heights are guesses and should not be relied on.
1910: Boveney in Thames Villages by Charles Harper.
Boat rollers for small boats on Right bank of Lock. Tel: 01753 862764, length: 149'7", width: 17'10"
1201: A fishery
1375: Toll at BaddesbyesLoke
1535: Lease of a “lock and weir of Boveney and Tyrryshaw”
1632: John Taylor –
Near Boveney Church a dangerous stop is found
On which five passengers were lately drowned
1770: Brindley’s Map – Gill’s Bucks
1780: “Navigation very difficult owing to the sharp turns of the river”
1794: Report of a survey of the river Thames between Reading and Isleworth ... John Rennie (the Elder)
notwithstanding the water is tolerably deep from [Queen's Eyot] to opposite Boveney church,
except at the entrance of the Clewer mill-stream yet the turning is so inconvenient,
and the head of the Clewer mill-stream so dangerous,
that I am much inclined to advise a cut being made from above the bucks across the point to Boveney church ;
in this cut there would be a fall of nearly two feet, and the lower sill of the lock being laid deep enough,
and the channel towards Gill’s fishing bucks scoured out and contracted,
a very good navigation would be obtained from thence to the head of the South Hope.
The great deprivation of water the river suffers by the Clewer mill, is a serious injury to the navigation. It is a pity in a river on which so much trade is carried, mills should be suffered to exist, to the detriment of the navigation.
At the South Hope there are several serious obstacles; and they are of such a nature as render it difficult to give an opinion respecting the best mode of improvement.
From thence to the lower end of the Clewer mill-stream there are several shallows, where I found, even with a small flash which had just been let down, only three feet nine inches of water. These shallows might easily be removed; and it is probable, by a judicious contraction, they might be kept under; but the turnings are so acute, that the navigation is thereby rendered extremely difficult and dangerous.
1834: “Tom Gill’s Bucks at Boveney Chapel”
1838: Poundlock built -
Shut in for the first time on November 17 and the cut and poundlock opened at 11am by two downward boats, the Alert and the Ariel, and the Union and one of Mr. Parker’s Trows passing up. All grounded at each end of the Cut, but by drawing and shutting the weir they all got off in about one hour.
1859: The Thames, Mr & Mrs Hall
Before we reach Windsor, however, we pass through Boveney Lock. There was a fishery here from a very early period; and it is recorded in the annals of Windsor that, in 1201, William, the son of Richard de Windsor, gave two marks to the king, in order that the pool and fishery in Boveney might he in the state it was wont to be during the reign of Henry II. The men of this, and all other villages near Windsor, were accustomed to give toll at Windsor of all their merchandize. When Eton College was building, Boveney and Maidenhead contributed their share of elm-tree wood for its construction. The village is still but a small group of cottages, retaining very primitive features.
1883: Boveney Lock, Henry Taunt -
Boveney Lock, Henry Taunt, 1883
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive; HT040081886: Armstrong – “A fall of little short of four feet”
1898: Pound lock rebuilt next to old site. Rollers built on old site of lock.
1901: The Thames Illustrated, John Leland –
There is placid Clewer, [just above Elizabeth Bridge on the left bank],
that gave its name to the Curfew Tower at Windsor, lying apart by a creek on the Berkshire side,
a place famous for gentlemen's seats and religious institutions, which are architecturally very beautiful.
About us, on either bank, are the greenest of meadows, and in places great beds of reeds and osiers, and there are boats going to and fro, house-boats, too, gay with flowers, and boatmen encamped by the shore. Regal swans have their nests among the reeds by the eyots along the banks. ... [he goes on to talk of Swan Upping]
We presently come to Boveney Lock, and, as the gates open, a promiscuous crowd of row boats, dinghies, punts, and even sometimes, it maybe, a gondola or two, come out with much flourishing of boat-hooks and oars, and many a cry of "Look where you're going!" as all go Windsor-ward.
There was an ancient fishery at Boveney, and there is still a quaint little church to be visited.
1913: Weir rebuilt
1920: Fred Thacker –
About Boveney Chapel the main current swings away from the Right bank down to the weir; and in flood time a veritable maëlstrom is set up where the fierce stream encounters the dead water at the head of the lock cut. In the high water at Whitsuntide in 1915 my skiff was violently twisted almost completely round against the bank at this point; the situation is not improved by the huge blocks of cement in the bed of the river. Bargemen regard the spot as one of the most unpleasant in the whole course of the Thames.
Note that when pulling a boat over the rollers - use a rope rather than pulling on the boat itself. (The longer the rope used the better - because a long rope pulls the boat sideways less - and on rollers it is often difficult to pull from a central position. Otherwise you can find most of your effort being used to keep the boat centred on the rollers.)
1832: Dorney Church, engraved on steel in "Eighty Picturesque Views on the Thames", Tombleson -
Dorney Church,Tombleson 1832
1850: Dorney Church, the same print now coloured, Tombleson -
Dorney Church, 1850, Tombleson
1859: The Thames, Mr & Mrs Hall
[ I wonder what the Victorian preacher is saying?
... and that, brethren, is why Mary has been made to sit at the back
... and if any of you can tell me who made that black mark pointing to the NO ADULTERY commandment beside the altar there, my housekeeper and I would like to hear from you. ]
Let us step ashore for a brief while, to visit
yon "wee" church, half hidden among lofty trees: it is the Church of
Boveney, and is the last of its class we shall encounter; for, although
we may meet some more aged and many more picturesque, there will be
none along the banks of the great river that so thoroughly represent
the homely and unadorned fanes where the simple villagers have been
taught to worship. It is very small, and of the most primitive construction,
consisting of four walls merely, the chancel end being railed
off by wood-work. The font is large and simple in character, and there
are traces of early mediaeval work in the external walls; the pulpit is
Elizabethan, but the open seats of oak may be much earlier; the roof
is arched, but has originally been supported by open timber-work,
— the cross-beams now alone remain.*
* The key of the church is one of those massive pieces of metal-work constructed when strength was believed to have been the chief security in locks. As a curious specimen of a bygone fashion, we append a cut of it; such securities are now rare. It is unnecessary to add that in "old times" keys were frequently subjected to elaborate ornamentation, often of a costly character, and exhibiting considerable proficiency in art.
We have engraved the interior as an example of one of our sacred edifices, where, through many ages, sate
The rude forefathers of the hamlet.
After inspecting the interior, and wondering why so small a church
was ever built, we returned to the churchyard, and stood for some little
time beneath the shadow of a glorious old tree, whose boughs and
foliage formed a protection against rain or sunshine ...
[ a wonderfully sentimental Victorian sob story follows ... ]
Boveney Church, 2004