The River Windrush

RIVER WINDRUSH

River joins on Right bank just above Newbridge.

Fred Thacker’s Map, 1920
Fred Thacker’s Map, 1920.

from 'Singing Water' by R C Lehmann -

And where the silver Windrush brings down her liquid gems,
There's music in the wavelets she tosses to the Thames.

1610: Camden -

Isis, from thence over flowing many times the flat and low grounds, is first encreased with the brooke Windrush, which springing out of Cottswold, hath standing upon the banke-side Burford, in the Saxon tongue Beorford, where Cuthred King of the West-Saxons at that time by curtesie of the Mercians, when he could endure no longer the most grievous exactions of Aethelbald the Mercian, who began to oppresse his people and sucke their bloud, came into the field against him and put him to flight, having won his Banner wherein, by report of authors, there was a golden dragon depainted. Then passeth it by Minster Lovell, the habitation in times past of the great Barons Lovels of Tichmerch, who, being descended from Lupellus a Noble man of Normandy, flourished for many ages, and augmented their estate by rich mariages with the daughters and heires of Tichmerch, with the heires of the Lords Holland, D' Eyncourt, and the Viconts Beaumont. But their line expired in Frauncis Vicount Lovell, Lord Chamberlaine to King Richard the Third (attainted by King Henry the Seventh, and slaine in the battaile at Stoke in the quarrell of Lambert that counterfeit Prince), whose sister Fridiswid was Grandmother to Henry the first Lord Norris. Hence Windrush, holding on his course, watereth Whitney an ancient towne, and before the Normans daies belonging to the Bishops of Winchester: to which adjoineth Coges, the chiefe place of the Barony of Arsic, the lords whereof, branched out of the family of the Earles of Oxford, are utterly extinguished many yeeres agoe. Neere unto this, the Forrest of Witchwood beareth a great breadth and in time past spred farre wider. For King Richard the Third disforested the great territory of Witchwood betweene Woodstocke and Brightstow, which Edward the Fourth made to be a forrest, as John Rosse of Warwick witnesseth.

1885: The Royal River -

The River Windrush, a more considerable tributary than any previously received by the Thames, flows into the parent river from the north at Newbridge. The point of debouchment might, by reason of the weeds and rushes in the water and overhanging bushes of the banks, be easily overlooked by a casual observer, and the Windrush, in this peculiarity, closely resembles other feeders of the Thames, in looking its meanest where it offers its volume to the parent river.
The Windrush is one of the Cotswold brood, and at Bourton-on-the-Water it becomes a valuable trout stream. Great Barrington, whose freestone quarry furnished stone for Christopher Wren's restoration of Westminster Abbey, is opposite the village of Windrush; the river afterwards enters Oxfordshire, and by a peculiar quality of its waters gives to the town of Witney a special pre-eminence in the whiteness of the blankets produced by its fulling mills. The river is thirty five miles long from source to inlet to the Thames.

Hilaire Belloc -

The Windrush is a happy river flowing through open lands.

1909: The Stripling Thames, Fred Thacker -

Immediately against and above [Newbridge] the River Windrush enters on the Right bank. It once joined a few yards higher, and its heaped up débris in course of time formed an island at its mouth; so that a new cut had to be made for it. The gradual protrusion of this island into the bed of the Thames no doubt caused his present curving approach to the bridge.
This beautiful stream, thirty-six miles long, rises near Cutsdean in the Cotswolds, and flows through much romantic Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire scenery and many a little wayside village and larger town: Bourton-on-the-water, Windrush, Burford, Witney, to name the chief alone ...
The Windrush might be navigated by canoe, they say, with portages here and there, up as far as Witney in brimming seasons. Its impregnation with nitrate of sulphur renders the Witney blankets so famous for their whiteness ...

River Windrush
The River Windrush

Environment Agency -

Windrush IV, is a unique steel constructed 46 foot river inspection launch, which is, powered by twin Lehman SP90 diesel engines. Based at Reading, she is used for regular river inspections and attends many high profile events on the River Thames, and heads up the Environment Agency’'s fleet of 14 launches.

Windrush EA Launch, 2006
Windrush EA Launch, 2006

2006: Sold! It is said that the Environment Agency staff had very mixed reactions.
[ I'm not surprised - in one sense it is unlike all the other EA launches in that it didn't appear to be a working boat, but more about giving joyrides to important people. However, the work of Public Relations, marketing the river we love to people we hope will make the decisions to pay for it, may be a vital task that we cannot ignore. ]
2015:

The " Windrush " was built in 1989 in Burnham-on-Crouch and used by the National Rivers Authority, subsequently the Environment Agency as an inspection launch on the Thames based at Reading. Named after the Thames tributary she was often used for royal and civic occasions and eventually sold on in 2006. Of steel construction and teak interior she is powered by two Mermaid Ford 6 cylinder engines and is currently owned by Eel Pie Slipways, whose Director Ken Dwan is a former Royal Waterman and Queen's Bargemaster.