GOOGLE VIEW: Bray Lock
* 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
Note that the Bray pipeline figure is calculated as the Windsor Park Gauge less the Maidenhead Gauge less the Taplow Gauge. This assumes no other abstractions on this section.
This new water main, extending to more than 17kms in length, enables the immediate transfer of an extra 23 million litres of water each day and helps South East Water provide drinking water supplies to the 300,000 houses in its supply area - as well as to new homes that are planned for the future. Water is extracted from the Bray Gravels and the River Thames [see note above] and is then processed at Bray Water Treatment Works before being pumped to the Surrey Hill Reservoir near Bracknell and the Crowthorne Reservoir.
Right bank lock, tel: 01628 621650, length: 134'4", width: 17'11"
Bray Lock was once bypassed by the York Stream which went the other side of Bray and into Maidenhead.
Amerden Camping on Right bank just below lock. Follow track about half a mile. No signs. Exposed mooring.
There is a mill here recorded in the Domesday Book – and therefore a weir.
1632: John Taylor – Three Mills
1770: Brindley – Level’s Paper Mill
1794: Report of a survey of the river Thames between Reading and Isleworth ... John Rennie (the Elder)
From [the “Holiport River”] thence to Bray-wharf the water is very shallow,
there not being more than three feet three inches on several places,
and there is a very awkward turn in the river opposite the Wharf, which greatly impedes the navigation;
this turn should be ballasted away, and the channel made on the Buckingham side;
and there should be two or three pile plank jetties erected on the Bray side,
to keep the water in its channel, some willows might also be planted at the lower end of the ayt,
to direct the stream into the new channel.
[No Bray Lock at this date]
Bray mill should be purchased, it is of little value, and the Water which is now used for the mill, being turned into the channel, will assist in deepening and keeping down the shoals.
From thence to Amerton's [Amerden] lower farm there are only two shoals of little extent to be deepened; but there should be a channel ballasted out between the ayt and the Buckingham side. This channel was begun by the late Mr. Nickalls, but never finished. A jettie should be extended from the island towards the Buckingham shore, to direct the course of the water more into the channel - its lower end should be lengthened for about fifty yards by a willow hedge.
1833: A suggested lock -
a pair of gates withinside of Parting Eyot
[ Parting Eyot is an old name for the lock island ]
A most important improvement to the navigation for 2 or 3 miles above
1840: The navigation channel was the present weir stream and barges were towed from the left bank, their lines sweeping the intervening island.
1845: Bray pound lock without sides was built -
Bray Lock, 1845
1865: Pound lock used only at low water times, being left open when the river was full.
1870: Bray Lock keeper, Edward Morris, Henry Taunt -
Bray Lock, Edward Morris the lock keeper, Henry Taunt, 1870
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive; HT1500
1880: William Morris, Putney to Kelmscot -
Thursday August 12.
... Proceeded safely as far as Bray Lock where the 'Ark' came into collision
with two barges which were aground on the shallows;
Starboard cabin door slightly damaged.
(Deuce of a stream below Bray Lock almost rapids - hence the squash - very pleasant banks though.)
Hove to on Left bank just above Bray Lock. WM set to cooking in seclusion of cabin, and in due time filled the whole party with delight and with provisions of a most satisfactory kind (note very thick soup, rice, vegetables, meat, etc., results shewing both knowledge and skill). Cornell Price was appointed boteler by acclamation (his own). Liquor excellent.
There was a man at work over osiers there, & made sort of stack of them. The bundles were useful at dinner time: wasps more plenty than welcome. Washed up and started again at 5 o'clock.
1883: Bray Weir, Henry Taunt -
Bray Weir, Henry Taunt, 1883
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive; HT4005
1885: Dickens – the lock was “a rotten and dangerous structure”. The fall was only a few inches. Both lock and weir were reconstructed.
1885: Eel Bucks at Bray Lock, Henry Taunt -
Eel Bucks at Bray Lock, Henry Taunt, 1885
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive; HT4897
1960: Bray Lock, Francis Frith -
1960: Bray Lock, Francis Frith
Bray Weir on the River Thames near Maidenhead was refurbished during the summers of 1993 and 1994.
The existing structure, which had become unsound and unsafe to operate, was replaced by nine vertical-lift (or buck) gates.
Construction works within a cofferdam and utilizing floating plant were undertaken in two phases. Following demolition of the existing weir, a network of reinforced concrete beams was supported on new driven piled foundations. Twin leaf gates slide in guides and span between new steel A-frames, and are lifted by pairs of threaded spindles rotated by actuators operating through gearboxes. Fine flow control is achieved by allowing overtopping of the upper leaves of the gates.
Following commissioning, operational difficulties resulting from seal vibration and excessive friction on the spindles necessitated design modifications.
2004: Photo -
Bray Lock in 2004
1883: St Michael, Bray, Henry Taunt -
St Michael, Bray, Henry Taunt, 1883
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive; HT4002
1849: Bray on Thames from the Towing Path -
Bray on Thames from the Towing Path, 1849
The Vicar of Bray
1662: "Worthies of England" by Fuller -
The vivacious vicar [of Bray] living under King Henry VIII, King Edward VI, Queen Mary,
and Queen Elizabeth, was first a Papist, then a Protestant, then a Papist,
then a Protestant again. He had seen some martyrs burnt (two miles off) at Windsor,
and found this fire too hot for his tender temper.
This vicar, being taxed by one for being a turncoat and an inconstant changeling, said,
"Not so, for I always kept my principle, which is this - to live and die the Vicar of Bray".
1792: Picturesque View on the Thames by Samuel Ireland -
... the village of Bray, rendered famous by its accomodating Vicar, who, during the reign of
Charles the Second, and the four succeeding
Monarchs, never failed to conform to the prevailing
principle of the times ; and, as it is
told, when reprobated for his apostacy, justified himself by saying,
"He had always been governed by what he thought a very laudable maxim - never on any terms (if he could avoid it) to part with his vicarage";
or, as the song has said for him,
Old principles I did revoke,
Set conscience at a distance;
Passive obedience is a joke,
A jest is non-resistance.
WHETHER this Vicar of Bray, the object
of so much raillery, ever existed at all, or
whether it was levelled at Vicars in general,
I know not ; certain it is, that in the reign
of Charles the Second, Dr. Caswell was Vicar
of Bray, in Berkshire, near fifty years, and
that he was not considered as particularly accommodating in his principles to the changes
of the times. His successor, whose name
was Brown, also held this vicarage fifty
years ; and he too was deemed steady in his
principles ; he died about thirty years since.
These facts may possibly do away the imputation
of apostacy from the respectable names I
The following story has been in circulation relative to a Vicar of Bray, for the truth of which I cannot vouch: -
CHARLES the Second had been hunting in Windsor Forest, and in the chase was separated from his attendants. In returning, he lost his road, and came to Bray after it was dark, where, on enquiring for the Vicar's house, and being introduced, he told him that he was a traveller who had lost his way, and having spent all his money, begged that he would render him assistance to proceed on his journey, and that he would soon repay him with the greatest honesty.
The Vicar told him he was an impostor, and bade him go out of his house with great rudeness. But the Curate (who was with the vicar) said that he pitied the traveller, and lent him a little money. The King then discovered who he was, and upbraiding the Vicar for his inhumanity, said,
"The Vicar of Bray shall be Vicar of Bray still, but the Curate shall be Canon of Windsor."
- and it is said that the King made his word good.
1859: The Thames, Mr & Mrs Hall
The voyager will surely go ashore at Bray, not only to examine the
venerable church, but to speculate concerning that renowned vicar who
has obtained a larger share of immortality than any of his predecessors
or successors. The vicar has indeed no tomb in his church to perpetuate
his memory, but his fame is preserved in song; and its application is not
uncommon, even now-a-days, to those who find it convenient to change
* The vicar was named Symond Symonds. The authority for his history is Fuller, who says, —
"The vivacious vicar thereof, living under Kings Henry VIII., King Edward VI., Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth, was first a Papist, then a Protestant, then a Papist, then a Protestant again, he had seen some martyrs burnt (two miles off) at Windsor, and found this fire too hot for his tender temper. This vicar being taxed by one for being a turncoat and an inconstant changeling —
'Not so', said he, 'for I always kept my principle, which is this — to live and die the Vicar of Bray.'"
The popular ballad is essentially incorrect in all its details, and, by changing the true period of the vicar's residence here, has represented him even worse than he was. It makes him commence his career in the time of Charles II., and continue a series of changes, religious and political, until the accession of George I. The song is, therefore, chiefly political, its concluding lines being the declaration —
That whatsoever king shall reign,
I'll be the Vicar of Bray!
Ritson, who was such an industrious collector of our English popular songs and their music, has given
the words and tune of this song in his "Select Collection of English Songs", 1783; but he was not able
to say who was its author, although it was evidently written not more than sixty years before that
period. It was most probably the production of one of the men of talent who visited Touson at his
house, close by Bray.
Bray Church is a large and interesting structure, exhibiting that mixture of architectural features so frequently observable in buildings which have survived many ages of change. Inside are several old monuments, the best "being the brass of Sir John Foxley and his two wives (of the early part of the fourteenth century); the figures occupying a sort of shrine, based on a column, which is again supported by a fox, in allusion to their names. Another fine brass to members of the Norreys family is dated 1592; and there is a very interesting one to Arthur Page, "of Water Okelye, in the parish of Braye", and Sesely his wife, 1598, which shows that the name of Page was known in the neighbourhood of Windsor when Shakspere[sic] chose it for one of the chief characters of his immortal drama. The tomb of Henry Partridge, of the same era, is remarkable for an enumeration of the virtues of the deceased, the chief place being given to the assertion that he
Next to treason, hated debt
In this church is still preserved one of those chained books commonly placed in the sacred edifice for general use in the days of the Reformation. The custom began with the scriptures, which were thus chained to a desk for the consultation of the laity, "free to all men". The Bray specimen belongs however, to a later period, the days of Elizabeth, after the power of the Roman Catholic church had gained a temporary supremacy in the days of her sister Mary, who had, by her excess of severity, given greater stability to the reformed faith. The record of those who had suffered in the struggle was published by John Fox, and his "Book of Martyrs" became second only to the bible in general interest. It was placed with the sacred book for general perusal in our churches, and the folio still preserved at Bray is a tattered and well-worn copy of the famed record of the struggles of the early disciples of the Protestant faith.
1885: Dickens's Dictionary of the Thames -
The most prominent object in the village from the river is the fine old church, close to which stands the vicarage, with trim gardens, and smooth shaven lawns running down to the river. A profusion of fine trees adds to the beauty of the view, and the place is very happily situated at a beautiful bend of the river. It is not so surprising that the ancient vicar, so celebrated in song, should have persistently determined to live and die vicar of Bray. For a secluded and quietly beautiful place of residence few more agreeable spots can be found ...
The Vicar of Bray, (Versions vary slightly - and the historical setting has moved to later times,
but the story is the same) -
(As Charles Mackay says in "The Thames and its Tributaries" - 'a well known song upon his tergiversations'!)
Listen to 'The Vicar of Bray' SAID!
In good King Charles's golden days,
When Loyalty no harm meant;
A Furious High-Church man I was,
And so I gain'd Preferment.
Unto my Flock I daily Preach'd,
Kings are by God appointed,
And Damn'd are those who dare resist,
Or touch the Lord's Anointed.
And this is law, I will maintain
Unto my Dying Day, Sir.
That whatsoever King may reign,
I will be the Vicar of Bray, Sir!
When Royal James possest the crown,
And popery grew in fashion;
The Penal Law I shouted down,
And read the Declaration:
The Church of Rome I found would fit
Full well my Constitution,
And I had been a Jesuit,
But for the Revolution.
And this is Law, &c.
When William our Deliverer came,
To heal the Nation's Grievance,
I turn'd the Cat in Pan again,
And swore to him Allegiance:
Old Principles I did revoke,
Set conscience at a distance,
Passive Obedience is a Joke,
A Jest is non-resistance.
And this is Law, &c.
When Royal Ann became our Queen,
Then Church of England's Glory,
Another face of things was seen,
And I became a Tory:
Occasional Conformists base
I Damn'd, and Moderation,
And thought the Church in danger was,
From such Prevarication.
And this is Law, &c.
When George in Pudding time came o'er,
And Moderate Men looked big, Sir,
My Principles I chang'd once more,
And so became a Whig, Sir.
And thus Preferment I procur'd,
From our Faith's great Defender,
And almost every day abjur'd
The Pope, and the Pretender.
And this is Law, &c.
The Illustrious House of Hannover,
And Protestant succession,
To these I lustily will swear,
Whilst they can keep possession:
For in my Faith, and Loyalty,
I never once will faulter,
But George, my lawful king shall be,
Except the Times shou'd alter.
And this is Law, &c.
One of my clerical forefathers took the opposite stance from the Vicar of Bray.
He lost his house and income and job when he could not accept the coming
of William referred to above. Refusing to take the new oath of allegiance, having promised
loyalty to the previous regime, he became a "non-juror".
His tomb stone set out his position quite emphatically -
The body of Mr. Thamas Eade lies here.|
A faithful shepherd that did not pow’rs fear;
But kept old Truth, and would not let her go,
Nor turn out of the way for friend or foe.
Who was suspended in the Dutchman's days,
Because he would not walk in their strange ways.
Daemona non armis sed morte subegit Jesus,
As Christ by death his rampant foes trod down,
Soe must all those that doe expect a crown
Unfortunately his memorial is horizontal in the centre of the church aisle and therefore he is continually walked over - which does seem strangely appropriate.
Shadows of departing day at Bray, Alexander Ansted -
Shadows of departing day at Bray, Alexander Ansted