How is flow estimated?

EA SANDFORD Downstream graph
EA SANDFORD Upstream graph

from Environment Agency Guide 2012-2013

RIGHT bank, tel:01865 775889, length: 174'0", width: 21'9"
Camping above Sandford Lock, 01865 244088
Kings Arms, Sandford, RIGHT bank immediately above lock. Good moorings for customers.

Sandford Lock.
Seen from below with a very high water level and Red Board Warning

Sandford Hydro

Opened in 2017. This is community owned through the Low Carbon Hub in Oxford. Three Archimedes screws are within this 450KW hydro scheme across the river At Lasher Weir by Sandford Pool.

Sandford Village History -

The ancient Thames navigation channel at Sandford was that which now forms the western stream, now known as the backwater. At the northern end where now stands the Big Lasher, stood the old navigation or flash weir, described in 1624 as 'Great Lockes'.
Passage through these locks was always difficult and dangerous, the process of removing paddles from the lock and either pulling or hauling boats through against the strong stream, or riding the flash on the downstream journey. Such a lock meant a great loss of water often leaving the upper reaches dry or low in water for days, boats then having to wait until the water had risen again enough for further passage.
Clearly with the increase in traffic, these conditions could not continue as not only was the water-borne traffic slowed down - perhaps for days on end, it also caused the mills on the river to cease working, due to lack of water.
Under the Oxford and Burcott Commission, the modern Pound Lock, having upper and lower mitre gates, was introduced to the Thames, firstly in three places:- Swift-ditch near Abingdon, Iffley, and Sandford, which was probably the first around 1632.
The site of this old lock has now been filled in, but its position can still be seen alongside the present lock. Originally it was 87 ft in length but in 1793 was lengthened to 120 ft. If one looks on the upstream side of the footbridge, the position of the upper gates can still be seen in the stonework.
A new lock on the present site was opened in September 1936 and it was much the original structure that was removed to build our present lock in 1972 - 1973.


- 1294 -
- - - 1294 -
- -
FLASH LOCK - - Mill 1632 -
FLASH LOCK - - Mill 1793 -
LOCK lengthened
FLASH LOCK 1790s Belanger Picture -
FLASH LOCK - - - LOCK 1824 -
- 1836? -
- 1836 -
- LASHER - 1839 -
LOCK - LOCK disused - MILL -
- LASHER - LOCK HOUSE LOCK - LOCK disused 1875
MILL EXTENSION over 1632 lock
- LASHER - 1914 -

Fred Thacker, The Thames Highway, Volume 2, Locks and Weirs, 1920
Order changed to date order -

1294: Sandford Mill built by the Knights Templar.
1294?: Henry, son of Adam the ferryman, grants the ferry to John Golding of Newnham, and Scolastica his wife.
1327-1377: An early instance of the immemorial disputes between the mills and the water traffic is recorded by Anthony a Wood as having occurred under Edward III; when "the men of Oxon broke down the locks of Sandford which 'the brethren' there raised". This is my earliest allusion to the flashlock; built by the preceptory, doubtless for the benefit of the mill; to the enragement of the bargemen of Oxford.
1348 & 1361: the Ferry was part of a fee for masses in Witney Church.
1506: Wm. Bushe appointed as the ferryman in room of Thos. Hunt, deceased.
1514: Wm. Bushe noted as the ferryman.
1520: the "mill and the fishweir called the lok" were let for £12 yearly.
1530: John Dale appointed ferryman.
1585: Bishop - "Samford Lock kept by John Ovens". [In Volume 1, p.56 is added "The Locke in the P ish [Parish] of Kennington" i.e. this was a flash lock on what we now know as the weir stream on the LEFT bank perhaps near the modern lasher]
1632: As I have remarked under Iffley, the poundlock here was one of the the three installed by the Oxford-Burcot Commission; and therefore one of the first three on the river. I cannot fix its completion earlier than 1632, when John Taylor mentions it in his rhymed survey of the River.
1639: Edmund Powell was in charge of it for the Commission; under whose authority it remained until their works were sold in 1790.

1761: John Rocque's map of Sandford and Iffley -

Map of Sandford, 1761, Rocque
John Rocque, 1761

1767: The pound was rented by Mrs. Hill;
1780: [The pound was rented ] by Beckley;
1791: the weir belonged to another Hill [see 1767]. At Michaelmas this year Beckley paid fifteen guineas for one year's rent of the lock. A puny amount ...

1790s: Sandford Hill, Louis Belanger -

Sandford Mill, Louis Belanger
Sandford Mill, Louis Belanger
NB The title is Sandford HILL and the subscription Sandford MILL

Fred Thacker, The Thames Highway, Volume 2, Locks and Weirs, 1920
Order changed to date order -

1793: It was decided to lengthen the lock from 87 to 120 ft.
1794: it was reported that "the walls of the lock appear to be blowing away, and the whole work is in a very dangerous and precarious situation". So probably nothing had been done.
1795: Things being "worse than ever" rebuilding was immediately started. Harris "the Oxford gaoler", having charge of the work. The expense was nearly £1800, and the criticism was made that a less sum would have built a new lock in a better situation. The passage was stopped for a year; "and the navigators obliged to change boats and shift their cargoes over the meadows or shoot the old flash Lock at very great risk; one boat being sunk in the experiment."
1796: Bickford or Beckley (perhaps the man named in 1780 and 1791) was the first keeper named under the Thames Commissioners. He stayed untill at least 1798.
1810: Danby the Iffley Miller succeeded [Bickford] before 1810; with the same privilege as at Iffley with respect of pleasure tolls.
1818: [Danby] died in or before Novemeber 1818; and Thomas Day had his place.
1821 & 1822: H Swann the miller had charge at 36s. monthly remuneration.
1824: The mill was rebuilt about 1824.
1826: the lock is described as having a fall of "about 7 feet".
1836: A new lock, on the present site, was opened in September 1836 alongside the old Jacobean structure.
1838: The City of London committee reported very warmly in its praise: "in place of the old decayed and shallow lock, impassable at low water seasons without large and frequent flashes.
1839: A lockhouse was ordered in October 1839.
1842: Wm. Haines (possibly of the Old Windsor family) was keeper in 1842.
1846: J. Swann is named as weir owner.
1850: In a sale catalogue of the property dated August 1850, paper is indicated as the product of the mill. The freehold tolls of the "old lock" (flash) are stated to have produced an average of £200 annually during the previous ten years.
1854: A press cutting of December 1854, referring to the Abingdon branch railway line, then being inaugurated, reads' "It is reported that Mr. Norris has personal motives for decrying this railway. As lessee of Sandford Lock he will lose £100 a year toll when the railway is open." This is probably J.T.Norris, of Sutton Courtenay also. I do not know how he comes to be located at Sandford, unless he had the mill and was financing Wyatt; whom the official records name as lessee of the lock at this date.
1861: Ravenstein paid his usual 6d. here in 1861.
1865: At the parliamentary inquiry of 1865 it was stated that here "was a lock some years ago which was given up, and the millowner had very indiscreetly opened the sluice of this lock, allowing the water to rush through with tremendous force, and allowed the water to undermine the embankment between that lock and the next"; i.e. between the old pound and the new one beside it.
1866-1877: The iron bridge over the main stream above the lock was built between 1866 and 1877.

1870: Taunt picture of Sandford Mill

Sandford Mill and Lock, Henry Taunt, 1870
Sandford Mill 1870

1870: Taunt picture of Sandford Lock

Sandford Mill and Lock, Henry Taunt, 1870
Sandford Lock 1870

1870s: [The Mill] had been burnt down two or three years earlier [than 1877] and rebuilt, the head being raised from five to nine feet. At that time it made paper for the Clarendon Press; but ruined everybody that has ever come to it. It is the real fall of the Thames; and when there is a flood it is grand to see the fall.

1875: Taunt picture of the ruined mill after the fire.

Sandford Mill and Lock, Henry Taunt, 1875
Sandford Mill in Ruins after the 1870s fire

Fred Thacker, The Thames Highway, Volume 2, Locks and Weirs, 1920
Order changed to date order -

1880: The part of the mill astride [the old pound] was built in 1880.
1881: In February the Clarendon Press, having bought the mill, asked to buy the old pound for an extra wheel. It was still to be seen in 1913, in site, though not in actual masonry, identical with the James I work.

1882: Sandford Mill and Lock, Henry Taunt -

Sandford Mill and Lock, Henry Taunt, 1882
Sandford Mill and Lock, Henry Taunt, 1882
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive;

1894: Sandford Mill and Lock, Henry Taunt -

Sandford Mill and Lock, Henry Taunt, 1882
Sandford Mill and Lock, Henry Taunt, 1894
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive;

1895: Sandford Lock and Bridge, Henry Taunt -

Sandford Lock and Bridge, Henry Taunt, 1895
Sandford Lock and Bridge, Henry Taunt, 1895
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive; HT210

1914: The current lock house was built -

Sandford Lock House
Sandford Lock House

1955: Sandford Lock, Francis Frith -

1955: Sandford Lock, Francis Frith
1955: Sandford Lock, Francis Frith

1955: Sandford Lock, Francis Frith
1955: Sandford Lock, Francis Frith

1955: Sandford Lock, Francis Frith
1955: Sandford Lock, Francis Frith

1972-3: The lock was reconstructed. It was the first of a series of locks built with an underfloor filling system.
1973: Plaque on the RIGHT bank lock wall downstream of the bottom gates -

This plaque was unveiled on the 2nd June 1973 by
Chairman of the Conservators
in the presence of
the Chairman of Oxfordshire County Council
To commemorate the reconstruction of