[ NB Throughout the bank names have been changed to the modern convention. The Environment Agency see the banks as from the sea. This is the opposite of ancient useage but since they designate emergency rendez-vous points in this sense (the agreed places for meeting emergency services if you ring 999 from a boat) I have had no choice but to comply. So for "right" I have put "[left]" and vice versa. ]


Poem: The Song that the River Sang

Chapter 1: Introductory

The natural course of a river, Flashlocks and Weirs, Pound Locks Subjects covered, Various notes, Thanks to helpers

Chapter 2: The Source to Oxford

Thames Head, Map: Waterhay to Water Eaton, Waterhay Bridge, Leigh Single Arch Bridge, Leigh three Arch Bridge, Bournlake Bridge, Hailstone Hill Bridge, Unnamed Weir, M & SW J Railway Bridge, Engraving: North Wilts Canal Aqueduct, North Wilts Canal Aqueduct (culverts), West Mill Cricklade, Four Cricklade Weirs, Cricklade, Cricklade Weir, Hatchetts Bridge, River Rey, Eisey Trestle Bridge, Water Eaton Weir, Castle Eaton Weir, Castle Eaton Mill, Castle Eaton Bridge, Castle Eaton Church, Blackford Weir, Kempsford, Hannington Bridge, Ham Weir below Hannington Bridge, Red Pool, Inglesham, Inglesham Weir, Severn Canal Junction, River Coln, Inglesham, Lechlade Bridge, St John's Lock, St John's Bridge, St John's Bridge Fair, The Trout Inn at St John's Bridge, Buscot Lock, Farmer's Weir, Buscot Wharf, Eaton Hastings Weir, Eaton Hastings, Grafton Lock, Schoolmaster's Hole, Hell's Turn, Radcot Bride, Radcot Monk Mill, Radcot Lock, Old Man's Bridge, Old Nan's Weir, Rushey Lock, Winny Wegs Weir, Lower Rudges Weir, Tadpole Bridge, Tadpole Weir, Thames Weir, Ten Foot Footbridge, Shifford Upper Weir, Duxford Weir, Shifford Lock, Sansom's Ford, Limbre's Weir, Newbridge Bridge, Ridge's Weir, Northmoor Lock, Ark's Weir, Bablock Hythe, Skinner's Weir, Pinkhill Lock, Swinford (Eynsham) Bridge, Eynsham Weir, [ Eynsham Lock ], Cassington Lock (on Evenlode Cut), Duke's Cut, Clay Weir, [ King's Lock ], King's Weir, Wytham Stream Outfall, [ Thames Bridge ], Godstow Bridge, Godstow Lock, Port Meadow, Medley Footbridge, Medley Weir,


Oxford, Hythe Bridge Oxford, Quaking Bridge, Bookbinders Bridge, Osney Bridge, Osney Lock, Sheeepwash Bridge Osney, Pot Stream Bridge, Osney Railway Bridge, Osney Footbridge [old Gasworks Bridge], [Oxford footbridge], Folly Bridge, [ River Cherwell ], [ Donnington Road Bridge ], Iffley Lock, [ Isis Bridge ], [ Kennington Railway Bridge ], Rose Island Bridge, Rose Island, Sandford Lock, Nuneham Weir, Nuneham Railway Bridge, The Swift Ditch, Abingdon Lock, Abingdon Bridge, Culham Bridge over Swift Ditch, Sutton Courtney Weir, Sutton Courtney Bridge, Culham Lock, Culham Lock Cut Bridge, Culham Wharf, Culham Ferry, Appleford Railway Bridge, Clifon Hampden Lock, Clifton Hampden Bridge, Clifton Ferry, Burcot, Days Lock, Dorchester Ferry, Days Lock Foot Bridge, River Thames, Thame Bridge, Keen Edge Ferry Shillingford, Shillingford Bridge, Shillingford Ferry, Benson Lock, Pollington's Weir Wallingford, Wallingford Bridge, Chalmore Hole, Littlestoke Ferry, (Papist Way slipway), Moulsford Flash Weir, [ Moulsford Railway Bridge ], South Stoke Ferry (slipway), Cleeve Lock, Goring Lock, Streatley (Goring) Bridge, Basildon [Gatehampton] Railway Bridge, Basildon Ferry, Hart's Lock (Weir), Whitchurch Lock, Engraving: Whitchurch Lock 1786, Whitchurch or Pangbourne Bridge, Mapledurham Lock, Purley Ferries, Chawsey Weir (St Mary's island), Caversham Bridge, Piper's Island, Caversham Lock, Costs of 200 ton barge London-Reading-London, River Kennet, Kennett Mouth Ferry, Breach's Weir


Sonning Lock, Sonning Bridge, Buck Ait below Sonning, St Patrick's Stream, Shiplake Lock, River Loddon, Shiplake Railway Bridge, Wargrave Ferry, Lashbrook Ferry, Bolney Ferry, Hennerton Backwater, Marsh Lock, New Mills Marsh Lock, Solomon's Hatch, Henley, Henley Bridge, Hambleden Lock, Aston Ferry, Magpie Island below Hambleden, Medmenham Ferry, Hurley Cut Upper Footbridge, Hurley Lock, Hurley Cut Lower Footbridge, Temple Lock, Bisham, Marlow Bridge, Marlow Lock, Spade Oak Ferry, Bourne End Railway Bridge, Cookham Bridge, Topographical Notes Cookham to Maidenhead, Odney Weir, Cookham Lock, Hedsor Water, Hedsor Weir (Cookham), Cookham Ferry, Slowgrove Islands (Bavins Gulls), Bavins Gulls (Slowgrove Islands), Boulters Lock, Maidenhead Bridge, Guards Club Island, Maidenhead, Maidenhead Railway Bridge, Bray Weir, Bray Lock, Amerden Bank below Bray, M3 Bridge Bray, Monkey Island, Queen's Ait, Oakley Court, Surley Hall, Boveney Lock, Athens, South Hope, Clewer Stream, Cuckoo Weir, Elizabeth Bridge Windsor, Windsor Railway Bridge, Brocas Windsor, Windsor Bridge, Romney Lock, Eedles Romney, Black Potts Ait, Black Potts Railway Bridge, Victoria Bridge Datchet, Datchet Bridge, Albert Bridge Datchet, Nevilles Bridge Datchet, Old Windsor Weir (top of Ham Island), Old Windsor Lock, The Bells of Ousely, Paygates on the towpath, Magna Carta island, Bell Weir lock, London Stone Staines, Staines Bridge, Staines Railway Bridge, Windsor's Paygate Staines, Rushbed Hill, Truss's Island, Savory's Weir, Penton Hook Lock, Abbey River or Oxley Mill River outflow, Laleham Upper Paygate, Laleham Lower Paygate, Laleham, M3 Bridge Chertsey, Abbey River inflow, Chertsey Weir, Chertsey Lock, Chertsey Bridge, Domesday Bushes Chertsey, Shepperton Range, Dog Ait, Dockett Eddy, Pharaoh's Ait, Shepperton Lock, Weybridge Wharf, Wey Navigation, Cowey Stakes Walton, Halliford, Walton, Walton Bridge 1, Walton Bridge 2, Walton Bridge 3, Walton Bridge 4, Walton Bridge 5, Walton Bridge 6, Ballinger's Weir, Sunbury Lock, Abbs Court Paygate, Peggy's Ait, Platt's Ait, Garrick's Ait, Molesey Lock, Hampton, Hampton Court Bridge 1, Hampton Court Bridge 2, Hampton Court Bridge 3, Hampton Court Bridge 4, Seething Wells, Raven Ait, Hampton Wick Paygate, Kingston, Kingston Bridge 1, Kingston Bridge 2, Kingston Bridge 3, Cardinal Wolsey's Pipes, Kingston Aits, Kingston Railway Bridge, Stevens Aits, One Tree Kingston, Teddington Lock 1, Teddington Lock Theft, Teddington Lock 2, Eel Pie Island, Twickenham Ferry, Petersham Meadow, Glovers Island, Richmond Ferry, Richmond Bridge, Corporation Island Richmond, Richmond Railway Bridge, Twickenham Ferry, Twickenham Bridge 1993-, Richmond Lock, Railshead Ferry, River Crane, Isleworth, Brentford, Brentford Ait, Kew Ferry, Kew Bridge, Oliver's Island, Strand-on-the-green Railway Bridge, Postscript,


The song that the River sang
Ere he merged in the infinite sea;
Like a brave life turned without pang
To its rest in eternity:
And ever he chanted and ever he ran,
And ended with joy as with joy he began;
And thus he sang to me:

I rise in a western hill,
In a covert of dew and of moss,
A murmuring musical rill
A maiden's leap will cross:
Small furry creatures and snakes that glide
Come stooping to drink in the hot noontide,
And birds my waters toss.

By Lechlade I murmur and run,
Then linger with children at play
In meadows whose lover the Sun
Has filled with the burden of May:
And Love has not dimpled the face of a girl
More softly than mine as I eddy and whirl
Where islands check my way.

Mine ancient course I keep
Where Oxford sets her spires,
And out and away I sweep
Through fat and leafy Shires;
And clear and strong I hurry me down
By the old grey bridge at Henley town,
In a flight that never tires.

By eyot and wind-swept down,
With toll from many a rill,
I Wind through the royal town,
And past sweet Cooper's Hill;
And broad and strong and full to the lips
I cradle at last the mighty ships
Whose sails the sea-winds fill.

So Thames rejoiced and sang
As he drew to the sea and his rest;
His strong soul knew no pang,
Though he flung one sigh to the West:
And brave hearts end like the noble stream,
Having lived life full and "followed the gleam";
Having sought and won the best.


The natural course of a river, Flashlocks and Weirs, Pound Locks Subjects covered, Various notes, Thanks to helpers


The course of a river from its springs to the sea rarely proceeds at a constant rate of fall. For miles it may wind, slow and deep, across an apparently level plain. But above this plain and below it may lie a more broken country. Herein its current will vary to greater speeds ; and shallows, rapids, and other natural difficulties will hinder and even prohibit navigation unless the engineer set his knowledge in array against them. The bed of the River Thames nowhere pierces a terrain displaying the extremes of these conditions; yet, easy as is its average gradient of about seventeen inches per mile, many points have been observed during centuries of experience at which some counteraction of its flow was necessary in order that the once abundant and vital barge traffic might be maintained and increased.
This function of observation and intervention has from time to time been exercised by various Commissions of Conservancy; whose history I have described in a previous volume. Herein I unfolded the long struggle against that secular tendency of riparians, even now by no means extinct, which, if not watched vigilantly and opposed resolutely, would long ago have transformed the River into one continuous Private Water, dedicated exclusively to mills, fisheries, and the secluded delectation of the local magnate. I have shown how these Authorities have not only happily preserved the Thames from this fate, but have attacked the natural difficulties also: the shallows, races, tedious windings, the droughts, floods, erosion of banks, and the like.


Down to nearly the end of the eighteenth century, except for the Oxford interlude early in the seventeenth, these natural hindrances to the barge traffic were partly obviated by the ancient and clumsy expedient of flashlocks, or weirs; which in effect constitute each interval from weir to weir in itself one huge lock. Over these weirs a vastly heavier volume of traffic than now exists had to be dragged or floated in its passage up and down the River, at an expenditure of time, labour, and very valuable water power to-day almost inconceivable. Those voyagers who had the good fortune to shoot Eaton weir, the last to survive in active use of these flashlocks, will best appreciate the defects of the ancient procedure.


To this "barbarous system" (a century old reproach) the modern locks began to succeed, in any appreciable number, towards the close of the eighteenth century.
In the course of my General History I alluded by way of illustration to examples of both these classes of water pen. In the following pages I present a more intimate account of them than could be incorporated into that volume. They form the principal subject of my research. In addition, without pretending any special study, I present much new matter upon the bridges, mills, ferries, aits, meads, fords and backwaters of the River: for the most part, indeed, rather nuisances than accessories to the navigation. As occasion offers I enlarge upon River family names also : a not unalluring topic. It may some day be devotedly pursued, and the results given to the world; thereby illuminating perhaps the only feature of the business of the Thames in respect of which our knowledge remains incomplete. The study would naturally include the riparian inns.


I descend no lower than Kew. The tideway is too enormous a subject; involving not only the London watermen (a subject spaciously handled by Humpherus), but the wharves, piers, docks, mooring chains, barge roads, and many other questions beyond my inclination and my powers. Those parts of the River subject to the invasions of the sea are a different country, speaking a different language, from the inland, ordered waters above the locks. N or, though often pressed, do I devote any space to the huge bearing of Geology upon the identity, the life history, of the River. The subject, far as it is beyond my power, is even more repugnant to my sentiment. All the wonderful dreams and speculations of scientists: as that the Thames was once identical with the upper Severn; that it flowed across France into the Mediterranean; that it possessed a double which streamed over the tops of the Chilterns into the North Sea: these may be as profoundly true as they are cosmically interesting.
But they wholly obliterate my serene, majestical Thames, and leave me with a mere mutable gutter running now here, now there; whirled about, like Wordsworth's heroine, with rocks and stones and trees; a drain down which water runs because it must! Of grace I beseech that I may be allowed to content myself with the historic Thames: chief royal River of the four of England, one and indivisible.
I have not closely studied the early structural history of the poundlock: the short basin closed at each end with a pair of gates meeting at an angle. My work is confined to the Thames; and the features of this engine have not essentially altered since the earliest specimens were installed on the River about 1630. Its gradual evolution in bygone centuries was admirably exhibited in an essay by Mr. A. F. Sieveking in the Field of IO April 1915; in which are described and illustrated the varying shapes assumed by poundlocks since their modern invention about 1440. I say "modern invention"; for it is by no means certain, as I understand Mr. Sieveking, that their principle was not employed upon the immemorial canals of Egypt and of Babylon.


The following notes, acquired too late. for my General History, may be acceptable here:
The gangs of men who towed the barges were often called scufflehunters.
Three incidents illustrate how far more important a highway the Thames was in ancient days than now.
In 1406 Henry IV wrote the Privy Council:
Toutesfoiz nous pensons estre y ca nuyt a Staines et dilloequs nous nous transporterons par ewe vers Londres.
In the Paston Letters Wm. Paston in 1479 writes from Eton to his brother John that he is "expecting figs and raisins "in an other barge."
Chiefly and lastly, when in 1588 county levies were being raised against the Spanish Armada, the Privy Council instructed the Lord Mayor of London "to provyde botes, barges, whyrreis and other apt vessels for the transporting of a band of men owt of the cowntye of Oxon unto Gravesend."

With regard to the elusive New Wear referred to on pages 59 and 60 of the General History, I find that Sir Laurence Gomme, dealing with the same record as myself (I have lost the exact reference), places the weir "in the neighbourhood of Yantlet Creek." He names no authority. This statement, if correct, disposes of my conjectural siting near the present Grafton lock.

The following advertisement of the Thames Navigation, dating about 1800, which I discovered in the Treacher Papers, seems worth reproduction. The barges proceeding to Oxford are described as "not exceeding 120 feet in length, 18 feet breadth, and four feet depth."

The perennial dispute regarding the origin of the weirs was amusingly illustrated by the Times and the Field in their generous reviews of the General History. The former journal interestingly suggests that "probably fishing-weirs existed before mills, in days when corn was ground in the quern." The Field ignores the fishery; and expresses the opinion, which is mine also, that "it was for mills, and not at first for navigation, that the river had become dammed up by weirs." The claim of the fisheries is indeed, in my view, the weakest of the three, because the obstructions they originated probably never occupied the whole navigable way from bank to bank, but only part of its width. They would thus not seriously affect either of the other interests: barges could pass along the part of the channel left open; and the head of water would not be affected in respect of the mills.

It appears from this review that King & Davis's houseboat (Gen. Hist, p. 177) is now Messrs. Salter's barge.

It is a pleasure to accede to the "request that I should print "a yarn about the destinies of the quondam City companies' and Corporation state barges. These craft gravitated to Oxford as club lounges and dressing-rooms in early Victorian days, and led to the present long line of modern club barges on Oxford waters. The originals have all become unseaworthy, save that of Oriel, which survives sui generis."

And a last word about the Maria Wood, chiefly drawn from Mr. A. G. Temple's Guildhall Memories. She was built by Searle of Oxford; was sold in 1859 to a caterer for £630, and did brisk summer work for pleasure parties in the 'sixties [1860s]. Regatta committees often hired her as a grand stand. She was next bought by one Christian Ritter, who relinquished her when the Corporation ceased to use her about 1893.

The City shallop, to which I refer occasionally, was named Pinder, from Daniel Pinder, a member of the Corporation for fifty-five years.


Finally I desire to thank all who have helped me with information. They are a large company, Many of their names will be found in the text; I add here that of Mr. C. R. L. Fletcher, of Oxford, who afforded me much generous help and direction in my researches in the Bodleian and the University archives.

Chapter 2: The Source to Oxford

Map: Thames above Water Eaton, Thames Head, Waterhay Bridge, Leigh Single Arch Bridge, Leigh three Arch Bridge, Bournlake Bridge, Hailstone Hill Bridge, Unnamed Weir, M & SW J Railway Bridge, Engraving: North Wilts Canal Aqueduct, North Wilts Canal Aqueduct (culverts), West Mill Cricklade, Four Cricklade Weirs, Cricklade, Cricklade Weir, Hatchetts Bridge, River Rey, Eisey Trestle Bridge, Water Eaton Weir, Castle Eaton Weir, Castle Eaton Mill, Castle Eaton Bridge, Castle Eaton Church, Blackford Weir, Kempsford, Hannington Bridge, Ham Weir below Hannington Bridge, Red Pool, Inglesham, Inglesham Weir, Severn Canal Junction, River Coln, Inglesham, Lechlade Bridge, St John's Lock, St John's Bridge, St John's Bridge Fair, The Trout Inn at St John's Bridge, Buscot Lock, Farmer's Weir, Buscot Wharf, Eaton Hastings Weir, Eaton Hastings, Grafton Lock, Schoolmaster's Hole, Hell's Turn, Radcot Bride, Radcot Monk Mill, Radcot Lock, Old Man's Bridge, Old Nan's Weir, Rushey Lock, Winny Wegs Weir, Lower Rudges Weir, Tadpole Bridge, Tadpole Weir, Thames Weir, Ten Foot Footbridge, Shifford Upper Weir, Duxford Weir, Shifford Lock, Sansom's Ford, Limbre's Weir, Newbridge Bridge, Ridge's Weir, Northmoor Lock, Ark's Weir, Bablock Hythe, Skinner's Weir, Pinkhill Lock, Swinford (Eynsham) Bridge, Eynsham Weir, [ Eynsham Lock ], Cassington Lock (on Evenlode Cut), Duke's Cut, Clay Weir, [ King's Lock ], King's Weir, Wytham Stream Outfall, [ Thames Bridge ], Godstow Bridge, Godstow Lock, Port Meadow, Medley Footbridge, Medley Weir,


ALTHOUGH to an imaginative Englishman, the scene amongst the hills and water meadows at THAMES HEAD is one of the most interesting spectacles of his native land, yet it, and the course of the infant River for seven miles downward, possess only a sentimental interest for the navigation.
This remotest channel of the Thames is spanned by some seven railway and road bridges, and by countless plank or stepping stone crossings in the meadows and lanes by which it runs.
At least seven mills also (the insistence of the numeral is striking) stand or have stood upon its banks in this district:
Ewen the highest,
Pool Keynes,
Somerford upper,
Somerford lower or Skilling's,
and Ashton Keynes.
Of these I have written at length in my Stripling Thames.

Map Thames above Water Eaton


It is at WATERHAY BRIDGE, seven miles from the source, that the tradition of serious navigation begins. When first you cross this bridge, and gaze down upon the brook that trickles beneath it through forget-me-not and cress, it is difficult to believe that a traffc of small barges once forced its way hither.
If however you regard the width of the channel and the height of the banks below the bridge, capable of more feet of water than there usually are inches, you may be inclined to accept the tradition.
Taunt indeed said in 1871 that "in winter, and very early spring, it is Possible to get up the River to this bridge": he very probably had done it.
Dredge dates the present structure in 1895 ; and says its predecessor was of masonry.


At LEIGH are two bridges : one- three-arched of stone,


one of timber.


About a mile below Waterhay, Taunt notes BOURNLAKE WEIR. Here is a solid bridge of two arches : one of stone and one of brick.


The footbridge at Hailstone Hill is of substantial timber on stone piers, and carries a path across joining South Cerney and Cricklade. I comment on this curious name in my Stripling Thames : the spot lives in my recollection overhung with gloomy trees.


About half a mile lower Taunt marked an unnamed weir in 1871, "the sill and sheeting still in fair order." I could find no surviving relics about 1910, except some stones in the bed which may mark the site. Old weir sills were often used as a foundation for stepping stones.


There is no footway beneath the M & SW. J. railway bridge; you must cross over the embankment if you are afoot.
[ Midland & South Western Junction Railway 1884 - 1961 ]


N Wilts Canal Aqueduct
Embankment of N Wilts Canal Aqueduct.
The Thames flows through culverts.
By Charles J Breadon

About half a mile lower the aqueduct of the North Wilts Canal crosses the River, indignant Thames running beneath it through culverts. The canal you can cross, if tramping, at a lock a little northward.


Westall said in 1828 that the River was then navigable to this point for barges of six or seven tons.
In evidence before a Parliamentary select committee in 1884 it was stated that four mills are mentioned in Domesday between Cricklade and Inglesham, not in existence and the inference was drawn that "there now must have been weirs".
* West mill was bought up and stopped some years ago by the Conservancy to prevent its inter- ference with the level of the River.
My earliest note of it is from a perambulation of Braden Forest under Henry III (1216-1272).
Under Charles I it belonged to a Pleydell.


There are still traditions and traces of four weirs, which I shall mention in their order:
the first just below Cricklade Bridge;
the second at Water Eaton, where, under its ancient name of Nun Eaton, the Godstow priory settlement very probably had a mill;
the third above Castle Eaton, where there certainly was a mill;
and the fourth at Ham weir, below Hannington Bridge.


I have no precise knowledge of the date at which Cricklade became established as the head of the regulated navigation.
Nor do I know whether it was purposely so constituted, or achieved the posi- tion through mere custom or natural necessity.
The inquiry into both points is not without interest.
As regards the date my present conclusion is that the little town acquired its status gradually, and not in consequence of any offcial action.
The earliest reference to the subject I have discovered is in 1607, when the Oxford-Burcot Authority fixed Cricklade as the upper limit of their proposed im- provements, intimately described on page 64 of my General History.
Subsequent commissions accepted the delimitation in theory; their practice has too often determined at Lechlade, and even at Oxford.
In earlier times the ancient appointments of searchers of nets and weirs in the water of Thames usually ran to Cirencester: a quite important argument in the debate regarding the true Source of the River, and one which incidentally ignores Cricklade as a terminal point.
The reasons that may have been active in fixing its headship are perhaps not so evident as may superficially appear.
Want of floating depth westward of the town is an easy, but inconclusive, explanation.
Actually there is much better going in some places above Cricklade, as high up as Waterhay Bridge, than in many places well below it.
I think that Waterhay, some four or five miles west of Cricklade, may once have formed a barge wharf for Ashton Keynes, a community whose importance was formerly far greater than at present; and have been an early limit of upward navigation.
As Ashton Keynes dwindled in influence so the traffic shrank away from it; and for commercial purposes must have received its quietus above Cricklade when the North Wilts Canal aqueduct was thrown across the River in the dawn of the nineteenth century.
Perhaps the fact that Cricklade is the highest place on the River capable, through its seat on the roads, of acting as an important distributing centre made it the natural head of Thames navigation in the days before the canal competition was introduced.
The steady stream of small traffic that reached here would serve a considerable circle of villages and small towns made easily accessible by numerous roads.
Four trunk routes with their many branches meet in the close neighbourhood of the town.
As it in turn decayed, a process hastened by the inauguration of the Severn Canal, the navigation again shrank, for all practical purposes, to Lechlade; Cricklade being reached to-day, in summer time at all events, only by such efforts as described in my Stripling Thames.
In theory, however, it still remains the head of the Thames navigation, neglected though the district between it and Lechlade undoubtedly is in practice by the much labouring Conservancy.
The present town bridge, built only in 1852, does not cover the site of the ancient Irmin Street crossing into Cricklade, which was some distance lower downstream.

The Harleian MS. written by Thomas Baskervile in 1692 has some very intricate matter upon the local bridge work of his day, and I am not at all sure how to read it into modern conditions.
The section of this MS. dealing with Thames bridges is headed:
"An account of Bridges over ye famous River Tems beginning at Cricklad the highest navigable place for Boats with the names of Bridges on this River the number of Arches in each bridge and the measure of yards according to my paces wch is nigh ye same measure from hence to London Bridge."
Various bridges are described, as I shall quote under succeeding heads, down to and including Wallingford.
Here is the Cricklade matter:
"1st Cricklad Bridges in Glocester shire are 580 paces or yards over (see more at large at ye beginning of this Book)"
{a reference to an itinerary of the Thames as low as Buscot, and of many adjacent and Cotswold communities, which affords the following remarks}:
"Cricklad Bridge On Wiltshire side, begins hard by 7 {or y for ye } bridge houses, where is a foot Bridge built of wood for people to go over in time of floods, which has 22 Passes for water between ye Postes.
Then ye Casway on which horses travail in time of floods hath 9 passes for water. But 2 passes are small.
and then you enter into Creeklad on this side 3 Streams of water run through these passes viz: Those passes of the timber bridge, and those 9 passes for water in ye stone Casway.
The biggest streame is called the River Rey.
Its tap springs rise at Wroughton comonly called Roughton Thence It descends on ye west side of Swindon to Shaw, Redborne, and then to Cricklad.
The 2nd streame rises in Bradonfforest & thence descending by Purton, runs to Cricklade, or Crekelade.
The 3rd not fur or else a dead stream."
Confusion is introduced into these notes by the fact that the Ray and the Key, which are probably the two first mentioned streams, join the Thames considerably east of Cricklade, nowhere near the bridge.
The third is probably the Dance Brook.
The reference to the bridge beginning hard by the bridge houses seems evidence for the seventeenth century predecessor of the existing bridge having been upon the present trajectory.
He continues:
"The Bridges and Casway to go into Glocester shire from Cricklade are 580 paces or yards long, to the farther side of ye Bridge over that stream which comes from Cyrencester [the Churn].
The other stream which runs by Ashton Canes comes in by Cricklad Town.
The 2nd Bridges viz That Bridge over Ashton Canes stream, and that bridge over Tems or Cyrencester stream and ye Casway between, have 12 Arches for water to pass.
But ye Casway wch leads from Tem's Bridge to Latton in Glocester shire (a mile fro' Cricklad Town) has no Arches."

It is very noticeable that the writer deprives the Ashton Keynes stream of the name of Thames, and bestows it upon the "Cyrencester stream".
Quitting Cricklade Baskervile exclaims:

So farwell Cricklad, come off yt ground,
We'el sail in Boats, towards London Town,
ffor this now is, the highest station,
By famous Tems for Navigation,
But when th 'tis [Tems is?] joyn'd with Bath Avon
Then row your wherrys farther on,
ffor Baskervile, Matthews were Projectors
Who did conclude, sixty Thousand Pound,
Would throughly open, each river ground.
ffor by power of Lockes, Rains, & ffountains,
They'l make Boats to dance, upon ye mountains.
But further yet, to ease your mindes
How these great works, were then design'd,
Here read their Book, there you will see,
'Twas possible, such things might be.

This is evidently a forecast of the cutting of the North Wilts Canal, which by its junction with the Kennet and Avon Canal about two miles northeast of Trowbridge enabled navigators to "row their wherrys farther on" to Bath, Bristol and the Severn.
The second couplet is an indication that there was in 1692 no general navigation above the town; though the note of 1677 under St. John's Bridge may perhaps correct this idea.
According to Phillips's Inland Navigation of 1792 Joseph Moxon, hydrographer to Charles II, drew a map for the Mr. Matthews of line 7 [of the above poem], to shew that the scheme was practicable.
Among the Rawlinson MSS. in the Bodleian Library a note of 1683 occurs, evidently by Hannibal, father of this Thomas Baskervile, embedded in an account of Sunningwell and its neighbourhood:
"At the head of this stream (Crickladd stream which meets the Tems at Crickladd) a gentleman of my name well skilled in the art of conveying water, Mr. Thomas Baskervile, who now lives with the Lord Ward at Dursley Castell in Staffordshier.
Hee did propose to the Lord Chancellour Hide a feasibility of uniting ye Avon and Temes and so to make good a Navigation for Boats from Bristoll and Bathe up the river till they got into Tems and then downstreame to Oxford and London.
This gentleman in {16}18 takeing my House in his way from London homeward, I fell into discourse with him concerning this thing.
Hee told mee there was a possibility of doing it; and that if ever it were done there would bee such a stock of water in the Dikes that the River Tems should never want water, but bee supplyed from thence for Navigation in the driest Summer."

Mr. C. R. L. Fletcher exclaims upon Baskervile's idea that the creation of an artificial navigation would increase the water in the River:
"the reverse of Brindley's notion that rivers exist to feed canals."
In the end of 1869 the Conservancy gave notice of their intention to acquire the bed, soil and banks of the Churn and Ray in order to widen and deepen them.


Taunt marks this. Perhaps the old barnlike building on the [left] bank at the head of the pool was the keeper's house.


a mere crazy trestle framework. Baskervile does not mention it; though possibly there was always some sort of bridge here.


He [Baskervile] proceeds to the Ray:
"Rey fflu: [flumen, latin for river]
Here Roughton River called Ree
Joynes with the Tems as you may see."

Baskervile seems here to place this stream where we know it to-day, well east of Cricklade; although he has just made it pass under Cricklade Bridge.
Modern maps also betray much confusion between these two brooks, owing doubtless to their propinquity and similarity of name.


Not in Baskervile; possibly in his time there was only the ancient ford, "well known to hunting men", which preceded the bridge.
In February 1878 a complaint reached the Conservancy that the landowner had driven piles in the River here expressly to obstruct the navigation.
In March 1882 the Thames Valley Drainage Commissioners widened the channel here and at Water Eaton just below.
In August 1894 the Conservancy again had to order the removal of a chain and posts erected across the River a little above the bridge.

Map Water Eaton to Inglesham


In October 1535 Sir Walter Stonor wrote Cromwell:
"I have pulled up the weir of Water Eyton according to the king's commandment."
This weir was almost certainly connected with the stepping stone dispute in 1307 between Godstow priory and the vicar of Latton, discussed in my 'Stripling Thames'.
The only modern reference I know of to the weir is in Armstrong's map in his Thames of 1886.
It has now wholly disappeared.


Ireland saw this about 1790; I do not know that there is now one stone of it left upon another.
It was on the [left] bank, about a quarter of a mile above the bridge.
I believe a new poundlock, already planned in the Conservancy pigeonholes, is intended some day to stand on the site.


Castle Eaton Bridge was, according to Baskervile, "built wt timber stone peers 8: planks & railes tis about 73 yards over 34 arches for water to pass at ye end of a long stone casway a bridge of 2 arches. Postes between them make 8 Arches." The present deplorable iron trough was thrown across, in place of the old bridge, in 1893. The Conservancy is often blamed for its hideousness; their responsibility amounts only to acquiescence; I understand that the Swindon District Board was the actual artist.


In August 1894 the Conservancy had to remove an obstruction of stones placed in the River near the church.
The vicar of Kempsford in 1909 told me that the Wiltshire landowner between this bridge and Kempsford possesses and exercises a good and ancient right to the fishery across the whole River, to the exclusion of the vicar himself though a landowner on the Gloucestershire side.
The public may fish wading or afloat ; but not from either bank.


I have never heard of any obstruction or crossing at Kempsford except an ancient ford, the northern approach to which crossed what is now the vicar's garden.
Blackford weir pool is about two or three large meadows below the village; the weir was removed under Conservancy orders in September 1869, the sill being left as a foundation for stepping stones.
You could cross it almost dry shod in the summer of 1908.
I could find no foundation stones for the weir beam in 1910.
Krausse in 1889 refers to remains of an old mill here.


Baskervile in 1692 says first that he has not seen 1t, and later, on a fly leaf:
"Hannington bridge is about 120 yards over the river & is built of partly stone peers partly timber posts between. 4 great stone Peeres and 4 timbers 8 Arches besides to vent water in time of Floods 16 in all.
covered wt timber Plankes and some ??? pitch'd with stone upon the plankes.
Horse & foot peop1e go over the bridge.
Carts wagons & coaches goe through the water by ye bridge out of wiltshier to Kempford in Glocester shire.
On Wiltshier side are 2 plankes for footfolk to pass in time of floods before they come to the Arches.
Tis about 3 miles from Highworth town. Sanders Alehouse is in Wilts hard by the bridge."

This house may be one of those still surviving close at hand; but none of them is now an inn.
Ireland in 1790 and Westall in 1828 describe the bridge as of wood.
The present bridge is excessively awkward to get through: a skewwise structure of three brick arches, with a swift stream beneath it.
It was built, according to Dredge, in 1841; though Robertson about 1886 is still describing the bridge as of timber.
Probably he merely copied older records.


Ham Weir was about half a mile below Hannington Bridge.
I know the pool, but saw no surviving stones in 1910.
Taunt said the sill remained in 1871 "to place stepping stones on".
This was frequently done, perhaps under some degree of compulsion; immemorial footpaths often crossed these old weirs, which the Conservancy found it necessary to accommodate, in instances lower down, with footbridges.


At a spot which he so names, and places between Hannington and Inglesham, Baskervile writes:

Wee'r got ......
Down the Isis into Red Pool,
So here wee'l sto p a while and cool,
ffor Boats do oft come hither to lade
Malt, Barly, other goods to trade,
Down to Oxford, and Abingdon,
And thence in Barges to London
ffor wharfingers, a house provides,
To keep goods dry, on Wiltshire side.

After much inquiry I gather that Redpool is at that decided elbow the River makes from an easterly to an almost northerly course about three quarters of a mile above Inglesham church.
The [left] bank is in Inglesham parish; and the spot would be, I suppose, its wharf.

Map Inglesham to Eaton Hastings


There was formerly a weir here, about a quarter of a mile above the Round House.
Perhaps because the navigation above this point was so neglected, none of the eighteenth century surveyors noticed it; and the earliest mention I have is Wood's Oarsman's Guide of 1850.
He says it is immoveable, and that "consequently the River is no longer navigable to Cricklade."
Ravenstein also in 1861 describes it as "immoveable; the head of the navigation on the Thames".
It was ordered to be removed in January 1868.
Squire Campbell of Buscot complained the same month of its removal, and threatened to rebuild it.
If this were objected to he would claim on the Conservancy for loss of water.
There is a distinct weir pool and neck; but I could find no stones or stakes.
A man told me at Godstow in the summer of 1912 that he could remember seeing craft hauled over here with a winch.


I find the following suggestion for joining the two Rivers, dated May 1633: the earliest I know; though it is probable that so desirable an achievement must always have been present to the minds of people interested.
"ffor the Contryving of Navigation betweene the Ryvers of Thames and Seaverne.
There are 3 places where the Brainches of these 2 Ryvers do rise neare together.
2 of these places are in Wiltsheere.
The one betweene Creeklade & Malmesbury.
The other betweene Marleborough & Chippenham.
The third place is in Glocestersheere between Ciceter & Strowde.
At wch places It is very probable That these 2 Ryvers may be Cutt the one into the other So as that by means of Lock Sluices Constant Navigation may be gayned from the one into the other.
Mr. Hill would undertake to viewe the same so exactly (yf his Ma[jesty] be so pleased).
As that he would set doune and demonstrate the right and best way, and the Charge thereof."

In the Lords' Journals for 14 April 1668 is mentioned
a "Draft of an Act for making an inland passage for barges and other vessels from Bristol and elsewhere to London, and other rivers and watercourses to be brought to fall into the same, and otherwise to London.
Read this day. No further proceeding."

This may be merely a revival of a Bill read 19 April 1664 in the House of Commons, for making the River navigable from Bristol to London.
A later note occurs in October 1765, whether connected with the final scheme or not I am not aware, of a Mr. Holmes advocating a canal to join the two Rivers.
An early proposal in Whitworth's ultimate scheme was, not to end the canal at the Round House, but to carry it a little further
"by a Cut from the Thames near Englesham by Lint Bridge and Buscot to the Thames below Buscot Lock";
cutting off the northward bend of the River by Lechlade.
The natural stream, improved by St. John's and Buscot locks, was, however, finally settled upon.
Lint or Lynt Bridge crosses the eastern arm of the river Cole about half a mile southeast of Inglesham church.

The junction of canal and River was effected on 14 November 1789.
The Gentleman's Magazine states:
"Nov. 19. A boat, with the union flag at her masthead, passed laden for the first time to St. John's Bridge, below Lechlade, in the presence of great numbers of people, who answered a salute of twelve pieces of cannon from Buscott Park by loud huzzas.
A dinner was given at five of the principal inns at Lechlade, and the day ended with ringing of bells, a bonfire, and a ball."

The canal boats were 12 ft. wide, 80 to 100 ft. long, and of a capacity of 80 to 100 tons.
In 1812 the Company had 25 barges on the Thames.
Even in the summer of 1816, only twenty-seven years after its opening, the City surveyors, critics of the upper Authority, had to report:
"This Canal, although defective on account of the weeds in it at present, the want of a horse towing path on part of it, also from the decayed state of some of the lock gates and from the obliquity of several of the locks, Bridges &c with the line of the canal, is an admirable and a stupendous work;"
which had failed, they were punctilious to observe, only because of
"the imperfect state of the River Thames."
In December 1881 it was proposed to be closed, and transformed into a railway.
The suggestion was much opposed as breaking the continuity of the waterway east and west.
The revenue from tolls this year was £3 6s. 10d.
The following March the Conservancy declined to join an Association for rehabilitating it.
In February 1894, however, they put on record their anxiety to see its traffic restored; the Great Western Railway having bought and closed it the previous year.
The Allied Navigations moved to repurchase it in 1895.
In February 1899 it was announced as re-opened, but could not be used till the Kempsford swingbridge was repaired.
On March 23rd a canal boat passed from the canal on a trial trip to London; and more were promised.
Now this watercourse, opened with such jubilant enthusiasm and lofty hopes, is the almost unmolested haunt of the dragon fly and menacing great bullocks; more filled if possible with drowsy peace and solitude than even the infant River itself.
Its towpath will often afford a route between secluded communities more direct than the ordinary roads; but the only vessels that awake a momentary surge upon its placid, limpid waters are an occasional barge repairing the bridges, or an infrequent dredger.
Such of its wharves as I know are silent and untenanted; and the dwellers in its round houses and by its locks concern themselves but rarely with navigation.
Its milestones are overgrown with thyme and bryony; and in its weeds the wolfish pike hang motionless, watching their prey.
Occasionally pleasure craft travel this way; but they say the tolls are almost prohibitive.
Its waters are clear; every curve opens up some fresh scene of quiet loveliness; there is the reflection of the sky and the sailing clouds; and I am grateful for the memory of many a solitary tramp along its lonely banks.

RIVER COLN at Inglesham

Coln Mouth. The Baskervile MS. says:

Coln flu:
Here conjunctions, famous prove,
On the score of united love,
ffor here about Cown River wends,
Its water into little Temes,
And so these pleasing Banks they wash,
And help the Boats, down with a flash.

An aged deaf man at Denham, in Middlesex, once spoke to me of his river as the "Cown", to rhyme with "own".


Lechlade Town Bridge was built under the Act of 1792.
Camden's Magna Britannia of 1720 says that here the River
"begins to be navigable: and here he is able to bear a Barge of 50 Tun."
A Lechlade bargemaster stated in 1793 that the chief goods he carried down to London were:
"Iron, Copper, Tin, manufactured and pig Iron, Brass, Spelter, Cannon, Cheese, Nails, all Iron goods and Bomb Shells."
He took back
"Groceries, Deals, Foreign Timber, Merchandise of every Kind, a few Coals, and of late Raw Hides for Tewkesbury and Worcester and Gunpowder to Bristol and Liverpool:
has been applied to last Time he was up, to take Sugars to be carried to Bristol, but did not take them, for when they came to enquire the Price, they found they could go cheaper by the Kennet to Newbury, and the rest of the way by Land Carriage."

In 1812 Rd. Gearing and Wm. Saunders, both of Lechlade, had each one barge on the River.


St. John's Lock is still the highest, though not one of the very oldest, of the poundlocks upon the Thames.
The earliest note I have of the weir is in Bowen's map of 1775.
In 1789 Sir T. Wheate was the owner; I do not know if he was the same man who in 1751, receiving permission to increase the toll if he would also raise the arches of the bridge, took the money but left the bridge.
In consequence of the opening of the Severn Canal this poundlock was decided upon in 1789; it was built by J. Nock and opened towards the end of 1790.
Ireland sketches the scene at this time from below the bridge.
He shows no weir tackle; but has a vessel on the weir stream being towed downstream by men on the Trout meadow bank.
Wm. Wells was the first pound keeper, at 3s. 6d. weekly.
He stayed till at least 1798 ; possibly much longer.
In May 1792 complaint was made that the tolls were being evaded; the keepers, especially when freshly installed at the new poundlocks, were for a very long time no match for the truculent and hard swearing bargemen.
In 1793 the pound toll was 2½d. per ton.
It was stated this year that
"no barge can pass down with a proper cargo on board, unless the Flash at St. John's Bridge runs three hours after the barge had gone thro' the Hook there, and the Water cannot be raised back to the proper flash mark in less than 12 hours."
In 1798 Collis, a Severn Canal bargeman, was accused of
"breaking a Lock at St. John Bridge pound and not paying arrears of toll."
If he would pay up, and advertise his regret three times in the Oxford and Reading newspapers, the prosecution would be stayed.
In June 1813 the wage was raised from 17s. to 24s. monthly.
Mrs. Wells is noted as the weir owner in 1821.
In October 1822 Richard Rodney was keeper; I do not find anyone between him and Wells.
The first lockhouse was put up in 1830.
In May of this year Benj. Hodges was in charge.
I think he lived at the Trout, close by; as, in the following November, being summoned before the Commissioners on some complaint, his employers, "being determined to enforce their rule of not having Publicans for pound keepers", passed a resolution that he should reside in his new house "at the lock side before six months expired, or resign."
(Presuming in one record or the other a small error in the name, was this Hodges a descendant of the "Dame Hodson and her son" said by Baskervile in 1692 to be the lessees of the St. John Baptist Head, the old name of the Trout? )
The official silence about the several stations between this lock and Oxford, from this date onwards for thirty years or more, is accounted for by the fact of their having been farmed out in the lump during this period to a succession of tenants.
Details will be found on pages 180 and 181 of my General History.
[ "The Thames Highway: Volume I; General History 1914 ]
(Berkeley Hicks, the tenant in 1836-9, lies buried in Wargrave churchyard. He died in 1858; aged 63.)
Just previous to the first Conservancy Act in 1857 the lock was stated to be "in a frightful state of dilapidation"; missing gates being replaced with hurdles and straw.
Hall in 1859 shews the lockhouse in its original position on the left bank of the lock.
Ravenstein in 1861 mentions a pleasure boat toll of Sixpence: "pay at Ousney".
The lock was repaired in 1867, the old-lock owner being W. Prideaux.
It was being rebuilt in 1905 when I passed through for the first time with much discomfort.
Keeper Beesley's house was transferred at this date to the right bank: a picturesque new bungalow; one hears regrets for the original shanty.
An official note says that John Basson had charge here, and at Buscot and Eaton, in 1866.
His son James, keeper at Chertsey in 1915, tells me his father first went to St. John's in 1852.
During the early part of this period he would have been in charge for his uncle John and the other lessees of these locks.
The old gentleman was still living in 1915, almost a centenarian, at Day's lock with another son.
R. Basson, son of John, succeeded here and at Buscot in February 1896; being transferred to Northmoor exactly three years later.
J. Horn followed; and resigning in July 1900 was succeeded by D. E. Collins; at Shifford in 1913.


St. John's Bridge was originally built by the local prior in 1229, on the trajectory, it is said, of a British ford.
Its two outer arches are not equidistant from the central span: the only reason I can offer for its alleged "curious appearance".
Pontage was granted in 1341 to the prior of Lechlade for repair of "his" bridge.
In 1387 occurs a further grant of pontage for two years to Richard, the prior of Lechlade, for repairing the bridge,
"for certain reasons ordered by the king's uncle, the duke of Gloucester, to be destroyed".
This incident may seem an evidence of the rebuilding of the bridge a century and a half after its original construction.
In April 1677 the inhabitants of Cricklade complained of the obstruction of boats and barges between there and Oxford by one Captain Cutler at St. John's Bridge.
He would not suffer any boat to pass without payment of a considerable sum of money.
This incident has an important bearing upon the obscure subject of commercial traffic in the district of the River above Lechlade
A very interesting and vivid note respecting the connexion of this old bridge with the navigation occurs in the Baskervile MS.:
"St. John's Bridge The next below Hannington bridge is about 140 yards in length thwarting the River between Glocester shire and Berks, It has 11 Arches to vent water in time of floods but 2 of these arches are great, built over the Mainstream where loaden boats go through.


[Baskervile continues:]
St. John Bridge fair
{first granted in 1234, to last five days: the vigil, feast, and three days following },
is kept on the 29 day of August { the Feast of the Decollation }
[ Decollation: the feast of The Beheading of St John the baptist ]
in the Meadow below ye bridge on Glocester shire side, to wch Oxford boats & others resort to sell Ale, Beef & Carrots, & to carry goods from this fair down stream,
And here at a Mill below this Meadow, Leach flu runs into Tems, which stream I suppose divides Glocester Shier from Oxford shier.
Many boats come hither to lade & unlade goods, I have seen 6 or 8 boats togeither at their Wharfe.
ffor besides Corn of all sorts wch they lade to go down stream.
Here comes from Severn and Avon landed at Tewsbery where both these Rivers do unite and elswere, on horses and in Carts & Wagons by land great weights of Cheese especially that sort gos by y name of Cheshire Cheese, for hereabout The Boates Masters have warehouses to secure their goods; And Hoys in time of scarcity, & other goods comes from London-ward hether & are sent as aforesaid by land to Severn and thence in Boats to Bristol and elswere, & in ships to Ireland."

Baskervile had made earlier notes of a very similar nature during a tour into Gloucestershire.
He adds therein to the goods on sale:
"More especially sage cheese, in various shapes and colours, which I have scarce seen anywhere else to be sold.
And because the meadow is surrounded with the river navigable from Oxford hither 'tis thick set with boats full of provisions brought from thence to entertain such people as come hither, and they go laden back again with such goods as are bought at the fair to go down the stream.

THE TROUT INN at St John's Bridge WTSWG

Here is hard by the bridge a very good inn for entertainment, and they have commonly strong march beer in bottles to sell, and pretty good wine, for as I remember in Leachlad there is no tavern:" surely a curious statement!

An Abingdon order of 1751 says:
"That every boat passing St. John's Bridge pay for every five tons 3d."
In 1795 the new bridge over the pound tail cut, built by Clewes, seems to have been in danger of collapsing.
The old prior built better than the enlightened Protestant contractor.
The main bridge was rebuilt in or about 1820.
The lock cut bridge, being again extremely dilapidated, was ordered for rebuilding in June 1879.
St. John's being the first historical bridge I have mentioned I will insert here a note from Jusserand's English Wayfaring Life in the Middle Ages as a perhaps necessary reminder of the sacred character of bridges.
"It remained {for the religious houses} to satisfy the trinoda necessitas, or triple obligation, which among other duties consisted in repairing roads and bridges.
A religious order had been founded in the twelfth century, that of the Pontife brothers, or makers of bridges.
They had establishments on the shores of streams, and helped to cross them by boat.
There is no trace in England of establishments founded by the Bridge Friars, but it is certain that there, as elsewhere, the works for constructing bridges and highways had a pious character."


This poundlock, built in stone by J. Nock, the builder of St. John's, was opened at the end of 1790, with a toll of 2%d. per ton.
It is at first often alluded to as New lock: a label frequently found convenient for new stations.
In 1791 Mr. E. Loveden Loveden owned the weir: a champion of Thames navigation.
His name is constantly occurring in the navigation history of the Thames at this time; and as a picture of the man, and a most admirable example of the retort courteous, I present a letter of his from the City records in answer too a none too pleasant criticism by the Corporation of his fellow Commissioners' procedure.
                                                                                                Buscot Park, 2nd Nov., 1816.
Having been much from home lately I must plead absence as an excuse for not having sooner acknowledged your kind Communication, and request you will, tho' late, offer my thanks to the Thames Navigation Committee for the Copy of their Report.
The bends in this Upper District certainly impede the Navigation, but help to keep up the Water,
which if those were cut would run off too rapidly, and occasion a necessity for more Pound Locks.
The Government of the Commissioners is badly formed, a new Constitution is wanted.
What is intended to be done by the New Act to be applied for in the next Session?
I have frequently thought of going in the Shallop from hence by T & S Canal to the SeVern, Bristol and back thro' the K and A to Reading and up the Thames to this place.
[ The City had just performed this tour.]
Will you favour me with the Stations you took each Night and accommodation you met at them?
The North Wilts is a bad Prospect, and proceeds very slowly.
I hope your Committee will make frequent Surveys and not pass without calling on
Your obliged hble Servant
A Hare and pheasant will be sent by this Nights Coach for your Acceptance.

Robert Gearing became the first keeper in 1791: at 35. 6d. weekly wage: called Richard in 1793.
In 1794 Vanderstegen, a commissioner, wrote, in urging various improvements:
"The little weir at Buscot, the whole expence of erecting which could not exceed £150, receives one shilling for five ton."
There is an excellent drawing of this "little weir " in Fearnside.
In 1798 an Elizabeth Gearing, widow perhaps of Robert or Richard, was in charge.
In January 1802 the wage was raised from 4s. 3d. to 6s.; and the keeper was apparently again a man, as the increase was justified
"he being no Publican & making no charge for penning".
In June of this year a cut was proposed
"across Bloomer Meadow near Buscot Cheese Wharf":
a step often suggested to avoid some of the worst bends hereabouts, but not even now realised.
Bloomer's Hole is at a wide bend less than a quarter of a mile below St. John's Bridge; and the cheese wharf stood on the right bank above Buscot church, where the River runs close to the road. In October 1822 Wm. (or Levi) Lewis was keeper at 24s. monthly.
I get no further history of this station, except as noted under St. John's, until Ravenstein's allusion in 1861; he notes the same conditions for pleasure craft here as at St. John's.
The weir was retained by Mr. R. Campbell of Buscot Park under the Conservancy Act of 1866; in October of which year John Taylor is noted as the keeper, and at Medley, at £3 monthly.
Mr. Campbell was allowed to put in new gates for £60 in July 1867; but they had disappeared in less than ten years through dilapidations.
In July 1869 he sought permission to dredge, at the Conservators' expense, between here and Hart's lower weir (Grafton lock); and in September 1870 obtained sanction for six months for a "tramway bridge" outside the lower end of the lock.
It remained by permission till December 1871; when he received authority for "a temporary opening bridge" on the same site.
This in September 1875 was complained of as an obstruction; and was ordered "to be kept up".
The weir was reserved to Buscot Park by the Act of 1894; and is still I think the property of this estate: an interesting and perhaps unique survival of the old universal private ownership of weirs and flashlocks.
J. Basson, the keeper, was succeeded in February 1896 by his son, R. Basson.
They each had charge of St. John's also.
R. Basson was sent to Northmoor in February 1899.
J. Horn followed here; and resigning in July 1900 was succeeded by D. E. Collins, who later went to Shifford.
A new weir was built by Lord Faringdon of Buscot Park, about 1907-9.
You will usually have to work this lock yourself: the only instance on the River.
Keeper Beesley oi St. John's had charge in my time; but in six years I never once saw him at Buscot, though he claimed to come over three times daily.


Some MS. notes of early toll receipts at St. John's, Buscot, and Rushey locks afford the following interesting figures:

March 1791 : being the first collections:
St. John's - - - £6:18s:4d
Buscott - - - £8:11s:0d
Rushey - - - £6:5s:2d
January 1795: {probably a flood or frost had stopped the navigation}
St. John's - - - £1:11s:4d
Buscott - - - £1:13s:6d
Rushey - - - £1:17s:8d
January 1796:
St. John's - - - £7:2s:1d
Buscott - - - £8:1s:10½d
Rushey - - - £8:0s:10d


There was a flashweir known by this name between Buscot and the present Hart's or Eaton in ancient time.
In my search in 1910 I found two possible weir pools, but no stonework or other definite remains.
The station is not often referred to, and was probably dismantled at a very early date.
Griffiths places it, in 1746. at 3 mlle below Buscot.
Rocque's Survey in 1762 marks a "wire" (still the local pronunciation) where a tiny brook from the south joins the Thames, at the same distance from Buscot.
Jessop in 1789 says:
"Remalns of an old Weir, a little below Buscot, require to be pulled up; some long and some short Piles under Water are dangerous.
Part of the Sill remaining has only 3 ft. water just below it, a small Island formed probably by it should be removed also, totally."


After my last visit I found Buscot wharf marked in the O.S. of 1876 at the head of a little cut on the right bank; a short half mile below the lock.
O ter quaterque beati [ O three and four times blessed ones ],
who nose and navigate hereabout after me, hunt it out and behold it for yourselves!

Eaton (Hart's) Weir

EATON WEIR, Hart's or West or Lower Farmer's WTSWG

This is the highest of the numerous stations to which the name of Hart is attached, to the confusion of the inexpert.
Griffiths in 1746 names it at a mile below Farmer's; it was probably only half this distance.
In 1792 it was
"in bad repair, not capable of bearing a head of water".
Mylne in 1802 writes:
"At Mrs. Hart's Weir the tackle and the whole construction of this old Wear is in very bad order and belongs as a freehold to a poor woman, who cannot afford to reconstruct it at all.
No Pound lock, but there should be one without loss of time.
A Boat had gone down with a Flash at six in the morning.
Three hours' flash was allowed that boat."

The weir still belonged to Mrs. Hart in 1821.
Wood in 1850 places it at 1147 miles from London Bridge.
He must have reckoned along the natural stream, and not by the lock cuts, as such a distance by today's measurements would locate this weir near Hannington Bridge.
The cut so well known in Hall and elsewhere of a Hart's weir represents Hart's or Ark just above Bablock Hythe, where it appears in his text.
It is often wrongly supposed to portray this station: the latest surviving relic, indeed, of the procedure depicted.
The keepers of St. John's and Buscot appear vaguely to have had some oversight of this weir.
Upon the entry of the Conservancy in 1866 it was retained by Mr. Campbell of Buscot Park.
In January 1868 he wished to build a permanent dam, but was not allowed.
Mr. Taunt speaks of a 3ft. fall here in 1871, and adds:
"I recollect one winter in passing this very weir, when lying on my back in the boat to get through, scraping a fair amount of skin off my nose and face through contact with the bridge whilst going under.
In winter there is very little fall."

"Mr. Hart of Hart's weir" is mentioned in 1879; and again a W. Hart at the Anchor in December 1883.
The weir collapsed in March 1887, and the Conservancy proposed to remove it.
Mr. Campbell, however, saw to its restoration within a twelvemonth; dying in the meantime.
In November 1888 James New was appointed keeper.
He applied for 3s. weekly, or to resign, in February 1890; and was granted the money.
In the following September he announced that he was vacating the Anchor at Christmas.
In January 1891 J. Penny, the new Anchor tenant, was given charge of the weir.
In May 1893 J. Jordan, of whom I have written in my Stripling Thames, succeeded him.
The many complaints in the old Reports of the keepers too closely cultivating the fisheries, to the detriment of the navigation, bestow an alluring interest upon his memory.
Who that was ever here will forget his collection of smart, burnished fishing rods and cunning lures in the shed in front of the little inn!
I suspect that, so far as he might, he inclined towards the old guard.
Peace be with him! He remained here till 1906; and then retired to Great Coxwell.
Under a Conservancy order of 1868 no toll was charged here until September 1896.
The steps above and below the weir were provided in 1868.
In 1911, the year after I last shot the weir, a reassuring boatslide was affixed: an act of modern progress that deprives the voyager of the last opportunity of experimenting in an immemorial adventure of Thames navigation.
The little Anchor inn, bare, sturdy, stone flagged, is still attached: the characteristic complement of almost all these old weirs.


In October 1842 the Rev. Richard Rice obtained permission to remove an island in the River opposite his land.

Map Grafton Lock to Tadpole Bridge


Grafton Lock occupies the function, and almost the site, of DAY'S, East, New Lock, or Lower Hart's weir: the second to which the name of Hart has been attached.
Rocque's map of 1762 is my earliest reference.
Much trouble arose from the single ownership by Mrs. Hart of this weir and Hart's.
Her son was a bargeman, and often absent ; and she could afford only one assistant for the two places; who, it is probable, would spend his time looking after the fishery she rented, in preference to the navigation.
A Report in 1789 says:
"Mrs. Hart & son own Day's Wear or New Lock";
the said "lock" being a flashlock.
In 1798 the complaint was made that
"at Days Weir the horses goes round, should go through".
Mylne wrote in 1802:
"At Mrs. Hart's Lower Wear (formerly called Day's, otherwise New Lock Wear) there is no Pound Lock, but I would recommend one, the distance being a mile and three quarters from the last."
Mrs. Hart still owned in 1821.
The Oarsman's Guide in 1850 places it at 145 miles from London Bridge: the distance we call Inglesham nowadays.
Ravenstein paid 6d. toll in 1861.
In 1867 Wm. Hart of Eaton Hastings claimed compensation under the Act of 1866 for New Lock or Penstone's Weir: doubtless this station.
The wide water above the present lock was the old weir pool, and some stones are still embedded in the right bank at the narrow neck, easy to discern as you scull thereby, which may have formed part of the flashlock.
In July 1869 Squire Campbell of Buscot asked to be allowed to remove the weir; in September, however, the Conservancy themselves removed it.
The first suggestion of a lock occurs in May 1892.
It was opened for traffic on 26 November 1896: Patrick Lee first keeper.
Permission to fix eeltraps at the weir was refused in May 1898.
Lee was transferred the following November to Blake's lock on the Kennet ; and Frederick Havell succeeded here.
Lee went later to Teddington lock.


Between this and Radcot, against some bushes at the head of the straight leading down to the bridge, is a spot called Schoolmaster's Hole.

HELL'S TURN or Hell Gut

About half a mile below the [Grafton] lock is a sharp bend called Hell's Turn, or Hell Gut.

The site of the [Grafton] lock seemed in 1910 particularly lonely and inaccessible except by water.
Radcot Bridge, a mile and a half downstream, was the keeper's nearest contact with supplies.
Faringdon would deliver so far for him; and down to the bridge he must trudge or shove a punt for his coal and other necessities.
For milk, with which in such a country you might fancy the very ditches would overflow, he had to walk three miles every morning; an adjacent farm finding it too troublesome to save him a supply from its London despatches.
For a doctor, a priest, or a crack with a neighbour, he might as well be in the proverbial backwoods.


Ocellus Tamesis! [ Eye of the Thames? ]
Of its contact with English history I have written at length in my Stripling Thames; here I am concerned only with its connexion with the navigation.
The lower part of its piers and its foundations are perhaps as old as anything on the River.
New Bridge is popularly called the oldest, chiefly I think because it pleases people to remark upon the antithesis between its name and its age.
But its name is surely against it; it was "new" in respect probably of Radcot, to which the Victoria History ascribes a priority of about half-a-century.
In 1312 occurs a grant of pontage for five years, for the repair of the bridge, upon all wares for sale carried across.
Nothing is said of waterborne goods.
In 1351 "Rodecotbrigge" is mentioned as the upper limit of a district for survey and ridding of obstructions.
Baskervile says in 1692:
"Radcot Bridge the maine Stream where boats pass through is about 22 yards over & has 3 great Arches;
The second stream has a bridge with two Arches wch leads to Wyer,
The 3rd stream has a bridge over with 4 Arches but not for great boats to go through - see more in a sheet of paper"

which [sheet of paper] is most lamentably lost.
Where all the vast number of arches were bestowed, mentioned at the various bridges in this MS., is a curious consideration.
These three streams, from which of course the modern navigable side cut must be excluded as not then existing, survived for over a century and a quarter after Baskervile, as the following sketch from Greenwood's Berkshire map of 1824 indicates.

map Radcot Bridge

Nowadays, however, they cannot be traced; I fancy the middle Winding course that passes Monk mill has been filled in and banked over.
Greenwood does not shew the modern cut, although it existed long before his date.
Ireland has a drawing of the old bridge about 1790.
The present navigation cut was determined upon in January 1787, and completed within the year, in anticipation of an increase of traflic from the Severn Canal.
The new bridge was ready at the end of this year, having cost nearly £400.
Local encroachments soon appeared on the disused channel; in 1802 Mylne found spars and other tackle under the old arches, as though they were being used for a fishery.
In August 1821 a complaint was made of large stones in the River bed below the new bridge: probably
"thrown into the River to prevent the boats striking against Mr. Wells's garden wall":
a comment made on a similar complaint in 1796.
All the bridgework was under repair in 1877, at which date a Parliamentary witness recalled
"when Radcot was the great centre of supply of coal for a great many neighbouring villages."
The modern bridge is most inconvenient to pass cleanly, especially in a high wind:
"many a steersman has here in mere seconds lost the sedulously acquired reputation of a lifetime".
Why the navigation was diverted from the old bridge I cannot determine, except that people just then were mad on alterations, whether for better or worse.
The new stream curves more sharply than the old; and as to the narrowness of the arches, can Abingdon, or New, or Culham lock bridge, boast of much more room?
There is no doubt that some considerable alterations were made in the streams below this bridge within fairly recent times.
An allusion to them possibly lurks behind a note of a Conservancy view in the summer of 1879, when the Conservators
"viewed the extensive works for clearing obstructions from various channels of the River there".
Probably these works, and others carried out by the Thames Valley Drainage Commission some six years later, combined to efface much of the older aspect of the neighbourhood.
Stone for St. Paul's Cathedral, from Kempster's quarries at Upton, was floated down on rafts to London from this spot.
The old bridge was being mended in the autumn of 1914.
"Fortunately," I hear, "they have a sympathetic architect (Mr. Redfern) who delights in doing these things well."
The same correspondent informs me that
"at one time money was subscribed to build a chantry at the bridge, but it was never carried out: why, nobody knows."

Map Monk Mill Radcot Bridge

MONK MILL below Radcot Bridge, EYE STANK

Monk Mill, shewn on the sketch maps [here], is a hard nut for the antiquary.
In its immediate neighbourhood, Radcot to wit, I could get no memory whatever even of the name, not to Speak of the site; though a gentleman riding about his meadows above Rushey had heard of the old property.
There is no doubt that the extensive alterations alluded to just above have covered the traces of this and of other old landmarks.
Tom Weal, of Rushey, writes me:
"There is a fir tree to mark the place where the mill was"
A good indication, if it exist.
An order made at Faringdon on 2 November 1731 associates an Old Eye weir with Monk mill:
"That the owner of every Boat or Barge passing Old Eye (called Monk's Mill Stank) shall pay " about a penny per ton.
Twenty years later an order made at Abingdon raised the toll to 9d. for every five tons.
Bowen's map of 1775 repeats this title Old Eye.
The toll was then 9s. 9d., I think for 60 ton barges.
Rocque's Survey of Berkshire in 1764 marks the mill, as above.
In the map in Jessop's report in 1791 the site is marked "Old Mill pulled down."
The stank took heavy toll from the navigation: in 1789 and again in 1793 I find a note of 9s. from 60 ton barges.
Amongst some suggestions for improvements by Robert Mylne in 1791 I find:
"At the Mouth of Old Cut or Mill River, a Gauge-Wear, & Pair of Opening Gates like Kings Wear £30.
At Mouth of Mill Stream, a towing Bridge £10."

"The Stank" belonged in 1796 to Chas. Pye, of Eaton, near Hereford: perhaps of the Faringdon family.
The ancient extortion was finally disposed of in the first decade of the nineteenth century.
In December 1808 the toll levied at "Monks Mill Stank" was made a subject of inquiry.
It was then discovered that such relics as still survived belonged to a Mr. W. Y. Mills, of Wadley House, Faringdon; and he was requested to state the grounds of his claim,
"as no Mill, Stank or Boat is now in existence nor has been used for a long time past".
The matter dragged on until September 1810 when the above order of 1751 was stated to be the authority for the charge.
An account of the state of things at that date (which I do not find) was laid before the Commissioners at the end of the same month; whereupon they expressed their opinion that the proprietor of the stank was not entitled to any toll:
"the barges not passing through the weir or stank nor drawing off any water from the mill, nor making use of any Boat belonging to the mill which appears to have been the consideration for paying the toll";
and they decided that no future demand should be paid.

RADCOT LOCK, Clarke's, Beck's, Buck's WTSWG

Radcot Lock and weir occupy the site and improve the function of Clarke's, Beck's, or Buck's flashweir.
Griffiths in 1746, my earliest authority, calls it by the second name only, noting it free of toll.
I imagine that perhaps this and the third title indicated merely the engines of fishery in all likelihood then installed here, rather than the names of owners or tenants.
Clarke, or Clerk, was however an indubitable being of flesh and blood; Clarke's Garden is a well remembered spot; and I fancy he had control of the Spotted Cow inn, of which I write in my Stripling Thames.
His name is sometimes attached to Old Man's weir also, of old time the next lower station; possibly he was responsible for both.
In 1789 a Mr. Chymist owned the weir.
In 1791 and 1793 a toll of 5s. was being imposed on 60 ton barges; the owner's eyes had doubtless been opened to the Severn Canal traffic.
All tolls went up about this period, doubtless through the action of the landlords in increasing the rents upon the weir tenants, who often held also a cottage and plot of land, as well as the accustomed fishery.
Thus in 1802 Mylne "found it all open, the usual practice"; and proceeds:
"It belongs to Major Gorges, whose tonnage has been raised from £30 to £50 a year, while all remains in the same neglected state."
Mylne's editor comments in a side note that it was not the tonnage, but the rent, that had been increased; thus possibly endeavouring to throw the blame upon the tenant.
I would again remark in passing upon the humanity of this Robert Mylne, which appears more than once in the excuses he embodies in his reports for the freeholders of some of these old weirs, who through poverty could not afford to rebuild them.
This is the highest station noted in Boydell's splendid folio of 1794, the text of which was written by W. Coombe, fellow-prisoner of Col. George Hanger.
He remarks:
"A rude railing stretches across the stream from a group of willows on one side, to a bank with two thatched habitations on the other: of singular form and peculiar neatness.
The inhabitants employ their industry in two elements: to till the earth, and to fish the water."

"Clark's Back Weir" was repaired in April 1811.
The name of Harper's was attached to this station in official records in November 1866.
In March 1867 a Stroud builder inquired if Harper's weir was likely to be repaired within a fortnight, as he desired to barge down timber and stone for Hinton church.
The Conservancy had "no immediate prospect" of its rehabilitation.
It was removed in 1868, and the waterway widened.
The lock and new weir began to be discussed in May 1891.
They were opened in December 1892; and John Williams was appointed first keeper in February 1893.
This stalwart old gentleman was said to be a connexion of the well known local family.
He held for many years the Sixth District prize for his show of flowers.
He retired on pension in October 1910, and quickly died; and a man named Almond, previously assistant at Boulter's, took his place.
His body was recovered from the River after some fioods during the same winter; and Alfred Beesley came down from St. John's and Buscot.
His life is a tragedy of waterside history.
He lost two boys by drowning while at Lechlade ; and in the winter of 1911-12 his wife also was drowned at Radcot on a dark and bitter night.
I note in 1429 a watermill with fishery at Radcot.
This would very probably be Monk mill, just treated of.
The same reference affords some ancient meadow names: Milleham, Tytesey, Bennemede, and Marismede.


almost in sight from the tail of Radcot lock, marks the site of an abolished weir which Mylne does not mention, though Griffiths and others before him do so; I think that before his time it had fallen into disuse and was free and open.
The bridge was still standing under the Conservancy in November 1866.
In February 1868 one M. Harper reported the weir bridge much broken, and as it formed part of a footway "to several towns" there was much local complaint.
The weir piles were removed in 1868; and simultaneously the waterway was doubled in width and the footbridge built.
The alternative title of Harper's weir survived till at least 1884.
Dredge says the present bridge was built in 1894;
"in place of a very ancient and steep trestle with five openings that had fallen into decay and was unsafe."
I do not think "very ancient" can be justified.
The fine open pool still spreads below: much used as a local bathing place.


OLD NAN'S WEIR was about a mile above Rushey, close to a towpath gate: its site now not very easy to find.
There is a not very distinguishable pool, grown up all one side with aquatic plants.
The lower end of a row of thorn bushes and willows slants down to the right bank at the spot.
There was a public house near here within living memory; possibly the Spotted Cow, though not certainly.
I discovered no stonework of the weir.
Mylne is my earliest authority for this station.
In June 1790 he judged a poundlock inadvisable here.
Ireland about the same date writes of
"the old stream falling almost into total neglect and disuse; its locks and wiers are falling fast into decay; and in many places we find only a few old timbers remaining, to mark where such aids to navigation were once thought of utility."
His humour has occasionally this flavour of dryness; his expression "locks" is to be understood in the antique sense; the first poundlocks above Oxford were only just building.
The weir was reported in 1791
"totally blown up; the water runs under the Sill, and leaves only ten inches of Water on the Sill; the whole obstructs the Navigation in such a manner, that it is impossible to make any pen ; even the Navigation Shallop, after being lightened, was obliged to be lifted over with Leavers." It was accordingly rebuilt almost immediately; and marked up to 1793 the upper limit of a district for improvements.
In 1802, however, whether through dilapidation or carelessness is not stated, Mylne found all open and no tackle in whatever; to the detriment of the floating depth all the way up to the next sound pen.

It belonged at this time and in 1821 to Mr. C. Loder of Lechlade; being rented in 1796 by Joseph Winter, tenant of Rushey also, who charged "4s. each London boat".
Mylne added that there was "no keeper in attendance, nor shelter for one of any sort, except an old willow".
In the autumn of 1810 a proposed short cut hereabouts was deferred.
Fearnside speaks of the station in 1832 as "a small weir with merely a hut".
Ravenstein notes it as free in 1861.
It is stated to have been removed, and the waterway nearly doubled in 1868.
There is no bridge here now; though I get in 1798 an allusion to
"a Long swing bridge Over the Barge Canal as is nockt Down by the Boats and all to pieces and lies in a daingerous Situation a Little above Rushy pound Lock.
Built by the Order of Mr. Clews placed in a Rappid Stream and a Daingerous place."

Its removal was besought; I regret I have no further notes about it.


The earliest note I have of this spot is a grant in September 1542 to Robert Kyng, bishop of Oxford, of
"the several water called Rushey, flowing within the parish of Bampton, in tenure of John Bond."
On 6 November 1756 I find a reference to an inquisition on the body of Richard Ridge "there drowned by Misfortune"
Rudge or Ridge: it is all the same hereabouts.
The lock was built of stone and opened in the winter of 1790 with a toll of 2½d. per ton.
"Rudge, the tenant of Rushey", is the first keeper named, in 1793, with about 3s. 3d. weekly.
Mr. Southby then and in 1821 owned the weir.
The association of the name of Rudge with both this and one or two lower stations affords another instance of the intricacy attending the history of the locks and weirs.
In 1794 Boydell calls it Rudge's: a name usually attached to Tadpole next below.
Rushey might seem a happy development of Rudge's: but I do not think it is.
Joseph Winter was keeper in 1798, with a monthly wage of 17s. He charged "each London boat 5s. 6d." for 60 tons.
Mylne in 1802 says that Mr. Perfect owned the weir, and that Winter rented it; and was supposed to look after both it and Old Nan's immediately above.
Winter's descendants still inhabit the neighbourhood of Tadpole; one surviving old man was indeed born at the former lockhouse.
In June 1813 the monthly wage was raised to 28s.
The ferry belonged to the Commissioners at least as early as 1816.
In October 1822 Wm. Brooks was keeper with 24s. monthly.
In 1857 the lock was
"in a most frightful state of dilapidation.
It had only two gates out of four, and it was stuffed up with hurdles, and straw, and that sort of thing, to keep the water up to a certain height":

a result of the farming out of this district, already alluded to.
In October 1866 the Conservancy considered the appointment of a keeper at 48s. monthly, to have general oversight between Radcot and New Bridge.
I do not, however, find anyone put in charge until Thos. Winter in October 1872, at 28s. monthly: doubtless a descendant of the Joseph Winter noted above in 1798.
In the early part of 1874 he asked for an extra 8s. monthly for rent in lieu of the lockhouse.
It was refused; and he seems to have retired; as in April of this year James Clark, possibly of Clark's Garden, is named as keeper.

Rushey Weir, Etching by Phillips 1874
Rushey Weir, Etching by Phillips 1874

The weir, which Taunt in 1871 describes as old and broken, was repaired during 1875 at a cost of £300.
The etching presented, dated this year, shews no tackle in it whatever, and doubtless represents its condition before rehabilitation.
The overflow is broken only by the crazy uprights of the footbridge.
Tom Weal l-lent me the drawing; it shews the older house, supported by a buttress: now replaced with the trim cottage nearer the lock side.
In May 1876 wages were increased to 125s. weekly.
Keeper Townsend was later complained of as inefficient; and resigned in January 1889.
In March, E. Lambeth of the Trout at Tadpole, tenant of the house and land at the lock also, was appointed keeper.
(The Conservancy, I should explain, hold no property at this station except the bare lock, and possibly the weir.)
S. Burge, his sub-tenant at the lockhouse, succeeded him in January 1891; but deserted the place a twelvemonth later, and Lambeth returned.
Wm. Shewry (surely a Romany name) was placed in charge in May 1892.
Lambeth, an old waterman told me as I loafed about at Godstow one August day in 1912, was drowned in a well; perhaps the one at the end of the weir bridge.
An extent of fishery defined in 1890 affords some interesting local place names:
"At the Black Stream from its commencement at the site of a weir formerly called the Company's Weir immediately above Rushey Weir and extending to a point a little below the weir in the said Black Stream called Winney Weg's Weir."
In October 1893 occurred the curious incident of a pony, apparently a stray, being drowned in the lock.
The house was rebuilt about 1896, with "a pyramidal roof over a square building".
Its predecessor had become very dilapidated, and the floor was raised in the new house.
"I had seen," a recent owner writes me, "the older one in time of flood, the door half open and the floor all awash; tenant had fled.
The meadows for nearly a mile north and south of the River were covered in a bad flood: such as 1894."

The lock was rebuilt a little before October 1898.
In October 1900 Shewry got an allowance for house rent, there being "no {official} lockhouse" on the spot; and the nearest other dwelling being the inn, probably the Trout, which he rented at about £34 annually.
Tom Weal succeeded him before 1905.

WINNEY WEG'S WEIR, Winey Weg's Or Werg's Weir

which I first notice in Jessop's report of 1789, did not stand across the main Thames, but was situated upon an outfall and in the northern neighbourhood of Tadpole Bridge.
Mr. Southby is noted as owner in 1821.
It is mentioned in 1877 as an example of a weir not belonging to the owners of the land in which it stood.
Tom Weal wrote me in 1911:
"There was a Winnie Weg's weir at the Isle of Wight Brook, but there is no weir now.
The ground there is ours and it is still called by this name in the agreement for our House and Grounds."

This location of the weir disagrees with the allusion under Rushey above; Company's weir being doubtless on the south bank of the River, while the Wight stream is on the north.
I have written about the Winney Weg weir in my Stripling Thames.
It comes into Thames navigation history through its effect upon the water level.
The tolls levied will be found in my General History.


Lower Rudge's occurs also in the above Report.
I am at a loss regarding its identification; possibly it stood on the same channel as the foregoing.
A note of 1793 speaks of "Lower Rudge's or Rushey", as though they were one and the same; and again a Bodleian MS. seems to identify it with Winnie Weg's: "Thomas Rudge and Winney Weg's Weir".


A late 18th century stone bridge of one large, commodious arch.
This always seems to me the Cinderella amongst the bridges.
No Act for it appears in the Statutes at Large; and my earliest reference is Robt. Whitworth's map of 1784.
In 1796 "a new bridge at Tadpole" was in contemplation; was the present bridge not the first here?
I get allusions to a shoal called Adam's Flat here in 1793 and 1796.
The Trout inn stands close by; I said something about it in my Stripling Thames which I still maintain.
"Herring is a local folk name ; and at one time over the entrance was the legend: The Trout, kept by A. Herring."

Map below Tadpole Bridge to Newbridge

TADPOLE WEIR, Rudge's, or Kent's Weir

Griffiths in 1746, Bowles in 1772 and Dawe in 1827 call it Rudge's only; Boydell in 1794 and Fearnside in 1832 Tadpole or Kent's.
Tombleson's very inaccurate map of about 1859 (whose errors the modern editions, adornments of the Great Western and other railway bookstalls, still perpetuate), Hall in 1859 and Ravenstein in 1861 name it simply Kent's.
It is interesting that a Mrs. Kent was responsible in 1802 for Duxford weir, 3½ miles below.
Mylne mentions no owner in 1791, but Sir John "Throgmorton" in 1802; reporting "all thrown open".
It was in very bad repair in 1792-3.
It appears in the Conservancy records in 1866, but was removed under an order of September 1869, and the waterway nearly doubled.
In September 1870 one W. B. Wood of Chippenham asked permission to build a weir at Tadpole "like the old one removed"; but was not allowed.
Exactly six years later the neighbouring farmers claimed on the Conservancy for damage to their crops through the removal of the weir; and asked for its restoration.
It is stated that before 1877 Tadpole had "a considerable coal wharf".
The right bank still contains some broken stonework at the head of the quite distinguishable pool a very little below the bridge.


I thought in my Stripling Thames that the curious name of Ten Foot Bridge was perhaps a corruption of Thames Foot Bridge.
It gradually emerges, however, after protracted study that "Thames" had a separate identity, and stood about half way between Tadpole and Ten Foot.
Griffiths in 1746 and Dawe in 1827 name Thames only.
Whitworth's map of 1784 shews both.
In August 1821 I get a record that this weir was in a very bad state;
"Mr. Courtenay should have notice to repair."
Perhaps the strongest evidence for the separate identities of the two stations is in the List of Old Lock Tolls of 1821 which I print in my General History; where in the 1771 column the toll for "Thames" is named as a penny per 5 tons (to be paid at Rushey); while Ten Foot levies a different and additional charge.
There is a quite evident weir pool about half a mile above Ten Foot, without any stonework surviving, which some haymakers in the summer of 1910 assured me was the site of the old "wyres."

Ten Foot Bridge
Ten Foot Bridge


I discussed this curious and puzzling name in my Stripling Thames.
Considered as applying to either the height or the length of the present bridge it is plainly a misnomer.
Most probably the true explanation is that at some ancient period the weir possessed a ten foot flash opening for the barge traffic.
Indeed, after coming independently to this conclusion I found it perhaps corroborated by an allusion in Jessop's Report of 1791 to "the 10 feet weir".
The site is about 1¾ miles below Tadpole.
Bowen's map of 1775 names a Newnton weir above Duxford.
Doubtless he intended this station; the hamlet of Lower Newton lying about half a mile southeast.
A variation of the name is Newton's Weirs.
Mylne notes the weir without comment in 1791; in 1793 he recommended a poundlock.
The tenant in 1796 was Thos. Yeates: "4s. each boat".
In 1802 Mylne reported:
"The wear house is a public house belonging to Sir John Throckmorton, who lets the whole of the Fishery, tolls, etc., for £26 a year."
There is no dwelling here now ; Mylne perhaps meant the Trout at Tadpole.
In November 1811 £70 was paid to John Kent, doubtless a relative of the Mrs. Kent alluded to at Tadpole, for repairs to the worst parts of the towpath between here and Duxford.
Wood in 1850 names it below Thames weir; Ravenstein in 1861 passed free.
It appears in Conservancy records in 1866.
In February 1867 the bad state of the weir bridge, from the foot passengers' point of View, was complained of.
The Conservators replied that they did not recognize any right of way across the weir; but were informed that the right undoubtedly existed.
The weir was removed, the bridge built, and the waterway nearly doubled, under their order of September 1869.
In Dredge's view of 1897, taken apparently from exactly the same point as my own, a very dilapidated thatched cottage appears on the right bank.
Mylne therefore may after all have meant a public house immediately adjacent.
A note of 1639 from the Loder-Symonds Papers may be printed here as fittingly as elsewhere.
On June 15th a declaration was made
"that Mr. Alderman Pratt's bank in the parish of Buckland, now questioned to be cut by the Commissioners of Sewers, has stood time out of mind, and that the inundations thereabouts do not proceed from it, but from the narrowness of the Thames below it, belonging to Robert Veseye of Chimney (the Thames being there only 27 feet broad, but next Mr. Alderman's ground 36 feet), as also from the stopping of a common watercourse called Boylake in the lordship of Sir H. Martyn."
The alderman is evidently Sir Henry Pratt, of whose tomb at Coleshill I wrote in my Stripling Thames.
What his "bank" was I cannot tell : whether a raised Riverside bank, or a weir.
If a weir be meant, Ten Foot suits the circumstances, except that it seems always to have been in the ancient Throckmorton family.
The Commissioners may have been the Oxford body of 1623.
Boylake, in Sir H. Martyn's domain, must have been in Longworth parish: perhaps one of the network of small streams on the right bank across the River from Shifford.


This weir, at the head of the lock cut, was first built in the summer of 1898.
Amongst the landmarks at Shifford, mentioned in a grant by Ethelred to Eynsham abbey in 1005, occur two weirs: "one above the lake, the other beneath."
"Lake" must be understood Wiltshire way, as a small brook; the brook being an outfall running up to Chimney.
The higher of these ancient weirs I do not identify, unless it was by Duxford hamlet; is not the one "beneath" the ancestor of Shifford old flashweir, which stood, as mentioned below, rather lower than the present lock, probably close to the junction of the Great Brook?


DUXFORD WEIR stood immediately below the hamlet.
It was called three miles below Ten Foot of old time, but is not, I think, more than two.
Griffiths in 1746 and Bowles in 1772 both call it Ducksford; as also Wood in 1850.
There was much wading and shoving your craft over the shallows here easily within living memory, before the lock was built at Shifford.
Mylne in 1802 states : " Mrs. {Grace} Kent rents it under Mr. Loder, the proprietor."
There was then only a cabin at the weir; and Mrs. Kent's house was an inn
"at a considerable and inconvenient distance from the Navigation."
Coupling this statement with the association of the Kents with Tadpole, it seems very probable that the inn was the Trout there, and that this family served no less than four weirs.
The Rev. R[ober]t Symonds is named as owner in 1821.
A ferry was established here in 1827.
Ravenstein names a toll of Sixpence in 1861 and instructs you here, and at Shifford weir and Limbre's below, to "hook up planks with a hitcher from a punt close by".
The weir appears in Conservancy records in November 1866; and was removed under an order of September 1869, and the waterway widened.
The latter is now almost entirely grown up with reeds, and wonderful waterlilies in the summer; you might perhaps get a canoe along it.
The official ferry has gone; an aged woman in Duxford told me the craft was swept away in a great snowstorm years ago, and has never been replaced.
There is one, however, down at the lock.


About 1490 "Shyffordesfery" near the "town of Longeworth" is mentioned, and it is claimed that the "fierybarge" ought to be maintained by the abbot of Eynsham.
I think, from several scattered indications, that the old fiashlock was about three quarters of a mile or more below the present lock, close to the junction of the Great Brook.
It is supposed to have been called Newditch in an order of 1762.
Mr. Loder owned it in 1791.
This year John Treacher reported:
"Only a fishing place. Can't shut in now. Should be all swept away."
In 1703 it was stated not to have been shut for two years past.
In 1796 "Townsend (fisherman) wants to establish a charge of 2s. 6d. per boat, which he is not entitled to but when used - the Weir never being used but in very short water."
In 1802 Mylne recommended a poundlock at Chimney, a mile higher than where it was actually built; and another at "Shifford's Wear"; having found "all open and the Tackle kept at a distance in a punt, hid in a side ditch. No person near it."
The "side ditch" was perhaps the mouth of the Great Brook.
Herein is illuminated Ravenstein's note at Duxford about "the hitcher in a punt close by."
A tough world, then, afloat ; and immeasureably the better for you!
He paid Sixpence here.
Mylne plaintively exemplifies the prevalent waste of water: an outfall always running, in the neighbourhood of Chimney, unchecked by even a gauge weir, simply because for a few weeks in harvest the farmers found it convenient to bring their corn along it in punts.
Possibly this was the Chimney lake of the survey at 1005, just mentioned.
The weir in 1821 belonged to the Rev. R[ober]t Symonds.
In September 1829 it was in very bad repair, and the owner was to be deprived of his tolls until he remedied matters.
In May 1853 "all that remains of this weir is part of the sill and some stones; yet 2s. is levied on each Boat passing, which is collected at Ducksford Weir."
In October 1876 the Severn Canal Company complained that their tug, drawing 3 feet 6 inches, could not proceed past Old Shifford on account of the shoals.
In March 1881 the Conservancy were asked to enable a launch drawing only 2 feet 9 inches to pass the weir.
In July 1883 occurs an allusion to Swiftlake brook in Bampton parish, by Chimney farm: an interesting parallel to the Swift Ditch near Abingdon.
The present lock is the newest foundation on the River; it was not even discussed before April 1896.
The lock cut was engineered in part from an old side channel.
The weirs at its head and against the lock are both entirely modern.
Towards the end of 1896 the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, in view of the approaching completion of the lock, interceded on behalf of certain of their tenants at Chimney, who had been in the habit of going to church by water: I presume at Shifford.
The Conservancy granted free lock passes for the purpose.
J. Iles was appointed first keeper in December 1897; and the pound was ready for traiiic by the end of March 1898.
The weir "across the main River at the upper end of the cut" was expected to be ready early in the same summer.
It is interesting to discover that there was at first a very considerable majority of the Authority in favour of calling it Chimney lock, "as being in that parish".
(Chimney is far from being a parish ; it is simply the name of a farm with two labourers' cottages attached.)
Through the laudable persistence of the minority, however, the more natural and historic name of Shifford was retained.
D. E. Collins was keeper in 1913, having been brought down from St. John's.
A by-stream running from Thames weir to Chimney (see map ..) is, in some ancient plans, called The Old River.


I get a note in 1829 of ballasting required hereabout; and the towing path to be raised.
This ford was, not as I conjectured in my Stripling Thames across the Duxford channel, but at the head of a poplar island about half a mile above Limbre's, or a mile and a half below Shifford.
The raising of the towpath mentioned above under Ten Foot survives in the long broken mounds which line the right bank upwards from this spot.
I get the name, usually Sansom's, at intervals down to about 1875 ; probably it is still current.
I note in 1890 two River meadow names : Black Ham and Haul Ham, in the parish of Longworth.


Traces of this station stand exactly two miles below Shifford lock; so that the ancient reckoning of a mile from Shifford old weir is further evidence that the latter stood appreciably lower than the present lock; though I think even so that the mile must have been one of the longest of Dr. Plot's three Oxfordshire sorts.
A variety of names attach themselves.
Bowles in 1772 calls it Limbress; Ravenstein in 1861 and Taunt in 1872 add Daniell's.
A Report in 1789 and Mylne in 1802 describe it as Hart's or Langley's; until I discovered the 1821 list printed in my General History I thought this a mere confusion.
This station therefore is the third in the series of Hart's weirs.
In 1796 it is called "Townsend's-Weir, or Langley's; rented by Thomas Hart."
Another witness to the name Langley's is a note of 1821 in which the tenant, one Rose, states that the flash mark of "Langley's" is too low; and that craft are thus hindered in passing over "Shifford hill" just above.
In 1877, and indeed earlier, as mentioned below, it is called by the name of this tenant Rose also.
Mylne in 1802 "found all open"; they preferred the fishery to the navigation in those days.
"No House", he adds, "but a Cabin, for the Wearkeeper, when he attends."
He recommends a lock to be placed here.
"Limbre's Weir", wrote Fearnside in 1832, "is rather picturesquely situated; and from the compressure of the current, there is generally a fall of water, forming, in the rainy season, a kind of cascade, dangerous, without due caution, to small boats."
Ravenstein in passing over mentions that he paid "at Cock's below" for doing so.
In 1866 the name of Rose's is attached both in the official records and in Parliamentary evidence.
In the latter a witness stated: "Mr. Rose lives at Duxford and has occasionally coals taken from the Oxford Canal.
I have myself frequently passed that weir when the keeper has not been there; he works for a neighbouring farmer; he is a fisherman, and is frequently away.
It is possible for boats to pass" ; but the works seem to have been in a very ruinous condition.
The weir is doubtless in Standlake parish.
Probably "Longham's" weir in this parish, for whose suggested removal compensation was demanded early in 1867, is meant for Langley's.
The owners presenting the claim were Magdalen college, Oxford.
"Langham" weir, belonging to Magdalen, was removed by the Conservancy a little before February 1872.
The ownership by a Mr. Langham, possibly a tenant of Magdalen, in 1821 establishes my association of this name with the weir.
You may still see what I conjecture to be remains of the old stonework if you search the left bank at the head of the well defined pool about three quarters of a mile above New Bridge, just against the first slopes of Harrowdown hill.
A charming and secluded spot; the surviving stonework so hidden behind festoons of creeper and bramble and the tall reeds that you would not notice it unless specially searching.


New Bridge was built about 1250; perhaps, it is stated, by the monks of some adjacent monastery.
It is popularly spoken of as the oldest bridge on the upper River in its origin; probably for the sake of the antithesis between its age and its name.
But Windsor amongst others has older records; and why should it have been called New, if there were no predecessor? Personally I think that Radcot is the oldest extant bridge foundation above Oxford; and that New Bridge was so called in respect of it.
John Golafre, "the iirst man ever called esquire," seems largely to have rebuilt New Bridge about the middle of the fifteenth century.
Leland about 1535 notes:
"Ther is a longe Cawsye of Stone at eche end of the Bridge.
The Bridge it self hath vi greate Arches of Stone."
They tell you seven, locally ; but I could never so count them.
The Baskervile MS. of 1692 says:
"6 New Bridge on Bark sheir side has 17 Arches to ye main bridge.
The Main bridge has 6 Arches & is about 53 paces or yards over
On Oxford sheir side beyond ye main bridge are 28 Arches
The Causeway on Oxfordshire side is about 300 yards & ye Causway on Barkshire side are 373
And in all over Causeways & Bridge about 726 yards over 51 Arches, to vent water in great flouds."

Where are these arches now?
Also in 1693:
"Some little sage Chees of late has been sold at Newbridge fair wch fair since Sr Edmond Warcope got ye Charter is not above 20 years standing Anno Dom 1693."
In 179I Robert Mylne complained:
"At New Bridge there are many serious obstructions.
The best Arch for Navigation, 17 feet 11 inches wide, is totally obstructed in low water time by the land above the Bridge having grown by degrees {by the action of the Windrush} quite across the River towards the south, with trees thereon.
A straight Cut should be made {but never has been} directly through this land or Eye."

He proceeds (and shudder, O quantumst hominum venustiorum!):
[ Latin quotation from Catullus - maybe:
"Oh what a great and charming man!"]
"All the Ribs and their impost Stones should be cut out of the Arches, as they are no use, and Damage Barges greatly.
The third Arch should have the pointed Arch cut away, and a new Flat one thrown over, on the same piers."

The Commissioners cautiously postponed the mischief "until the Consent of the County of Oxford be obtained".
We have been spared the "Flat one"; but the ribs, at least of the navigation arches, have been smoothed away.
John Nock, builder of St. John's and Buscot locks, received £44 for repairs in 1801.
In 1865, owing to the defective state of the navigation, not a single vessel had passed the bridge up to May.
The embankment some three feet in height, extending hence nearly down to Eynsham, was constructed under the Act of 1866, to protect the meadows from floods.
Speaking of the River above the bridge in 1871 Taunt says:
"You will find it all grown up with water parsley ; but it is not so bad as it was a summer or two ago, before Mr. Campbell's barges went up and down from Buscot."


RIDGE'S is the current popular name of the next old weir site, one and a quarter miles below New Bridge; though Taunt in 1879, and Salters' recent Guides, are the only printed authorities I find for the title.
Very commonly it was called Langley's, like Skinner's below Bablock Hithe; Select Committee evidence in 1866 expressly states that there were then two weirs called Langley.
A third might have been added: Limbre's; as I have already shewn.
The name Langley's was used by writers so diverse as Jessop in 1789, the O.S. of 1805-1844, Hall in 1859, Ravenstein in 1861, and Taunt himself in 1872.
(The latter stated in 1871 that "the weirs above Ridge's are all gone; some washed away, and the rest pulled out by the Conservators."
He meant those unattached to locks; but even of these there was at least one left: Hart's at Eaton.)
Other appellations are Cock's or Old Hart's in 1793; Granny Cock's or Rudge's in 1821.
This will further illustrate the difficulty I have had in disentangling the separate histories of these ancient, remote obstructions of the distant reaches of the River.
Rocque's Survey of 1761 marks Hart's ferry at a mile below New Bridge, just above one or two islands.
Next follows the romance of a peer falling in love with the weirkeeper's daughter Betty, here "at Rudge's Weir", having her educated, and then marrying her: actually in 1766, at Northmoor church.
She is said to have left many descendants when she died in 1808; and to have been much loved and respected as a "courtly old grandame".
The story is unassailable; the curious in such matters will find evidence enough in Lodge's Genealogy of the Peerage, 1859 edition, and in similar earlier publications.
Her signature is in the register of Northmoor church.
In the year 1789 the weir was owned by a Mr. Doughton, in lease to Mrs. Grove.
In 1821: St. John's College were the owners; had it changed hands, or was Mr. Doughton the college agent?
Boydell in 1794 places, at a mile below New Bridge, a weir which he calls simply Hart's, and which he thus describes:
"On approaching Hart's weir the banks are so thickly planted that the river appears to be passing through a wood whose trees overarch the water.
Here the Thames divides itself into one large and two lesser streams, forming as many islands; one of which is inhabited.
The weir stretches across from the meadow bank to these islands, and is a principal feature of one of those home scenes, which frequently afford a more complacent delight to the mind than the wide expansive variety of distant prospect.
A range of flood-gates crosses the larger current; while the diminutive streams, that divide the islands, tumble over their sluices in unbroken waterfalls.
He then came "in a very few miles", not noticing Ark at all, to "Langley-weir"; evidently Skinner's, as he proposes thence to visit Stanton Harcourt.
Now I cannot dispossess my mind of a suspicion that good Lord Mayor Boydell, or the bibulous Coombe his ghost, confused Ridge's with Ark two miles below.
It is noteworthy (a)that his description suits the present aspect of Ark exactly, and scarcely Ridge's at all; (b) that it tallies very largely with Fearnside's description of Ark in 1832; (c)that he does not mention Ark; and (d)that Westall in 1828 employs a thin paraphrase of Boydell to describe Ark.
It is all along of the Harts, those sowers of dragons' teeth throughout the River.
This is their fourth station.

Ridge's Footbridge 1910
Ridge's Footbridge 1910

In 1796 [Ridge's] weir belonged to one Dalton, of Fyfield; and was rented by Mrs Butler, who charged "4s. each London boat".
Dalton and Doughton are probably identical.
Mylne speaks in 1802 of "Butler's, formerly Hart's"; adding: "a fine and useful pound lock might be made here".
Northmoor may perhaps be regarded as the realisation of his idea.
In a survey of 1811 the title of "Butler's or Hart's" is again given to this station; the Trencher Papers add Jourdens in 1826.
I get no further history whatever until October 1866, under the Conservancy, when the weir was evidently still at work:
"At Ridge's or Hart's Mrs. Ridge to be allowed 1s. for each canal boat and 4d. for each pleasure boat as remuneration."
St. John's College still owned in February 1867.
In the following October S. Ridge was granted 1s. weekly for attending the weir.
In January 1868 the property in it was reserved to the college, with the right of nominating the keeper subject to the approval of the Conservancy, who retained the tolls.
He was to live in the house belonging to the college adjacent to the weir.
The weir was ordered, apparently at the owners' suggestion, to be removed in January 1872; but as will appear the demolition was delayed for some years.
In June 1873 Thomas Ridge, "of the weir near Fyfield," was accused of illegal fishing; and again in October 1876.
He was dismissed (being described as "of Skinner's weir"), and Ebenezer Henry Scarlett succeeded him at 2s. weekly.
In May 1878 Scarlett moved to Standlake; and wrote the Conservancy he could not afford to attend the weir "at present pay". It was still working in June 1879, although extremely dilapidated; and the River needed widening.
At this date Benjamin Godfrey was suggested to succeed Scarlett, as living nearer to "Standlake" weir; to have 2s. 6d. weekly.
Doubtless this Station is meant; though I do not think it is in Standlake parish.
In July 1880 the weir was alluded to as "now removed": the footbridge was building in October 1879.
It is now a very picturesque scene.
Close by, on the right bank, just discernible in my photograph between the willows and the tall reeds, is an ancient thatched house of some size, which may have been the weirkeeper's.
The bridge crosses at the exact point at which the River ascends northwards for its long sweep round by Oxford and thence southward to Abingdon: only six miles away as the crow flies, although some twenty-four by water.
Noah's Ark was an inn or house about half a mile below: not immediately adjacent to either Ridge's or Ark.
Whitworth's map of 1784 confirms this location of the inn.
In 1796 the necessity of several bridges "to continue the Towing-Path through the pleasure-ground and garden belonging to the house" was alluded to.
"The horses go at present full three quarters of a mile round about; and it is a very great hindrance to upward boats."

Map Ridges to Pinkhill


A wholly modern station, one mile below Ridge's, both lock and weir first discussed in July 1890, and opened in January 1896.
A long mile and a half from the tiny village of its own name, the lock seems set in a solitude similar to that of Grafton.
J. Basson of Reading was appointed first keeper in February 1896.
He was transferred to Marsh in February 1899, and R. Basson from St. John's took his place here; being sent down to Day's later on.


ARK, or HART'S, or ARK ISLAND WEIR stood three miles below New Bridge.
This memorable station has been known by a variety of other names also; and its descriptions and location by successive writers are very confused.
Bowles in 1772, Dawe in 1827 and the erratic Tombleson in 1859 call it Noah's Ark: an appellation Thames side and also inland communities have always been fond of bestowing upon "desolate houses".
You may find many scattered about your various maps.
Fearnside in 1832 calls it Ark or Hart's.
"Here", says he, "the banks become more wooded, and the river is divided into three separate streams; between the two broadest is an ait, with a pretty rustic cottage.
One one side is the sluice, through which the water, having attained more body, rushes with considerable noise; another branch hows through the open weir, and a third forms a backwater.
Not far distant is a small ferry {Bablock Hithe, I imagine}, and about a mile in advance Langley Weir."

If you will compare this description with Boydell's notes about "Hart's" you will find corroboration of my conjecture that the latter had Ark weir in his mind.
As I have said, Westall in 1828 thinly plagiarises Boydell on "Hart's" to describe this station.
Wood in 1850 calls it Ark Island, and places it exactly one mile above Bablock Hithe.
Exactly what constitutes the charm of this place is a little difficult to define, but it is assuredly full of a strong allurement that lingers in the memory.
The lace-like fall of foaming water has disappeared which so charmed those elder men; but even so, perhaps because you remember it was once there and entailed so much ancient busyness, the attraction still remains.
The pool is large, but not so large as Skinner's.
The chief island is at first scarcely distinguishable from the main land; as the little eastern channel, which nominally insulates it, quitting and rejoining the main stream beneath white towpath bridges, is now in dry seasons almost empty.
There it still is, however, on the left bank; and the third, almost grown up, is still discernible on the right; while broad and living Thames still runs between.
The island is large and oval shaped.
Four elms tower towards heaven at its lower end; and close by a large thorn leans over the low stunted brick wall of the old weirkeeper's cottage.
"Leans", I say; and indeed so it did when I first landed to view it in August 1910.
But as I returned a week later a cart was busy removing the brickwork; and only the shallow hollow remained beneath the bush.
Immediately adjacent the ancient stone foundation of the weir beam is still plain to see in the turf of the bank.
According to a report of 1789 the weir then belonged to Magdalen, in lease to Lord Ashbrook.
I find it called Noah's Ark in 1811; and in the O.S. of 1805-44.
In 1851 and 1853 it was said to be "not used: gone to decay".
Ravenstein in 1861 passed free.
Select Committee evidence in 1866 mentions "remains of an old weir" here; and again in 1884: "A very small extent of fishery, belonging now to a man named William Hart, who has deeds going back as far as 1745; and this family have got their living from that piece of fishery from that time to the present."
This is the fifth scene of their labours.
I do not discover when its frequently proposed and alleged removal actually took effect; the timbers probably lapsed peacefully away, with occasional assistance from the authorities.


I do not learn that the Commissioners ever exercised any authority here.
My earliest reference is about 1279, when John Cocus held "the ferry of Babbelak" at a yearly rental, including some adjacent land, of 31s., paid to the prior of Deerhurst.
In a grant of 1320 it is declared to have then belonged for a century, under the style of Babbelak in la More, to Deerhurst priory.
Part of the duty of the tenant, John 1e Keu, was to ferry over the prior and his servants, and those also of the church of St. Denis in France.
The rent was 20s. annually; and the tenant was bound also to maintain a ferry boat, and keep in repair a causeway nearly a league and a half long.
It is highly interesting that the neighbouring church of Northmoor is dedicated to St. Denis.
The Baskervile MS. of 1692 says: "Bablock Hythe has a great boat to carry over Carts & Coaches."
In 1793 it Was reported to the Commissioners by their surveyor that
"at or near Biblick Hythe he found a Quantity of Trees cut down for the purpose of clearing the Bank for the Towing Path, which trees had been left lying on the Bank in a most confused way.
He believes all the necessary Bridges for the Towing path across Ditches, and the Mouth of Side Streams, are still left undone, and by that Means the Towing path is interrupted and deficient."

The delay was due to some disagreement between the Commissioners and their Oxford district committee; the latter, it is quite possible, comprising some members of the just superseded Burcot Commission not forgetful of their former independence.
In 1812 Joseph Brookings of Bablock Hithe had one barge: the Mary, of seventy tons, trading on the River.
In October 1894 the Conservancy made a determined attack upon the ferry rope, desiring to substitute a submerged chain for the benefit of modern degeneracy.
A chain costing about £8 was actually provided until nearly the end of 1898.
Then Mr. Aubrey Harcourt decided that it was more dangerous than the old method, and accordingly reinstated the rope; "almost at the level of the surface of the water", the Conservancy was informed in March 1900.
The Authority removed it, and replaced the chain; but the rope won, and remains till this day.


SKINNER'S WEIR stood a long mile and a half below Bablock Hithe ferry.
Roque's survey of 1761 shews a mill on the right bank two miles below the ferry; it must have been close hereabouts.
This station, like its neighbours, has had several names, especially Langley's: the third to which this title has been attached ; Limbre's and Ridge's being the other two.
Griffiths in 1746, Bowen in 1775 and Dawe in 1827 call it Langley only.
Fearnside in 1832 and Ravenstein in 1861 use both names; the latter paid 6d. for going over.
It is the lowest station above Oxford noted by Boydell in 1794:
"On a small island, planted with fruit trees, a thatched cottage offers repose and refreshment":
pleasantly reminiscent of Mr. Stevens's orchard island at Abingdon, though were there any parakeets?
The name of Brookin's, or a variation thereof, obtained between 1789 and 1802.
In 1796 the weir was owned by one Rawlins, who charged 5s. "each London boat".
Barges frequently had to lighten at this weir, as is noted this year.
In 1802 Mylne mentions Brookin of Bablock Hithe as the owner, and thinks a poundlock should be built.
The ownership is attributed in 1821 to Mr. Spenlove and Lord Harcourt.
Westall in 1828 notes the alluring little orchard.
In 1866 two weirs named Skinner's are spoken of; the other was perhaps Pinkhill.
In the O.S. of 1876 the weir is called simply Langley's, and the inn The Fish.
The weir being very dilapidated, repairs and a keeper were ordered in June 1880.
In July it gave way, and its maintenance seemed of doubtful utility.
"The old weir", says Mr. Taunt, "was one of those picturesque places that artists love.
It had been in possession from father to son for a long number of years.
It was a little inn ; and the last landlord, Joe Skinner, was one of the besthearted, quaintest fellows that ever lived.
He was original in the highest degree, and it was a rich treat to listen to his curious remarks on some one who, not understanding him, had rubbed old Joe the wrong way of the wool."

Mrs. Siret, wife of the Pinkhill lockkeeper before Smith, was a Skinner.
James Basson, keeper at Chertsey in 1915, knew Joe Skinner, and drank the last drink served in The Fish as he relates.
A white footbridge now crosses the narrow neck of water streaming and dimpling over the old weir site.
The pool is perhaps the finest and broadest above Oxford; and was for long an important reservoir for flashes.
At its lower end is the little heartshaped island, with a tiny laybye at its head facing the bridge.
I saw nothing on it but a heap of gravel and a tree or two not of the orchard variety.
Only the right bank channel is now easily navigable: a modern cut made or improved about 1896-1899.
The house and mill and fruit trees are all gone; but the downstream view from the bridge, on a clear sunlit morning, across the island to the Wytham and Beacon hills, is an abiding and refreshing joy to the memory.


Simplex munditiis! [ Quotation from Horace - modern "translation" -
"It does what it says on the tin!" ]
Pinkhill was always and only Pinkhill.
It lies a very tortuous mile below Skinner's.
The poundlock was built in 1791, the flashlock owner being Lord Harcourt, who proposed to surrender its tolls and profits to the Commissioners provided they would maintain both lock and weir, and allow him to nominate the keepers.
In 1793 Mylne complained that the lock was
"of no Kind of Use in itself to the Navigation, on Account of the old Weir of Timber in the Bed of the River being totally rotten and tumbled into the River, and seemingly deserted."
I do not get the name of the first keepers; in December 1796 John Winn was appointed owing to the inefficiency of his predecessor.
Nock built the lock: a favourite contractor with the Commission; and Daniel Harris the Oxford gaoler was the engineer,
"who was a journeyman carpenter when he came to Oxford",
and brought much sarcasm upon the heads of the Commissioners.
In November of this year a sum of £5 6s. 6d. was spent upon repairing the lock gates:
"beat down by boats and other damage".
In 1796 the weir was rented by Mrs. Wyatt; who charged "4s. each London boat and 2s. for Mr. Nalder's weir": which latter I do not identify.
Thomas Brocks was keeper in 1798 with 20s. monthly wage: raised in June 1813 to 24s.
The owners in 1821 are stated as Mr. Spenlove and Lord Harcourt.
In October 1822 Wm. (or Abel) Skinner of the local family was in charge; perhaps this accounts for a statement in 1866, already alluded to, that there had been two stations called by their name.
Surgit amari aliquid! [Quotation from Lucretius - Something bitter arises - perhaps -
"Its hard to stomach but"
perhaps after all not even Pinkle was always Pinkle.
Fearnside in 1832 remarked:
"No toll house being attached, it is necessary for the aquatic tourist to be provided with a winch."
[ I think this must be a winch handle, ie lock key ]
Wood in 1850, also, found no keeper.
Ravenstein in 1861, however, seems to have paid his usual Sixpence here.
In 1866 the Conservancy talked about an appointment; but Mr.Taunt in 1872, being at Eynsham, wrote:
"See Tredwell, at the Lock-house close to the bridge, as he will get Pinkle (the next Look) open for you."
This R. Tredwell, appointed in October 1866 at 52s. monthly to take charge between New Bridge and King's weir, lived at Eynsham and not at Pinkhill.
During 1872 the lock was in a very ruinous condition; it was partially rebuilt before 1877.
A separate keeper, and a house for him, were decided upon in June 1880; and T. Wentworth was appointed the following month at 60s. wage.
The following January he was missing, supposed drowned; and in July 1881 W. Curtis succeeded him.
In May 1890 a new cut below the lock was discussed, "to provide for the escape of flood water".
In October 1896 the Conservancy moved to purchase the island; and I believe ultimately did so.
Curtis was retired in July 1899, being 74 years old; and was succeeded by C. W. Siret, whose wife was a Skinner, as I have said.
The new cut had been dug below the lock by February 1899.
The Sirets kept the Golden Balls in Brighthampton after leaving Pinkhill.
H. Smith, who followed Siret about 1909, has entirely changed the appearance of this lock island.
Once a rambling wilderness of a garden, full of vegetable patches and familiar old world flowers, crowded in summer with scores of campers, it is now like a County Council parterre with sloping banks of shaven turf whereupon I have hesitated to tread in leaving my craft, seeing the orderly geraniums, perhaps the merest suspicion out of place in these surroundings, and but a decorous handful of the merry old rout.
And so he had the prize in 1910; not only for the handsomest garden in his district, which for long went to Mr. Williams at Radcot, but also the challenge cup for the best kept lock on the whole River.
The name of Luck's or Lot's Hole is attached to part of the weir stream on the far side of the island.

Map Eynsham to Godstow


Baskervile in 1692 says that the ferry (which preceded the bridge) had "a great boat to bear horses over".
It is noted by Rocque, also, in 1764.
The present bridge was built by the Earl of Abingdon in 1777; some contemporary history is in my Stripling Thames.
It is one of the noblest bridges on the River: seven and a half miles above Folly Bridge.
In December 1815 a warping roller was ordered at a point a little above the bridge, doubtless at one of the many sharp bends.
In May 1890 the Conservancy stated they "intend eventually to make a cutting through the horseshoe bend above Swinford Bridge"; it is said officially to have been dug in 1900, but I do not remember it.

EYNSHAM or BOLDE's WEIR [now Eynsham Lock] WTSWG

EYNSHAM or BOLDE's WEIR was in 1791 owned by Lord Abingdon.
In 1795 it was quite decayed; "does not pen any water nor has for some years past."
The owner, still Lord Abingdon, was to have no more tolls, "3s.per boat," till he repaired it.
Mylne in 1802 enforces with an object lesson the necessity of poundlocks to ensure a more economical use of the water.
"By our boat going thro' the weir,", he writes, "eight inches was lost to the upper Water."
Eight inches, that is, along a mile of water; a modern lockful would make no distinguishable difference in the level.
In August 1821 sluice gates were suggested at the mouth of a "ditch near to Bolde's" to prevent water running into it from the River: probably the ratty little channel just above the weir of which I write in my Stripling Thames.
You will find the gates if you walk a little along it into the meadow.
Fearnside in 1832 is alone, except for Plot in 1677, in calling this station Swithin's.
Wood's Oarsman's Guide says there was no keeper here in 1850.
Hall in 1859 found the passage "somewhat dangerous"; there is truly a nasty bend and narrowing just below the fall; and the fall may have been considerable.
Krausse in 1889 shews it without the boatslide; which was ordered in 1890.
The Conservancy thought of removing the weir in January 1886; but were dissuaded by the landowners.
A "proposed new cut near Swinford" is mentioned at this time; perhaps the same as I refer to four years later, under the bridge.
The R. Tredwell spoken of by Mr. Taunt in 1872 died in 1881; and was succeeded by his son E. Tredwell.
I believe the latter's son served here for some time also; I am not sure if this family is identical with that one to whose tragical history I allude in my Stripling Thames.


Cassington Lock was at the entrance to Cassington cut, on the [right] bank about three quarters of a mile below Eynsham weir.
This cut is a disused canal that joins the Evenlode about three miles up the very tortuous course of the little stream.
I looked for remains of the lock in 1913, but could find nothing; it stood, I think, close to the mouth.
The cut seemed to have degenerated into a mere brook.


The lock connecting the River with the Oxford Canal is interesting, being so constructed as to give a fall either way, according to whichever navigation has for the time being the higher level.
This design of lock is invariably used for docks, where the tidal range is considerable.


Clay Weir is mentioned between Eynsham and King's in 1796.
I have no further history.
It charged "1s. per boat for shutting."


King's Weir:. The distance from Bolde's was anciently called two miles.
I think it is probably half a mile more.
The weir is mentioned in a grant in 1541 of the manor of Wolvercote to Dr. George Owen.
Griffiths in 1746 and Bowen in 1775 note nothing between here and Iffley.
It was owned in 1791 by the Duke of Marlborough, who seems, the scandalous peer! never to have collected any tolls.
Mylne in 1802 found it in ruins and all the tackle open.
An extract from the Yarnton church books illuminates the attitude of the millers:
"1813. On 14th June water rose to high water mark.
Hart, the keeper of the weir, was called upon to draw up the sluices and let off the water, which he did not do, and thereby made the owner of the mill his employer liable to penalty of £10.
Proceedings taken against him by Williams of Wolvercote.
Hart said Williams of Wolvercote had come down to the weir and pelted him with stones; that he suspected what he had come for and could swear the water was only up to the crease and not above it.
Fine proved.
£5 given to the Navigation Company & Mr. Williams means to give £5 to the parish of Wolvercote.
Mr. Williams observed respecting the alleged throwing of stones that he had recourse to this mode of getting Hart to come out of his house to him, because he could not make him hear or at least make him attend to him by calling over the water.
Hart saw him but would not pay any attention, and it was not till he saw him retire to his Basket-work in the house that he tried this way of making him attend to his call."

This makes the sixth station at which the Harts officiated.
In December 1817 a poundlock was thought desirable here, and was ordered to be made as soon as funds were available.
In October 1823 complaints were frequent against Mr. Swann, the owner of the weir, for interference with the pen gates.
The remedy was thought to be to get the weir placed under the care of the Commissioners.
In 1827 some new sluices were spiked up and rendered useless until the nails were drawn.
In August 1842 the weir was closed for repairs, and the Wolvercote miller took the opportunity of once more surreptitiously raising the pen eight inches.
A lock was again recommended in 1845.
There was then no resident keeper:
"Extra power is generally required to get Boats up the Weir."

Wood's Oarsman's Guide of 1850 notes the continued absence of a keeper, and delightfully warns you
"when the sluice is up the gate flies over; 'cave ne titubes'."
We were all scholars then!
[ "Cave ne titubes" means "Beware you do not stumble!" ]
Ravenstein in 1861 had to "open with a lever obtained at the adjoining cottage."
A statement occurs in 1861 amongst the Treacher Papers that
"no Canal Boat or Barge has passed down the said part of the River {between King's weir and the Sheepwash} (with the exception of two or three Boats partly loaded with Timber and two or three Canal Boats with Coals) during the last two years."
Taunt in 1872 alludes to the "boatslide lately put up"; the official order is dated only in 1877.
In the spring of 1873 the University paper mills offered to share the expense of a modern lock; but the Conservancy decided against the step.
In July 1888 tolls were ordered to be collected at the rollers, I believe for the first time; and T. J. Powell, later at Godstow, was put in charge, a houseboat being provided for his residence.
S. B. Kirby took his place between September 1889 and May 1890, and then went to Culham.
H. Edmonds followed here; he went to Spade Oak in October 1891, being succeeded by J. Bossom.
During this winter the weir was the scene of a fatal accident; and the father of a lad who was saved purchased the lifebuoy his son had clung to, and asked permission to erect a small iron cross by the weir as a recognition.
Bossom went to Clifton Hampden in October 1892, and Edmonds returned here.
The University paper mills mark the highest latitude north of the River's course; just as the mouth of the Wey opposite Shepperton marks its extreme latitude south.
Merrilees, keeper for several years previous to 1913, told me in August 1912 that in the 'fifties [1850s] an old lady had a cottage and garden on the side of the weir opposite his cabin.
She looked after the weir: a much simpler affair then.
Merrilees had to live at Wolvercote: a long tramp across the meadows; there was still no weir house.
Part of the weir is a single pair of gates exactly like poundgates, provided with sluices and opened with winches and chains.
This was probably the "peculiar construction" so often alluded to, and suggested for other stations.
[ The modern King's Lock was finally constructed in 1928 ]


[ King's Lock may have moved the Wytham Stream Outfall. It is now 1 Km above King's Lock ]

Wytham Stream outfall occurs on the [left] bank, a little above Godstow Bridge.
This stream, during the passion for improvements in the closing years of the eighteenth century, had a perhaps very narrow escape of becoming the main navigation.
In a House of Commons report of 1793 a witness
"thinks the Navigation ought to have gone down the Witham Stream, but he can't speak with certainty, not having surveyed it himself."
Another was of the same opinion; he thought
"it would have been much better, and less expensive, to have gone by the Witham Stream."
The tumbling bay here was built in 1845.



The Baskervile MS. of 1692 says:
"Between Witam & Woolvercot is a stone bridge yt has two Arches through which laden boats do pass, & here by ye help of foards & other bridges both horse & foot do pass into each County viz. Barks & Oxfordshire,
see more in a sheet of paper"
which is unhappily missing.
Ireland has a sketch in 1790, showing only one arch left open for navigation, the other being blocked.
Mylne in 1791 says that the weir was the property of the Duke of Marlborough.
In 1796 the bridge and "lock" were rented by one Bishop, who charged "4s. 6d. for shutting, each way."
He was probably the lockkeeper mentioned below in 1798. In 1811 the "penning apparatus" at Godstow Bridge was reported as "badly contrived and out of repair."
The bridge over the lock cut was built according to Dredge in 1780.
It has two round arches, lying a little skewwise; and has recently been rebuilt.
The old bridge still stands; its eastern arch being pointed.


Godstow Lock lies a terribly winding mile downstream from King's.
It was opened at the end of 1790; Harris, "keeper of the Oxford gaol in the Castle," being the Commissioners' adviser in respect of both this station and Osney: an occasion, as I have said, for many public sarcasms.
Jessop in 1789 speaks of "Woodward's Hole" here.
Mrs. Bryan Stapleton, in her recent book "Three Oxfordshire Parishes", says:
"The erection of the pound lock at Godstow and the water pen at King's Weir destroyed the fordway into Pixey {the great mead above Port Meadow}, and thereby deprived the farmers of their easy access to that meadow, the water being raised four or five feet.
It had also the effect of filling the ditches and causing the water to stand in pools throughout the year, and had changed some of the best pasture in Yarnton into coarse, worthless grass."

She alludes to the trouble at King's weir in 1813 which I have described.
This spoiling of the grass was dilated upon during the Floods Inquiry of 1877.
In the summer of 1910 I myself came down on a noble flash from King's to Godstow, and saw how the water overflowed into the meadows.
Particularly do I remember seeing a mowing machine plashing through the flooded hay.
Mr. C. J. Cornish states that
"the stone coffins of the { Godstow } prioresses were disturbed and displaced" during the excavation of the lock cut.
The pound toll in 1793 was 2½d per ton.
The earliest keeper recorded is Jas. Bishop in July 1798.
Rd. Bishop, perhaps his son, had charge in October 1822 at 24s. monthly wage.
No further keepers are named for about half a century; doubtless owing at first to the farming out of this district already described, and later perhaps to the necessity of dispensing with their services.
Ravenstein in 186I mentions a charge of sixpence to be paid "at Ousney".
In 1865 the lock was so dilapidated that it was considered dangerous for boats to pass through it.
Next year the Conservancy discussed the appointment of a supervisor between King's weir and Botley Bridge, to reside at Medley and to receive £3 monthly.
Mr. Taunt witnesses that nothing had been done in the matter by 1872; at which time the lock was closed for repairs.
In January 1876 John Taylor is noticed as in charge here, at Buscot and at Medley; I note him at Buscot ten years earlier.
P. Scholey was keeper in July 1879.
A house was ordered for him, but only "a shelter" was provided for long after; in 1888 he received permission to occupy "a houseboat at the back of the lock."
In May 1890 the Conservancy decided not to interfere with persons evading the tolls at Godstow and King's by navigating along the Wolvercote stream and hauling over: a subject I have pursued in my General History.
Scholey was transferred to Osney in February 1894, and succeeded here by Francis Newcombe.
In June T. Butcher was appointed; Newcombe being transferred to Mapledurham.
Negotiations for land for a lockhouse, opened in 1894, succeeded about the end of 1896; one of the conditions imposed by Lord Abingdon being that the keeper should not sell refreshments.
This restriction was still in force twenty years later; at which time that obliging keeper Powell, once of King's weir, told me he could dispense me nothing, lest the trade of the neighbouring Trout should take cold!
A burly River character told me in 1912 that the poor old woman mentioned on page 56 of my "Stripling Thames" used often to open and shut this lock.
In 1540 I note a fishery in the Thames at Wytham called Westmans Wynde.

Map Port Meadow to the Gut


In 1787, before the site of Godstow lock was fixed, there was a good deal of surveying and discussion about making a pound at Black Jack's.
In August 1791 the line of the towpath between Medley and Godstow was under dispute.
It had been begun on the east or [right] bank at the lower end of the mead, as now; and the Commissioners decided that it should be so continued
"in the bed of the River, where the horses at present tow."
The path thus made was washed away in the next flood; and in August 1798 it was transferred to the west side up to Godstow.
Felons from Oxford jail made this path for us.
In December 1808 a new fence was ordered for the Binsey bank, as a makeshift hindrance to cattle crossing the water into Binsey mead.
The reason for the great width of the River along this reach has always been something of a puzzle.
A Parliamentary Witness in 1877 said he thought that
"Port Meadow got the water and retained it because the place of discharge under Folly Bridge was so very narrow."
Jessop in 1789 speaks of Peel Yate Ford in Port Meadow.


Binsey Bridge: an iron bow bridge, bearing the date 1865.
Before it was built the barge horses used to ford across in low water; at high water times they were
"obliged to be Shot off from the Boat and go round nearly two Miles and a half to Take to it again."
Binsey ford, from which, according to Hearne, Oxford took its name, crossed at the single withy tree on the towpath about a hundred yards above the south end of Binsey Green.
I note about 1837 "Bridge Water Close" as a towpath meadow name in Binsey parish.


Medley or Binsey Weir is I believe identical in situation with the "main weir" that belonged to Rewley abbey; and which in ancient days caused ceaseless trouble to the Castle mills.
My earliest modern note is in 1793, when a small pound lock was ordered for the benefit of the pleasure traffic
"by the side of the { flash } lock now erecting near Midley."
It was never built; but in a plan of 1798 a single pair of gates, as at King's weir, is marked.
And in 1826 I find several allusions to the provision of new gates: a single pair, apparently.
The station is never spoken of as a lock in the modern sense.
In 1812 Thos. Bossom of Oxford had four barges trading on the River: one of them the "Minner" of seventeen tons.
In January 1819 it was suggested to
"take away the stone work and erect Sluice Gates at the four Streams at Medley Lock."
Wm. Bossom was in charge in August 1823; and in 1826 of "Medley gates."
Wm. Bossom was dismissed in March 1838; and a John of the same family succeeded him.
A keeper's cottage was ordered in October 1839.
Wood says there was no keeper in 1850; but a Bossom was certainly in charge in February 1854, with a monthly wage reduced from 35s. to 24s.
Hall in 1859 and Ravenstein in 1861 both call the station Binsey.
"Lift up the paddles", says the latter, "and then the stakes that hold them."
In October 1866 John Taylor is said to have been keeping both here and at Buscot at £3 monthly.
Some error seems apparent, unless he had oversight over the whole intervening district under the farming arrangement described on pages 180-1 of my General History.
In January 1867 John Bossom, possibly the same man as mentioned in 1854, claimed wages from February 1865 to November 1866: £27 6s. in all; which the Conservancy declined to pay.
In July 1871 the Authority offered to build an iron bridge, perhaps the existing one, if the Oxford Corporation would pay the expense.
At a Floods Inquiry in 1883 it was stated that
"it is intended to remove Medley Weir, which forms a great impediment, and has doubtless in a great measure contributed to the wretched state of the River above it."
In May of this year the Conservancy undertook to remove it at their own charge.
A boatslide was promised in September; but Krausse shews none in his sketch of 1889.
Taylor was pensioned in April 1888 ; and was succeeded by J. Collier.
Tolls began to be levied here this year; and a boatslide was again promised.
In August 1890 Tuesday and Friday were fixed as flash days.
Collier died in December 1893, and was succeeded by W. S. Horsfield.
The latter went to Culham in April 1896, and W. Collins followed him here.
Collins was still acting here in 1913.
He is related to most of the men of his name whom I mention in the River service at different stations, in these pages and in my General History.
His grandfather served at the Roebuck ferry; his brother at Shifford and St. John's locks; and his father was about thirty years at Abingdon, after a period at Spade Oak ferry.
The above named flash days were confirmed in May 1898.
[ MEDLEY WEIR was finally removed in 1937 ]


Oxford, Hythe Bridge Oxford, Quaking Bridge, Bookbinders Bridge, Osney Bridge, Osney Lock, Sheeepwash Bridge Osney, Pot Stream Bridge, Osney Railway Bridge, Osney Footbridge [old Gasworks Bridge], [Oxford footbridge], Folly Bridge, [ River Cherwell ], [ Donnington Road Bridge ], Iffley Lock, [ Isis Bridge ], [ Kennington Railway Bridge ], Rose Island Bridge, Rose Island, Sandford Lock, Nuneham Weir, Nuneham Railway Bridge, The Swift Ditch, Abingdon Lock, Abingdon Bridge, Culham Bridge over Swift Ditch, Sutton Courtney Weir, Sutton Courtney Bridge, Culham Lock, Culham Lock Cut Bridge, Culham Wharf, Culham Ferry, Appleford Railway Bridge, Clifon Hampden Lock, Clifton Hampden Bridge, Clifton Ferry, Burcot, Days Lock, Dorchester Ferry, Days Lock Foot Bridge, River Thames, Thame Bridge, Keen Edge Ferry Shillingford, Shillingford Bridge, Shillingford Ferry, Benson Lock, Pollington's Weir Wallingford, Wallingford Bridge, Chalmore Hole, Littlestoke Ferry, (Papist Way slipway), Moulsford Flash Weir, [ Moulsford Railway Bridge ], South Stoke Ferry (slipway), Cleeve Lock, Goring Lock, Streatley (Goring) Bridge, Basildon [Gatehampton] Railway Bridge, Basildon Ferry, Hart's Lock (Weir), Whitchurch Lock, Engraving: Whitchurch Lock 1786, Whitchurch or Pangbourne Bridge, Mapledurham Lock, Purley Ferries, Chawsey Weir (St Mary's island), Caversham Bridge, Piper's Island, Caversham Lock, Costs of 200 ton barge London-Reading-London, River Kennet, Kennett Mouth Ferry, Breach's Weir


The old navigation through the city came from Medley round the east side of Osney island, under Hythe Bridge, along Fisher Row past the Castle mill, rejoining the present navigation between the two railway bridges at the tail of what used to be called George island.
The present barge stream between this point and Medley, passing through Osney lock, is believed to have been engineered, to turn their mill, by the monks of Osney abbey: a parallel, on a smaller scale, to the streams at Abingdon.
The Hythe Bridge stream is, as Mr. C. J. Cornish remarks:
"the branch of the Thames which from the most ancient days has been the waterway by which barges and merchandise came from the country to the city.
It is still called by its old name of the Weir Stream."

A curious incident is related in the Close Rolls in 1376-7.
The "friars preachers" had their settlement along the left bank of the River immediately above Folly Bridge.
On 12 August of the former year Edward III gave them, "so far as in him lies", a strip of water extending all along their bank twenty feet out into the stream, so that they might better protect themselves from its wash, from which at times they greatly suffered.
And the sheriff and mayor were to cause the waterward limit to be marked with stakes, "whereby it may for ever be known."
An egregious nuisance to the barges!
In the same year the king upon petition ordered all weirs, stakes and kidles to be surveyed, and removed if desirable.
Note the sequel: On 20 May 1377 another letter close reached the sheriff and mayor commanding them to desist from removing the Dominicans' stakes, as on behalf of the prior and convent the king had learned that, under colour of his writ of survey, these officers
"are purposing before Monday next maliciously and unlawfully to remove the metes aforesaid; and the king is informed that the passage is in no wise hindered by them!"
An exhaustive study of the network of streams penetrating and surrounding the city is not strictly pertinent to a history of the navigation.
Only two of them have ever been used by serious traffic; although a third, the County Stream, was, as I have said, once examined for the purpose.
With these I have dealt; and now present in addition a body of other notes from various sources.
Anthony a Wood states that the Dominicans possessed a flashlock called Aldwere, indicted as a nuisance in 1508, but spared as it was proved to date from Edward I.
Other weirs were Cayseris, Harecatchers, and Castle Mill:
Dicunt quad Johannes Cosyn habet unam suem et duos porcos qui { a veritable Hercynian litter! } destruunt waram at ripam domini Regis vocatam Castell-Mill Were."
[ I think "They say that John Cosyn has one pig and two sows which are destroying the weirs and banks of the King's Castle Mill Weir" ]
He also mentions Puthulfe's Lock as the chief about Oxford:
"on the south side of Oxon near Stockwell Mede & Godefordes Heyt."
Stockwell Mede was later called Montague, after a benefactress of this name; and lay on the [right] bank close to Folly Bridge.
Puthulfe Weir was standing in 1517, and dated from the reign of Henry III, 1216-1272.
It may possibly have been the original of the pen at Folly Bridge.

From W. H. Turner's Extracts from the Records of the City of Oxford, I excerpt the following:
"1532. July 9. The Chamberleyns to have the oversight of the Waters.
John Austen, Will'm Archer, & the ij Chamberlyns for the yere shall have the oversight of the waters from Prynses Weres vnto Scisseter and Cherwell wt all the crekys, dyches therto belonging, & that they shall make laufful deputies in eny place where they thynke most convenyent.
At a Council holden the 24th of June 1545, it was agreed that a certain lock lately erected and called 'Ruly mydell lokk' shall be stopped up so that Mr. Doctor Owen { of Godstow and Wolvercot } & his assigns shall not draw the same & turn the water from the King's { Castle } mill of the city of Oxford, & also that all other sluices and locks belonging to Rewley & the wyke shall be stopped at such times as requisite to cause the water to have hys right cource to the said mill."

There is further, obscure matter in this most interesting volume regarding a similar dispute in 1576: very difficult to collate with modern conditions now that, nearly three and a half centuries later, all these old obstructions have long been swept away and forgotten.
The following note of 1583 is however clearer:
"It is agreed that a locke be made for the better kepinge of the waters to the mylls, & to amends the bancks by Rewlye wheare hit shalbe requisite.
{ This flashlock was doubtless Medley, which is in the right position, at the divergence of the two streams to Rowley and to Osney; and in Agas's map of 1578 'Rois leie lock ' is marked exactly where Medley weir now stands }
It is agreed that Mr. Mayor, & Mr. Bayliffs shall talke wth the Deane of Christ Churche and Mr. Willis for some good agreement to be had towching the savings of the waters to the mylls;"and
"that Mr. Furnesse, Mr. Massey, & Mr. Dodwell shalbe overseers, together wth Swythin to make a locke or weare by Rewlie lock, to bend the water in sommer and to draw uppe in wynter, at the charges of this Citye."
Swythin may be the man by whose name Dr. Plot calls Eynsham weir; or the Swiffin of one of the weirs by Iffley.
Bowen's map in 1775 mentions the Mills weir, and it only, between Godstow and Oxford.
Mylne in 1791 names Castle Mill and Rowley weirs.
Their barge tolls are in the Table in my General History.
Mr. Cornish remarks that, in spite of its name, the Castle mill did not belong to the castle.
It still worries the navigation even in these better regulated days.
In July 1911 "the water at the Castle Mills was lowered by 18 inches."
This was considered a danger to the navigation, and was to be remedied.
It was understood that the action was the miller's.

Some slight notes I collect from the Oxford Chronicle of 21 June 1912.
The author, the Rev. H. E. Salter, considers that "the greater part of the Thames, at all events in summer", flowed anciently in the Trill Mill stream, now confined to a culvert beneath Rose Place: " plenty of water and a strong current."
The above noted Aldwere stood on this stream "about 80 to 100 yards north of Folly Bridge."
"A large number of weirs were abolished about the end of the reign of Henry VIII, because they impeded navigation; and it is about this time that we cease to hear of Aldwere; and that the mills on Trill Mill stream ceased to work."
A little autobiographical note in John Taylor's Mad Verse of 1644 indicates that he was given the post of River inspector at Oxford at this date.
It also deposes to the extremely unpleasant condition of the River in his time.
Escaping from some trouble in London he took boat for Windsor, and so to Oxford; where he apparently found himself penniless.

Then by the Lords Commissioners, and also
By my good King (whom all true subjects call so)
I was commanded with the Water Baylie
To see the Rivers clensed, both night and dayly.
Dead Hogges, Dogges, Cats, and well flayd Carryon Horses,
Their noysom Corpes soyld the Water Courses;
Both swines and Stable dunge, Beasts guts and Garbage,
Street durt, with Gardners weeds and Rotten Herbage.
And from those Waters filthy putrifaction, Our meat and drinke were made, which bred Infection.
My self and partner, with cost paines and Travell,
Saw all made clean, from Carryon, Mud and Gravell:
And now and then was punisht a Delinquent,
By which good meanes away the filth and stink went.

I say again ; he out-rhymes Robert Browning.


Hythe Bridge was rebuilding in 1861.
Skelton has an excellent view published in 1817, shewing three very irregular arches.


QUAKING or QUAKEN BRIDGE, over the mill-stream by the Castle, is an extremely ancient institution.
In the Close Rolls in May 1324 I read:
"A bridge anciently constructed over the Thames, whereby the canons of Osney were wont to pass into the chapel of St. George in the Castle, which they are bound to do daily, had been broken down and wholly removed for the greater security of the Castle in the late disturbance.
The king ordered it to be reconstructed at his own cost of 60s.":

say as many or even more sovereigns, to-day.


Bookbinders Bridge still crosses the very narrow stream along which doubtless passed all the through navigation not intended for the Castle mills, in old times.


Osney or Botley Bridge was perhaps originally built by the Osney monks, with three stone arches.
In November 1869 the Conservancy were seeking powers to rebuild it, as "a serious obstruction" in its damaged state.
A memorable character up at Godstow told me he remembered old Squire Campbell of Buscot having three barges wedged in it, and how Charlie Bossom had to dislodge a boat load of stone from the bridge before they could be released.
In December 1885 the central arch collapsed.
Its piers are said to have been massive.
The present bridge was opened for traffic in January 1889; a temporary crossing having meanwhile been provided just below.


There is a touch of high pacing politeness between ancient ecclesiastical dignitaries in 1227 closely connected with this weir, then the property of Osney abbey.
"To the abbot and convent of Oseney:
Whereas the wear in the Thames is a nuisance to the Friars Preachers of Oxford and they { the Osney convent } purposed to move it to another place where it cannot hurt them, and whereas it appears by inquisition that it is not to the hurt of the town to move the wear, the king, commending their charity in this behalf, not only grants licence to move the wear, but thanks them for doing so."

The Dominicans, I repeat, possessed a settlement below the abbey, on the [right] bank immediately above Folly Bridge.
Preachers' Pool is named from them.
The poundlock was first spoken of in March 1787.
It was built by the Castle felons; at the end of 1789 £50 was paid to "Mr. Harris the keeper of the Castle" for their services.
One Edward Edge had contracted to build a new lock of stone for £750: but the felons were cheaper still.
It was opened at the end of 1790.
The weir belonged at this date to Christ Church, in lease to Mrs. Horseman.
In 1793 Mrs. Hill was in charge of the lock, with 3s. 6d. per week; the barge toll being 2½d. per ton.
During the year 1800 the freemen of the city of Oxford claimed free passage, as of right; which was disallowed.
At the end of this year a new keeper, Samuel Tomkins, was found to be short in his accounts; and James Millard was put in his place.
He was in addition to be responsible for the pen at Folly Bridge, for the Four Streams drawbridge, and for Medley "gates."
His wage was increased early in 1801 from 17s. to 20s.
In February 1804 his accounts were in confusion; and he was reported to have left Oxford.
John Davis was appointed in his place; and he was dismissed from his triple office of lockkeeper, joint surveyor, and receiver of the three upper districts.
In June 1811 the gates were forced by local malefactors; "which stopped the navigation for 5 or 6 days."
The offenders were possibly enraged by the fact that the lower sill was so high that barges had to unload into lighters in order to pass.
In November three horse bridges were to be built as soon as possible over " three long and dangerous fords" which interrupted the towpath between here and Folly Bridge.
In August 1815 Stephen Davies, perhaps son of the aforesaid John, was to have 5s. weekly for superintending this station, in addition to his wages at Folly Bridge.
In May 1817 Wm. Bossom was appointed keeper at £2 monthly; and remained till at least October 1822, when he was receiving £2 10s.
In May 1836 a Bossom was accused of neglecting his duty.
Wm. Bossom was in charge in May 1845: quite possibly the same man as in 1817.
He held Medley also in 1854; as there stated.
Hall has a sketch of the original lock as in 1859.
He describes it as very picturesque, and a favourite subject with painters.
In 1861: Ravenstein paid his sixpence, and remarks:
"Pay for 5 Locks above { the number includes flash locks },
and ask for a windlass to open them."
In December 1865 Hannak Basson, who had been in charge, was dead; and her son Harry took her place.
He was retained as keeper at 52s3. monthly under the Conservancy in 1866, to take charge of the upper district and to collect tolls at St. John's and adjacent locks.
His pay was increased to £5 in November 1873.
The towing bridge below the lock was to be rebuilt in iron in February 1880.
Armstrong notes the lock "in course of restoration" in 1886.
In October 1891 Basson is still named as keeper; but was replaced in November by R. Herd.
The latter resigned in January 1894 ; and was succeeded by P. Scholey from Godstow.


Sheepwash Bridge is a towpath crossing opposite the Osney bathing place.
It was formerly of timber, with three openings; exceedingly troublesome to the barges on account of the abrupt turn under it.
The present one-span iron bridge Was ordered in September 1866.


Pot Stream Bridge was rebuilt in 1850.


Two Railway Bridges.


[ The old Gasworks railway bridge is now a footbridge into a Nature Reserve ]


[ This ugly girder footbridge is tentatively dated 1938 ]


The first bridge on this site of which we have positive knowledge is the one built by Robert d'Oilli about 1085.
It is commonly supposed that there was an earlier bridge; Armstrong states that authentic records, which he unfortunately does not define, prove that a bridge was "still standing" in the days of Ethelred, who died in 871.
I printed some discursive notes about d'Oilli's bridge in my "Stripling Thames".
A model of it is stated to be in the Ashmolean.
Its proper names were Grand Pont and South Bridge;
the title "Folly" apparently originated after about 1650 in connexion with a tenant of "Friar Bacon's Study", which until 1779 stood across the north end of the bridge: perhaps a defensive work of Stephen's time.
My earliest unpublished note is a grant of pontage on "Grauntpount" in 1369; the structure was "in so dangerous a state as to be well nigh impassable."
It is worthy of note that I find no further grants of pontage at this bridge.
The Baskervile MS. of 1692 says:
"Oxford Bridges
Hinksey Bridge contains 18 Arches ffrom ye footpath wch com from Hincksey ascending by stone steps into ye horse Casway viz from yt place to ye South side of ffryer Bacon's Study are 20 Arches, North of ffryer Bacon study are 3 Arches & 1 over Gramspond stream wch makes 4 Arches in that side.
The whole number amounting to 42 Arches { a Wood about forty years earlier says 40 only }.
The bridge is about 100 yards over beginning at ye South side of ye Arch south of ye Study & so passing through ye Gate way as far as ye Quine of ye wall wch turns into ye Wharfyard.
The whole length of these Bridges and Causway may be a mile & ½."

In the last years of the seventeenth century Celia Fiennes on horseback
"crossed ye River Thames on a bridge att ye end of ye town and rode along by ye thames side a good way, wch was full of Barges and Lighters."
Her Diary is as delightful as her name.

The summer of 1714 seems to have been very dry.
Some Oxford letters in the Portland MSS. say:
"Jun. 26. J. D. will be in town as soon as ever there is water enough in the river to carry up the barge; at present there is not, the channel may be passed without wetting your shoes in many places betwixt this and Abingdon."
"Jul. 6. No rain yet with us, nor can we tell when our river will be navigable again."
"Aug. 19. The boat which brings your books is expected here to-morrow.
You may perceive how scarce water is with us."

Camden said in 1720:
"To Oxford Bridge the Thames will bear a Barge of 90 Tun."
According to Prince's table on page 120 of my General History, by 1767 vessels of 100 tons were navigating to Oxford.
In a Common Field map of 1726 belonging to Brasenose College a barge is shewn being towed up by four men on Christ Church meadow bank, immediately below the bridge.
"Bacon's Study" was begun to be demolished on 7 April 1779; and was sold standing for thirteen pounds.
Skelton has an excellent copy, published in 1819, of a drawing of the south front in the Bodleian.
There was anciently a weir under Folly Bridge; such as may still be seen at Godstow and St. John's.
In 1791 Mylne reported it in very bad order.
In June 1793 an arch was to be proceeded with; and a "stop" was thought necessary "at that arch, as well as the others."
It was declared at this time that
"the Obstruction in passing through Folly Bridge is the greatest throughout the whole River; the Bargemen all agree on this point.
The largest Arch is only 14 feet wide; and what with the Wharf below and the Meadow above it is not possible to pass a long Barge without twisting and much Damage.
A pound lock must be made a little to the west."

It was doubtless these gyrations that Burton found such an amusing relief from his labours in anatomising Melancholy: these, and the dithyrambs, the passionate hymns, of the bargemen.
In 1796 "sixpence each time for shutting" was charged.
In June 1797 repairs were ordered to "the arch at Folly Bridge."
It is recorded that the two largest openings in the old bridge did not lie rectangularly with the roadway, but at an angle (it is alleged) of about 45°r;, to accommodate the direction of the "early stream."
Small wonder that the bargemen became here so exceedingly entertaining!
Two years later the Commissioners doubted the propriety of taking a toll at the "pen lock" here; although the expense of it had been very great.
In June 1803 the navigable arch was decayed and impassable.
It was repaired; and a dispute arose between the Commissioners and the turnpike trustees as to the liability for the expense.
Repairs were again urgently needed in 1810, at an estimated cost, which proved absurdly inadequate, of £500.
The greater part of the bridge was at this time considered as in Berkshire; and a quarrel ensued between this county and the city of Oxford as to the responsibility for the cost.
After some tentative litigation the matter was compromised by Berkshire paying half the estimated expense, and £100 towards law costs; and the city adapting the bridge and charging itself with its future maintenance.
The work was thereupon begun, the water was "pumped out of the River"; and the disturbing discovery was made that the foundations and interior of the bridge were so ruinous that it would have to be entirely rebuilt, after the wear and tear of about seven and a quarter centuries.

An Act was obtained for the purpose, receiving royal assent on 28 June 1815.
It empowered the trustees, among other things,
"to remove the Tackle and Works under the present bridge for penning a head of water for the purposes of the River Navigation to some more convenient part above and within 200 yards of the bridge."
The meadow island which, as I have said, lay immediately above the bridge might be dug away to straighten the channel; the bargeway having, up to this time, run round the north side of this ait.
This old channel was filled up after 1825 and the present channel or basin opened for traffic.
The new bridge works were begun in 1824 and completed in 1827.
"A List of Barges on the Thames remeasured in Aug.-Sep. 1812 by Zachary Allnutt" affords the following names of contemporary Oxford barge owners and their fleets:
R. & L. Wyatt 9; White 4 ; Eliz. Grain and Bossom 3 each; Hall, Toovey, Carter 2 each; Whitehouse, Bishop, Oxford Canal Co., Gardner, John Grain, Beasley 1 each.
A poundlock had been discussed here in June 1814, but the scheme was temporarily dismissed.
This is the year sometimes erroneously stated for its establishment.
A year later complaints arose about the 1s. toll levied on every barge passing under the bridge.
In August 1815 Stephen Davis was to have 9s. weekly wages at the flashlock, and a further 5s. for looking after Osney; and to make no further claim.
He does not seem to have kept the bridge long, as another man was appointed in May 1817 at 16s. monthly, for the "lock."
It was then free of toll.
The same December Davis re-engaged at 6s. 6d. weekly, "for shutting and drawing the lock tackle at Folly Bridge."
In January 1819 "a pair of gates" was suggested.
In December 1820 the propriety of an "extra pen lock" again came up for discussion; and in March 1821 was actually ordered.
The work was probably completed during this year; and this is the true establishment date of this poundlock, now dismantled.
It was on the [left] bank behind Salters' rafts; its sides still plain to see, and the little lockhouse also, perched up on the road level, painted dark red when I last saw it.
Water trafiic can now pass through the open lock and avoid the arches of the bridge.
It is said that only its lower end had ordinary lock gates; its upper end was fitted with sluices; and in high water times it was left open.

Davis was in charge till October 1822; and seems then to have been succeeded by James Bossom at 8s. weekly.
Dillon's "Lord Mayor of London's Visit to Oxford of 1826" speaks of "the old wooden bridge."
Doubtless what he so describes was merely a temporary structure for use during the rebuilding, and not "old" at all.
Much disputing occurred between the Commissioners and the bridge wardens about the penning up of the water; which was finally settled under the statutory condition that a new weir should be built within 200 yards above the bridge, as already noted.
This new weir is presumably what Fearnside describes in 1832 as "broad and well constructed."
As early as 1829 an order issued for the removal of the new lock, but without immediate effect.
In November 1840 a notice was affixed that the passage was free of toll; though the tollhouse was rebuilt about 1845.
A prospectus of the Barge Steam Towing Company, secretary E. E. Allen, superintendent S. B. Skinner (doubtless of the partnership alluded to passim in my General History), kindly lent me by Mr. Llewellyn Treacher, states that one barge with 56 tons of merchandise reached Oxford "during one week only in the month of February 1849."
I print from this document the figures for lower destinations under their respective headings.
It seems to be connected with the incident mentioned on page 188 of my General History.
The opinion is expressed that steam haulage afforded "the only means for keeping the present traffic upon rivers and canals;" and giving an opportunity of successfully competing with the railways, which now bid fair to monopolize the whole."
Successful competition with railways is instanced, from personal observation, upon the Rhine and the Danube.
The promoters had built a tug of 30 hp, running between London and Oxford, which had "overcome a considerable amount of opposition."
Three further boats were in contemplation; and the enterprise was to be extended to the Severn and the Humber.
It was "proposed to take advantage of the lately discovered electric light, by which the boats may travel with equal safety both day and night."
After much trouble a "Lamp and Battery, according to the plans of Staite and Petrie," had been installed upon the existing tug.
They noted 228 barges working on the River in the week stated, carrying a total of 9,340 tons of merchandise.
The lockkeeper noted in March 1854 was James Carter, with wages reduced from 42s. monthly to 35s.
Ravenstein in 1861 notes a fall at the lock of about three feet; with free passage.

In December 1864 the lock was ordered to be kept free of notices and placards; it was a glaring poster station in 1913, and had perhaps already become so half a century before.
A sixpenny toll on pleasure craft was imposed after October 1866; it is said that subsequently the city gamins would navigate the two streams running south from Trill Mill stream, thus dodging the lock, in order to get a cheap view of the races.
In January 1867 the free fishermen of Oxford complained of the new tax, but got no relief.
In March new gates were ordered for the pound: a proof that it was still in being, in spite of the order of 1829.
In 1856 the Treacher Papers contain many references to towpath gates and bridges damaged by the "Peace mob"; and also to repairs to the lock down to 1857.
Carter still held under the Conservancy in October 1866, at 52s. monthly.
J. Towle in August 1868 was offering to sell Grand Pont mill.
In November Carter, owing to failing health, was paid off with three months' wages, after, it appears, 24 years' River service.
In February 1869 H. Stretton succeeded him.
In September 1871 the Oxford city corporation invited the Conservators to clear the River down to Iffley of "weeds and dead animals."
The upper superintendent assured the Conservancy that he had found only one "dead animal" in the district libelled.
During this year an iron bridge was substituted for that part of the bridge called Grandpont, which had become unsafe.
Taunt says that in 1872 the lock was "Open in high water time, with a summer fall of 1½ to 2 feet."
H. Shelton resigned in February 1873 ; and Charles Clutterbuck from the Roebuck ferry at Purley succeeded him, being in November placed in charge of the Upper Navigation tugboat.
Jos. Ashley followed at the lock.
Repairs to the bridge, and the weir "on the upper side of Folly lock," to the extent of nearly £500, were recommended in April 1877; and again ordered in February 1880.
In December 1883 Ashley was dead; and Alfred Coppins took his place.
The lock was found in very bad condition in the following May; and the gates were finally removed, and the present open passage established, by December 1884.
Coppings was sent to Bell Weir in March 1885.
Church says in his "Summer Days", published in 1880, that the towpath
"was blocked by a lofty door, defended with formidable rails - in the interests of the watermen, who made a rich harvest by ferrying passengers across from Christ Church meadows."
This is the only allusion I have seen to the circumstance; the Conservancy records are silent on the subject.
He also states that the pseudo-classic name of Isis for the Thames was originated by Leland.



Map Iffley to Nuneham


An allusion occurs about 1220-30 to "Ralph the bridge-keeper" (pontarius); and another about ten years later to "the bridge": presumably the weir bridge is meant.
Bishop in 1585 says that the weir belonged to Mrs. Pitts.
This was the highest of the three poundlocks built by the Oxford-Burcot Commission under the Act 21 James I.
Turnpikes was a frequent name for the first of the modern locks; and it is used of this one by Roger Griffiths in 1746.
Iffley, Sandford, and the now disused station in the Swift Ditch, were the first poundlocks built upon the Thames, though not the first in the country; it being stated by George Westall in his "Inland Cruising" of 1908 that the earliest native example was on the Exeter Canal, dug, according to Oliver, in 1564.
Even this was a very belated adoption.
Chapman, in his "Canal Navigation" of 1797, says:
"The first lock was supposed to be erected in the year 1488, upon the Brenta nigh Padua."
I believe modern research, as stated in my Introduction, has antedated the invention some sixty years earlier still.
I do not, to my regret, discover the exact date of the building of these original locks; but as early as 1632 John Taylor alludes to their existence.
I discuss the difficulty in my "General History".
Succeeding upon Griffiths's mention, noted above, Bowen's map in 1775 speaks of "Isley" turnpike: a very frequent misprint due probably to the ff being mistaken for a long s.
There are numerous variations in the spelling of the name; the art is, after all, a vastly over-rated accomplishment.
Many further allusions to this station will be found in my "General History": and need not be reprinted here.
A man named Danby, who owned or rented Iffley mill, had charge of the lock in 1767 and 1789; and seems to have been a scourge to the navigation.
In 1790 the Thames Commissioners took over by purchase the three locks and other works of the Oxford-Burcot Commission.
In 1791 Mylne mentions Swiffin's Weir as adjoining Iffley.

In 1793 the old pound was rebuilt, being lengthened in the process from about 75ft., or variously 91ft., to 120ft.
In March 1795 John Danby the miller was appointed keeper as from Midsummer 1794; his remuneration is not noted.
He was instructed to take tolls for "punts, pleasure boats, skins, wherries, etc."
He was still keeper in 1796: in a report of this year it is noted that the Severn Canal boats
"are obliged to enter the lock stern foremost, on account of the projection of the apron to the upper gates."
A swing stride was affixed to the lock in 1799, to prevent barges entering with their masts up.
You may still see strides: one at Dedham lock, for example, on the Suffolk Stour navigation, is illustrated in my General History.
The Commissioners at this time set little store by the revenue arising from the pleasure traffic; Danby was allowed to retain the whole of it for a twelvemonth, in consideration of the extra work involved.
The charge was sixpence for punts and skiffs; one shilling for four-oared craft.
In June 1802 the lock was repaired and enlarged to the dimensions of the new lower series.
The work was not done quickly enough for "Mr. Henry Burdon, Agent to the Cheesmongers of London"; who complained in October of the delay.
Another lengthening took place in 1806.
The lock was closed for three weeks from 30 June:
"but the trade will be carried on by shifting the goods over a short good passage of about 12 ft.
between the mill head and the present tail."

It is interesting to note that no recourse was had to the old passage over the weir; as seems to have occurred elsewhere.
It was noticed in 1810 that Danby was still retaining the pleasure tolls granted him for a year in 1802; and he was now requested to account for them.
A lockhouse was begun this autumn.
In June 1811 the lock was forced by men from Oxford; which stepped the navigation nearly a week.
Danby was dead by November 1818; and Wm. Hands is noted as keeper in 1821, with speciflc instructions to collect pleasure tolls.
The "old lock", and Swiffin's weir, are described this year as the property of Miss Danby.
In December 1826 it was ordered that no craft should pass through the lock during the hours of divine service, excepting when flashes were necessary.
In March 1829 Danby the old-lock owner, son perhaps of the earlier Danby, was summoned for neglecting to pen a flash, and for running the water to waste a whole night.

In May of the same year Hands was presented with £5 "as a token of the Commissioners' approbation of his great attention to his duties in collecting toll upon pleasure boats during the past year."
The gratuity was doubled before it was paid over: the official indifference to this source of revenue seems surprising to-day when the navigation works are so largely supported by it.
Hands received a further £10 at the end of 1830.
In November 1833 he resigned, and Wm. Wyatt had his office: transferred, I think, from Marsh lock.
Next month, in spite of his resignation, Hands received his usual compliment of £10, "for his diligence and integrity."
Wyatt received the same sum annually up to December 1838; in 1837 it is recorded that the revenue under this head, presumably at this station only, had amounted to about £83 for the year.
He got £20 the next two years; and only £15 each year from 1841 till 1850.
A symptom of the deleterious effect of the railways upon the barge traffic appears in the decrease of tonnage passing this lock from 38,000 tons in 1840 to 24,000 tons in 1842.
The weir still belonged to a Danby in 1846.
In December 1850 it was decided that the tolls should be let annually by auction; and Wyatt had notice to leave if the negotiations proved successful.
Accordingly in February 1851 Thomas Porter took over Iffley at £410 annual rent.
Early in 1852 Sandford was included in the arrangement; and on 31 March both locks were let to the highest bidder: Thomas John Bolton of The Earl of Lonsdale's Tavern, Westbourn Grove, Bayswater; Iflley for £250 and Sandford for £150, each annually: much lower terms than poor Porter's, who petitioned in vain for some allowance towards the loss he had made.
In March 1853 Sandford went to Wm. Baily Wyatt, perhaps the former lockkeeper, "of Wootton, Berks, Victualler," for two years at £200 annual rent ; and Iffley to John Basson, of Osney, poundlock keeper, at £100.
His son Harry kept at Sandford ; and when the father died went to Osney.

In March 1855 both stations went to George Palfrey James of Streatley, "Turnpike Tolls Renter," for one year for £260 inclusive: apparently the business was in those days a recognized profession.
In March 1856 Sandford was again let to Wyatt for £150; and Iffley to John Basson for £200.
Next year John Mattingley 0f Nuneham Courtenay, yeoman, took them both for a year for £340.
John Basson succeeded him in 1858 at £300 inclusive; one of his sureties being "William Basson, tailor, keeper of Riley pound."
Both stations next went, in 1859, to John Tuddenham of Kidlington for three years at £450 annually; inclusive.
The Commissioners, however, had driven too hard a bargain; and it is not surprising, in view of the great decrease in revenue through railway competition, that the lease had to be cancelled betore the close of the first year; neither Tuddenham nor his sureties being able to fulfil their obligation.
In 1860 John Basson of Osney took the two stations for a year at £350.
Wm. Basson, tailor, of Iffley lock, tried them during 1861 ; and after him John apparently returned, as in June 1863 he was reported dead, being the lessee; and his wife Hannah was allowed to continue the contract, having simultaneous charge of Osney.
In February 1864 the two stations were put up under a reserve of £500; and there being no bidders at this figure the Commissioners retained the tolls in their own hands.
Which concludes this quite unexpected episode.
With regard to the above named Hannah Basson, it is interesting to note that she was born a Bossom.
Until I had a conversation with James Basson at Chertsey in 1915 I was in much uncertainty as to whether the two surnames were not perhaps identical.
In their origin they probably were, but are entirely distinct for the purposes of this history; and Hannah affords, I believe, the only instance of their interunion.
A further note on the subject will be found at Chertsey.

Ravenstein paid his customable sixpence in 1861.
The lock was repaired in 1864; and had then only three feet of water on the lower sill.
At a Parliamentary inquiry in 1865 a witness stated:
"Not more than 4 or 5 years ago I remember seeing barges pass over the shoals below Oxford, and that they were in the habit of driving cows and horses into the water, so that they could create a flash, and raise the water a few inches."
There was much talk on this occasion about the expediency of removing the lock and weir altogether, and building another "just below Oxford."
It was also then mentioned that the lock, meaning the weir, had been the property of Lincoln College since 1302: the gift of Christina, wife of John Culvert, to her son; and from him to the college; which last was paying in 1866 the sum of £2. 12s. 4d. annually for it to Donnington hospital in lieu of a pound of pepper.
Effectively to repair the lock was estimated to cost £3,000, during 1866.
Richard Wheeler is found as keeper under the Conservancy in October of this year.
He was succeeded by Elijah Mayes in March 1868 With £3 monthly wages.
In May 1869 Mayes was ordered to Shiplake, and immediately resigned the service.
John Reeves was thereupon brought hither from Shiplake; being dismissed in the autumn of 1878, and succeeded by H. Cordery from Boulter's.
At a Flood Inquiry in 1877 the Rev. J. C Clutterbuck blamed Iffley, rather than Sandford, as the real cause of flooding at Oxford.
"There is a lock," quoth he, "with two mills, with their accompanying weirs; and if they were swept away that would be a great step" towards improvement.
Cordery was dismissed in July 1880 ; J. Owlett, his successor, resigned in January 1882, and was followed by J. Child.
In May 1883 the Conservancy promised the Thames Valley Drainage Commission to remove the lock and weirs at their own expense, provided the latter Authority would "meet all claims for loss of water power" at the mills.
A boatslide was promised in January 1885.
Towards the end of this year a very determined local effort was made towards abolishing the lock, mills and weirs.
The level of the River up to Folly Bridge was to be lowered 2ft. 6in., but the bed was to be dredged so that there should be a uniform depth of about five feet.
Several local petitions, however, perhaps decided the Conservators against any interference with the station.
Child died about October 1886, and F. E. Jones from Temple lock succeeded him.
The ancient and picturesque mill was burnt down on 27 May 1908; and has not yet been rebuilt; WTSWG though it still, like others in similar ruin, figures as one of the extant attractions of the River in railway and other advertisements.
Church in his Summer Days says that about 1829 the racing boats at Oxford
"were crowded together in Iffley lock, and got out as fast as they could," as each race started.




The backwater bridge was sanctioned by the Conservancy in November 1881; but whether as a fresh institution, or merely a renewal, does not appear in the record.
I note in 1825, in Kennington, a towpath meadow name of Smith's Ham; and in 1890 ait names in Littlemore parish, besides Rose: Walker's, New, and St. Michael's.


The mill was built by the Knights Templar about 1294.
In a deed of about this same date Henry, son of Adam the ferryman, grants the ferry to John Golding of Newnham and Scolastica his wife.
The ferry in 1348 and 1361 was part of a fee for masses in Witney church.
In 1514 Wm. Busshe is noted as the ferryman.
He was appointed in 1506 in the room of Thos. Hunt, deceased; and was succeeded about 1530 by John Dale.
About 1520 the mill and "the fishweir called the lok" were let for £12 yearly.
Baskervile remarks in 1692-3:
"At Sandford ferry when ye water is high, is a boat to carry horse and man over":
the use of the ford at low water times seems implied.
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 (1327-1377); 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 their mill; to the enragement of the bargemen of Oxford.
Bishop in 1585 mentions "Samfords Lock kept by John Ovens."
As I have remarked under Iffley, the poundlock here was one of 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.
Edmund Powell was in charge of it in 1639 for this Commission; under whose authority it remained until their works were sold in 1790.
Many details regarding it during this period will be found in my General History.
The pound was rented in 1767 by Mrs. Hill; in 1780 by Beckley; the weir in 1791 belonged to another Hill.
At Michaelmas this year Beckley paid iifteen guineas for one year's rent of the lock; and the same sum for each of two following years: a puny amount compared with the rentals I have just detailed sixty years later, under the last lock.
In 1793 it was decided to lengthen the lock from 87 to 120 ft.; but a year afterwards it was reported that
"the old 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.
Things being "worse than ever" in 1795, rebuilding was immediately started; Harris, "the Oxford gaoler", having charge of the work.
The expense was nearly £1,800, 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 sunk in making the experiment."

Bickford, or Beckley (perhaps the man named in 1780 and 1791), was the first keeper named under the Thames Commissioners, in 1796; he stayed till at least 1798.
Danby the Iffley miller succeeded him before 1810; with the same privilege as at Iffley in respect of pleasure tolls.
He died in or before November 1818; and Thomas Day had his place.
In 1821 and 1822 H. Swann the miller had charge at 36s. monthly remuneration.
The mill was rebuilt about 1824.
In 1826 the lock is described as having a fall of "about 7 feet".
A new lock, on the present site, was opened in September 1836 alongside the old Jacobean structure.
The City of London committee reported very warmly in its praise in 1838:
"in place of the old decayed and shallow Lock, impassable at low water seasons without large and frequent flashes."
A lockhouse was ordered in October 1839; Wm. Haines (possibly of the Old Windsor family) was keeper in 1842.
The old pound was conveyed to the mill in December 1844.
J. Swann is named as weir owner in 1846.
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.
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.
I have incorporated this lock under Iffley in respect of the period 1852 to 1864 when the tolls of both stations were let at auction.
Ravenstein paid his usual 6d. here in 1861.
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.

Sandford Old Lock 1912
Sandford Old Lock 1912

The iron bridge over the main stream above the lock was built between 1866 and 1877.
No keeper, except the various lessees and their deputies, is named after Swann in 1822 until Thomas Franklin under the Conservancy in October 1866, at £3 monthly.
In November 1867 Franklin, being "very aged", was given two months' notice.
He pleaded for six months, his wife offering to do the work; but in January 1868 Stephen Blake was appointed.
A symptom of the commercial hostility to the increasing pleasure traffic occurs in May of this year, when the Sandford millers asked that some arrangement might be made to prevent the interruption to their business by the constant opening of the lock gates for these craft.
The same July the Rev. A. K. B. Granville claimed under the new Act the incredible sum of £13,087 for his interest in the Sandford "locks, dams and weirs".
It is satisfactory to record that in March 1869 he and his fellow-claimants received less than £700 between them.
In February 1870 he complained that lock dues were being charged on mill cargoes: always hitherto, he declared, passed free.
His complaint was not allowed.
In February 1881 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.
The part of the mill astride it was built in 1880.
Buckland the naturalist is said to have declared:
"Give me power to do what I like with Sandford, and I could drown Oxford."
The Rev. J C. Clutterbuck, however, in 1877 defended Sandford, as I have said, from causing floods; and blamed Iffley
"on the River Thames. They call it Isis, but I call it the Thames."
But others also accused the mill; it had been burnt down two or three years earlier and rebuilt, the head 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."

Either Stephen Blake remained in charge here an unusually long time; or the official records omit to mention his successors.
I have no note of any other keeper until E. J. Ferrier, who in June 1910 received the thanks of the Conservancy for a gallant attempt to save a man from drowning.

Map Nuneham to Burcot


My earliest reference is in a deed dated 17 August 1576 in the possession of Mr. A. E. Preston of Abingdon:
"Thupper Locke of Newnam is a great Annoisennce to the Ryver of Thames, and to the drownynge of the Meadowes there bycause there is no order taken how high he shall penne the water and therefore to be taken awaye quite by Thomas Mullyner als Mullyneux'."
Bishop in 1585 speaks of three "locks" here, kept by John Mollyners; John Taylor in 1632 of a fishing weir and a sandbank.
It is called Newham by Griffiths in 1746.
In April 1788 Lord Harcourt, the owner, offered to resign the tolls and management of the flashlock to the Commissioners in the event of their deciding to build a poundlock, provided they agreed to keep both engines in repair and accepted his nominees as their servants.
An opinion was hazarded this year that the station belonged to the Oxford-Burcot Commission; but it seems very doubtful; see my General History, passim.
The Thames Commissioners apparently did not accept Lord Harcourt's offer; having found the tackle in extremely bad condition.
The offer was renewed in March 1791; and a committee was formed to put in hand the erection of a poundlock.
The old navigation channel ran along the [right] bank course spanned by the present bridge; which marks the site of the old weir.
Mylne reported this year:
"As all the works and Weirs, here, are very bad, and as it will cost from £1000 to £1200 to form a Pound lock, the whole may be cleared away and that money saved."
Evidently the building order had not taken effect.
It is stated, also during this year, that up till this time the towing between here and Oxford had been done at pleasure
"on either side of the River without interruption, as found more convenient."
In 1793 it was finally decided that the poundlock was unnecessary.

The local neglect seems to have resulted in there being only 6½ inches of water on the lower sill of Sandford.
Boydell notes the weir in 1794.
Next spring it was surveyed, and found in a bad state; large stones dangerous to the traffic had fallen into the barge channel.
The remedy was thought to be either to instal a pair of gates "like those at King's Weir"; or to build a poundlock.
The former alternative was decided upon.
In August 1798 it was reported that the "lock" lately erected had failed.
Repairs were ordered; and as Lord Harcourt's agent John Flory still collected the tolls it was considered that his lordship should contribute to the expense.
In an extant holograph letter, however, he firmly declines to allow any one to survey or meddle with the station; the Commissioners having rejected his previous offers.
The pen was still thought useful in assisting to hold the water up to Sandford.
Lord Harcourt might seem, from the records, clearly to have resigned the ownership by 1802; yet I find that in 1813, in spite of an open passage for barges, he was preferring a claim for the same tolls as had previously been paid by vessels using "the old navigation through the weir."
The Commissioners declined his demand.
In December 1808 another order had been made for a weir similar to King's.
The Field reviewer of my General History wrote:
"In Crimean days [1854-6] and later, there was a large gravel shoal above water in normal weather on the right hand of the channel that leads down to Nuneham cottages.
This suggests the operation for long years of sharp lasher outfall just above it, as if that backwater had once been banked by a weir with lasher relief to it, to maintain depth in barge channel on west side of the island."

It is a curious speculation; but I meet with no record of such a weir.
Armstrong's drawing of 1886 shews no weir, though his text alludes to the "so-called lock at Nuneham Cottage."
All that is to be seen now is a large circular stone like a millstone between the centre piers of the rustic bridge: an inch or two if anything under water, when I sculled by about 1910.

A bridge across the main River was almost built at Nuneham not long ago.
In September 1889 Colonel Harcourt made the proposal to the Conservators; to take effect opposite his house.
The plans, however, could not be agreed: he desired three spans; the Conservancy insisted upon one only.
In January 1890 he suggested a ferry, with a dock on the Nuneham side.
The bridge, however, was actually in course of construction in November 1891; but was finally discontinued in February 1892.
When I visited the spot in 1913 there was nothing to be seen of the works, except the raised causeway specially made across the meadow as an approach from Radley village.
The ferryman's cottage on the left bank, just above the House, marks the proposed trajectory of the bridge.
I understood locally that it was intended for little more than the convenient passage of cattle and horses over the River, which is comparatively narrow at the spot.
I note about 1825 Radley towpath meadow names : Gossey, Parker's, Stockey, Leverey, Eney, and Grinaways.


An elevation in August 1852 shews it to have been first proposed in timber.
All the openings were to be 40 ft. wide.


This now almost unknown feature of Thames topography possesses an important and extremely interesting history.
If tradition, as it usually is, be reliable, down this now confined and grown-up channel the whole body of Thames once ran, to the exclusion of all the other local channels now existing.
Leland wrote about 1535:
"The chefe Streme of Isis ran afore betwixt Andersey Isle and Culneham, even where now the South End is of Culneham";
adding elsewhere:
"Ethelwolde, Abbate of Abbingdon, and after Bishop of Winchestre, yn King Edgares days" caused "a Cut to cum out of Isis by force to serve and purge theofficis of thabbay."
Edgar became king in 955; Ethelwold went to Winchester in 963: within these eight years, therefore, the Thames was first brought through Abingdon.
Wm. Harrison, in his Description of England of 1577, amplifies Leland:
"No part of [the Thames] at the first came so neere the towne as it doth now, till a branch thereof was led thither from the maine streame, thorough the industrie of the monks";
a marginal note adding:
"Some write, that the maine streame was brought thither which ranne before betweene Andredeseie and Culenham."
The chronological succession of navigated Thames waterways in the Abingdon district may be thus summarized:
(1) Swift Ditch, running along the southeast boundary of Andersey, containing the whole body of the River, with nothing nearer the town of Abingdon.
(2) "A Trench cut from the Thames for [the abbey's] convenience and cleanliness" by the monks thereof between 955 and 963; still running under the name of the Abbey millstream: being the northernmost of the streams that divide at the lock.
The monks very probably caused the trafiic to use this channel in place of the Swift Ditch.
(3) The present navigation from the weirs downward to the confluence below the bridge; being the channel cut in response to the Oxford petition of 1060, quoted in my General History.
(4) The Swift Ditch, reopened by the Oxford-Burcot Commission of 1624, as recounted in my General History; who introduced a poundlock at its head, and retained a weir about half way along it; the route through Abingdon having probably become too shallow for use.
(5) The present navigation channel, reopened in 1790; the Swift Ditch route being again abandoned.
(A little initial problem connects itself with No.4: arising out of Bishop's "Collombe weare" in 1580-5 noted in my General History.
He is indicting "Locks noysome and daungerous for passengers"; and must I think be referring to the halfway weir in Swift Ditch.
If so, his complaint might seem to imply that the Swift Ditch was being used for serious traffic about half a century before the Oxford-Burcot Commission officially re-opened it.)
The length of the Ditch is about 1¼ miles; of the bend it cuts off, about 2 miles; and the consequent greater swiftness of its current, as compared with the main stream, may have obtained it its title.
There are numerous other instances, however, of the name Swift Ditch; where the conditions are by no means identical.
Another explanation that has been suggested to me is that the Swift may represent the common Saxon personal name of Swaefe.
This ancient bed of the River closely hugs the foot of the attractive little ridge that runs southwest from Toot Baldon to Culham; as you may observe on a contour map, or more pleasantly in the countryside itself if you will walk out from Abingdon in the direction of Rivy Farm and Culham Bridge.
Whether or no this adhesion to the base of the hills be a further proof of an antiquity superior to that of the modern main River, which flows away from them into the levels, is perhaps a question for the geologist.

It needs establishing, I find, that this almost forgotten title of Swift Ditch is properly applicable to the channel along the southeast face of Andersey.
Verbally, and I believe in print also, it has been erroneously given to
(a) the Abbey millstream;
(b) the cut made in 1060.
I propose therefore to establish in some detail my application of it.
The earliest mention of the title of which I am aware is in John Taylor's Thame Isis, published in 1632, and described at some length in my General History.
Coming downstream towards Abingdon he learns that the shoals there are worse than those he has just encountered at Nuneham; and exclaims: "That Swift Ditch seemes to be the better course."
Next in time, and perhaps even more conclusive, is a passage from Plot's Oxfordshire of 1677.
Herein, discoursing upon poundlocks, the doctor instances those recently erected upon the Thames
"between Oxford and Bercot: one at Ifley, another at Sanford, and a third at Culham in the Swift-ditch, which was cut at that time when the River was made navigable."
Thirdly I present two notes from Challenor's Selections from the Abingdon Municipal Chronicle:
"5th Nov. 1795. Ordered that Notice be given to Mr. Simon Peck immediately to repair the Bridge over Swift Ditch belonging to his premises called Rye Farm."
"26th Sep. 1797. Ordered that proper means be taken to enforce by Indictment or otherwise the Repairs of Swift Ditch Bridge at Culham, in the occupation of Simon Peck."

Rye or Rivy Farm, a house of great antiquarian interest, stands upon Andersey Island.
The bridge complained of was either the one at the lock, carrying a long and useful footpath from Clifton Hampden across the Ditch on to the Abingdon road close by Abingdon Bridge; or the other at the old weir site.
The frequent location of the bridge and the weir, both associated with Swift Ditch, in Culham parish, is in itself conclusive that the Ditch is the channel along the southeast border of Andersey.
Finally, I will refer to various small but decisive pieces of evidence in the chapter on the Oxford-Burcot Commission in my General History.
After you have sculled down about half-a-mile below Nuneham railway bridge you will arrive at a bay or widening of the River on the [right] bank, immediately above a ferry and a lasher, and possibly still a little white houseboat moored for many years to the [left] bank.
In this bay you will find an outlet perhaps thirty feet wide, overgrown with reeds and withies and flowering plants.
Some eighty paces along this cut will bring you to the old poundlock, built by the Oxford-Burcot Commission at some date between 1624 and 1638.
Its gates are all gone; and except for the growth there is a clear passage into it.
Its basin is perhaps under twenty feet in width, and seventy-five to eighty feet in length; approximating to the original length of Sandford and Iffley.
There is no exit; the lower gates were removed a century ago and replaced with a solid dam of masonry.
The walls are of firm and exact stonework, beautifully laid; much superior to a good deal of later construction.

Swift Ditch Lock 1910
Swift Ditch Lock 1910

Lower down, about halfway along the Ditch, once stood the flashweir already mentioned.
My earliest note is Bishop's in 1580-5:
"Collombe weare being Edward Wilmotts. In the parish of Collombe."
It is noted in the 1789 report of the 1770 Commissioners; and is probably the station referred to by Griffiths in 1746 as being two miles below Nuneham and half a mile above Culham Bridge: which distances approximate closely to the conditions to-day.
Why this weir was left here after the pound at the head of the Ditch was installed I do not know.
It may have perpetuated a fishing weir, far older than the pound, whose rights had to be respected; it may have been needed to pen for shoals above or to supply a flash for others below; or may have been retained to ease the current.
A pool extends above it, with accommodation for a whole fleet of barges; and another below, still larger: both are very lovely.
I visited the ancient pathetic scene twice in the summer of 1910; my interest stimulated by a report that the riparian owners were de more endeavouring to claim the channel as a private water.
I walked and scrambled, trespassing as "I piously believe", beside the lonely, grown up watercourse, down as far as the halfway bridge; and there beheld on the left bank the foundation stones on which the weir beam formerly reposed.
It was a revelation of much Thames beauty almost undreamed of: lying unvisited and unknown under the grassy slopes of the little ridge.
"Thames" beauty I say in full confidence; for the attempt to deny that this was ever a navigable highway of the River is in absurd defiance of inexpugnable facts.
For the most part the course was winding and narrow; thickly grown up and overhung with a jungle of plants and hedges and lofty timber that almost shut out the sunlight from its quiet flow.
But here and there the course is wide and deep, as no doubt it was throughout, when first reopened nearly three centuries ago; with the beautiful and unsuspected pools of which I have spoken.
The supply of water comes from a little runlet out of the Thames just above the lock, from the head lasher, and doubtless from innumerable springs.
John Sellar's map of about 1680, and Seller and Oliver's of about the same date, represent Swift Ditch as much more important than the stream through Abingdon : the reverse of modern conditions.
Camden wrote in 1720:
"Not far from [the Swift Ditch lock] is Abingdon [flash] lock, where they pay £2 5s.; but omitted in the table [of tolls], because it lies not in the Course of the Barges":
an excellent piece of evidence of the user of the Swift Ditch, which continued down to 1790, when Abingdon poundlock was built and the channel through the town cleared for traffic.
This year Ireland wrote:
"The new cut has rendered the old stream towards Culham Bridge entirely useless."
At the close of this year the Thames Commissioners, having bought up all the works of the Oxford-Burcot Commission, ordered the boats and tackle at "Cullum Old Lock" to be removed, and the gates locked up at "Cullum" poundlock.
Removal of the stonework from the old Weir, largely for repairing Sandford and Iflley locks, began about June 1791, and continued till at least December 1793.
I find no evidence against my opinion that the walls of the poundlock have not been touched since the traffic deserted it.
Many further small notes bearing upon its history will be found in my companion volume.

Swift Ditch Lower Pool 1910
Swift Ditch Lower Pool

In May 1792 Thomas Hewitt was ordered to quit the Commissioners' house near "Cullum Old Lock" at the ensuing Michaelmas.
In June they took of him £2 for a year's rent of this cottage, due the previous Michaelmas; and of Henry "Collings" £14 3s. 4d. for part of a year's rent, due at the same date, for Culham old lock and pound.
In August 1793 the gates and sluices at the pound were altered and repaired "for the Letting out of Flood water."
In August 1798 "Thomas Heart [doubtless poor Hewitt], the Tenant of the house at Cullham old Lock", was to be distrained on for four years' rent: £8.
In June 1799, "the house being totally useless to the Commissioners", it was sold for breaking up for £24 10s.
The indignant Hewitt, however, would not quit until in August a bailiff managed to get in, and so vanished another relic.
Almost certainly this cottage was at the side of the poundlock; though ambiguity is introduced by the reiterated phrase "Culham old lock," which may equally indicate the weir; where also there was probably once a dwelling of some sort, though not official property.
The indenture of 1652, on page 81 of my General History, expressly stipulates that the two roomed cottage shall be built "upon the Wall of the Southside of the Turnepike" ; and a few lines down will be found a statement in 1857 that a cottage did once stand on this site.
No obvious relic of it now remains.
In 1802 Mylne found the poundlock
"all deserted and ruinous. The stonework, though long left to itself, is still sound, and better than the modern work."
During some floods in December 1807 one John Crawford drew the sluices at "Culham old lock" against orders; and was summoned for the penalty of £20.
A Commissioners' note of August 1811 says:
"In Consequence of the Navigable Channel of the River having been changed from its ancient course under Culham Bridge, the O1d Passage by disuse has become almost dry land."
In June 1842 repairs at "Culham old Lock" are recorded.
And in June 1857 occurred the last considerable transaction that I have discovered in this little history.
It was recommended to the Commissioners, then almost at an end alike of their resources and of their existence, that
"the old Turnpike or Pound Lock and Scite upon which a Cottage formerly stood situate on the back Stream or River at Culham in the County of Oxford, which Stream was formerly Navigable for Boats and Barges but has ceased to be so for Fifty years last past and is quite useless to the Commissioners be sold to James Morrell"
of Oxford, lord of the manor of Culham, who claimed the soil of the said stream and exclusive fishery;
"he having proposed to purchase the same of the Commissioners, and all their Estate and Interest therein and in the said Stream or River, he the said James Morrell his heirs etc. undertaking to repair and maintain the footbridge" at the lock.
The consideration was the surrender by Mr. Morrell of four £100 Thames Navigation bonds, worth at that date about two shillings each in open market.
I do not know what effect such a sale may ultimately have upon the status of the channel ; but I strongly cherish a hope that the ancient dictum: "Once a highway, always a highway" may finally prevail in this matter.
In May 1897 it was discovered that three arches of Culham Bridge were blocked; to prevent the passage of boats.
When Morrell's trustees were requested to reopen them they pleaded the above purchase of 1857 in justification; and declined to remove the obstructions.
They declared the latter had been in position since 1860-1; and that the channel had been claimed as a private water ever since.
I saw barbed wire stretched across the arches in the summer of 1913.


I note on page 22 of my General History a complaint in 1316 against the abbot of Abingdon, John de Salter, for so heightening his weir that both banks above were often flooded.
The tragic death of his successor, Richard de Clyve, in this same year is recited by Matthew of Westminster.
"Unhappy fate contrived that the abbot, with certain monks and seculars, through the kicking and plunging of their horses, at a certain river swollen with land water near their monastery, which he was disposed to cross with the said company: by some fell handling and the steersman's unwise management of the fragile craft were all at one stroke drowned, oh pity! in midstream";
doubtless the Thames.
In March 1539 three watermills in Abingdon were granted to John Wellesbourne.
There is in the Record Office avoluminous set of depositions regarding another alleged raising of the weir in 1570.
Sir George Stonehouse, lord of Radley manor, sued William Blacknall the owner and Richard Tysdall the "farmer" of Abingdon mill, both perhaps identical with the local surnames in Bishop's lists of 1580 and 1585 in my General History, alleging that their mismanagement of the weir as continually flooding and destroying his lands.
The action concerned itself very largely with Nyetts ford, crossing not the Thames but a bystream called Thrupp Water which left the River near "Newenamlocke".
Two not irrelevant points emerge illuminating the relations between the common people and the monasteries.
The question arose of the Radley tenants' common in a certain fishery.
"About 32 years last past before the dissolution of the monastery of Abingdon one Walton then fisherman to the Abbott did carry away out of Nyettford certain weels there laid by tenants of the manor of Radley and the sayed Walton declared to John Audelett esquyer then being steward of the Abbott what he had done well said Audelett we will for that tyme borrow their fish but look thou carry back the weels where thou hadst them for else I will set thee by the heeles for the water belongeth not to us but to the Tenants of Radley."
Audelett knew his master!
The other point is equally significant.
The king's officers put in at the suppression actually invited and advertised for complaints against the late abbot; but
"the tenants of Radley found not them selfs greved wt the said abbot or his officers concerneng anye matter."
Mr. Preston, mentioned above, possesses contemporary MSS. bearing upon this matter; and courteously gave me an opportunity of inspecting them.
Thrupp Water, one of them states:
"was known by the name of Thaymes and is parcell of the said River.
The Abbots had boats on it."

It appears at one part to have broadened into a lake, used as a fish stew by the convent.
It divided at Goosey into two streams, running respectively north and south of Nyett common, and reuniting at Porter's or "Pook's eight".
There was "a wear upon the said water".
In one passage the name is spelt Troop: an interesting survival of what was doubtless the original pronunciation.
In 1576 a great dam in Thrupp Water was condemned "to be plucked up by the inhabitants of Radley."
It was complained that elm trees lay over the water there,
"with flakes stakes earth and gravel stopping the course of the water and letting both boates and fish to pass and repass."
In November 1665 the mayor and justices of Abingdon were ordered to prevent laden barges from London proceeding any higher, and were not to allow them to unload until they were proved not to have come from any place infected with plague.
A like letter to the Justices about Burket.
Charles II was at Oxford at this time.

Inscription at Abingdon Weir 1910
Inscription at Abingdon Weir, Photograph by lockkeeper Drew about 1910

When I was through the lock in 1910 Mr. Drew the lockkeeper called my attention to a stone built into the left wall of the midmost of the three weirs, recording that
"This locke was bvilded by Sr George Stonehovse and Richard Adams Ann. 1649 ";
not long, it will be observed, after the Swift Ditch had been reopened.
This Sir George would perhaps be the son or the grandson of the foregoing.
Drew gave me a copy of the excellent photograph of the stone which he had been at the pains of taking; and which I reproduce.
It is possible that this section of the weirs is the original site of the flashlock founded so many centuries ago by the abbey; and here may have been collected the hundred allecia of toll; though Messrs. Pearson's Thames book states that
"a door in an old house adjoining the mill still exists where this toll was paid."
The king's vessels seem to have been exempt; and the toll itself to have been payable only from "the beginning of Lent until the Passover": April 20.
The abbey millstream is, as I have said, the northernmost of the streams that divide at the lock.
In 1788 several "gentlemen of Abingdon" found themselves anxious to divert the navigation once more from the Swift Ditch to its previous course by the town.
In December of this year, therefore, the streams under the bridge were examined to see if either of them could be rendered suitable for the barges, so that they might avoid the shoals about Culham Bridge and the "old lock" in the Ditch.
The scheme was judged impracticable; but a year later estimates were obtained for making the navigation good from Culham Bridge to above Abingdon Abbey Lock (the present weir)
(a) by the Old (the Swift) Ditch, and
(b) by the stream flowing under Abingdon Bridge.
The result was in favour of the latter alternative.
The scheme included building a poundlock; which was accordingly begun on 21 April 1790, and opened early in the ensuing winter.

Ireland earlier in this year notes:
"The drought rendered the passage at Abingdon Abbey [flash] Lock impracticable; we were obliged to have the boat dragged over."
Bartholomew Bradfield, miller, was immediately appointed keeper of the new lock, toll collector and ferryman, for a consideration of 6s. weekly.
In 1793 and 1798 Richard Bradfleld is named; he "died suddenly going home from the Red Lion" on 27 February 1827.
Challenor in his book mentioned under Swift Ditch gives a short "Extract from the Register of Lighters, Barges etc. worked, rowed, or navigated upon the River Thames" in 1795; extending only from 23 July to 20 August.
In these four weeks eighteen vessels were registered in the town by ten owners;
of whom Robert Holmes, a troublesome lock-forcer, is one with his True Briton,
and Richard Bradfield, the miller and lockkeeper, with a lighter is another.
The barge Abingdon is of the greatest burthen: 130 tons: owned by George Gleed of Culham; and worked by himself and four other men and a boy "to do errands".
The smallest is Bradfield's lighter, of only 14 tons, worked by two men 'on the Thames [not Isis] and Mill Stream up and down within four miles of Abingdon'."
Ten of the eighteen vessels were Oxford owned, and described as working between Lechlade and London: called 160 miles.
Probably they had to register at Abingdon in order to obtain a permit to do business there.
Two of the others navigated between Oxford and London; so that perhaps only six were locally owned.
The heaviest burthen noted from Lechlade is 80 tons, fifteen tons heavier than Prince's note in 1767 on page 120 of my General History, a proof of the increase in the size of Thames barges complained of by this writer.
In 1811 the lockkeeper's house was reported to be half-a-mile below the lock; probably it was at the abbey millhouse.
In June the monthly wage was raised to £2.
On 16 April 1819 John Phillips sold to the Commissioners part of the land against the lock called Bushey Eyet for a lockkeeper's house.
In November 1819 James Blake was appointed keeper.
In February 1822 J. S. Phillips, the owner of the weir, and doubtless identical with the foregoing, was claiming his statutory right to tolls in respect of "all vessels that passed by or under Culham Bridge."
This claim, of 1s. per barge, will be found alluded to in several places in my General History.
It was allowed.
In October of this year I find John Bradfield in charge of the lock and ferry at 50s. monthly.
James Blake is named in 1842; and William Blake was appointed in May 1845.
At the end of 1850, and again a year later, this lock and Old Windsor were selected for a twelvemonth's freedom from tolls, as an assistance to the barge trade against the railways.
No reason appears for the selection of these particular stations.
In March 1853 wages were necessarily reduced from £36 annually to £33, and in the next year to £24.
Blake survived into the Conservancy period.
In September 1875, after thirty years' service, he was retired through old age; and was succeeded by J. Surridge from Chalmore Hole.
"Surrage" died in April 1883; and was followed by S. Prewett; who was drowned in the following November.
In December J. Collins was transferred hither from Spade Oak; and stayed for about a quarter of a century or more.
Drew, as I say above, was here In recent years.
I note as towpath meadow names above Abingdon: Stockey and Goosey.


Mr. Preston tells me that he possesses evidence that a bridge existed at this town, before the present one.
The history of the latter is in all the books.
Leland says concerning this and Culham Bridge:
"Incepti sunt autore rege [Henry V] anno Dom. 1416."
The letter patent is dated June 23.
The first stone was laid on St. Alban's Day: June 17 in the English calendar.
Leland continues:
"Every Man had a Penny a Day, which was the best Wages, and an Extraordinary Price in those times."
He counts fourteen arches.
"The great Stone Bridge at Abendun, made by John of S. Hellen, was a great decay to Walyngford, for that the Glosceashire men had usyd Walyngford, that now go by Abyndun.
Of auncient tyme ther was no Bridge at Abbandune, but a Ferie.
There were divers Mischaunces sene at this Passage."

In 1453 three new arches were added at the southern extremity of the bridge under a benefaction of Maud Hales, this part of the structure being still known by her name; thence to the crown as Burford Bridge; and only the northern part, strictly, as Abingdon Bridge.
In 1552 the town secured restitution of certain lands left for the upkeep of this and Culham Bridge, lately taken by the king "uppon coullour that the same were within the compasse of thact of Chaunteries."
Baskervile in 1692 omits even the mention of this important crossing: strong evidence that he went down the Swift Ditch and avoided Abingdon.
A sum of £1,500 was spent upon the bridge in the autumn of 1790, doubtless in connexion with the revival of traffic past the town.
Of this sum Nook, already mentioned, received £110 for his share of the work; which doubtless consisted largely in widening and raising the arches.
An early note of dredging occurs in 1583:
"Pay'd to Wm. Raphe for showlinge gravel out o ye Themes, two days, xiid.
Paid to another laborer for showlinge gravell out o ye Themes, on daie, iiiid.

It is curious that in Cooke's View of the scene above bridge in 1811 there is no trace whatever of Mr. Stevens's pleasant ait.
The 1812 List of Barges names at Abingdon: Kates 4; Wilts and Berks Canal Co. 2; and Pickman, Payne, Robt. Holmes, Fletcher, Crawford, Brookings, Wm. Holmes and Child and Morland with one each.
A note of about 1820 says:
"For the convenience of the barges a commodious wharf has been completed at the extremity of the town, beyond which the new cut, forming a small curve, joins the main river a short distance below Culham Bridge."
This note presents an illuminating reversal of present day ideas.
The "new cut" is what we consider as the main stream out of Abingdon; and the "main river" it joins is the now deserted watercourse that passes beneath Culham Bridge.


[ NB: This is the old bridge across the lower end of the Swift Ditch - no longer navigable - not to be confused with the bridge below Culham Lock ]

Culham Bridge was built concurrently with Abingdon Bridge, across the site of an ancient ford:
"a very fair Bridge of 7. Arches," says Leland.
It crosses, not the modern River, but the Swift Ditch, which I believe to be the original bed of the main Thames.
It is most unfortunately masked from the present navigation by a large towpath bridge crossing the mouth of the Swift Ditch: a wide pool extends between the two bridges.
The arches of the old structure are curiously unsymmetrical: very possibly a result of later interference with the original design.
Baskervile's complete silence about Abingdon, and his description of this bridge, are strong evidence that the Swift Ditch was then the accepted navigable channel; and that he passed along it.
He writes:
"Cullome Bridge is about 100 yards over and has 6 Arches":
one less than Leland's count.
In December 1788 it was thought that
"shutting in Culham Bridge with Common Tackle occasionally would be of great Service" to the navigation.
In the following May a stop was ordered at the islands below the bridge:
was the now extinct Rum Eyot referred to, once opposite the head of the present Culham lock cut?
In August 1858 Mr. Morrell desired to transform the towpath bridge into a drawbridge, to allow the passage of "a large pleasure boat."
In the summer of 1910 I found the arches stopped with barbed wire.


An early allusion to the mill occurs in the Patent Rolls in 1374.
Bishop in 1580-5 speaks of two flashlocks and one mill kept by John Elson and Richard Justice.
He also mentions weirs kept by Thomas Trullock and Clement Dabnet; and another to which he gives no name.
John Taylor in 1632 records derelict piles at the weirs.
In 1638 the millowner's name was Debois or Dubois.
Here of old time was to be seen the extraordinary spectacle of a poundlock partly beneath the ground door of a mill.
I had originally supposed that the whole lock was thus buried away; but found subsequently, from a plan of 1808 in the possession of the Conservancy, that only the upper gates stood beneath the mill floor.
The whole wide pool that extends at the back of the mill was the lock basin; and the lower gates were placed in the narrow neck below the pool.
This basin would take an immense quantity of water, and a long time to fill; at the expense of the milling business.
These conditions doubtlessly caused the heavy toll always levied here.
As will be gathered from my General History, the lock was originally installed shortly before 1638, I believe as a private speculation of the miller's; for which he gradually assumed the habit of charging the heaviest single toll on the Whole River.
There is only one very dubious hint, in 1811, that public money was ever expended upon it.
There are some Exchequer depositions of about 1667 which incidentally allude to the erection of this lock, but unfortunately do not fix its date.
This in the document is variously conjectured by different oldest inhabitants as about 26 years, as under 35, and as 40 years, before the date above mentioned.
An interesting fact emerges which I had not previously discovered: that the course of the River at Sutton Courtenay was artificially altered and "made navigable" in connexion with the building of this lock.
The inquiry was directed to examining the claims of various wharves at Sutton Courtenay to be of themselves sufficient for local business without the aid of other, more recent accommodation.
It appears that the wharf originally used for the handling of cheese was Carpenter's of Culham (mentioned by John Taylor in 1632); and that the occasion of removing this handling to a wharf in the village about 1640 was the greater suitability of the latter.
The ancient common wharf of the community was situated on a piece of ground on the south bank called the Laver.
This plot Dubois (who is in my General History) bought from the Earl of Craven for the purpose of improving the River and building the "turnpike"; and he had thrown the Laver into the new bed of the stream, destroying the ancient wharf.
(The earl's bailiff is said to have tendered to Dubois "twigs and turf", in token of the conveyance.)
The interesting comment is added that the latter was "a principal undertaker" in the business of improving the River.
It is evident from this that he had associates; but if these were the Oxford-Burcot Commissioners, or private coadventurers, does not appear.
John Quelch was miller at the time.

Malt, coal and cheese were the principal products handled at the various wharves in the village.
Lawrence Peirce of Lechlade, wharfinger, agent for several London cheesemongers, stated that he needed local wharfage accommodation for one hundred tons of cheese at a time.
In the beginning of 1772 it was reported to the Thames Commissioners that
"the Floor of the Granary or Mill at Sutton Lock is a great obstruction to the Navigation by frequently hindering Barges from passing there";
and their surveyor was instructed to inspect it and order its removal if really a nuisance.
A coloured plan of 1809 by Z. Allnutt exists, shewing it then still extant; so that though doubtless a nuisance it was tolerated.
In 1782 it is stated:
"There is a kind of pound at Sutton Mills, but the Timbers of the floor of the House under which Barges pass are too low when the Water is tolerable high, so that it is not easy to pass thro'.
A pound lock might be made with a cut just above at a gull to avoid this mill.
In 1786 there is another complaint that the
"Occupier of the public House has frequently impeded the passage of the Barges";
whether with or without the connivance of the bargemen does not appear.
There is still a bright little inn near the mill: the Fish, I think ; I do not know if it was the offender.
In 1789 the bargemasters were again complaining of the difficult and expensive passage; and it was decided to endeavour to arrange some improvement with the proprietor, a Mr. Meetkirke; who lived at St. Julian's in Hertfordshire.
Meetkirke demanded £400 for the removal of the part of the mill over the lock, and £100 for making a bridge of communication between the severed portions.
The Thames Commissioners decided to do the work themselves; and considered that the bridge was not their concern.
In the autumn of 1789 a note occurs in the Treacher Papers of about £26 paid for "taking down the building over the upper Lock and building up a new End to the Corn Mill and making good the roof and tileing on the inside of the Mill as was displaced by taking down the old Building."
It might be imagined from this reference that there were two complete locks: one beneath the mill and one in the narrow neck below it, especially as the allusions are numerous to the upper and the "loar" locks.
But very probably these terms indicate only the upper and lower gates of the one lock.
The total cost of the improvements, paid by the Commissioners, and effected between August 1790 and July 1791, was £433.
Ireland says in 1790:
"We passed it on a Sunday, and consequently, the mill not being at work, the want of water obliged us to have the boat dragged over the meadows for more than half a mile, which occasioned us no small delay, and a considerable expence."
In 1793 it was stated that the lock had been improved;
"but the Barge Masters are liable to many Impositions there ; they are obliged to drink at the Public House."
Mylne had stated two years earlier that
"the strange Invention of the present Lock, of a very large capacity, serves very well."
His allusion to its "very large capacity" strengthens the evidence of the plan of 1808, mentioned above, that there was only the one very extensive lock I describe.

In 1801, after further complaints, the end of the trouble appears in sight.
The surveyor
"recommended a cut to avoid the inconveniences at Sutton poundlock, the only poundlock that does not belong to the Commissioners."
Nothing was done for a twelvemonth; when a further complaint accelerated the drawing up of an alternative scheme, which resulted in the present Culham lock and its long cut.
I read in 1811, after the latter was built:
"A toll of 4d. per ton is now paid to the Old Lock at Sutton, whereas 2d. only is due, as the additional 2d. is paid for the Old Pound Lock which was made principally at the expence of the Commissioners."
The last statement probably refers only to the reconstruction about 1790.
In the Reading Mercury of 22 April 1811, the mills were advertised for sale:
"A large paper and flour mill", comprising "A Tollage or Tonnage, of Fourpence per Ton, for all Barges and Boats passing the said Mills to and from London, which produces a handsome income."
Application was to the name of Stevens.
A Mr. King was owner in 1821.
In a subsequent advertisement of 1824 nothing was said about the "Tollage".
Inquirers were now directed to J. T. Norris.
He evidently owned for a long period, as I find him still here in 1867; as noted at Culham lock.
The mill was idle in November 1891; the Messrs. Lloyd, paper makers, seem to have owned it after this date.
In August 1833 the weir was in a very bad condition, and the owner was asked to repair it.
It is doubtful which of the three old falls is meant.
In October 1839 the Commissioners bought up the old lock and its tolls for £3,000.
This station and Hurley were the only instances of such purchase.
These o1d tolls were remitted to the navigation on and after 1 October 1843.
In June 1845 the poundlock was conveyed to J. T. Norris, described as of Aldersgate, London.
He removed it, and built over its site the present mill.
His initials appear on the disc upon its front.
He was a member of the City Navigation Committee; and seems to have acted as an intermediary for them with the Thames Commissioners.
They say that traces of the original lock still survive in the thorough beneath the mill.
The water, they told me in 1913, was run through only for an hour or two every Monday and Thursday "to let the dirt out."
Otherwise the building was then a mere deserted and ruinous shell.
The three ancient lashers still stand on the stream above it: perhaps they are Bishop's Nos. 29, 30, and 31, noted in my General History.
The modern, main weir stands above them all.

[ NB the order going downstream is Culham Lock Cut Bridge, Culham Lock and then Sutton Courtney Bridge
The position of the onetime Culham Wharf is uncertain
Note also that Sutton Courtney Bridge should not be confused with Culham Bridge over the Swift Ditch


[NB Sutton Courtney Bridge is below Culham Lock ] WTSWG

Baskervile about 1692-3 refers to "Hart Bridge" as "about 270 yards over and hath 17 Arches."
The present main bridge was not then built; and I do not know to what he refers unless to the series of small bridges across the weirs.
It is the seventh cul de sac in the Hart labyrinth.
In 1793 Thomas Keep had charge of "Sutton Bridges", and in 1798 also, at 12s. monthly: for the Commissioners.
He re-emerges in the Treacher Papers in 1801:
"Paid Mr. Keep for a pece of haucer Cord for Cullam ferry Boat 4s. 9d.";
and the same at other times.
Also on 8 August:
"Paid Mr. Keep for Ballast boats passing through Sutton Lock 3s."
The present main bridge, I think the first, appears to have been built in 1807.
In December 1809 its preprietors were warned to remove some sunken piles near the navigable arch.
In January 1812 some "ground" below the bridge was ordered to be dredged away; over a century later there was still a very inconvenient shoal below the junction of the two waters.
Certain private motions which look like early proposals towards this bridge are noted under Culham Wharf below.


Culham Lock was built, as I said above, to avoid the difficult and expensive passage at Sutton Courtenay mill.
It was Opened in 1809.
Several years of discussion were spent before the various suggestions took shape.
In January 1803, for example, a plan was submitted for
"making a navigable cut from the River near the upper end of Speel Ditch to the River at the Eyot below Culham Ferry, and also for making a pound lock, in order to avoid the shoals and rapid stream below Sutton Lock and the danger and difficulty of passing that Lock."
Speel Ditch was a straggling channel which left the Thames at the head of the present cut, and turned south at right angles, near the site of Culham lock, to rejoin the River below the mill.
It thus coincided roughly, for about two thirds of its length with the present lock cut.
A later plan, of January 1806, was for a cut and two locks.
In December 1808 it was decided to proceed with the present scheme, including a stone lock.
The new bridge over the tail cut was ordered a twelvemonth later to be 20, rather than 16, feet wide: even so it is too narrow for convenience.
At this date Danby, owner perhaps of Sutton as well as of Iffley mill, applied for the payment of tolls on account of the old mill lock, by all barges using the new station.
In 1812 I find the latter called Sutton.
In February 1822 considerable obstructions were complained of along the lock cut towing path as far as "the wharf at Sutton."

I get no keeper's name before Daniel Gibbons in October 1822, with £2 monthly.
A house was ordered for him in October 1823.
Wm. Porter is the only other old time keeper I note, in November 1837.
In 1854 he was deprived of his monthly wage of 40s., and was granted free use of the pound house on condition of continuing his duties.
He survived into Conservancy times.
In January 1867 he was being threatened "with death" by Mr. Mackey of Sutton mill, if he drew the weir.
Mr. Norris, of Sutton Courtenay Paper Works, remonstrated with Mackey.
There is a distinction here between the two buildings that constituted the mills.
Norris's mill was the main building across the old main stream; Mackey's part stood by its side across a small cut.
In May of the same year Norris himself complained of bargemen drawing Culham weir to the detriment of his business.
In August 1865 there had been some correspondence in The Times about the ruinous condition of the locks.
One holiday maker wrote:
"Culham-lock was in such a rotten state that two of the sluices out of four made no impression in emptying the water, and the lock-woman informed us that she did not know to whom to apply to repair it."
In December 1867 Porter, "very aged", was succeeded by a man with the melancholy name of Job Mouldey.
In the following July Norris was claiming and apparently exercising control of the water; and there was much complaint of its scarcity.
The Conservancy asserted their own right.
Mouldey resigned next month; and George Allen was appointed in his place.
The upper lock cut bridges were ordered to be rebuilt in oak in October 1884.
Armstrong in 1886 calls this "the deepest, coldest lock on the Thames"; "this tomb-like lock", says he.
Surely Sandford is the deepest?
Culham tail cut, however, is certainly one of the most unpleasant places to hold up in on the River; the waste water from the lock is very strong, and there is nothing but the crumbling bank to steady you.
In July 1888 Allen was discharged; and Geo. Yeates succeeded him.
In May 1890 Yeates was sent to Goring; and S. B. Kirby from King's weir was placed here.
He was transferred to Teddington, as assistant, in October 1892; and was followed here by W. Franks, who went to Romney in April 1893.
J. G. Prior succeeded him; he had to be lodged in Littlemore asylum in September 1896.
In the following April he was retired from the service, and W. S. Horsfield was brought down from Medley.
I get no later name until E. Light in June 1910.
Berrycroft occurs as a local towpath meadow name about 1825.


{ NB Culham Cut Footbridge is above Culham Lock ]

Culham Lock Cut Bridge was built at the same time as the lock.
In 1834 I get frequent requests for a towing bridge to be built; perhaps in the neighbourhood of the lime kilns.
Possibly the towpath then terminated before it reached this point.
It was stated that barges had to be poled up here: a difficult task in times of gale or flood, owing to the strong stream; and that for want of a bridge they often spent a week in proceeding from Culham to Abingdon.


I have not discovered the site of this wharf, but conjecture that it was at the Culham end of Sutton Bridge.
In December 1801, before the pound was built, the Rev. Mr. Banner applied to the Commissioners for their consent to his building a bridge, apparently across the old main River, by the wharf.
At first they expressed no objection, provided the towing were mulcted in no toll.
In the following April, however, certain bargemasters protested that it would endanger their vessels; and the scheme was therefore left in abeyance.
It was subsequently allowed; but apparently nothing was done; as in August 1806, still before the date of the lock, a similar application was made, "to avoid the ford and ferry", by a Mr. Morland (the name is still honourably known in Abingdon and elsewhere).
He also obtained leave on the same terms as the clergyman; but the present main bridge was built by public subscription instead.


Culham Ferry crossed on or close to the trajectory of Sutton Bridge.
Widow Hewit had charge of it in 1793; Daniel Gibbons in 1798 at 24s. monthly: perhaps identical with the Culham lockkeeper in 1822.


In December 1843 this forbidding structure was being erected; and was attracting the unfavourable attention of the Commissioners.
They thought its low height and construction likely to be most injurious to the navigation.
I imagine the present is the original bridge.
[ Fred was mistaken!
The bridge he knew was the second bridge out of the three that have been here.
The bridges were: 1844-1850? a timber bridge by Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
The second which Fred knew dated from 1856 - in iron
And the modern bridge was built in 1929
For the shallows here I get the title Appleford Flat; I once saw a youth standing in midstream with the water only to his waist.


Both the lock and the weir are comparatively modern institutions : the former built only in 1822.
The district had for many previous years been recognized as needing improvement.
In 1793 a stop or poundlock was suggested "near Clifton Ferry"; and again in the autumn of 1811.
When definite steps began to be taken the curious difficulty arose that the owner of the requisite land was a lunatic.
James Newland was appointed first keeper in the autumn of 1822; at £2 monthly wage.
In May 1824 Wm. Holmes was in charge.
The weir was not erected till October 1835; after frequent complaints of its absence.
In March 1853 wages were compulsorily reduced from £34 16s. annually to £33; and in 1854 from 49s. monthly to 40s.; the collection of toll for Culham being added to Holmes's duties.
In November 1856 Robert Holmes was appointed keeper; and still held under the Conservancy in October 1866; at £2 12s. monthly.
Ravenstein mentions his usual toll in 1861.
In September 1867 Holmes was accused of poaching in the "canal"; and was forbidden to use nets.
Next January he asked, perhaps in dudgeon, to resign; and Joseph Brookings succeeded him the same month.
The weir was enlarged before 1877; and a tumbling bay added at the lower end of the lock cut.
Brookings died about March 1880 ; and Matthew Hickey, or Hickley, followed.
He was discharged in the summer of 1883 ; and was succeeded by Thomas Gray.
In October 1884 the lock cut bridges were ordered to be rebuilt in oak.
Gray was transferred to Marlow in October 1892; where I well knew the tall, lean old man.
He was succeeded here by J. Bossom, from King's weir.
The curiously named Wittenham Maddy, mentioned on page 85 of my General History, appears in a plan of about 1811 as part of the weir stream just above the lower end of the lock cut.
I do not discover its meaning; unless maddy be a form of the word meadow.


The present bridge, I believe the first on its site, was being discussed in December 1863.
It was, at least till 1897, a private bridge; built, says Dredge, professedly to match Abingdon and Culham Bridge.
(It appears to me to have been diablement changé en route.)
It is to be remarked, however, that in 1887 the Conservancy were repairing it; apparently at their own expense.


My earliest note is in 1607, when it constituted the downstream limit of the improvements proposed by the Oxford Commission of 1605.
Baskervile noted in 1692-3:
"At Cliffton fferry is a great boat to carry horse & man over."
In The Lord Mayor's Visit to Oxford of 1826 it is written:
"The navigation here appeared to be particularly defective; for, with all the advantage of the exertions that had been made by the Water-Bailiff's directions, and the expense that had been incurred for the supply of water; the country having been comparatively drained for several miles along the upper districts, ... and though the City Barge and shallop, and the attendant boats, drew scarcely more than two feet of water, they were detained at Clifton a considerable length of time."
A secular obstruction to navigation, this rock floored channel!
Pedestrian, in his Tour of 1834, has a pleasant note of the ferry boat
"continually passing to and fro."


On page 268 of my General History I discussed at some length Thorold Rogers's theories, much exaggerated as I think, about the long continuance, first of Henley and later of this spot, as successive heads of the navigation upon the River Thames.
None of my many correspondents has touched upon this debate.
It remains therefore where I left it ; but the subject is one which might be carried much further by a leisured student.
Nor have I myself discovered any fresh information; though my position is strengthened by some comments I have more recently found in a pamphlet amongst the Treacher Papers by G. P. Hester: town clerk of Oxford in 1860.
He derides the assumption of the Act 21 James I, "and the error is copied in the next Act", that there was anciently no navigation from Oxford by Abingdon to Burcot.
He quotes the passage from the Abingdon Chronicle which I present in my General History.
I present a few additional notes regarding the works of the Oxford-Burcot Commission, gleaned from some papers and account books discovered in 1919 in the County Hall, Oxford; and kindly placed at my disposal by Mr. James Rose.
The books appear to carry the accounts forward from the date at which Convocation records dropped them.
Various millers' names in 1650 were: Quelch at Sutton Courtenay; Adams at Abingdon, Fisher at Sandford, and Ferkin at Iffley.
Some considerable operations were in progress at Swift Ditch lock at this period, described as "repairs".
One noticeable item of expenditure was a hundred loads of stone from Kennington.
As further evidence that the Swift Ditch was the stream I have indicated, and not a channel running beside Abingdon abbey, I quote a regulation of July 1654 found among these papers:
"Agreed that when the boatmen cannot come up from Cullam to the stop below the turnpike at Swift Ditch with out drawing the turnpike they shall pay the miller" certain compensation.
I do not think these combined allusions can be made to fit any local stream but the one bordering the southeastern edge of Andersey; which is, I submit, the Swift Ditch.
Widow Duffin had charge of the Commissioners' locks from Lady Day 1653 till St. Thomas in 1658, paying a yearly rental of £50.
She had to be sued for nearly this amount of arrears at the end of her tenancy.

Map Burcot to Shillingford


Bishop alludes in 1580-5 to a flashlock and a weir kept by Edmunde Fettiplace, in Dorchester; to a weir kept by Wm. "Dunshe" in Little Wittenham ; and to one in Long Wittenham belonging to "Wyddowe Sawyer".
Either may be identical with the present weir, or with the "old lock " noted below in dealing with the footbridge.
The poundlock was staked out on 30 August 1788.
It was judged best to build it on the Oxfordshire bank, "if Mr. Hallett will remove his Bucks".
The total cost was £1,078.
When it was opened on 25 June 1789 Hallett had notice to keep the old flashlock shut.
The first toll was 4d. per ton: in 1793 it was reduced to 2½d.
James Battin, or Batting, the "old lock " shutter, was appointed first keeper in 1789 at 6s. weekly wages; being bound over, as was then usual, in personal security of £200.
He served till at least 1798; in which year he was in receipt of the slightly reduced remuneration of 24s. monthly.
He shared the usual fate of men who try to serve two masters. In 1791 Mylne wrote:
"The Lock keeper, renting Fishery and Lock dues from Mr. Hallet, and being Lock-keeper to the Pound-lock under the Commissioners, does not perform his duty to the Navigation honestly."
In December 1793 one Robert Holmes forcibly passed through with an overloaded barge.
In 1802 Mylne, styling the lock "Dorchester", writes again:
"In the cut below the lock there were 3 Thames & Severn bargeboats aground for want of water to get into it. Caused by a flash at Benson below."
In June 1813 the monthly wage was raised from 24s. to 36s.
Vincent Cherrill was getting 50s. monthly in October 1822 for the care of "Dorchester" lock; he was, I fancy, tenant of the flashlock also at this time; perhaps under Lady Holland, who is named as owner in 1821.
Robert Green may have actually done the work here, as well as at Benson, at this date.
In September 1828 the Commissioners themselves became tenants; and Cherrill received notice to resign, being allowed £6 18s. for his weir tackle.
In the following November John Drake was elected to "Wittenham or Day's Lock."
In 1842 the Commissioners held the property "on lease from Lord Cardigan."
In 1854 Drake's monthly wage was reduced from £3 to 45s.
To his duties was added the collection of the downward tolls for Benson, Caversham and Sonning.

The first note after a long period of silence is the Conservancy's report in 1865 upon the condition of the lock:
"In utter ruin: how it holds together I do not know.
One of the gates is chained up; the weir is also out of repair, and in a very dangerous condition indeed; any flood breaking down one of these upper places may destroy the whole navigation."

H. Wise under the Conservancy in October 1866, with 52s. monthly, is the first keeper named after Drake.
At the end of 1867 the Conservancy reduced the rent they paid for the weir from £50 to £40.
In March 1870 Wise was dead; and James Lowe took his place.
In July 1871: the dilapidated lock was to be rebuilt in "old ships' timber"; in which state it still remained as recently as about 1911, and may still be.
A bell push to summon the keeper was installed in May 1882 ; Romney has the only other similar contrivance that I know of.
In January 1885 the weir was to be rebuilt; Armstrong remarks in the following year that it is
"much the longest on this upper part of the Thames."
Mr. Cornish in his Naturalist has much pleasant matter upon the weir and its surroundings.
In April 1898 the Light Railways Company desired to bridge the River just above the lock for a proposed line between Didcot and Watlington.
The lock was in 1910, as I have just hinted, one of the oldest looking on the Thames.
There was still no lock house; I fancy the keeper lived near the bridge; hence the necessity for the bell push.
R. Basson succeeded Lowe as keeper; being transferred from Northmoor.


Dorchester Ferry, "at high Waters over Tames", is twice mentioned by Leland about 1530.
It may conceivably be implied that when the River was low the ancient ford was used.


Footbridge, just below the lock.
The original bridge, perhaps over the ford just mentioned, and which dates back at least to the Romans, was a timber swingbridge with a navigation opening of about eighteen feet.
Sedgfield shews a photograph of it in 1868.
The lockkeeper was instructed in February of this year to coIlect "the payment for the swingbridge until further orders".
There was much local quarrelling about this bridge toll.
The present structure, of iron, in one sixty-foot span, was thrown across about 1870; at a cost of about £250.
In 1791 Mylne mentions, below Day's:
"At a Place called OLD LOCK (which is the Remains of an old wear cross the River), many old Piles, whose heads are above the bed, and the Gravel which has accumulated round them," diminishing the floating depth to about two feet.
He wished it all cleared away.
This is the only allusion I have to this ancient obstruction ; which I cannot definitely locate.
It may be identical with one of the local items of Bishop's lists in my General History.



THAME BRIDGE is represented in Cooke's Thames of 1811 as a very rustic and dilapidated structure.
It was not much better a century later.

KEEN EDGE FERRY [ Shillingford ] WTSWG

Keen Edge Ferry: known a century ago as Kean Hedge.
There is another place of the same name : Cane Edge, just below Sunbury.
I suggest its sense under this head.
From 1793 till at least February 1801 Wm. Lafford was ferryman for the Commissioners; with a monthly allowance raised at the latter date from 15s. to 20s.
Jas. Patrick was in charge in October 1822 at 24s. monthly.
The first ferry house was erected in 1843; additional rooms were provided in 1889 and 1906.
Geo. Patrick was ferryman in January 1855, with wages reduced in 1854 from 32s. to 20s. monthly.
I note a dismissal of Wm. Johnson in February 1859, and the consequent saving of his 10s. monthly.
Under the Conservancy Mrs. Hannah Patrick is noted in charge, in October 1866; with 40s. monthly.
In July 1870 she was declared incompetent; but retained her position until October 1884.
She was then discharged; being replaced in December by C. Phillis from Hambledon, glad enough perhaps to return to his old haunts.
He was superannuated in January 1887; and C. Clutterbuck succeeded.
(There is some doubt about Phillis having come to Keen Edge; see further under Hambledon.)
Clutterbuck and his wife were both drowned here during the night of 25-26 March 1892.
Albert Wise, possibly related to H. Wise, of whom I have just spoken at Day's, was appointed to the ferry the following month.
I well remember him in later years at Culham and afterwards at Hurley.


The Patent Rolls present the antiquary with a very interesting problem.
They contain one single, intriguing reference to a bridge here as early as 1301.
It occurs in the lease of a fishery extending downwards a ponte de Shillingford, and belonging to La Russhe: doubtless the present Rush Court.
There are several more or less obvious and weighty objections against the alleged existence of a bridge here at so early a date; and these I will enumerate first.
(a) The word ponte may be a draughtsman's error for passagio (a ferry); or some other similar term.
(b) No other allusion to a bridge here at this date is known; but I do not attach much weight to its absence.
Consider the date: 1301. There is but little contemporary evidence, however impregnable this little may be, for the existence of any upper Thames bridge at this period.
And if this bridge of the Patent Rolls came to grief quickly after their allusion to it, later allusions would easily be undiscoverable.
(c) Wallingford Bridge is so near as to render it unnecessary; but this argument finds an answer below.
(d) No important community immediately adjoins it.
Dorchester and Wallingford, each about two miles away on either bank, are the nearest considerable places; and are connected by means of the very ancient bridge of the latter town.
Nor do I think that the road crossing it is part of a trunk route; it seems a track of merely local convenience joining Streatley with Dorchester through Wallingford.
(e) The ferry may be regarded as hostile evidence; under the reservations, however,
(i) that active ferries are by no means unknown in the close neighbourhood of bridges,
(ii) that, so far as I have discovered, the record of Shillingford ferry begins only in 1378, and its establishment may have been due to the decay of the bridge.
The favourable evidence cannot be ignored.
(a) The record itself is a substantial witness; the Patent Rolls have a way of being meticulously accurate.
(b) Wallingford Castle, powerful and important, may well have discovered some necessity for communicating with Dorchester more directly than by the circuitous route over its own bridge.
Especially may this have been the case after the claim by Dorchester abbey in the 13th century to possess the relics of St. Birinus.
Either the abbey or the castle, or both combined, may well have built a bridge at Shillingford in order to facilitate access to this great shrine.
(c) Gough's Camden, in noting that a ford preceded the eighteenth century bridge, records the dredging up of piles and beams along its trajectory.
These may well have been remains of an older bridge; the point is of great importance.
(d) The Rev. J. E. Field, vicar of Benson, informs me that in a Sotwell charter of the year 957 the present field track leading from the bridge to Wittenham wood is called Brycwege: Bridges way.
He had assumed this to point to some forgotten Roman bridge near the tail of Day's weir stream: but is willing to agree that it may constitute an important piece of evidence in support of the Patent Rolls record.
It must however in candour be remarked that the southward continuation of the Bridgeway from Shillingford bridgend leads directly to Wallingford Bridge, and that the Brycwege may have acquired its name from this fact.
It is clear, incidentally, that the bridge actually commemorated in this title Brycwege, whichever it be, can claim through this Sotwell charter of 957 a far higher antiquity than can certainly be attributed to any other Thames bridge.

The first modern bridge, authorized by the Act 4 Geo. III, c.42, in 1764 through the influence of Sir Wm. Blackstone, was built of timber on stone piers.
Ireland has a view of it published in 1799.
A "bridge lock" is referred to in 1776.
In May 1826 it was advertised that
"the Trustees will, on 10th inst, commence taking down the present Wooden Bridge in order to build one of Stone, instead thereof."
Meanwhile "a, new and most commodious" ferry boat was to be provided.
In 1531 a fishery called Huddesbut, held by one Hacheman who reappears below, is named in this parish: recently the property of Wallingford priory.
In 1887 Kitchen Meadow is located by the Riverside in the parish of Satwell; elsewhere this meadow is attributed to Brightwell parish, and stated to include Round eyot.
Haseley is another towpath meadow name occurring in Warborough parish about 1825.
I also note, without date, Pheasant eyot, and Lower and Upper Pedmore: the second named adjoining the bridge.
From a pamphlet among the Treacher Papers I learn that there was, about 1850,
"on a stone let into a building at Shillingford wharf this inscription:
'December 3, 1768: Up to this Stone the water run.'"

A height of about eight feet four inches above the ordinary water level is indicated.
A higher stone whose lower edge is ten feet above water level, is inscribed
'January 27, 1809: Up to this Stone the water run.'


My earliest note of this is its grant for life in 1378 to Roger Hurst, porter of Wallingford castle.
There are many similar later references.
One is about 1530, when Roger Hacheman, just mentioned, was appointed to the ferry and its boats at an annual rental of 33s.
in succession to Wm. Yong.
"A little House called le Ferry House beside 1e Ferry at Shellingforde in tenure of Roger Hacheman" is mentioned in 1545.
It may have been the predecessor of the present inn.
Baskervile in 1692 records at "Shillingfford ferry a great boat to waft over Carts Coaches horse & man."

Map Benson to Moulsford Railway Bridge


In 1396 John James, a considerable local landowner, and Christiana his wife, held the watermill in Bensington: even then doubtless an antiquity.
Bishop in 1585 describes the weir as belonging to Robert George, and kept by Robert Brodewater and Jacob Bishop.
Barge Path Furlong occurs as a Clapcot field name in 1683.
Griffiths in 1746 affords my earliest note of the flashlock as such.
It was partly carried away about 1783 ; and the mill reported as greatly decayed and of little use.
The pound was built in 1788; an interesting item of expenditure being 5s. each for one hundred and sixty willow and ash trees cleared away to make room for the horse towpath.
Some "Low Country men" were employed on the building of this particular lock: a unique instance, so far as I am aware.
Were they Dutchmen, who would perhaps be natural adepts at this kind of work?
The fact that they were paid 2s. 2d. per day, while the ordinary labourers received only 1s. 4d. - 1s. 9d., may seem evidence in favour of the conjecture.
Beer and gin for the men working in the water cost £6 16s. 6d. from June to September.
The total cost of the original lock was £1,100, and the tolls in November 1788 produced £30 11s. 6d. at 4d. per ton.
The rate was reduced to 2½d. in 1793.
Benjamin Ashby the miller had charge at first.
It seems strange to-day, though intelligible enough then, how the Commissioners so frequently delivered their works into the enemy's hand.
Joseph Ashby, perhaps son of Benjamin, succeeded to the charge about 1793, with 26s. monthly remuneration.
Of his regimé Mylne has a characteristic tale, illuminating old days afloat.
"Of course the lock was full, and there was no one to attend to it.
The Miller Ashby taking charge of it (at 28 Shillings per Month) was absent at a distant Market; and his man Hughes, who is deputy, was not to be found, but gone on a frivolous Domestick Errand.

{ I have not the woman Hughes her commentary upon Robert Mylne }
On making his appearance he shewed signs that no controul would have any effect even if the officers of the Navigation were present.
This very person did the same thing August 1801, and the Cill having blown up cost £130 to repair it."

In November 1810 the wage was raised to 9s. 6d. weekly; but no further keeper is named until Robert Green in October 1822, with 36s. monthly.
In November 1840 Rd. Jarrard, or Garratt, was in charge; his wage was raised the following August from 30s. to 42s. monthly.
At the Lord Mayor's view in 1846
"the only incident of regret was the loss of time at Benson Lock occasioned by both Towing Horses falling into the River, from which they were extricated with immense difficulty."
The weir owners this year are named as Green and Brown.
In March 1853 the wage was reduced from £44 8s. to £38 8s3. annually.
Next year Garratt was deprived of his monthly wage, stated at 42s.; and was granted the pleasure tolls and use of the house on condition of continuing his duties.
A Times correspondent in August 1865 says;
"Benson-lock house was deserted, and shut up; the handle hid away, and a great rent all down the upper gates, so that this lock detained us more than 40 minutes."
In October 1866, under the Conservancy, John Whiteman was keeper at 52s. monthly.
In September 1869 7s. 6d. was added to the wage, being deducted at Bell Weir.
The lock was rebuilt the following year.
In April 1887 Whiteman was dead; and Henry his son followed with 65s. monthly.
In February 1899 the railway bridge proposed near Day's lock was suggested to cross above Benson.
I discover a grant in 1314 to Ralph Restwold of a meadow enclosed by water called Sakenet, a weir and sluices adjacent in Clapcot, and leave to construct a watermill there at an annual rent of 10s.
Vessels were not to be hindered thereby "more than usual"
Mr. Field tells me that Restwold was probably connected with Clapcot mill, "of which traces are abundant close to Benson Lock"; also that a small meadow at the lock is still called Winch mead.
In 1379 "Blondeleswater" fishery is named in Clapcot.


A Weir is vaguely indicated by Mylne between Benson and Wallingford at the end of the eighteenth century.
Probably he meant only traces: a few old stumps dangerous to the barges, or what not.
They are extremely likely to be relics of the local milling activities of one Pollington.
Mr. Field writes me that, according to a survey of Wallingford in 1550:
"From Radulphus Pollington was received 20s. annual rent for a fulling mill and a meadow called the Queen's arbour, lying between the castle and the River."
Again I find, in 1574: "Rafe Pollington caused to be buylt one Locke or weare over the water of Thamys to force the water to goe to the newe erected fullinge mylles upon parcell of the fyshenge in the said water of Thamys of the late King Edwardes.
The said Rafe Pollington hath incroched and inlarged his said weare uppon the water of Thamies into the quenes mats stream."

He appears at "Wallingforde locke" in Bishop's lists of 1580-5 in my General History, page 180; the keeper being George Banckes.
The situation in 1574 was doubtless as roughly indicated in the sketch.
Pollington's new mill probably stood upon the diagonal channel (still represented by a dry hollow) across the Queen's Arbour; and the weir crossed the Thames just below the outfall of the channel: a matter of a few hundred yards above the bridge.
Mr. Field tells me that relics of a weir at the site indicated were quite recently traceable; he has himself seen fragments of piles.
The bulk of them were finally removed in September 1791:
"Clearing away formearly an Old Lock Drawd Operd [upward] of 60 piles."
It seems to have been a very troublesome job:
"Paid for Mending of the Chains Brock a Drawing of the piles" several amounts;
"Paid for the uce of some larg Balks for the Drawing of the Piles."

Wallingford 1574?


My earliest reference is in 1153, when, according to Gomme's introduction to the tale Reading Abbey, Stephen
"built a strong wooden tower at the foot of the bridge over the Thames" on the Crowmarsh side.
About 1220-1: Richard Morin, giving his body to be buried in the abbey of Reading, confirms to the monks a fishery between Mongewell and Wallingford Bridge.
Pontage was granted in 1344 for the long term of twelve years; it being stated that the structure threatened to become a ruin.
Leland describes it about 1530 as
"a large Thing of Stone over the Tamise".
Hedges, in his Wallingford, states that the lengths of this and of old London Bridge were very nearly equal: of the latter 900 and of the former 915 ft.;
also that each had nineteen arches, confirming Baskervile infra; and was built possibly by the same architect.
He adds that the navigation arch was so low and narrow that
"more barges were said to be sunk here than anywhere else on the River."
There was a stone building at the west end of the bridge called Mary Grace, probably the usual bridge chapel, beaten down by the parliamentary gunners during the siege in the Civil Wars.
The earliest allusion I find to toll is in 1576: for every barge or lighter Sixpence each passage.
During this year the Privy Council ordered certain justices to see every Michaelmas that the bridge was kept in repair; as tolls were collected for the purpose "and the bridge nothing repaired."
Later in 1576 the Council addressed Raphe Pollington; who amongst his other local activities seems to have been collector of the bridge tolls.
They understood that over £12 of collected dues were in his hands; and that he was refusing to surrender it to the bridge estate.
The sum might represent to-day [1920] the important figure of £150.
He was ordered either to pay over the money or to appear before the Council.
In 1633 it was complained by the Navy Authority charged with the supply of timber that no barge over 16 ft. 4in. wide could pass the bridge.
Wider vessels were built downstream, which could not pass upwards; while above bridge only ten existed fit for the carriage of timber, and narrow enough to pass through the navigation arch.
Church, in his Summer Days, says:
"In one of the plague years (1671) we hear of wardens being 'sett at the great bridge to keep out all Crowmarsh and Newnham people out of Wallingford.'"
In 1688, at the moment of the Revolution, the statement is made that Wallingford Bridge was the only one then left standing entire between Oxford and London: a circumstance not without its effect upon William's progress towards the metropolis.
It is a surprising assertion: the only other allusion I know of at this date to the condition of the Thames bridges being to the fortification of Maidenhead Bridge against him.
Were all the other eight bridges, then intermediate between the two cities, really down: Caversham, Sonning, Henley, Marlow, Windsor, Staines, Chertsey, and Kingston?

Baskervile states in 1692-3:
"Wallingford Bridge is 310 yards over & has 19 Arches":
both figures sufficiently near Hedges' statement just quoted. He proceeds:
"15 is a number cut on a stone of ye Bridge it was in the year 1692 when we saw this Bridge & some say it was built so many years before this date of ye Lord viz 1692."
(This bridge concludes Baskervile's survey of the River.)
Skermer's Wallingford refers to this mysterious "15"; which, he says,
"seems to have been cut at some time or other by workmen that repaired the bridge and heard of the tradition."
What the tradition was is not clear.
Baskervile was surely not led to understand that the original erection was at a date only fifteen years before 1692; on the other hand a date of B.C. 15, while possible, is quite incapable of proof.
The aspect of the original stone structure was doubtless very similar to that of New Bridge.
Some depositions of 1699 concern themselves almost entirely with the road tolls over the bridge.
One or two points, however, rewarded my examination of the document.
The inquiry was held at the George in Wallingford; John Whichelow being plaintiff and John Blackall defendant.
The bridge is declared to belong to the town corporation.
A grant of Henry III is referred to by which the inhabitants of Wallingford and generally of the Honour of Ewelme are exempted from tolls, customs and pontage in all England and Normandy
"by wind and by Land by Gale and by strand."
This grant is deposed to have been used successfully in resisting a toll on corn levied by the City of London.
A barge toll under the bridge is mentioned but not defined.
A toll of 2s.6d. was levied in 1746 on barges passing the bridge; and of 1s. between 1775 and 1793.
It became the subject of litigation in 1783 and 1842; the local corporation being successful in maintaining it on both occasions.
A roller was attached to the bridge to help barges through in May 1788; and a new one in February 1790.
The bridge was declared to be a great nuisance to the navigation in 1793; "the" arch needed widening and ribs taking out.
A similar complaint arose in December 1808.
Next year one of the openings is termed "the queen's arch".
Certain obstructions were subsequently removed; an application was now, however, before parliament to rebuild.
The Commissioners were assured that barge horses would be exempt from toll; and that "the" arch would be made "convenient and beneficial" to the navigation.
I describe below what happened to the bridge.
In April 1868 Reading traders were complaining of the still persistent shilling toll.
The Commissioners next year disclaimed responsibility for the charge: the income from which was stated at the time to be about £200 annually.
Ten years later the Conservancy published a similar disclaimer.
A Bargeowners' Register of 1812 names Bennet with three vessels; and Jones, Palmer, Benj. Readings and Nath. Readings with one each: at Wallingford.

The Rev. J. E. Field, M.A., vicar of Bensington, tells me that
"the winch just above Wallingford Bridge appears in an engraving circ. 1800."
He also sends me the following valuable notes:
"There is a tradition of a bridge having been erected here soon after the conquest of the district by the Saxons; but there is little doubt that the earliest stone bridge was that of which a large portion still remains; and that anything previous was of timber.
The oldest arches of the present bridge fully corroborate the opinion that Richard, King of the Romans, who held Wallingford from 1231 to 1271, was the founder of it."

I note earlier references above; but I know of no evidence whether the bridge preceding Richard's period was of stone or timber.
"Extensive repairs were made in 1530, when part of the priory church was bought by the bridgemen, and its stones used for this purpose.
During the siege of the castle in 1646 four of the arches were removed, wooden drawbridges being substituted; which remained till 1751.
In 1809 the three principal arches were so seriously damaged by a flood that it was necessary to rebuild them.
At the same time the bridge was widened on the north side by an addition of about seven feet along its entire length; leaving the rest of the old arches undisturbed.
The westernmost arch, which may be examined from the landing stage, is a good specimen of the thirteenth century, having its original deep ribs.
The arches entirely rebuilt in 1809 are the third, fourth and fifth.
The central one of these is the 'Queen's arch' { already alluded to }.
The second and sixth (the latter being the first ashore on the left bank) demand special notice.
Being next adjacent to the principal arches on either side, they are precisely those which would be likely to be taken out when drawbridges were substituted at the siege; and this proves to be the case: over the further of them there was formerly a stone tablet recording the restoration in 'brick and stone' in 1751.
The seventh arch is presumably of 1530; the eighth and ninth also: as many as nine fragments from the Norman priory may be counted in them.
The tenth is another example of what we presume to be the work of Richard; having its original vault with four massive ribs.
The eleventh is arched with brick: this may be taken as a third arch of 1751, replacing a drawbridge.
To 1530 belong the twelfth and thirteenth arches; though the former has been partly rebuilt.
The fourteenth is one of the fine ribbed arches of the thirteenth century.
The fifteenth is chiefly of brick, but partly of older work; the sixteenth is of similar character: we may conclude that it is the fourth arch replaced in 1751.
It is interesting thus to identify all the four arches for which drawbridges were substituted: the second and sixth, and the eleventh and sixteenth crossing each an outlying channel.
There are in addition three small culverts running beneath the road from the east; they may be supposed at least to represent the three remaining arches of the nineteen which the old bridge possessed.
But Letters Patent in 13 Elizabeth specify 'twenty stone arches'.
There is an additional arch at the Wallingford end: one of the original ribbed arches, but smaller than the others; and through it flowed the watercourse from beneath the east front of the castle which drove the castle mill, and which is now carried through a culvert beneath the landing stage.
This arch was built up on the north side when the bridge was widened in 1809."

It is to be remarked that Mr. Field reckons twenty arches; Baskervile and Lysons only nineteen.
I took Andrew Lang's advice and verified the reference to the above-named Patent Roll of 13 Elizabeth.
It is a grant of pontage to be levied on road and water traffic: the toll on barges being Sixpence each passage.
I discovered to my great interest that the expression translated "twenty stone arches" is, in the original Latin:
viginti columpnas lapideas, connoting surely the number of piers in the bridge.
Twenty piers would give nineteen arches.
The length of the bridge is stated as 900 ft.
Mr. Field agrees that this corrected reading fixes the number of arches at nineteen.

The prospectus mentioned at Oxford states that in one week of February 1849 one boat with fifty tons of merchandise reached Wallingford.
In June 1838 an "island below Wallingford" was ballasted away; at the time of building Chalmore lock.


Chalmore Hole: sometimes by corruption styled Chamber's Hole.
Chalmore is an ancient local place name; thus in a lease under Henry III: "one acre of land in Chalmore".
The lock was the higher of two obstructions formerly stationed in what is now the longest clear stretch of the upper River: the six and a half miles between Benson and Cleeve.
In 1787, when the horse towpath was laid down up to this point, an official ferry was established here.
Robert Child of Wallingford was the first ferryman, appointed in April 1788 at 3s. 6d. weekly: to collect a toll of twopence per horse.
The boat was "fixed" for duty on 3 May.
From the Treacher Papers I learn that in 1811 the towing here was attended with great difficulties.
"In the upward passage, the path is on the Berkshire side, as far as Chalmore Hole; the horses are then taken back a considerable distance, pass round the town, and over the Bridge to the Oxfordshire side, opposite where the Barge was left, a distance of nearly three miles."
As a remedy it was suggested to continue the towpath
"up and through Parker's Wharf, where a roller should be fixed to carry the upward barges as near Wallingford bridge as possible."
It does not appear why the usual procedure of wafting the horses across in the horse ferryboat could not be adopted.
Richard Jones was in charge of the ferry in October 1822; with 26s monthly.
In June 1829 Wm. Wilder succeeded "James" Jones, deceased.
In the following September a rood of land was to be purchased for a ferry house.
At some undefined period the boat was worked across on a chain.
The earliest suggestion of a lock was made at a parliamentary inquiry in 1793; but it was not until March 1838 that one was established, called a
"summer or low-water lock and weir".
The local committee, on visiting the works at this date, noticed a barge hung up for want of water between the lock and the bridge.
They ordered the water to be penned with the new tackle
"for the first time; and in 5 minutes the Barge was in motion; and in a quarter of an hour had reached the Wharf, and all hands were employed in unshipping her Cargo", to the great satisfaction of the officials.
A toll of twopence per ton was imposed as from 9 July: to be collected at Benson from downward and at Cleave from upward barges.
Stephen Wheeler was appointed as temporary "lock and weirkeeper and ferryman" with 12s. weekly; and as his contemplated house was in
"proximity to a favorite walk of the Inhabitants" it was to be constructed "in such a manner as to be in character with the neighbouring Buildings."
Judicet spectator! [ Let the beholder judge! ]
An undated note says:
"The works consist of a weir and two pair of gates similar to pound gates to pass boats when the weir is shut in."
In October 1839 John Garratt was in charge.
His wages were reduced from £39 annually to £36 in 1853; and in 1854 to £24; to his duties being added the collection of the upward tolls for Benson lock.
He was dead in June 1859, and John Whiteman had his office.
The Conservancy found the works in a very bad state in 1865; the fall was stated to be only "17 to 20 inches."
Next year T. J. Linteboy of Crowmarsh mills offered them his horse ferryboat for £25, his right to use it having expired under their Act.
Some doubt as to the true ownership of the ferry seems to lurk behind this incident.
In October 1866 John Whiteman junior is noted as keeper with 52s. monthly, his father having been transferred to Benson.
Next August it was ordered that no tolls were to be taken at high water times when the gates at both ends were open.
Whiteman resigned in November 1868 and Edward Morris followed.

Taunt in 1871 describes the lock as
"open in high water and does not fall above 18 in. at any time.
It is decided to remove it at an early date."

Some part of it seems to have been removed this year.
Morris was sent to Cookham in September 1873 ; and John W. May succeeded him here.
The inhabitants of Wallingford petitioned the Conservancy in December 1874, and again in the ensuing May, against the removal of the lock.
In the following September J. Surridge, May's successor, was transferred to Abingdon; and Charles Phillis was appointed here.
In the summer of 1876 there was again much local agitation in favour of retaining the lock.
Several doctors feared the effect upon the town of its removal; and the Conservancy felt inclined to repair the weir at a cost of £250, or even wholly to rebuild both lock and weir at a cost of £2,000.
In July 1881 the keeper was instructed
"not to demand toll while the lock is in its present condition".
Leslie wrote this year that
"the weir is a mere row of rimers and paddles straight across the stream, while the lock as often as not is wide open from end to end."
In September quite a crop of petitions against removal reached the Conservancy; the reduction of water at the town was much dreaded.
Sir John Hawkshaw condemned the station in April 1882.
In June tolls were suspended; and the lock was finally removed in 1883.
Krausse in 1889 says that long after the gates were removed it was
"a dangerous impediment to navigation.
The way in which tolls used to be exacted for passing the ruins of this lock, long after there ceased to be any fall, and indeed after the gates had been removed, caused considerable annoyance."

In November 1882 Phillis was transferred to Hambledon; and I. Sparks was appointed ferryman.
The bathing place was sanctioned in September 1884.
I get a curious note of "Crowmarsh weir" giving way in April 1892: was the weir left in positlon after the look was removed?
Sparks retired from the ferry in January 1895, and was succeeded by Chas. Upstone.
The lockhouse still stands about half a mile below the [ Wallingford ] bridge; and opposite it, on the left bank, two blocks of concrete survive, marking I think the two ends of the lock.
Lock and weir stood together on the open River as at Goring; the weir on the [left] bank and the lock on the [right]; so that the keeper had to cross the weir to reach the lock.
It is curious that the weir, although on the Berkshire side, is always called Crowmarsh; which is in Oxfordshire.
Bacon's 3-section Thames map, and the O.S. of 1876, confirm these positions.
Crowmarsh mill is in Domesday, among the possessions of Walter Gifard.
I do not know if it be the predecessor of "the two newe corne mylls" I find spoken of in 1583 as
"latelye erected upon the ryver of thames neere Wallingford."


Moulsford Flash Lock was the lower of the two obstructions that formerly broke the passage between Benson and Cleeve; though it was obsolete long before Chalmore Hole lock, the later of the two, was established.
There is some obscurity in the books as to its site; authorities differing by a whole mile.
Grifiiths in 1746 calls it Mousford and three miles below Wallingford, which would fix it at a most likely spot: that uncanny, haunted group of little islands immediately above the railway bridge: "the four arches " as they call it locally.
Carington Bowles's map of 1793, and other authorities, locate it a mile lower: at a mile, that is, above Cleeve, well below the Beetle and Wedge, and near the Springfield works.
Doubtless the higher is the true site; for during a discussion in 1787 upon the extension of the horse towpath to Moulsford it is stated:
"the Little Stoke Ferryman lives near the crossing at Checkenden [Moulsford] Lock, and may perhaps agree to take the horses over."
Now Little Stoke is a small cluster of houses near the islands and the railway bridge, "three miles below Wallingford"; and the ferryman, Wm. Brown, doubtless occupied one of them.
The obscurity therefore seems to be removed.
I will admit some personal anxiety that the problem be so decided; for exploring amongst these islands in the summer of 1910 I had the fortune to discover the sharpened tops of two sunken piles still looming in place under water in a narrow neck between the two westernmost aits.
I saw them again the following year.
In 1787 the Commissioners' surveyor recommended
"drawing the piles at Moulsford Lock".
The backstream also, on the Oxfordshire side, was to be opened for navigation: probably the present main channel.
In 179I Mylne found the old weir "obsolete and disused."
Next year a complaint arose of ground being washed away by the current through the "new cut".
In May 1794 fifty feet of the bank above the "new cut" was to be "campshotted"; and the whole bank was to be sloped the length of the cut and planted with willow setts.
(This poor word campsheathed is ill used in a variety of ways; "campshedded" is quite common.
I understand it to mean sheathing the "camp" { Fr. champ }, or field, to prevent it falling in.)
In June 1795 the works "at Littlestoke" could not "be proceeded on until the water is abated."
Work at the "old lock" and the "new cut" for a Mr. Read is noted in 1796.
In the City of London records for 1816 is mentioned
"an Eyet a little above Moulsford Ferry which interposes between the River and Towing Path."
This puts my discovery of the weir piles in the right position for the old channel between the islands; and seems to indicate that the new channel along the left bank was not universally used.
As late as 1865 a note occurs of the "very bad state" of this ancient survival; and only in July 1874 a claim was made upon the Conservancy for damage to a boat through striking on "a sunken pile at Moulsford"; without doubt a relic of the weir.
If my conjectural identification, in the General History, of Bishop's No. 22 in 1585 with this station be correct, his name Sowthmill might indicate the ancient presence of a mill here, on the [left] bank.
The styling of this old station Checkenden is open to an easy and interesting explanation, notwithstanding that the village of this name lies about four miles away eastward from the River.
The southern boundary of Checkenden parish, as distinct from the village, comes down to the River opposite the tail of the lowest island; being one of the numerous riparian parishes which are mere long strips lying end on to the Thames.
Mr. Belloc discusses the subject in his Historic Thames: a book which raised the literature of the River for the first time to a plane of nobility.
This stripwise plotting of parishes assured to each its own length of waterboard and waterway, for purposes of fishing and of shipment of materials and produce; its own access to the navigable highway within its own territory.

Moulsford Weir



[ Little Stoke Ferry (Ferry Lane, Papist Way slipway on [left] bank) is above Moulsford Railway Bridge ]

Little Stoke Ferry: One or two comments will be found under the preceding heading.
Within the memory of persons living about 1890, wagons laden with corn had been known to cross the Thames here in times of drought.

Map Moulsford to Basildon


[ The ferry between Moulsford (Beetle & Wedge) and South Stoke which now gives us the South Stoke slipway on the [right] bank. ]

On 20 January 1673,
"happen'd so great a Flood that a Boat was rowed over the Tops of the Moore Hedges down to the Vicarage Gate so that most part of the Housen and Barnes in this Towne were Drowned."


Bishop in 1580 and 1585 calls the flashlock the Earl of Derby's, kept by Wm. Roberts: doubtless the miller.
The poundlock was originally built in 1787, in oak timber with open sides, at a cost of £1,000; the first intention being to call it Streatley.
"Beer & Gin gave the Men working in the water and Pumping a Nights,"
from June to December, £19 9s.1d. for this lock and Goring, built simultaneously.
Our modern reformers were not yet on the stage!
The meadow in which it stands was known as the Winch Meadow.
The barge toll was at first fourpence per ton: reduced in 1793 to twopence halfpenny; it amounted in November 1788 to £18 1s. 2d., which represents a total tonnage of just under eleven hundred tons passing the lock in this month.
The history of this station is very closely involved with that of Goring; both being of old time frequently under the charge of the same man; owing doubtless to their propinquity, and to the single ownership of Cleeve and Goring mills.
Charles Pitman of Cleeve was appointed keeper in May 1789; I suppose as successor to the "Mr. Keene the Miller" I note under Goring.
He stayed till at least 1793.
John Pitman, miller, followed early in 1802 at 10s. 6d. weekly; John Yates in March 1831, in place of Robert Mills, deceased, who had held Goring also.
Wages were reduced by one half in March 1853, and the tolls suspended for a year, in an endeavour to combat the railway competition.
Thomas Costiff is noted as keeper of both stations in March 1854; he had charge also of Gatehampton ferry, with an inclusive weekly wage of 52s., reduced from 83s.
Mrs. Mills was granted compensation in April 1854 "for 2 Grates left by her in the Toll House £1."
Costiff resigned both stations in March 1862.
In January 1869, under the Conservancy, it was recommended that thenceforward the two locks should be under separate management.
The keeper, not named, but possibly Yates (unless the Goring names are to be reckoned in), was accordingly relieved of the latter station.
A. Garrett is named as the Cleeve keeper in April 1874; the lock being rebuilt this year.
In March 1880 Garrett (or Garrard) was discharged as incompetent, in spite of strong local intercession; and Turner succeeded him: the great imperturbable, unquestionable Turner of Boulter's; whither he was transferred in September 1881.
Moy was in charge in June 1885; previously at Boulter's.
In July 1888 a complaint reached the Conservancy that the mill water was being blocked, and the miller was cautioned to remove the obstruction.
John "May", an error for Moy, doubtless, was retired in ill health in January 1899, W. Butt from Marsh succeeding him.
J. Willey, a later keeper, received in 1910 and later the prize for the best kept garden in his district: Oxford to Caversham.
He always had an admirable display of flowers about those years.
As a Chief Petty Officer he was awarded in 1916 the Distinguished Service Medal in the great European war.
He was found drowned in the River in April 1919; having suffered, it is believed, from a temporary aberration of intellect.
About 1837 I note Eye and Spring meads as towpath meadow names near the lock.


In December 1538 John Stoner, serjeant-at-arms, was granted the house and site of the suppressed priory of Goring, with a weir called Goring, a windmill there, and the ferry over the Thames: all previously the property of the said priory.
In 1583 the miller's name was Wm. Robarts: doubtless the same man as mentioned in Bishop's lists at Cleeve at this period, quoted in my General History.
He names Wm. Whisler and Rd. Smyth as keepers of the flashlock at this date; and as in charge of Streatley weirs and mill also.
A mention of this station occurs in a queer thin little quarto of 1674, printed at the "Little old Baily", and entitled
Sad and Deplorable NEWS from OXFORDSHEIR & BARKSHEIR.
It is an account of an old time local tragedy; and forms a notable instance of the use of the word lock to denote what we call a weir.
It relates how "sixty Persons" were drowned by accident "in the Lock"; through
"the watermen's imprudently rowing too neer the shore of the Lock, they were by the force of the water drawn down the Lock ... where they were all turned into the Pool."
I will not omit that one of the rescued, an artist in the horrible, recounts that having opened his eyes under water he saw some of the drowning creatures "sprawling about like frogs" on the bottom.
The poundlock was built in 1787 at a cost of £1,100.
The labourers were to get 12s. per week of seven days during August, "being Harvest Month", working daily from five till seven: fourteen hours of it at less than 1½d. per hour.
The millers here and at Cleeve were fully alive to the necessity of keeping the control of the water in their own power.
When the keepers came to be appointed
"Richard Goddard Servant to Mr. James Dawson of Goring Mill," and Norcot, "Servt to Mr. Keene of Cleeve Mill,"
were recommended to the respective pounds;
"or ... rather", it is significantly added, "that Mr. Dawson be appointed as the Poundkeeper at Goring ... and Mr. Keene the Miller at Cleeve Mill at Cleeve."
The toll collection in November 1788 produced £18 13. 2d., the same amount as noted at Cleeve lock.
In 1791 Mylne prints one of his illuminating little histories.
"The millers of Goreing and Streatly Mills, having a Spurt of Business to do, were using all the Water as fast as possible, to the great Detriment of the Navigation, shutting down 2 Hours in the Night only.
A small Boat drawing 18 in. only, could not move off a Shoal at the tail of the Lock, and the Miller refused to give a Flash (altho' official keeper of the Pound lock) unless a Flash was first let off from Clieve above."

The original toll was 4d. per ton, reduced in 1793 to 2½d.
Thomas Child was keeper in 1793 until at least 1798.
I note in May 1793 the interesting Purchase of a padlock for the lock gates: a quite frequent precaution at other stations also.
In June 1813 the monthly wage was raised from 24s. to 36s.
In November 1818 Wm. Hilliard of Wallingford was appointed to take charge here and at Cleeve, at 15s. weekly; doubtless inclusive of both stations, as four years later Wm. (or Robert, as at Cleeve) Mills is named keeper of both at 36s. monthly for each place.
Allowing him a trifling increment.
the two scales work out to about the same annual total.
Pitman was the weir owner in 1821.
In December 1834 the ancient ferry was revived, from the head of Goring lock to the Berkshire bank, with a toll of 2d. per horse.
Streatley Bridge was not yet in existence.
In June 1841 the lock was closed for repair.
Mrs. Mills was keeper both here and at Cleeve in 1842.
A little later the Commissioners took over the management of the weir at an annual rental; J. Stone owned it in 1846.
Wages were reduced one half in March 1853; and the tolls at the lock were suspended for a year.
In February 1854 Thos. Costiff was put in charge here; but
"Mrs. Mills is not to be turned out of the House until the 1st April."
Costiff resigned both locks in March 1862; and Cornelius Saunders took his place.
In February 1867 Saunders was complained of by the Cleeve miller, and was succeeded by R. Garratt in June.
Next May a lockhouse was suggested,
"in order that the keeper may have no excuse for being absent from the lock."
E. Miles is named as keeper in July 1868; and was superseded by Wm. Williams before January 1869; when the station was separated in management from Cleeve.
In April 1869 the Conservancy issued an order against bathing in the pool after seven o'clock in the morning.
In May 1870 the keeper asked for the promised lockhouse; in July 1871 he was allowed £3 annually for rent.
In July 1879 the Conservancy ordered a house to be built.
In May 1890 "J." Williams was retired; and G. Yeates from Culham succeeded him.
Lovely old Goring mill has now declined upon the unhappy function of an electric charging station.
Streatley still maintains, I think, its more honourable fortune.
A note towards the close of last century says:
"When there was a ferry at Streatley persons have been known to ride from Goring to Streatley through the Thames; and on one occasion a person drove through in a one horse chaise."

Streatley Bridge 1912
Streatley Bridge 1912


Streatley Bridge: In the autumn of 1810 the Commissioners invited local subscriptions towards a carriage bridge.
Failing these, they decided upon a horse bridge.
Nothing however seems to have resulted till February 1837; when the erection was begun.
It is an excellent example of the old time timber bridge; and is, I think, the only important structure of the sort now surviving upon the River.
Plans for a new bridge were approved by the Conservancy in October 1912; but have not yet taken effect.
A bargeowner named Hilliar had one barge locally registered upon the Thames in 1812.
From the Treacher Papers I extract the following notes from the original toll board on the bridge:

For every horse mule or other beast drawing any coach stage-coach chariot landau barouche sociable hearse litter break curricle ... with four wheels ... drawn by more than one horse 3d.
For every dog drawing any cart truck or other such carriage 2d.
For every carriage moved or propelled by steam or by any other power other than animal power for each wheel 1s.

The bridge tollhouse was built concurrently with the bridge.
The whole length of the latter was estimated at about 755 ft.


Basildon Railway Bridge was first built in 1840.
Church in his Summer Days states that its construction,
"by altering the flow of the river, had spoilt the best gudgeon-swim in the neighbourhood."


Gatehampton (Basildon) Ferry: A state ment occurs in 3 Hen.IV that
"John de Shelford is lord of Gatehampton and Runford; and he and his ancestors from time immemorial had duas Lockas in the water of Thames: one at Gatehampton and the other at Runford."
The former is probably at Hart's Lock. see below;
the latter is perhaps identical with Runsford: a meadow name at the junction of Streatley and Moulsford parishes on the River.
The O.S. marks a Runsford Hole at the spot.
The name is as old at least as A.D. 891.
There were once two mills here upon the Basildon bank.
Andrews' map of 1777 shews Oost mill, and another, near the present railway bridge; Oost being the more westerly.
The latter was still standing in 1788; and possibly survived even as late as May 1840, when the towpath "near Ouse Mill" was being repaired.
A variant of the spelling is Oes.
An Ouse Mill House appears in Bartholomew's modern Thames map.
This mill is variously stated to have stood near The Grotto at Basildon.
Basildon towpath meadow names of Gasson, Great and Lock meads occur about 1842.
The Commissioners' improvements had arrived at this point by the summer of 1787; and a ferry was contemplated.
I get, however, no further history until the ordering of a ferry boat in August, and the appointment of Chas. Emmett as ferryman in September, 1810.
Jas. Hall occurs in charge in October 1822, with 24s. wages; doubtless monthly.
Thomas Costiff was ferryman in 1854; in addition to his work at Cleeve and Goring locks.
No further name occurs until John Sheppard under the Conservancy in October 1866, with £2 monthly: possibly son of Wm. Sheppard, the Mapledurham lockkeeper in 1828.
John retired injured in February 1875; in September Williams his successor (possibly identical with the Goring lockkeeper noted in 1869) was discharged in favour of Henry Belcher.
His "wooden hut" was in a very bad state; and was to be rebuilt at a cost of £25.
He was found drowned in February 1879; and G. Piggott had his place.
Leslie says that Levi Collins, at Aston ferry in 1879, had previously been ferryman here; but the official records afford no evidence of this statement.
In November of this year Mr. Sworder the landowner obtained compensation "for foot passengers put over by the Conservancy men"; and the Authority consequently ordered that the use of the ferry was to be confined to persons engaged in the navigation.
Several petitions ensued for the restoration of public user; but the petitioners were recommended to secure first the consent of both riparian landowners.
A similar agitation, with similar result, occurred in 1884.
Immediately afterwards the millionaire landowner of Basildon sought permission for himself and his household to use the ferry, to the continued exclusion of the general public; and was very properly refused.
Rebuilding of the ferryhouse was being arranged in May 1891; northwest of the old site.
Cooke has a view of apparently the original building, published in 1811.
C. Bossom had charge of the ferry after Piggott, who died in 1880.
The former was pensioned in August 1894; and was succeeded by T. Bossom, his son.
This son was dead just before March 1897; and the father died, perhaps from shock, in the following month.
T. Collier followed them at the ferry.


Hart's "Lock" stood against the little islands under the woods.
It is the eighth and as far as I know the only other station to which this excellent and prolific family attached its confusing name.
Bishop in 1580-5 states that it was then kept by Hugh Whysler, naming it Harts; as does John Taylor also in 1632.
Probably this weir, like Farmer's below Buscot, had long been disused when the modern locks began to be built.
Camden dismisses it as "a fish lock" in 1720.
Griffiths says that the passage was free 1746;
Mylne describes it in 1791 as
"free and open; adding "Was a Pen and Wear formerly; a Tumbling, Solid Wear; and two Sets of Bucks and Gates."
He writes again in 1802 of
"Hart's Old Wear; the ruins of it very inconvenient.
Perhaps they belong to Sir Francis Sykes",

who owned the woods, and might be induced to remove the remains of the weir.
Earlier references are, in 1793:
"a very great nuisance owing to the quantity of loose timber";
and in 1795;
"on account of the piles being drawn previously reported dangerous, if the proprietors of the fishery would put guard piles and repair the lock the Commissioners will not remove the lock."
Obstructive timbers were ordered away in November 1804 and December 1812.
During 1811 a report stated:
"Hart's Old Lock is gone to decay, and is without shutting tackle, but pens a small head of water above and causes a shallow below."
The various clearing orders were never drastically executed, for in the summer of 1910 the stream was blocked with barges when I passed, still drawing the teeth of this half-extinct monster.
It must have been a very substantial erection.
The old piles they had dredged up were long sharp spikes; and I clambered into the barge and photographed them as they lay.
The men said some still remained under water against the [right?] bank.
The cottages on this bank below the islands retain the name of Hart's House.

Piles from Hart's 'Lock' Goring
Piles from Hart's 'Lock' Goring, 1910


The flashlock is noted by Bishop in 1580-5 as belonging to Harry Knappes and kept by Nicolas Wilford.
John Taylor complained of its dangerous state in 1632.
In my General History I comment upon an inexplicable allusion to "turnpikes" here (a very common early name for modern locks) in 1681.
It is quite possible that the Oxford-Burcot examples had been copied at this station; although, if so, the utter silence of a whole succeeding century upon the point is unaccountable.
It was not till the summer of 1787 that the original poundlock of the modern series was installed, in oak timber with open sides.
The toll collection in November 1788 produced £18 10s.
Ireland published a note in 1792:
"The fall of water is so great on the opening of the lock, as to cause much delay in the progress of the navigation."
His allusion is of course to the flashlock, and was probably written some years earlier; although there are indications that bargemen, if allowed, continued to prefer to shoot the weirs in the ancient fashion.
Scattered protests occur against the compulsion to use the poundlocks.
Boydell has a similar note in 1794 concerning
"the falls of water pouring over, or bursting through, the floodgates of the [flash] lock."
This weir is indeed still a fine sight from the little ascent beside it; especially if Thames in yellow flood be mingling with the black waters of the tributary Pang.
When this lock was first contemplated three alternative channels for the cut were contemplated.
One was that actually used;
another would have pierced through into the millstream north of the present lock;
while the third would have conducted the traffic along the south side in front of Franklin's boathouse and the mouth of the Pang (a troublesome route in flood time), and by a cut over the site of the Swan into the main River again.
To buy up the inn at this date (1785) would have cost £600, and the embanking would have been expensive.
The plan was therefore discarded.
An eyesketch made to assist this discussion appears as the frontispiece to my General History. [ - and here it is from volume I - ]

Whitchurch Lock 17856
An Eye Sketch of the River Thames & (flash) Lock
between Whitchurch & Pangbourne
taken 21 April 1786 to determine the most proper place
to erect a Pound Lock.
Illustrating the contemporary method of ascending a weir.
By kind permission of the Thames conservancy

A payment was made in May 1787:
"for winching the Boat up the [flash] Lock 22s."
James Walters, or Waters, was appointed the first keeper this year, with 53. 6d. weekly.
The toll was fourpence per ton, payable on the upward passage, to include free return: lowered to 2½d. in 1793.
In February 1792 a pulley block was fixed:
"for Setten the Boats from the Bridge in to the pound Lock."
Walters was a cautious character.
He took some months to decide about accepting the position; and after determining to do so demanded the Commissioners' written authority to collect the tolls.
After their recent experience of a defaulter at Temple security was required from the lockkeepers; and Walters had to bind himself in £100, and find another surety for £50.
He died about 1796; and his widow succeeded him:
"she had chiefly conducted that Business in his Lifetime, and can conveniently conduct the same by her holding an Adjacent fferry."
Indeed I find "Widow Walters" named as poundkeeper as early as 1793.
Mylne complained in 1802 that
"this Pound-lock is of Oak and very badly and ignorantly framed."
In June 1813 the monthly wage was raised from 24s. to 36s.
Elizabeth "Waters" was appointed in November 1820 to keep the lock in place of her deceased mother.
In October 1822 Wm. Turner was in charge: a Turner is named as weir owner the previous year.
It was observed in March 1829 that the
"present pound keeper having lately removed from her house by the waterside to a house higher up in the street, the duty cannot be so well performed in taking care of the Pound, and in guaging the boats and collecting the tolls, notwithstanding Mr. Turner, her husband, attends daily at the pound for these purposes."
Evidently Turner had married Elizabeth.
The necessity for a lockhouse had become acute; and though the lock island was very liable to floods a residence was built upon it,
"to be raised a little."
On 27 May Francis Deane of Reading was elected keeper; the Turners being apparently dismissed.
In March 1831 the monthly wage was raised to 40s., and Deane was transferred to Marlow; John Sheppard being appointed to succeed him in April.
John was very probably related to Wm. Sheppard, at the lock below about this date; especially as in June 1834 he was forbidden to fish ; being admonished also to be more methodical in his monthly accounts and not to draw his sluices irregularly.
Henry Wyatt is named as keeper in 1842; in 1846 J. Pearman owned the weir.
Wm. Bromley became lockkeeper in October 1850; in March 1853 wages were reduced one half and tolls suspended Ior a year; both in an endeavour to meet the crushing and vicious competition of the railways.
Next year Bromley was deprived of the remaining half of his wages; but was granted the pleasure tolls, and free use of the lockhouse in partial compensation.
In May 1860 occurs a note of a pleasure steamer "to carry passengers to Pangbourne for four trips in the day."
She belonged to a Mr. Deacon; her port of origin is not stated, but the "four trips" point to Reading.
Her toll for passing the lock was 2s. each trip.
Under the Conservancy in October 1866 Edward T. Ashley is named as keeper, with 52s. monthly.
Ashley was doubtless connected with the Swan; and his comparatively high pay is an instance of the curious fact I comment on elsewhere: that wages often begin under the new Authority at a far higher rate than recorded under the Commissioners, in spite of the extreme economy that might have seemed necessary.
Between Ashley's appointment and the last appearance of Bromley in 1854 some unrecorded change of keepers must have occurred; for in September 1866 a Mrs. Grainger was seeking the Conservators' advice in respect of Ashley having ordered her out of the lockhouse.
She was informed that it was Ashley's duty to reside there.
In November, however, the latter was "asking to be retained as keeper" and disallowed, no reason being stated.
Wm. Ridge succeeded him.
In July 1871 both he and his son were drowned; and his brother Alfred was appointed in his place.
They were members of the ancient family at New Bridge.
Alfred died about October 1884, and was succeeded by A. A. Chambers.
In the early seventies the local people used to walk over the weir in order to avoid the bridge toll; and a prohibitory notice was erected.
The lock was rebuilt in 1876.
The right of way to it from Whitchurch village, about which there is some debate (though I myself have used it), seems first to have been blocked about May 1888.
The mill has for some years past been an electric generating station.

Map Whitchurch to Norcot Scours


Whitchurch or Pangbourne Bridge was originally of timber.
Powers for its erection were granted by Parliament in 1792 to "The Company of Proprietors of Whitchurch Bridge."
The rights in the ancient ferry which it superseded were to be purchased, on completion of the bridge, for £350.
And through its establishment the Commissioners anticipated being able to deepen the River at a shallow immediately above, which at low water times had been used as a ford and was very inconvenient to the navigation.
Barge horses were to pass over the bridge free of toll.
The timber bridge survived, according to Leslie, till at least 1881.
It was described in 1843 as
"a neat and light bridge of oak timber, erected in 1793, with a balustrade on each side."


My earliest note of the weir is in a trial in the King's Bench under Edward I (1272-1307),
"in connexion with the weir and the mill, where a man drew away from above the weir water for his own purposes, and the owner of Purley manor had to pay a fine of 200 marks, and to restore the water.
The weir has always been attached to the property of Mapledurham.
It had to be maintained by the owner of the property, and dates back certainly before Magna Carta, and no doubt it was put up for working the mill."

Pride's map of 1790 shews a little channel on the [left] bank between Hardwick island and the lock which may be a survival of this incident.
Bishop in 1580 says the weir is owned by Wm. Blunt and kept by Roberte Byrde.
In 1585 he names Michaell Blunt and Robert Blunt respectively.
John Taylor in 1632 notes "three faulty and untoward Weares" here.
The pound was first contemplated in the spring of 1776; the district above having petitioned the Commissioners for a share in the current improvements.
In spite of funds being already very short the works were inaugurated, and the lock was opened in the summer of 1777; passage over the "old lock" being stopped in July.
A toll of threepence per ton was levied on upward barges including return: for "the voyage" in fact, as the phrase went.
Downward barges not returning paid 1½d.
These rates obtained till at least 1789.
The lock being in the parish of Purley, as determined by the central line of the River, it was decided in 1786 to call it by this name; and the same rule was to apply to all locks not in the same parish as the adjoining ancient weir.
Local custom, however, proved too strong here, as elsewhere.
The old weir had been " Mapledurham lock"; and the same title would stand for the new engine in the eyes of the bargemen, who cared as little as Galileo about parochial correctitude.
The locks as a rule bear the name of the chief adjacent community; though a few pleasing exceptions persist: Caversham, Boulter's, Romney, Bell Weir and others.
The weir of Whitchurch lock is always called Pangbourne.

A "watch box" was ordered in 1798.
No keeper is named in the official records before Alex. Geddes this year, with 24s. monthly; possibly he had acted from the start.
In 1801 he asked for more money,
"offering to look after and do any small repairs immediately necessary to the Works here and to the next Pound below."
It was inquired if the Purley ferries could not be transferred to his charge; but they were considered to be too distant from the lock: a curious decision in view of the arrangement at Aston ferry about this time.
Geddes obtained an advance to 47s.; and a lockhouse was proposed for him, but no site was immediately available.
About this date a vessel called a Banbury Dick had sunk across the navigable channel near "Warwick's Eyot"; and it was to be raised and sold to defray expenses.
Possibly Hardwick eyot is meant, opposite Hardwick House a little above the weir: a charming little island provided with garden flowers, a rustic summerhouse and benches; which the owner of this beautiful old mansion so gracefully decorates for public enjoyment.
If this island be not meant, then perhaps some other connected with the Warwick family mentioned below, who held the Roebuck ferry, is intended.
Mylne mentioned the lock in 1802,
"with only a Centry Box to take care of it."
In November 1805 Geddes resigned his post, and his son James applied for it,"having made good the tolls".
In June 1816 James was dead; and his widow Cecily obtained the succession, a cottage being ordered for her.
She emerges again in October 1822, with 70s. monthly and the oversight of the Purley ferries.
In May 1828 she too resigned; and Wm. Sheppard was appointed the following month.
The lock was reported in October 1832 to be in a dangerous condition.
In 1849 a Metropolitan water company wished to lay their intake pipes near the lock.
A tollhouse was paid for this year.
Wages were reduced by half in March 1853; and the tolls suspended for a year.
In 1854 Sheppard's monthly wage was further decreased from 52s. to 24s., plus the pleasure tolls.
He was to look after the lock, and the Roebuck and Purley ferries.
By 1866 he had regained his 52s.

During a dispute about the statutory compensation for the weir in April 1868 Mr. C. Blount forbade Sheppard "to land on his property to obtain supplies."
This officer seems somehow to have made himself objectionable to Mr. Blount; and on this account received notice from the Conservators in June to transfer to Hambledon.
In September the order was rescinded, to the very articulate annoyance of Mr. Blount.
Sheppard retired, seventy-nine years old, and after fifty-four years' service at this lock, in April 1882.
One feels drawn to this Thames side veteran; but there seems to have been room in his character for various shades of opinion about him.
Thus Dean Church writes in his Summer Days;
"He was the most inveterate destroyer of fish that the Thames has ever known.
He rented the right of netting, and skinned the River relentlessly.
With his bag-nets and fluenets, and other diabolical contrivances of misplaced ingenuity, he cleared the River of everything that was much above the size of a sprat.
He would sometimes send as much as half-a-ton of fish to Leadenhall Market."

The appreciation contains some quite obvious exaggerations: behind the figure of the genial dean one descries the frown of an indignant Blount.
R. H. Carter succeeded to the lock in 1882; and held it till his death about June 1887, when he was followed by J. C. Timpson.
Timpson resigned in September in favour of John Collier; who was replaced in October by Walter Crowe.
The latter died on 11 June 1894; and F. Newcombe from Godstow took his place, exchanging at his own request in May 1897 with Stephen Wootton, assistant at Richmond, and dropping 30s. monthly on the bargain.
The lock was rebuilt beside the old one, and greatly enlarged, in 1908.
I well remember the stream through the old lock when filling, due to the leaky condition of the lower gates.
J. J. Tame was keeping in 1914 and earlier; he has some plucky life-saving to his credit.


When Mapledurham lock had been built in 1777, and it became desirable to extend the horse towpath thither from Tilehurst, a piece of local prejudice intervened.
In June of this year a Mr. Worlidge claimed exemption, under the Act of 1770, from selling or letting land in Purley meadow for a towpath.
The Commissioners threatened that unless he yielded amicably they would acquire it over his head.
He was still obdurate in the summer of 1780.
"Inconvenient it is to take off the horses at Mr. Worlidge's f1e1d, and go thro' a Lane round his House.
It occasions a delay of half-an-hour, besides the additional Labour."

Worlidge now fell too ill to continue the debate.
The trouble persisted; and in 1794 the Commissioners established a double ferry to avoid towing past Purley farm; one boat being installed against the Roebuck and the other about a third of a mile higher, by the church.
Next year Benjamin Cottrell of Pangbourne, towing contractor from Kennet Month to Gatehampton, complained of
"the danger and delay of setting the Horses over at Two new Ferries established at or near Purley.
The danger being occasioned by the Rapidity of the Stream, and the time taken in passing he states to be half an hour more than by the former Towing path and passage round Purley house and church, by which the flashes in short water time are frequently lost."

There were several other complainants.
Mr. A. M. Storer had charge of the ferries in 1798, at a monthly fee of 32s.
In August 1799 Geo. Reynolds took charge at the same figure.
In August 1811, having misbehaved in some way, he was replaced by George Holdgate.
On 1 April 1820 "T." Holdgate resigned, and Geo. Warrick of Mapledurham came in his stead.
Cecily Geddes, of Mapledurham lock, was responsible for the ferries in 1822; as I have said.
After a long period of silence I find in 1854 Alfred Warwick, perhaps son of George, at the Roebuck ferry; and also under the Conservancy in October 1866, with £2 monthly.
In April 1869 he was reported insane, and was given a month's notice; C. G. Clutterbuck being appointed in his place.
Through local intervention Warwick was allowed some months of reprieve; but had definitely to resign in November; and was succeeded by Clutterbuck at both ferries.
Warwick was half owner of the Roebuck ferry house; the Conservancy bought his share for £7.
In February 1873 Clutterbuck was sent to Folly lock; and J. Collins took over the ferries.
In February 1876 the aforesaid cottage was condemned by the Berkshire Health Authority; and a new one was ordered at a cost of £50 ; but the old house was again complained of in July 1878.
Collins died in October 1895, at the age of 73; and was succeeded by his son Oliver.
The latter resigned in October 1900; and Rd. Jones took his place.
"John Bickerdyke" animadverts upon these ferries in his Thames Rights and Wrongs, respecting their strict reservation to navigation uses.
No doubt their refusal to casual pedestrians constitutes an occasional grievance; but this writer ignores the fact that these and a few other ferries were not in existence before the Commissioners instituted them under restrictive covenants with the riparian owners purely as a convenience to the barge traffic.
They are emphatically not immemorial links in a public highway.
Charley Meadow occurs about 1825 as a local place name.

Map St Mary's island to Sonning

CHAWSEY WEIR [ St Mary's Island ] WTSWG

Chawsey Weir is mentioned in both Bishop's lists of 1580 and 1585.
I have no other history.
It probably stood at the little islands just below Norcot Scours.


Caversham Bridge dates from at least very early in the thirteenth century.
My earliest note is in 1231, when the chapel of St.Anne
"on the bridge of Reading ultra Tamisiam, founded partly by the abbot of Reading and partly by William, Earl Marshall,"
is mentioned in the Close Rolls.
(Ultra seems a curious word; it is altered, in the index to this volume of the printed calendar, to supra; but the chapel was at the further end of the bridge from Reading, and ultra therefore seems topographically sound.)
In this same year an oak was granted from Windsor forest to build a boat for ferrying poor folk over Caversham water; and again in 1238 the canons of Nutley abbey at Caversham got several oaks for a ferryboat for pilgrims who desired to cross.
In 1366 the bridge chapel was valued at 100s., and was in the gift of Walter, Earl Marshal.
The ferry was granted in 1479 to James Hide.
About 1480 the people of Reading complained to Edward IV of the abbot's negligence in repairing
"a parte of Causham bridge with a chapel thereupon of the holy gost."
In June 1510 Rd. Smythe and Rd. Justice were appointed keepers of the manor including the ferry.
The former name occurs at Goring and the latter at Sutton Courtenay in Bishop's lists of 1580 and 1585.
Leland noted about 1530
"a great mayne Bridge of Tymbre over the Tamise, most apon fundation of Tymbre, and yn sum Places of Stone."
The chapel was on the right hand towards the north of the bridge,
"pilid in the Fundation for the Rage of the Streame of the Tamise."
On 17 September 1538 Dr. London promised to send the silver image of Our Lady from Caversham (not the bridge) chapel "by the first barge" to London.
In 1542 Francis Knollys,
"one of the Gentlemen Pensioners," was granted "the ferry and ferrybarge of Caversham, all the watermills within the manor (formerly two cornmills, but lately translated into two corn and two fulling mills), the mill barge, Caversham lock, and the weirs and waters from the said lock down to the mills."
There are some Civil War notes regarding the dismantlement and repair of the bridge.
"1642-3. For pulling up the bridge at Casom £1 9s. 7d."
It was doubtless on hearing of this that Charles I, from his "Court at Benson", sent on 3 November 1642 his order to the mayor of Reading that the bridge at "Causeham was to be made safe for the army to pass by eight o'clock next morning."
Possibly the order was disobeyed; at all events I find on 20 May 1644 an agreement being fixed with the carpenters for its "making up."
On 16 July it was "fitt for any carriages to pass over," and the provision of a drawbridge was offered; which brought on the 18th
a "warrant from major-general Browne and others for a sufficient drawbridge."
The whole structure had fallen into ruin in 1812; and Wm. Blandy saw to the repair of "that part in the county of Oxford"; and successfully sued this county for the cost.
A life had been lost;
"and the life of every passenger was in danger."
A Treacher of Sonning was responsible for the work.
"Pedestrian," in his Tour of 1829, not published till 1834, describes it as
"of wood and brick, of singular construction, and quite out of the common way in which bridges are usually built."
A new bridge was being erected in the autumn of 1830: described in 1847 (by Thorne, as quoted by Sedgfreld) as:
"the Oxford half an old fashioned stone and brick structure; the Berkshire half a sort of makeshift wood and iron skeleton."

The present [1920] iron bridge was thrown across in 1869, divided almost in the centre with an island upon which stands an inn: direct descendant, perhaps, of the former chapel.
In May 1912 it was decided to build two bridges; one to replace the existing crossing, the other apparently lower, to connect Reading with Lower Caversham.
The bucks 1½ m. above the bridge were removed in June 1900; and the backwater closed to traffic.
[ See Chawsey Weir - St Mary's Island - above ]
I have no notes about those immediately above the bridge, except that they are possibly the "Welbecks Weare" noted by John Taylor in 1632.
I believe these also were demolished about 1915.
Defoe's Tour says of Reading early in the eighteenth century:
"They send from hence to London, by barges, very great quantities of Malt and meal: the Two principal Articles of their Loadings.
Some of those Barges are so large, that I was told they bring a thousand, or Twelve hundred Quarters of Malt at a time: from an Hundred to an Hundred and Twenty Ton, dead weight."

In the archives of the Corporation of Reading is an agreement of 1751 between four Reading bargemasters and nearly forty mealmen of Reading, Caversham, Burghfreld, and Sonning.
A Charles Truss appears among the bargeowners: not impossibly the same man, or his father, as became some twenty years later Navigation clerk to the City of London.
The agreement was for three years.
The bargemasters undertook at all times. to provide a sufficiency of good vessels to carry the mealmen's produce to London, above bridge; to charge 8s. per load of wheatmeal or flour, 8s. per eighty bushels of pollard or a hundred bushels of "broad brann"; not to use hooks; and to bring back to Reading empty sacks free.
They were to load the other party's goods to the exclusion of all other freight, if necessary.
They were accustomed, apparently, themselves to provide sacks for Caversham, Burghfield, and Sonning.
Malt, if any, was to be conveyed for 84s. the hundred quarters.
(These rates may interestingly be compared with the figures on pp. 131, I32, and 154 of my General History.)
They submitted to a penalty of £50 in case of non-performance of the agreement.
On the part of the mealmen it was provided that they should restrict themselves to the agreed vessels, under a penalty of £10.
Rocque's survey of 1761 states that large quantities of malt, meal and timber were sent at that time from Reading to London in barges, which carried back coal, salt, tobacco, groceries and oil.
Deans and Freebody of Caversham had each one barge trading on the River in 1812.
Reading owners were Law, 3 barges ; Rd. Mills, 2 ; and Robt. Mills, Blandy, Williams, Bristowe, and Kinner, with one each.
The prospectus noted at Oxford states that sixteen barges with a total of 895 tons of merchandise reached Reading in one week of February 1849.


It was on "a certain island in the Thames-stream apud Radingas" that about 1157 Henry of Essex fought his unsuccessful duel with Robert de Montfort; wherein he was defeated as much by the lowering hostile apparition of St. Edmund as by the thunderous blows of his fleshly opponent.
The island is the first you reach below the bridge; and is, I believe, still known as de Montfort island.


[ I think the islands have been confused and this is Piper's Island reached from Caversham Bridge, well above de Montfort Island ]

Church, in his Summer Days, writes of Lyford's island below Caversham.
"Lyford," he says, " was good-tempered and obliging, but, I fear, a somewhat ill-conducted publican, who kept the inn by the bridge."


[This is the bridge mentioned by Fred as planned in 1912 - see caversham Bridge ]


The old lock, the mills and mill barge, the ferry and its boat, were all granted to Notley abbey about 1493.
Dysshemede and Hergyn Eiate are named in the deed.
The flashlock, according to Bishop, was kept in 1585 by Rd. Barton; and the weir "by one Salter".
The modern lock was first opened in 1778; the passage over the flashlock being stopped at the end of May.
Upward barges were to pay 2d. per ton; downward, not returning, 1d.
These rates held good till at least 1789.
Wm. Leach was the first collector, with 5s. weekly.
He had a small wooden house
"for to receive his money and put in his Tools for the necessary opening the pound."
James Leach is noted as keeper in 1797: perhaps identical with William, who reappears in the records next year; though in December 1806 Robert Deane, the weir owner, supersedes "Jas. Leach in arrear."
A lockhouse was ordered, but not built, in 1810; it was reordered in March 1814.
In June Philip Ward, a Reading shoemaker, was put in charge; his wages were in April 1817 raised from 24s. to 40s. monthly.
There was a laybye within the lock on its north side at this date.
J. W. Knollys in July 1819 sold the Commissioners sufficient land for a lockhouse, which apparently had not yet been erected.
Chas. Benwell was keeper in May 1846; J. W. Grave owning the weir.
In 1854 Benwell lost his monthly wage of 50s., owing to the railway competition; but kept the pleasure tolls and the lockhouse on condition of carrying on.
In October 1866, under the Conservancy, it was to be ascertained
"if Wm. Allen, the husband of the present keeper, will undertake the duties at £2 12s. monthly."
Apparently he declined: as in February 1868 F. Knight is named as keeper.
In July 1871 the Corporation of Reading obtained leave to build a swingbridge across the cut, just above the lock; but never did so.
The lock was rebuilt in 1875; and the breakwater below it was erected in March 1878.
Knight was drowned in July 1883; and was succeeded by his widow.
Anderson's excellent little Corporation Guide states that a steamboat passed by Reading for the first time in 1813.
This is a very early record.
In my General History I print a statement that
"no steamboat appeared westward of London Bridge before 1810; and even then none ventured for a long time above Richmond."
Local towpath names occurring in 1825 are Brigham and Frog or Marsh eyot.


I extract the following statement of the old time cost of navigating a barge of two hundred tons from London to Reading, and back, from a schedule in some papers found in 1919 in the County Hall, Oxford; connected with the preparation of the Act of 1770.
The word Locks should in all cases be understood as indicating the ancient sort: i.e., flashweirs.
The enormous cost of the journey will be better appreciated if the amount be doubled, or perhaps even trebled; to approximate to the present [1920] value of money.
Most of the names are mentioned elsewhere in these pages.
The curious may discover that the cast is one shilling in excess.

Expences of a BARGE of 200 Tons
from London to Reading.
From Brentford to Twickenham 25 Men150
From thence to Hampton-Court, Average eight Horses150
Through Bridge 1s. Carter's Aver 3/-040
Lord Dyset's 3d. per Horse; Kingston Eyot ditto.040
From Kingston to Hampton-Court Bridge 6d.040
From Ditto to Waybridge, IO Horses 10 Miles220
Three Horses round Stone's Gut070
At Weybridge Mead Gate 0 0 6
From Weybridge to Windsor, thirteen Horses twenty Miles 5 5 0
Carter 0 3 0
At Laleham two Gates, 2d. per Horse, has been 3d. 0 2 2
Mr. Windsor's 1d. hoof per horse at average 0 1 7
Staines 32 Men up Caps at 9d. about one Mile 1 4 0
Milson' Point 1s. Average at 9d. 0 0 9
At Old Windsor 2s. 6d. per Quarter per Barge, Average 0 1 0
Mr. Aldsworth's Bridge, 3s. per Qt. Average 0 1 2
At Romney 1/6d. per Quarter Average 0 0 7
Winch and Block at Windsor 1/- thro bridge 0 1 0
From Windsor to Sunning, 45 Men 30 miles 15 15 0
Bovney eight Horses to Water Oakley 0 12 0
Carter 0 2 0
At Hammerton Bank, 7 Horses to Boulters. 0 12 0
Carter 0 2 0
Boulter's Lock 0 11 6
Twelve Men to Hedsor, at 2/- 1 4 0
At Turner's Wharf Six Horses to Mr. Wildman's 0 8 6
Carter 0 1 6
At Spade Oak eight Horses to Marlow Bucks 0 4 0
Carter 0 1 6
Eight Men up Marlow Bucks, and Locks 0 4 0
Marlow Lock 0 11 6
Temple Lock 0 11 6
Mr. Clayton's Towing Path per Barge 0 1 0
New Lock 9/6d Winch 2s. 0 11 6
Hambledon Lock 10/- Winch 1/6d 0 11 6
Marsh Lock and Winch 10/- Joe's Bucks 1/6d 0 11 6
Cottrell's Lock 0 10 0
Sunning Lock 0 10 0
Forty-five Men, three nights, at 4d. per Night 2 5 0
Sunning up Blake's eighteen Men 0 18 0
Blake's Lock 1 4 0
Fulling Mill each Time 0 1 0
From Blake's to Reading Wharf 12 Men at 3d 0 3 0
Provisions for the Voyage up to Reading 10 0 0
Barges Lock Shutters and Water Fetchers and Lock Shutters Fees 2 0 0
TOTAL: 53 13 9
Three Men Voyage up and down at £3/10/- each 10 10 0
Two ditto at £3 each 6 0 0
Two ditto at £2/10/- each 5 0 0
Provisions for three days 1 11 6
TOTAL 76 15 3


A ferryboat was ordered for this crossing over the mouth of the Kennet, where now is a footbridge, in August 1810.
Next month Peter Breach, the Barley encroacher, of whom I write under the next heading, was installed as ferryman at 20s. monthly.
Fures custodiat fur! [ Set a thief to catch a thief! ]
He was to collect twopence per horse.
At the end of 1812 James White took over the ferry at 15s. weekly, to include also charge of Blake's lock on the Kennet, and of the "Withy Eyet."
The ferry was worked by a chain in 1823.
In June 1841 the wage was "raised" to 8s.; there was apparently at this time a separate ferryman with no other duties.
In July 1843 his house was reported as "a wretched hovel," and a new one was immediately built at a cost of £70: perhaps the same tiny cottage as still stands against Kennet mouth.
M. Sadler of Sonning lock told me the Breaches kept an inn in Reading within living memory; I fancy the Dreadnought just handy here, though he called it the Broken Brow as I understood him.
This seems to be an old place name close by, known of old, more intelligibly: as Brokenburgh.
[ The land beside the old Dreadnought is still known as Broken Brow ]
Wm. Johnson, keeper of Blake's lock on the Kennet, was given charge of the ferry in 1854, at a wage reduced from £4 2s. to £2 10s.
He was dismissed from the ferry in February 1859.
In October 1866, under the Conservancy, Widow "Brandsen" had the ferry at 10s. weekly: perhaps relict of the Brunsden mentioned at Sonning.
As Mrs. Brownsdon she was discharged in September 1869; and John Holmes succeeded in November.
"James" Holmes was dismissed in September 1874 for illegal fishing.
A keeper named Rockall is reported dead in March 1885; succeeded by R. Humphreys from Cookham upper ferry.
In February 1890 the Great Western Railway suggested a bridge over the Kennet mouth, to supersede the ferry.
In April H. Bright, Walter King, and W. L. Eustace followed as keepers in quick succession; and in October 1891 I find J. E. Russell in charge.
In February 1892 the towpath bridge was reported to be nearly complete; and the railway bought up the ferryhouse and other adjacent property belonging to the Conservancy.
There is an interesting little incident of 1404 taking the form of an agreement between the Abbey and the town relative to navigation from the Thames along the Kennet to the High Bridge in Reading.
The parties were the abbot and convent of the one part and the warden of the merchant guild and the commonalty of the other part.
Vessels were to have passage to and fro between sunrise and sunset along this "several water of the said abbot and convent" upon the condition that when they arrived at "Brokenburghlok" they should wait while they sent a man "to the place within the said abbey called Blankport covent Keychyn and Westhey at one of which places shall be found a person deputed by the abbot to open the said lock within two hours or less if possible."
The toll for passage of the lock was a penny each way, laden or empty.
For strangers' boats, twopence.
Crews "might make no play riott or noyse" to the annoyance of the convent.
There are interesting signs of erasure where the twopence is marked; though otherwise the membrane is in excellent condition.



Breach's Weir was a long lived and notorious nuisance to the navigation, situated at Earley Point; by the poplars I think at the little islands two miles below Caversham lock.
Perhaps Bishop's No. 13 in 1585 is identical; if so his is my earliest reference.
It certainly figures in John Taylor's survey of 1632.
Mr. Treacher tells me that the Breach family was "a very old one at Sonning.
Their headquarters [confirming Mr. Sadler above] were at the Dreadnought just 'below Kennet mouth."
Their name reappears in my Sonning matter below.
On a Lord Mayor's view in August 1775 Earley Point was noted as
"a troublesome and dangerous place; in High Water almost impossible to bring a Barge into the present Channel except she be thrown round and her stern go foremost."
I have not been able to figure to myself, on the spot, the performance of this manoeuvre.
In 1783 the "bucks standing below Barley Point in the occupation of Isaac Breach" were presented as a "notorious nuisance".
It was suggested that if they were removed to "Hardware Hill" they would be less troublesome; or the grievance might be remedied by pulling down part of the weir hedge and "ballasting the Little Island."
I have been unable to identify Hardware Hill; there is a Harden ait marked in the O.S. of 1876: a strip of the left bank above the islands.
The "hill" may have been a hump in the River bed causing a shallow; I first heard the term in connexion with one above Blackfriars Bridge.
In November 1788 it was found that Breach, far from mitigating the nuisance, had actually lengthened his weir hedge.
He attended the Commissioners' summons the following month; and was ordered to dismantle the extension "within ten days after the River becomes navigable."
He however maintained a masterly inactivity ; and in May 1794 "Early Bucks" were condemned to instant removal: John Rennie observed the process this very month.
In March 1804 Peter Breach was reported to have made "an encroachment below Caversham pound": whether an independent enterprise, or a fresh eruption of the original nuisance, I am not informed.
He was ordered to remove it; and as he had taken no action by the following March it was swept away at his expense.


Sonning Lock, Sonning Bridge, Buck Ait below Sonning, St Patrick's Stream, Shiplake Lock, River Loddon, Shiplake Railway Bridge, Wargrave Ferry, Lashbrook Ferry, Bolney Ferry, Hennerton Backwater, Marsh Lock, New Mills Marsh Lock, Solomon's Hatch, Henley, Henley Bridge, Hambleden Lock, Aston Ferry, Magpie Island below Hambleden, Medmenham Ferry, Hurley Cut Upper Footbridge, Hurley Lock, Hurley Cut Lower Footbridge, Temple Lock, Bisham, Marlow Bridge, Marlow Lock, Spade Oak Ferry, Bourne End Railway Bridge, Cookham Bridge, Topographical Notes Cookham to Maidenhead, Odney Weir, Cookham Lock, Hedsor Water, Hedsor Weir (Cookham), Cookham Ferry, Slowgrove Islands (Bavins Gulls), Bavins Gulls (Slowgrove Islands), Boulters Lock, Maidenhead Bridge, Guards Club Island, Maidenhead, Maidenhead Railway Bridge, Bray Weir, Bray Lock, Amerden Bank below Bray, M3 Bridge Bray, Monkey Island, Queen's Ait, Oakley Court, Surley Hall, Boveney Lock, Athens, South Hope, Clewer Stream, Cuckoo Weir, Elizabeth Bridge Windsor, Windsor Railway Bridge, Brocas Windsor, Windsor Bridge, Romney Lock, Eedles Romney, Black Potts Ait, Black Potts Railway Bridge, Victoria Bridge Datchet, Datchet Bridge, Albert Bridge Datchet, Nevilles Bridge Datchet, Old Windsor Weir (top of Ham Island), Old Windsor Lock, The Bells of Ousely, Paygates on the towpath, Magna Carta island, Bell Weir lock, London Stone Staines, Staines Bridge, Staines Railway Bridge, Windsor's Paygate Staines, Rushbed Hill, Truss's Island, Savory's Weir, Penton Hook Lock, Abbey River or Oxley Mill River outflow, Laleham Upper Paygate, Laleham Lower Paygate, Laleham, M3 Bridge Chertsey, Abbey River inflow, Chertsey Weir, Chertsey Lock, Chertsey Bridge, Domesday Bushes Chertsey, Shepperton Range, Dog Ait, Dockett Eddy, Pharaoh's Ait, Shepperton Lock, Weybridge Wharf, Wey Navigation, Cowey Stakes Walton, Halliford, Walton, Walton Bridge 1, Walton Bridge 2, Walton Bridge 3, Walton Bridge 4, Walton Bridge 5, Walton Bridge 6, Ballinger's Weir, Sunbury Lock, Abbs Court Paygate, Peggy's Ait, Platt's Ait, Garrick's Ait, Molesey Lock, Hampton, Hampton Court Bridge 1, Hampton Court Bridge 2, Hampton Court Bridge 3, Hampton Court Bridge 4, Seething Wells, Raven Ait, Hampton Wick Paygate, Kingston, Kingston Bridge 1, Kingston Bridge 2, Kingston Bridge 3, Cardinal Wolsey's Pipes, Kingston Aits, Kingston Railway Bridge, Stevens Aits, One Tree Kingston, Teddington Lock 1, Teddington Lock Theft, Teddington Lock 2, Eel Pie Island, Twickenham Ferry, Petersham Meadow, Glovers Island, Richmond Ferry, Richmond Bridge, Corporation Island Richmond, Richmond Railway Bridge, Twickenham Ferry, Twickenham Bridge 1993-, Richmond Lock, Railshead Ferry, River Crane, Isleworth, Brentford, Brentford Ait, Kew Ferry, Kew Bridge, Oliver's Island, Strand-on-the-green Railway Bridge, Postscript,

Map Sonning to Henley


Bishop in 1580 says the weir belonged to Michael Blunte; in 1585 to Richarde Blunte; the keepers were Robert ffrewen and John Wydmore at both dates.
In a Holme Park manorial dispute in 1584 mention is made of a "Weare plotte", stated in ancient records of the manor to have been sometime called "the Lockeheise".
John Taylor in 1632 complained that the sill of the flashweir was too high.
A set of depositions in 1721-2 concern themselves with the liability of the mill to pay tithe.
It was let jointly with the "lock bucks wares and fishery" and not apart.
It and its waterways are thus described:
"There are three water Wheeles & three Mills
besides one Mill which is used for Grinding of Course Stuff when one of the other Mills doth not go which belongs to Sonning Mills
but the said ffour mills do not nor can't go together.
There is but one entire Stream above the head of the Mills
but about ffour or ffive yeards above the Mills there is an Arrow head about ffour or ffive yards length in order to carry the water the sharper through the thoroughes of the Mills for the Service of Two of these Wheeles,
& from the said Arrow Head the Stream continues divided till it meets again below the Way and Eyotts leading to the Mills
which is about fforty or ffifty yards [variously half a furlong] below the Taile of the said Mill."

The charge of keeping the "----nes" (?engines) and floodgates in repair is stated at fully £60 annually.
One or two of the deponents' names are interesting.
Richard Breach of Sonning Eye, husbandman, aged 60, deposed that his father occupied an estate of his own in Eye "reputed worth about £40" annually, "but a hard bargain at that".
These men were undoubtedly connected with the Breaches I have just written about at Earley Point.
Elizabeth Trecher, again, was most probably an ancestress of the John Treacher called in, as I relate below, to hasten the building of the original poundlock here.
Sonning parish is described as being in both Berkshire and Oxfordshire: an instance of the extremely small number of parishes that extend to both sides of the Thames.
"Lords Peice" is alluded to as the name of a meadow on the Oxfordshire side close to the mill.
Finally there occurs a pertinent note on the freightage of grain.
"The price of carriage of a load of wheat from Reading or Henley to the Mills is worth above halfe a Crowne per Load."
It was usual for the miller to fetch the corn to the mill at his own expense.
Other witnesses deposed, variously that the charge was 2s. from Reading and from Henley 3s. 9d.; that the 2s. was by water and the 3s. 9d. by land; and that from Henley the charge was 5s. by land and 4s. by water.
The mill was rebuilt in 1797 at the cost, very exactly recorded, of £1,178 83 8s. 6¾d.; the owners being then the Misses Rich, and the miller one Robert Woodroffe.
The poundlock was the highest upstream of the first set of eight built under the Act of 1770.
Smith, who in 1771 contracted to build it, proved so very dilatory that the Commissioners ordered him to be discharged.
It was pointed out, however, that no time would thus be saved, as a new contractor would have to lay down fresh plant, while Smith had his already in position.
John Treacher of Sonning was therefore appointed as collaborator; and seems greatly to have expedited matters.
Many of the new stations were similarly delayed; the Commissioners, however, seem to my lay intelligence to have allowed absurdly insufficient time, only three months, for their completion.

Thomas Hall was the first keeper, at 5s. weekly.
Keepers were at this time instructed to give each bargeman, "cost-bearer" as he was then styled, a certificate stating on what tonnage he had paid toll: to be exhibited at the next lock, where the same toll was to be demanded.
The lock was ultimately opened in 1773, with a penny per ton toll.
For many years, Mr. Treacher tells me, there was not even a footboard by which the keeper might cross the lock while handling the gates.
It was usual, when a barge needed to pass, for the bargeman to sound a horn, as a signal for the opening of the gates.
One winter's morning the keeper's dead body was found in an upright position in the lock.
He had evidently slipped in, benumbed with cold.
I do not know if this incident is connected with the death of Thomas Hall in 1803: recorded below.
Mr. Treacher also tells me that the epithet "scuffle hunters" was applied anciently to the rough gangs of barge hauliers who were such a terror to the Riverside.
In 1773 a rate of 3s. per mile was reckoned fair "for horsing a barge of 100 tons" in this district.
The first "small wooden house", probably a mere shed, was provided for the keeper in 1774.
In the summer of 1776 one John Deane of Sonning was summoned before the Commission for so planting willows as to throw the current out of its ancient channel to the prejudice of the navigation.
He was ordered to grub them up within two months; but the complaint was revived in 1798.
In 1780 the look was reported as "going into general decay".
It was only seven years old; but these first specimens were wretchedly built of fir.
In March 1789 Hall reported that an overladen barge had, contrary to regulation, "forcibly passed through Sonning pound".
It is diflicult to imagine such an incident in modern times; say under Turner once of Boulter's, or Myhill of Hambledon and Penton Hook.
In September 1803 Hall was dead, and Daniel May of Sonning took his place.
He is recorded as owning a barge on the River in 1812.
A proper lockhouse was ordered in the winter of 1813, but immediately countermanded; as
"the establishment of the pound keeper as it is at present is the most advantageous for the Navigation."
May is noted as owning the weir in 1821 and 1846; very probably he was the miller.
In March 1822 Geo. Barnard was appointed keeper at £3 monthly and £1 in lieu of a house; finding a security of £200 usual at this period.
Some discrepancy is evident in a note of May still keeping in the following October.
In May 1825 John Cannon was appointed keeper and ferryman at 50s. monthly, with a further 10s. in lieu of a house.
In May 1827 a stoppage for repairs was ordered at the lock, as soon as the old flashlock was reported in working order.
This is an interesting instance of reversion to the old system at need.
The following month Cannon was reported dead, and Wm. Johnson took his place; on the understanding that Cannon's widow should reside in the lockhouse, now evidently in being, and receive the wages till Michaelmas.
In August 1835 John Stone is named as keeper.
James Sadler, beekeeper and poet, father of the present keeper Michael Sadler (1911), was appointed in December 1845.
The latter writes me that his father, a rather remarkable man, was born at Shiplake on 23 February 1815.
His father before him was parish clerk there for many years; and James acted in the same capacity at Sonning for 33 years.
He occupied his leisure in writing verses on various subjects: the River, and Bees; and in bee-keeping, being a well known apiarist and inventor of the Berkshire hive.
He died on 9 November in the same year in which he resigned the lock.
One of his sets of verses is on Sonning village.
So it begins:

Is there a Spot more lovely than the rest,
By art improved, by nature truly blest?
A noble river at its base is running,
It is a little village known as Sonning.

Another is entitled "The Thames from Oxford to Windsor"; and is little more than a rhymed catalogue of the locks, bridges and towns between these places.
His best piece of work is perhaps "Special Pleas for Honey Bees": a veritable Virgilian eclogue; though a thought monosyllabic.

They nothing care for vaulted dome,
But keep it cool and give them room.
Though to the south their house be made,
By all means keep it in the shade;
For when the weather cold becomes,
They cluster well beneath the combs;
But if they get intensely warm,
Nothing is left them but to swarm.
I think enough is said to show
Bees are the pets you ought to know.
They give you pleasure, bring you gain;
With but the smallest risk of pain.
Long has it proverbial been
That industry in bees is seen:
This lesson then for me and you:
Work while there is work to do.

In 1854 he was deprived of his monthly wage of 50s.; but was allowed the pleasure tolls and the use of the lockhouse, on condition of continuing his duties.
The lock was practically rebuilt during the latter part of 1868; and again in 1905.
The weirs also are of modern reconstruction, dating from 1898-9.
James Sadler resigned in March 1885, after nearly forty years' service; and was succeeded by his son Michael, called Thomas in the records.
Up to the end of 1911, when Thomas retired, father and son had completed 66 years' service on the River: a record, I fancy, for two lives.
E. E. Light, from Culham, succeeded.
He has taken many Conservancy first prizes for the floral beauty of his lock garden.
With reference to the John Treacher mentioned above, Mr. Llewellyn Treacher, whom I have to thank for much generous help and many intimate items of information, writes me:
"The history of the River under the Thames Commissioners was closely bound up with that of my own family.
In the latter part of the eighteenth century, among those interested in the navigation there were two parties:
one, the Canal party, favoured a system of canals in the valley;
the other, or River party, were in favour of improving the navigation of the running stream.
The professional mainstay of the River party appears to have been one John Treacher: a builder and contractor in, for the time, a large way of business at Sonning; his work ranging from building church towers to digging fishponds.
But his specialty seems to have been bridges and mills.
He therefore had a practical knowledge of the ways of running water which the Canal people lacked.
His first work for the Commissioners was in 1773, when he made the towing path at Sonning, now known as Thames Parade."

Amongst the Treacher Papers is an account book of this year containing the cost record of this work.
The first entry is on 27 March
"for levelling the ground the ballast men take up, & levelling the way between the lock and bridge: £2 8s."
Mr. Treacher continues:
"Shortly afterwards he was appointed surveyor of the upper districts of the River: and the building of the new poundlocks was carried out by him, or under his supervision.
Timber, etc., was prepared in his yard at Sonning; which continued to be the Commissioners' yard till [16 February] 1839.
when the workshops were removed to a site near Blake's lock [on the Kennet] at Reading.
In 1787 he was appointed general surveyor of the whole River.
Robert Mylne was simply what we should now call a consulting engineer.
John Treacher died in 1802, leaving two sons, the elder of whom, John, succeeded his father on the Thames; being connected in particular with Caversham and Wallingford bridges, and the locks in the Windsor district.
He died about 1835; and was succeeded by his son George, my grandfather; who held offlce till his death in 1863, just before the collapse of the concern.
Thus you will see that the family held tight to the Commission throughout its existence, notwithstanding internal commotions and outside abuse.
Financially it was disastrous to them; they had far better have stuck to the original building business, or have thrown up the River and accepted the offer of Brunel to join the railway people."

I am not aware how old the ferry may have been.
It was an instance of those ferries which coexist with a closely adjacent bridge.
My earliest note of it is in 1785; when John Pither had charge of it, working it on a rope.
In 1823 a chain had been substituted for the rope.
Next year a "New Windless and Rolers" were provided for it.
In May 1825 I note:
"Paid Men for Getting up Sunning Ferry Boat that was Sunk and for Beer &c. 9s."
Cannon at this date is the first man I find responsible ior both it and the lock.
By the following December the joint duties seem to have been found incompatible; and George Edwards was put to the ferry at £2 monthly, Cannon being reduced 10s.
A ferry house was built this month.
In June 1834 Brunsden, now the ferryman, was warned he would be no longer required when the new towpath was complete.
Down till a little later than August 1835 the towpath up to the bridge seems to have run along the [left] bank; and was now being changed over.
I presume this may mark the date of the discontinuance of the ferry.
About 1750 the business of a fisherman and boatbuilder was carried on by Thomas Corbet, late Allwright; but by 1785 the Bromley family had come into possession, Wm. Bromley being in this year rated at £4 for his boathouse and £22 for water and eyots.
The Treacher Papers note Old Barge Eyot below bridge in the mid nineteenth century.
The Commissioners were then paying a Bromley rent for their towpath running through it.
I do not think there is any island there now.


Robertson says, without adducing any evidence, that this bridge has an "older record than any other on the Thames": perhaps a negligible statement.
A "wooden old Saxon bridge" is mentioned here before 1125 in Mackenzie's Reading Abbey, and Gomme seems to support him in his introduction to the book; but the evidence is again missing.
Leland speaks of it about 1530 as "of Tymbre".
In 1594 an estimate was made of "£16 and 24 loads of timber" for repairing "Middle Bridge over the Thames".
On 19 March 1652 Lawrence Halsted was stopped by the Council of State from cutting trees in Windsor forest for repair of this bridge.
It was consequently reported in great decay in 1654.
In 1659, in an exchequer decree ordering various freeholders in the parish to pay their shares towards its upkeep, it is recited that
"time out of mind there hath been a great Common Bridge";
and that five years earlier it had been
"in great decay, totally ruinous".
From some depositions of 1658 I gather that Halsted was lord of the manor.
The bridge was spoken of as having been practically rebuilt in the second year of James I's reign.
It was closed for five days in October 1831 to wheeled traffic, being under considerable repair.
A curious consideration occurred to me after a walk from Taplow to Twyford through the Walthams in the spring of 1912.
I found from Cooper King's Berkshire that the road by which I had travelled
"marks approximately the line of the ancient road to the westward from Bray."
I had struck it I suppose about Shoppenhangers.
During my walk I had been very interested in the almost continuous line of large ponds and osier beds all the way from White Waltham to Ruscomb marching with my direction.
And the highly arresting consideration was this: Was there an ancient direct channel of the Thames from Sonning to Bray, accounting for this well defined string of villages, and for the once important track that connected them; the said channel having been fed by the very springs which now nourish all these ponds and osier beds?
Without doubt the River always ran in its long bend round by Henley and Marlow; but this does not preclude the possibility of this more direct channel.
Whether there are similar, completing indications of it between White Waltham and Bray and between Twyford and Sonning, I have not examined.
I discovered later that my speculation has occurred to other observers; the verdict of geologists, however, is that the Thames never took this direct course, but may possibly do so in the course of the centuries.



It seems quite possible that the bucks formerly here may have continued the succession of Haules Weare indicted by John Taylor in 1632.
In August 1776 Richard and Thomas Smith were promised £50 by the Commissioners as consideration for removing a fishery hedge across the backstream of Thames near Loddon mouth, and also certain bucks in the principal stream near the same place.
I consider this incident should be placed here and not at the present Loddon mouth just below Shiplake lock.
For there is persistent tradition that, before Shiplake weir was heightened and the lock built, penning the water above its previous level and so forcing it backward, the outfall called Patrick Stream was one of three infalls or mouths of the curiously lonely Loddon.
An early thirteenth century charter begins:
"Where the Lodene falls into the Thames under the park of Suninges";
which can I think refer solely to the Patrick Stream.
This tradition would explain and support the long contention that this stream is private, and not Thames, water.
An obstruction of the channel at Buck ait is shewn in the O.S. of 1876; and in October 1877 permission was granted by the Conservancy for the rehabilitation of "an old set of bucks off Borough Marsh".
This revival is referred to in parliamentary evidence in 1884, to the effect that the passage
"some years ago was perfectly clear, but now they have taken half the river with hurdles."
In February 1887 the Shiplake miller complained that "the Patrick Stream eel-bucks pen up the stream " and thus hindered his grinding.
The Holme Park landowner objected to their removal; it would reduce the rent of the fishery and injure the rod aits.
He was still hostile in July 1889.
In May 1892 the Conservancy, by arrangement, ordered their removal.
Many surviving posts and stones were dredged up in August 1910 : a few days before I went searching for them.
This protest by Holme Park, combined with the phrase from the ancient charter quoted above, seems to me absolutely to establish the tradition that the Patrick Stream was originally an arm of the Loddon, flowing into, and not as now out of, the Thames.
In October 1897 the Conservancy erected boards at each end of the stream, declaring it a public navigable water.
These were surreptitiously removed in May 1899; and a reward of £10 was offered for a clue to the offender.
I have seen them in position in recent years.
I noticed on revisiting the spot in 1919 that the angle formed by the stream with the River is characteristic of a tributary, and not of an outfall.


Pearman's Bolney refers to a mill at Lashbrook before Domesday, and identities it with Shiplake. [?]
Elizabeth, prioress of Goring, is said by a record of 1404 to have possessed a lock in the water of Thames,
"subtus Shiplake, of such height and width that all men with shouts and barges and kidels can pass thereby without danger as of old time."
(I refer elsewhere to this curious use of the word kidel: usually denoting a fixed hedge for fishery.)
Reid's Wargrave notes two mills called The Rey-mylles belonging to John Harpeden at his death in 1438; but the reference may be to Maidenhead.
The ordinary name of old time for this station was Cotterell's, or some variation thereof.
Bishop said in 1585 that it was kept by Rd. Cottrell, and belonged to the Crown.
Griffiths calls the weir "Cottrells lock" in 1746; it is "Cotterill's" in Bowen's map of 1775.
The poundlock was opened in 1773: the second in downstream order of the first set of eight.
The toll was 1d. per ton.
Such towpath as existed was transferred at the same time from the Berkshire to the Oxfordshire bank, above the lock.
An ancient footpath had, however, always existed on the [right] bank above Phillimore's island, dividing the River from some fish stews belonging to Shiplake House.
The marshy level and pools by the modern boathouse was doubtless their site.
In 1787 a turnbridge was ordered at the head of the lock,
"for the passage of Cattle from Shiplake Mill to the Millplot".
The lock had to be rebuilt this year, although only fourteen years old.
Special expedition was urged, as
"considerable quantities of Cheese lying at Oxford & Letchlade" might be sent to London by road if the navigation were not quickly restored.
No proposal occurs to utilise the old flashlock meanwhile, as happened elsewhere.
Ireland in 1790 describes
"Cotterell's Mill and Lock" as "a very picturesque scene, highly deserving observation."
Rennie in 1794 says
"one is a paper and the other a corn mill".

The earliest named, and perhaps the original, keeper was Geo. Bromwell, with 5s. weekly.
In June 1806 Wm. Small, who had been in charge since at least 1793, applied for a house to be built at the lock, his home being inconveniently distant.
A watchbox was ordered for him till a house could be built.
It was only after a valuing jury had met towards the end of 1807 that a site could be secured, at a cost of £22.
According to another authority the land was not valued and bought from the University of Oxford until July 1819.
Small died the previous March; and his son Thomas succeeded him with wages raised to £3 monthly,
"in consideration of his great attention to his duty".
The weir owner in 1821 was named Newell.
I get frequent allusions to Hoy's Point above Shiplake about this date.
In 1836 the tolls at the old lock, still named Cotterells, yielded on a four years' average £190 per annum.
The owner now was apparently a Mr. Andrews.
In April 1843 the Commissioners offered Dr. Phillimore, the owner, the interesting sum of £999 for the weir and its private tolls, including the flash tackle, "lock" house and boat; with liberty to dig chalk at all times for the upkeep of the weir from competition.
Small also was deprived of his wages, named as 50s. monthly; but was allowed the pleasure tolls, and use of the house, on condition of continuing his duties.
In 1866 he desired to resign, being seventy-six years old; but was not allowed, having recently been instructed to obtain assistance.
He refused to remain; and in February 1867 the Conservancy appointed John Reeves as his successor.
In May 1869 Reeves was sent to Iffley, and next month James Saunders came here; being transferred to Boulter's in October 1872.
The look was entirely rebuilt in 1874.
In March 1877 a keeper named Crampton was dismissed; and J. Thomas succeeded him: called E. Thomas later.
Leslie says he was "a man-o'-war's man." "Essex" [sic]
Thomas died about September 1881; and was followed by Joseph Constantine.
Him I well remember as a short, sturdy, grizzled man.
He retired in the winter of 1911-12, after thirty years' service; but was still about the spot in 1919.
The weir was ordered for rebuilding in 1885.
In Select Committee evidence in 1884 it was stated, as already mentioned, that the successive heightenings of this weir, and consequent raising of the water level above, caused Thames water to flow back along the Patrick Stream; which had previously been one of the mouths or inflows of Loddon.
The old weir stood hlgher Upstream than the present one; extending diagonally across from the danger post to the little promontory above on the [left] bank, where the tall trees stand and an iron capped pile.
Shiplake mill was in great part pulled down about 1907; being in a ruinous condition and no tenant obtainable.
The lock island was purchased by the Corporation of London in October 1889 for pleasure camping.



Dredge has an excellent View of the original timber crossing.
The present iron bridge was built towards the end of 1896.


My various notes on the local ferries here have not proved easy to allocate.
The ferry so named is, I gather, the one plying in front of The George and Dragon. WTSWG
My earliest discovery of a ferry known by this title is as recent as March 1884; when W. Stevens, the ferryman, was reported dead; and was succeeded in July by G. Couzens.
In November the latter, now called R. Couzins, was also dead; and was followed by Henry Bright; who was himself replaced by Hy. Tibble in January 1886.
Bright had retired in the previous September.
Tibble was transferred to Spade Oak in November 1886; and Hy. Bryant came to Wargrave ferry in January 1887.
It is called a private ferry in July; and was apparently not then working.
Shanks's Eyet is noted here in 1842; a neighbouring spot is called Shanks's Welling, or Well End, in 1848; and Wargrave wharf is named in 1847.


Lashbrook Ferry is called Lys Brk in Rocque's map of 1762; and later.
In 1775 much dissatisfaction arose from the interruption of the towpath by this and Bolney ferry within so short a distance of each other, for the sake of one house on the Oxfordshire bank.
Each occupied half an hour in working; and involved much danger at flood times, the horses sometimes slipping overboard.
This happened, I gather at Lashbrook, during a Lord Mayor's view this year.
"The Horse was near being lost on account of the soft Muddy Shore; after being in the River about Half-an-Hour they fastened the other Horses to him and pulled him out by the Head."
Sanders was ferryman in 1793.
"Spliceing the Ferry-1ines" here and at Beggar's Hole below is alluded to in March 1824.
Thos. Thorp was ferryman here and at Bolney below from December 1855 till August 1858, at 20s. monthly.
Mr. Treacher tells me that on Wargrave mill green is the
"spoil-bank of an old cut which in Saxon times carried a stream across the angle between the Loddon and the Thames some distance from their natural junction; thus giving the water a sharper fall than obtained in the River itself, and enabling it to turn a long forgotten mill.
The spoil-bank has been mistaken for a Roman road, and even for a defensive earthwork."


This was a rope ferry in 1775.
The usual name at this period was Beggar's Hole.
This curious title is said to be properly Beggars' Hall: a soubriquet for one of the traditional seven halls of Harpsden House, pulled down about the end of the eighteenth century.
George Jackson was in charge in 1793, and John Jackson in 1798; both with 26s. monthly.
The Hooneys of Marsh mill seem to have been responsible for both this and Lashbrook ferry for some time after 1813.
In August 1835 the ferryman's shed was to be repaired sufficiently to protect him from the weather.
In December 1838 a new house was being built.
In 1866 an unnamed man had charge for the Conservancy, at £2 monthly.
In April 1868 Mr. Rhodes of Hennerton asked that "the old house at Beggar's Hole Ferry" might be removed; it was a great eyesore, and had not been used for years.
He was told that for £2 he might purchase and remove it: an offer of which I think he must have taken advantage, as I know of no surviving relic.
I watched a curious spectacle here about 1905.
Idling alone in my boat against the [right] bank at the tail of Bolney backwater I was amused by a large rat leaping to and fro the length of my craft along the meadow side, like a miniature kangaroo.
I could not discover his motive; I tried to tempt him with morsels of biscuit; but nothing would lure him from his restless antics.
Church in his Summer Days recalls in the 'forties [1840s] a "massive oak stump at the upper end of the topmost" island at Bolney; and conjectures that it would not be possible, about 1880, "to find an oak on a Thames island": a very perilous opinion, I think.


Much acrimonious disputing has been connected with this long and romantic channel; it having been claimed down to quite recent years as a private water by the riparian landowner.
I am under the impression, not without some vague evidence, that there was once a mill very near the head of it, perhaps close to the cottages below the higher of its two bridges; but have sought in vain any relics or living memories of it.
If such a mill did indeed bestride it it would have constituted the channel no thoroughfare.
The curious obstructive framework still stands towards the lower end; but you will easily circumvent it.
Leslie says it was under water, and rather dangerous, in 1881.
Bishop mentions in 1580 and 1585
"Wargroves weare kept by Robte Ilande. In the parish of Wargrave."
I suggest that this weir may have stood in this backwater.


It was probably on this site that in 1404, as I relate in my General History, John Drayton was indicted for not properly maintaining, at Rotherfield Pypard, locks and winches in aid of the navigation.
This village is three miles inland in Oxfordshire; but the parish itself runs down to the Thames, marching with Harpsden.
Bishop in 1580 says the flashlock belonged to "ffrauncis Stoner", and was kept by "Rd. Heywoode a seller of water".
He notes two mills in 1585.
Griffiths in 1746 affords my earliest modern note of this uncomfortable station, printing it as "Mash", doubtless by a typographical error.
The pound-lock, opened in 1773, is the third in order downstream of the first eight built under the Act of 1770.
The first keeper was John Ward, paid 5s. weekly.
An interesting fact is that the Rev. Humphrey Gainsborough, brother of the painter and minister of the Henley Congregational church, was concerned in the original building of this lock.
He was a remarkable man, with a gift for engineering; and is said to have been friendly with James Watt.
He first went to Henley in 1748.
He superintended the making of the road over White Hill, and built the archway at Park Place; employing, says W. H. Summers, stones from the ruins of Reading abbey.
(This tradition about these stones is sometimes ridiculed; yet the blocks themselves seem their own evidence.)
He died in the Lion meadow in August 1776; according to Burn
"while conversing with some gentlemen about the locks which he had constructed, having about £70 of the money belonging to that useful work in his pocket."
Already in 1780 the lock, only seven years old, was reported
"decaying fast. The gates want to be new plank'd.
The Mill Stream & Waste Water setting against the Eyett below the Pound, cut it away in such a manner that a Row of Piles & Rails must be set up, as well to secure the Bank as to prevent Barges driving against it by the strong Current."

Nothing appreciable was done; and in the winter of 1786 the weir was
"broken down by the Ice & Water to the extent of 100 foot."
The lock was of necessity rebuilt in 1787 ; the Oxfordshire side being unsuccessfully recommended.
In 1792 Ward was dead; and Thos. Hooney, of the New Mills, took his place.
The pound toll in 1793 was a penny per ton.
Rennie reported in May 1794:
"There are two corn mills on the Berks side, and a corn and paper mill on the Oxford side.
In the middle is an old dashlock, or stanch, the property of Marshall Conway, in very bad repair.
There are also two sets of fishing bucks, one the Marshall's and the other Mr. Stevens's; with so many mills and fishing bucks uncontrouled, as they seem to be, one cannot wonder that the water in the pond above should often be worked very low."

In January 1801 a breach was discovered in the weir "near Joel's Bucks".
In 1803 I get a human note:
"Beer for repairs at Marsh: £4 19s. 6d "
One House owned a registered barge on the River here in 1812.
The first lockhouse was erected in 1813.

Hooney's accounts at this date were found to be full of errors; and the keepership was given, perhaps to let him down gently, to his youngest son Thomas; including control of the two ferries at Bolney.
Thomas died in March 1815; and the lock and ferries were made over into the charge of his son William: heir to the mill property.
In the following September William was found too frugally endeavouring personally to handle all three functions, to the serious detriment of the navigation.
He was accordingly instructed to get help at the ferries, and to confine his personal attention to the lock.
In June 1814 the City added another to the many complaints of
"the entrance to the Lock being extremely inconvenient and dangerous for Barges."
Wm. Hooney, like his grandfather before him, was in March 1819 found deficient in the matter of his accounts.
Thos. Moody of Black fryers Road; - Costbearer London, was therefore appointed in his place.
The flashlock dues, owing to Hooney's defection, had not been paid to Chas. Elsee,
"occupier of a certain Lock and certain Bucks on the River Thames at New Mills."
On 11 March 1819 he demanded £24 5s. 11d.; and although payment had become due only ten days earlier he threatened legal proceedings unless a settlement was made by the twenty-first.
The weir is noted as his property in 1821 and 1846.
Moody was still keeper in October 1822, with four guineas monthly, including responsibility for the two ferries.
I find a curious entry in the Treacher Papers in November:
"Paid the Constable of Remnan for taken a Bargeman to Reading Goal for Breaking open a Pound 10s."
Robert was, apparently, not so stonyhearted about tips a century ago as convention supposes him to-day.
Marsh is the only lock in Remenham parish.
In November 1833 Moody also was in arrear with his accounts; and promised reformation, after a reprimand.
Next May, however, one of his sureties announced that he would no longer be answerable for him; and in August Wm. Wyatt of Sonning was elected to succeed him.
Wyatt in November 1833 was transferred to Iffley, where I present his subsequent history.
I find him, however, mentioned as in charge at Marsh in 1842; a statement I cannot explain.
In the summer of 1843 the lock was in very bad condition, and was thought to be on the wrong side of the River.
Navigation into it was very difficult, and in high water dangerous.
Plans were drawn up, but never executed, for its removal to the left[?] bank.
Even now it is a troublesome place to hold up at, at either end.
The long, lower footbridge was built about this time.
In April 1848 Joseph Coster was appointed keeper: a household name at Marlow and elsewhere on the Thames.
In March 1853, owing to the new and distressing railway competition, wages had to be reduced from £87 annually to £61 16s3.
In March 1854 Wm. Wyatt was again keeper here; and toll receiver for Shiplake, Sonning, and for the upward tolls to Caversham.
He also had charge of both ferries: the whole for a monthly wage reduced from £5 3s. to £3 10s.

Ravenstein paid his customable Sixpence in 1861.
Widow Wyatt was keeping when the Conservancy was installed in 1866.
In April 1867 the flooded state of the country above Henley, when the mills stopped work on Saturdays, was complained of; and the keeper was to be examined about her management of the weirs.
A further note of dissatisfaction, in October 1868, with a Mrs. Lowe's performance of her duties at the weir encourages the supposition that Widow Wyatt had remarried.
Her husband was however not permitted to enjoy for long his probable sinecure, as his wife was discharged owing to this new trouble; and in December Wm. Headland took her place.
He went to Romney in March 1873, being succeeded here by S. Clissold.
A boatslide was ordered in July 1877, but never built.
A new weir, first ordered in May 1879, caused much indignation when realised; as will appear.
What became of Clissold I do not know; in September 1882 W. Bryant resigned the charge; and W. D. Bishop succeeded.
The lock was rebuilt in timber, after another frustrated attempt to remove it across the River; and was reopened in September 1886.
Bishop died in March 1889 ; and W. Butt took his place.
The winch of former days stood on the Oxfordshire bank: I find a note in 1890 of
"Marsh Winch Ditch, which parts the parishes of Peppard and Harpsden."
John Bickerdyke, in his Thames Rights and Wrongs of 1895, expands with indignation Armstrong's complaint of 1886 that through rebuilding the weir had lost much of its ancient charm.
"A few years ago a picturesque old weir pool celebrated for its excellent fishing.
It was more or less an embankment in the shape of a horseshoe, with openings for the water to rush through.
A restful thing for the eye, lying between two particularly ugly mills.
This weir answered its purpose very well.
The Conservators however threw a series of immense iron watergates across from mill to mill, and levelled the old weir.
It pleased and brought grist to the millers, because in the summer a better head of water could be maintained than with the old weir.
which was a little leaky.
It immensely benefited the owners of property upstream, because they were less subjected to floods than formerly.
But neither they nor the millers contributed anything towards the expense of making it.
The old inhabitants say there was formerly a way across the river at this spot; along a horsebridge, then over the lock, and on to the road through from the mill yard.
But when these alterations were carried out this road was stopped."

Butt was transferred to Cleeve in January 1899; and Jas. Basson was brought hither from Northmoor.
H. J. Tame was keeping in 1915 and previous years; Basson having been transferred to Chertsey in 1902.
It was decided in a law suit in July 1899 that the "Warborough millstream", running behind the lockhouse to the mill, is a private water.
It appears to have been established that from at least 1865 the miller had enjoyed the millstream below where a chain had been fixed across.


As will have been gathered there was, down to nearly the end of the nineteenth century, a mill on each side of the River at Marsh lock.
My earliest reference to New mills, the Oxfordshire structure, is in Bishop's list of 1585, in his mention of two mills at this spot.
It next appears in Overton's map of 1715.
I fancy that the title New is occasionally used, by confusion, for either mill indiscriminately.
In September 1823 I find a reference to
"putting up new bridges over Mr. House's millstream".
This may relate to the present long footbridge.
A swingbridge was being repaired in February 1825.
The mill was in June 1870 offered for sale to the Conservancy, "for the improvement of the River".
They did not buy;
and desiring to do so in September 1879 were refused.
In July 1883 a new poundlock was decided upon on the Oxfordshire side behind this mill, in place of the present side; but nothing was done.
In December the mill owner, Mr. J. T. Wells, offered to sell for £8,000;
no business resulted.
In April 1884 so many difliculties had accumulated in the way of rebuilding the lock on this side that the scheme was discarded.
The mill was still working in November 1893; I have no date for its removal.
Suburban bungalows now cover its site.


The swimming enclosure here was sanctioned to be fenced round in February 1871.

Map Henley to Hurley


Cooke's Thames of 1811 has a curious story that this bridge is supposed to be the one
"over which, according to Dion Cassius, the Romans crossed in pursuit of the British, who swam across a lower part of the River."
Otherwise my earliest note of it is in 1232, in the Patent Rolls; according to which the keeper was to get his maeremium, building timber, toll free along the roads from Windsor forest.
Burn states that there were buildings upon this bridge.
He notes that in 1354 one of two granaries leased stood upon it, with a
solarium desuper in arcum ejusdem pontis [ a sun dial over an arch of that bridge ]
In 1385 the chaplain of the chapel of S. Katharine in Henley church was charged with the repair of the bridge.
The latter was noted by Leland about 1530 as
"all of Tymbre, as moste Parte of the Bridgs be ther about.
It was of Stone, as the Foundation shewithe at a low Water."

The conclusion is not inevitable; the note of 1232 quoted above might seem hostile; and bridges were quite commonly constructed of timber upon stone piers; cf. Shillingford and others.
I discuss at some length in my General History Professor Thorold Rogers's very debateable contention that Henley was, up to the middle of the sixteenth century, the ultimate terminus of up-River barge traffic.
In January 1586 the Privy Council wrote Lord Norris to release certain barges
"which his Lordshippe hathe staied at Hendley Bridge, laden with corne."
There was a famine of grain at this date; and Norris was doubtless indignant, like Cobbett centuries later, at the spectacle of such plenty going away to feed the dwellers in the Wen.
The Council authorised him,
"if there be any present want in the countrie, to take ratably out of everie barge so much as will reasonably serve."

Burn also states that in 1587 a lease was granted of a house
"lately built upon the bridge"; and that "the Waldenses are said to have had a chapel either upon or close to it."
It is spoken of as a timber bridge in Cosmo III's Travels in 1669.
The Corporation records state:
"1678 Jan. 26. The Bridgemen received the profit of 21 lbs. of farthings and 44 of half pence (£46) which was laid out in repairing the bridge."
Griffiths says that there was no barge toll in 1746.
An iron roller was at one time affixed to save the bargelines from chafing against the bridge.
Bowen says on his Map of 1775:
"The Inhabitants of Henley are chiefly Malsters, Mealmen and Bargemen, who inrich themselves by carrying Corn, Meal & Wood to London."
A similar note, respecting malt, occurs in 1682.
This bridge was carried away in the great flood of 1774, of which many records are noted in these pages up and down the River.
The Act for another, the present, bridge was passed in 1781; and the new structure was opened in 1786.
Cooke says 1787; and that the architect, one Hayward of Shropshire, died before the work was begun; that he has a monument in the church; and that the Act prohibited ferries within a mile and a half of the bridge.
With regard to the carvings on the bridge representing the heads of Isis and Tamesis, Walpole says in 1785 that Mrs. Damer at first only modelled the masks, desiring to leave the actual sculpture to other hands; and that he persuaded her to complete the work herself.
"The keystones of a county bridge carved by a young lady is an unparalleled curiosity," said he.
General Conway
"regulated the bend of the arch";
and Walpole delightedly exclaims that the new bridge is
"the most beautiful in the world, next to the Ponte di Trinità" at Florence.

Traces of the old stone piers were said to be visible at low water as late as 1843.
According to a register of 1812 in the Treacher Papers the local bargemasters at this date and the numbers of their vessels were:
The Henley Navigation Company, 2; Kinner, 2; Wigginton, Jackson, and Rathbone 1 each.
The prospectus in the same collection, noted at Oxford, states that four barges with a total of 250 tons of merchandise reached Henley in one week of February 1849.
These papers contain also several pamphlets of about 1850 advocating a water supply for London from this district.
The water was to be
"carried by an aqueduct, covered where necessary, and not navigable, to a reservoir near Twyford Abbey, thence to another on Primrose Hill; from which point it was to be distributed to all parts of London."
In June 1869 WTSWG the Conservators
"prohibited any Steamer, except the umpire's WTSWG, from plying between the bridge and the island below Fawley Court WTSWG between one and eight pm." during the regatta WTSWG: noticeably "on June 16 and 17 ": two or three weeks earlier than the present date of the function.
Church in his Summer Days states that the Lombardy poplars below Henley,
"were the first trees of their kind planted in England.
Marshal Conway is said to have brought them over"
about the middle of the eighteenth century.
He says also that at the regattas the Commissioners closed both Marsh and Hambledon locks, "that no barge might get through."


[ I keep the modern spelling "Hambleden" but Fred throughout uses "Hambledon" ]

Hambledon or Mill End is the fourth in downstream order of the first eight eighteenth century locks: opened in 1773.
The mill is in Domesday; and by implication therefore the weir also.
An extent of the manor taken in 1338 mentions the weir, coupled with a tractus navium [ "boat hauler" ] upon the Thames: doubtless a winch; worth then 6s. 8d. yearly, equivalent to-day perhaps to about £7.
In 1376 "Hamelden " weir, held by Richard le Scrope, was specially signalised in a petition against the heightening and enlarging of weirs; see more in my General History.
A partly illegible coroner's inquest under Richard II (1377-1399) deals with the deaths here of John Wyllus and Robert Asshele.
With many others they were hauling a vessel up the weir with two cables, and were killed through the lines parting and striking them so violently that their heads were broken.
Membranes intimately illuminating one's subject are frequently illegible at the more piquant passages; in this one I can only just decipher references:
(a) to a "landwynch";
(b) to 20s., possibly as the current value of the broken cables;
and (c) to other weirs: "hurst," "Wergne," and "hurle."
In 1580-5 Bishop notes the weir as still in the Scrope family, and kept by Thos. Butler.
I get no further history till Griffiths' allusion in 1746.
Wm. Hall was appointed in 1773 as first keeper of the lock, with 5s. weekly.
He may have been related to Thos. Hall, first keeper at Sonning.
A "small wooden house " was provided for him in 1774.
The toll was 1d. per ton till at least 1789.
Early in 1773 Wm. Ward was accused of fraudulently opening the lock and passing his barge through without paying toll.
A small brick house was built in 1777.
Caleb Gould came as keeper this year; and lies buried in Remenham churchyard opposite the south door of the church.
His epitaph, chosen perhaps by himself, is Gay's:

This world's a jest, And all things show it;
I thought so once, But now I know it.

Caleb Gould's Gravestone, Hambleden

He died at the great age of 92, on 30 May 1836.
He had inscribed something more human and pious over his wife Sarah, who died nearly a quarter of a century before him:

Lo! where this silent stone now weeps
A Friend & Wife & Mother sleeps
A heart within whose sacred cell
The peaceful Virtues loved to dwell
Affection warm & faith sincere
And soft humanity were there.

They lie together in that peaceful seclusion beside the Thames; visit them when next you toil up that somewhat banal reach to Henley.
My photograph is of the poorest; the tomb is ill placed for the purpose, yet it may serve.
Leslie in his book of 1881 gives some pleasant details of old Caleb.
He had a large oven behind his cottage, and used to sell bread to bargemen and others.
He wore a long coat with many buttons; and ate a dish of onion porridge every night for his supper.
He walked daily into Hambledon, where he would make a large cross on the ground to shew how far he had been: they were called Caleb's crosses.
Leslie states that on a brick at the cottage side there is cut
C † G and J G for the son.
1777      1826
The oven in 1881 had been "lately pulled down".
In Particulars of sale of the mill property in 1803 the weir is referred to as an
"extremely productive lock", enhancing the value of the estate.
It was still reaping its unearned increment of toll, though the navigation had long ceased to use it.
It had been "permanently extended with materials of a superior quality".
In 1812 Lockey of Mill End owned a registered barge on the River.
The City complained in 1814 of the dilapidated condition of the lock; the upper gates had to be opened with tackle on account of the leaky state of the lower gates.
In 1821 the flashlock belonged to "Sir Wm. Clayton or Mr. Baker."
Joseph Gould, son of Caleb, was appointed lockkeeper in October 1822, with £2 monthly; remaining till at least 1855.
In February 1824 the winch, still in place but probably entirely disused, was confirmed in 1s. each for 100 ton barges, and 6d. for smaller craft.
When it was bought up in 1867 by the Conservators for £500 it was stated that
"the tolls had always been paid to the private owner, oi about £10 annually".

In the summer of 1825 a new barge channel was being excavated below the lock: doubtless the present one.
I gather the navigation formerly led along the [right] bank approaching the weir, towing from the [left] bank, so that the line swept the island; a not infrequent circumstance.
The City shallop shot the weir at this date; the lock being under extensive repair.
In 1841 the "new channel at Hambledon Hill" had to be ballasted.
The weir owner in 1846 was Mr. C. S. Murray.
In 1849 it was proposed to remove this lock and to build one at Medmenham, in order to adapt the water level for a projected canal and water supply for London.
In 1854 Joseph Gould, after thirty-two years' service, was deprived of his monthly wage of 50s.; and was allowed the pleasure tolls and free use of the lockhouse, on condition of continuing his duties.
At the end of the following year he received £10 compensation for property left by him in the house; perhaps it helped to pay his passage to New Zealand.
The lock was in 1865 in imminent danger of collapse.
A Times correspondent wrote in August:
"Hambledon lock was being repaired, and no boats or barges would be able to pass thro' for a week at least; here we had in the rain to drag our boat thro' the wet grass to the lower end of the lock, getting wet through."
No keeper is named after Gould's departure until Widow Sarah Strainge at 52s. monthly under the Conservancy in 1866.
In November she received notice from the adjacent landowner to quit her house, but was protected by the Conservancy the actual owners.
In January 1867 rent was demanded for the winch, and the owner was required to remove it as no longer of use.
The widow was instructed not to take any tolls for it.
Leslie states that it was still in position behind the lockhouse in 1881; and that the payment for "hire of the winch" was systematically applied for from the lockkeeper
"to keep alive an old claim on the Conservancy, though the money is never paid."
The claim was persisted in till at least June 1882.

In June 1868 Mrs. Strainge was ordered to Mapledurham; and in May 1870 I find J. Lomax keeping.
the lock was entirely rebuilt this year.
Lomax died before March 1873; and Mrs. Lomax retained his office, with official assistance.
I have a shrewd suspicion that Mrs. Lomax is identical with the widow Strainge: the latter never turned up at Mapledurham.
In May 1876 it was urged that the extensive weirs needed a man to manage them; and it was suggested to send Mrs. Lomax to Shiplake; but the Conservators declined to move her.
She had two grown sons to help her;
"she was quite competent, she had done it when her husband was ill, and we kept her."
The breakwater below the lock was built in June 1878.
Next year new complaints arose about the handling of the weir; and Chalmore Hole was suggested for the widow.
Headquarters, however, entertained an inexplicable penchant for the lady; some more comfortable change was desired.
In July 1881 she was still here; but constant complaint at last had its effect; and in September 1882 she was dismissed with three months' wages.
S. Kessick succeeded till November; and then C. Phillis from Chalmore Hole.
A boatslide was suggested in January 1884; and in February 1889 a note seems to imply its actual existence: there is certainly none here now.
The new weirs built in 1884 interrupted the ancient path across the River at this point; and after some local agitation a suitable public way was restored.
Phillis was ordered in December 1884 to Keen Edge ferry; but either did not go.
or was subsequently reinstated; as he was drowned in this lock, being unable to swim, exactly six years later.
He was succeeded by Samuel Myhill, whom I knew both here and later on at Penton Hook.
J. Bourner came after Myhill; and was still here in 1915.
He afterwards served in the European war, his place being taken by Dunsden; and was back here in 1919.


Aston or Hambledon Ferry was a rope ferry in 1785; and was then and for some time later controlled from Hurley lock; curiously enough, considering its distance of nearly 3½ miles.
In 1793 and 1798 John Gould of Hurley lock held it; but in 1800, when young Wm. Gould succeeded John, it and Medmenham ferry were put in charge of Robert Moore, who kept them only a month or two.
In October 1822 the responsibility had reverted to Carter as the Hurley lockkeeper.
I get no other name till Hy. Hobbs in March 1854, with 18s. monthly, reduced from 24s.
Thomas Hobbs held under the Conservancy in 1866.
In October 1870 "H. J." Hobbs resigned; and S. Somers succeeded with 2s. additional wages" to pay rent with."
He was dead in January 1876 and his son G. "Summers" was appointed.
Leslie mentions a Levi Collins acting in 1879, brought down from Gatehampton; he is not in the official records until December 1888, when he is reported too ill to work.
His son Robert succeeded him, resigning in July 1893: Jas. Hawkes successor.


Some formidable eel bucks are still erect, though somewhat dilapidated, behind the tail of this island: the object of much animadversion in comparatively recent years.
They may be identical with John Taylor's "Mednam" weir which he found so troublesome.
I imagine from his epigram that the navigation formerly passed along this lovely backwater, and that the present northerly course is more modern.
This conjecture seems to be supported by a reference in September 1841 to repairing the towpath "thro' Magpie Eyot"
Under the Act II Geo. III, c. 45 (1770), the privilege was reserved to the Culham Court estate WTSWG, then owned by a Mr. Mitchell, to have no new towing paths, landing places or bridges built upon it; and no "boat or float" was to be moored within 200 yards of any land or island belonging to the estate.
In August 1887 it was complained that navigation down the backwater was hindered by "various obstructions"; and the owner was requested to remove them.
In January 1889 he offered to sell the bucks for £500 if the Conservancy would substitute a floating obstruction.
A counter offer of £300 was not accepted.


In 1574 I get local place names: "Halles Stake in Boldes Meade" and "Bulbankes Ditche".
Here is an ancient ferry; the only keeper ever named is Moore, of Aston ferry, in 1800.
The Lord Mayor, on his view in 1775, found that
"Frogg Mill Ait being very wide, Barges are for the most part drawn on Shore, and sometimes their Masts pull'd overboard; it would be much better if a channel could be made within."
Barges evidently navigated along the [right] bank, and were towed from the [left], their lines sweeping the intervening island.
The City repeated the suggestion in 1814.
The [left] bank channel was cleared by one Oliver in 1825.
In 1849 a canal and water supply for London were projected to leave the Thames at this point by an aqueduct on the left bank.
About 1890 I get the curious name of Poison Ducks cottages here: I fancy the highest upstream of the row of houses on the right bank.
One of these buildings (it appears on the left of my photograph) is a relic (possibly the mill house) of John Taylor's Frog's Mill WTSWG, which had "two paltry stops".

Frogg's Mill 1910
Frogg's Mill 1910

It is also known as Soundy's Farm to-day.
This channel along the [left] bank is very little used, unless you are towing; it is signalised with a very unexpected colony of modern villas.
The soubriquet Poison Ducks recurs at Boveney, as thereunder noted; and quite possibly elsewhere.
It doubtless derives from some Norman-French phrase referring to the fish weir, or duct; and has no reference to any violent death of poultry.
It probably occurs only where there is, or formerly was, an ancient weir connected (as most were) with the fishery.
A glimpse of the building of the abbey here is afforded in 1245, when the king instructed his officer in charge of the works at Windsor Castle to allow the abbot of Medmenham to have one or two boats for carrying stone along the River for his own works; and not to hinder him or allow him to be hindered.


This bridge was, in the summer of 1827, substituted for a swingbridge.
It was rebuilt early in 1884; of timber, by urgent local petition.


Bishop in 1580-5 notes Newlock belonging to Mr. Bowde and Mr. Lovelace; and kept by Harry Tailor.
In July 1628 I find an agreement between Sir Myles Hobarte of Harleyford and Lord Lovelace of Hurley regarding the repair of that portion of the weir called New Lock which was in the parish of Marlow.
Griffiths in 1746 also calls it New Lock; it is a title that often loses its meaning.
The poundlock was opened in 1773, being the fifth in order of place of the first eight.
In 1910 it was one of the oldest looking on the River, with timber sides like Day's.
A first "small wooden house" for the keeper was erected in 1774.
The works were reported in 1780, only seven years after completion, as being "in a very shattered condition".
In 1783 there was trouble with the "lock-shutter" at the flashlock; he allowed the water to rise above high water mark, causing floods above.
The lockkeepers here and at adjoining stations were instructed themselves to pull up
"the sluices and floodgates of the Bucks, the Overfalls and Watergates and Standards of the Old Flash Locks"whenever necessary.
In April 1785 the pound seems to have been subjected to a general reconstruction.
It is interesting to remark that Mr. Pengree, owner of the flashlock, was warned to have his tackle in good repair during this period, so that barges might pass over it without hindrance in the ancient fashion, if requisite.
No tolls were to be taken at the pound during rebuilding.
Much further repair was again needed in 1791.
The toll in 1793 was 1d. per ton: the minimum rate of the period, varying up to 4d. at Boulter's.
John Gould was the first collector, appointed in 1773 at 5s. 6d. weekly.
He rented the meadow between the lock out and the millstream "at such Rent as the Commissioners are allowed it at."
He, or another of his name, received notice in April 1800 to quit his house up in the village; and a lockhouse for him came under consideration.
He almost immediately, however, resigned his post "from Age and Infirmity"; and Hambledon ferry with it.
His son William succeeded him; but only to the lock.
It is not expressed; but I imagine these and the Hambledon Goulds were all of one family.
In June 1802 young William absconded with about £45 toll money; and Thos. Carter of Cookham had his office.
He died in March 1814; and Thos. Collins, of Marlow, shoemaker, became keeper.
In 1822 he was in charge of Aston ferry also.

It is noticeable, about this period, that the Commissioners began to appoint independent servants of their own at the locks, more under their control than the naturally self-seeking millers and their men.
The weir in 1821 belonged to Mr. Williams.
In 1825 it was thought desirable to make this "a close Pound like unto Hamelden"; it had hitherto had, I suppose, open sides.
In June 1831 Collins was in trouble with his tolls, and one of his sureties was dead.
He was clear again by October, and had found further sureties: "Mary Cawdry of Temple single woman" being one of them.
In 1832 Fearnside alludes to "New-lock and wear": a title that survives till at least 1884.
In October 1839 the Commissioners purchased of a Mr. Walker the flashweir and its private tolls for £1,000.
This lock and Sutton Courtenay were the only transactions of the sort.
The navigation was relieved of these tolls, here, on and after 1 October 1843.
Two days later Wm. Lane was appointed keeper.
In 1854 he was deprived of his monthly wage of 50s. upon terms described at previous locks.
The lock side was in so bad a state in August 1860 that Mrs. Lane was nearly drowned.
Lane himself was drowned in December 1869; and Joseph Sampson succeeded him the following month.
Sir Wm. Clayton in October 1871 unsuccessfully sought permission to lay a boom across the channel by Harleyford House.
In October 1872 Sampson resigned; Ellis Davis followed, himself resigning in May 1877.
Robert Townsend was the next keeper.
In July 1881 "Essex" Davis is mentioned; followed by Townsend again in May 1883.

The mill was burnt down on 5 November 1887; and was rebuilt in less than two years.
In October 1890 a dispute is noticed between Mr. Street the miller, and the Conservancy, about barges loading in the cut below the mill: an ancient custom, as he claimed.
Meanwhile in March 1888 John Scott was appointed to the lock: a short sturdy man, who once regaled me with a story of his little son, missing one day, and discovered contentedly floating on his back in the millstream behind the lockhouse, and "never in the water before".
Scott left about 1910, and was succeeded by A. Wise from Culham; who was dismissed about 1913 and replaced by A. Wheeler.
In July 1891 a boatslide was promised "next year"; and never built.
There is an engraving by Major of a picture of Harleyford House by Zucarelli, not without amusement for frequenters of Hurley.
The weir appears in the background as a lofty natural cascade over rocks; and has presumably been shot by the roomy and shipshape barge which is leisurely proceeding downstream past the house.

Hurley Winch 1910
Hurley Winch 1910 WTSWG

Hurley possesses a feature of unique interest in the old winch still standing on the left bank immediately above the weir: the only surviving example on the River.
The flash channel for barges was over that section of the weir closest to it.
The relic is covered with a climbing rose, under whose disguise the old hardswearing and much enduring bargemen would be puzzled to recognise it.
In October 1898 a dispute arose between the Conservancy and the landowner regarding the ownership of this barge winch, the land it occupies,
"and two plots of land forming the old flashlock."
The Authority claimed the whole, and refused to sell; but could not uphold their claim, and in surrendering the property they requested that the antique relic should be carefully preserved.
It appeared at this time that the "lock" and winch had once belonged to the University of Oxford.


I do not discover the date of the original building of the lower crossing.
It was rebuilt early in 1834; of timber, on urgent local request.
Many of these small accommodation bridges were originally level swingbridges; expensive, and liable to damage from very trifling causes.

Map Temple Lock to Cookham


In 1544 the winch in Bisham, in tenure of John Brynkehurst, Temple mills "under one roof", and a fishery extending from Temple "Locke", were granted to Thomas Persse.
Brynkeburst is probably identical with the John Brynty named in 1580 and John Brinkys in 1585, by Bishop, as owner of the "locke": see my General History.
Persse may have kept him on as sub-tenant.
Bishop notes Rd. Mathewe in charge, on both dates.
Writing of the mills here in the early eighteenth century Defoe's Tour describes them as
"three very remarkable Mills, called the Temple-mills, for making Bisham Abbey Battery-work, viz. Brass Kettles and Pans &c. of all Sorts.
And these works were attended with no small Success, till, in the Year 1720, they made a Bubble of it; and then it ran the Fate of all the Bubbles at that time."

Bowen's map in Ashmole, in 1719, also refers to the business.
The modern lock here was opened in 1773: the sixth of the first eight in order of place.
There was some trouble in July owing to the winch not being replaced when the Commissioners desired it.
A small brick lockhouse was built in 1777.
Like others, the lock had to be rebuilt in 1782, owing to shoddy work.
Estimates were obtained for both stone and timber; and the latter was chosen for its initial cheapness.
In August 1783 Harding absconded with some of the takings.
The ferry was worked with a rope in 1785; and the pound toll in 1789 was a penny per ton.
Geo. Cawdrey was keeper in 1793: possibly father of Mary Cawdry who became surety for Collins at Hurley in 1831.
Temple mills were still working brass and copper in 1793; at which date the freight of copper ore from London to the mills was 18s. per ton.
Westall mentions them in the same sense in 1828.

In the autumn of 1796 complaint was raised by Thos. Toovey, bargemaster of Oxford, and others:
"that they had frequently been refused to have the Lock and Bucks drawn in such a manner as that the Western flashes which they had brought at different times from above Oxford might pass in a body as they ought to carry the Barges on below and that they expected that very night a large flash to come down for the Purpose of carrying a great number of Boats now lying for want of water between Marlow and Stanes."
The Commissioners took energetic measures.
Their surveyor was ordered down; and subsequently reported:
"About twelve o'clock, the water being then at best, the Lock and floodgates of the Mills were drawn, and suffered the Flash to pass in a proper manner; which had the desired effect of carrying the Barges through the whole of the Commissioners' jurisdiction." It is not without its effect upon the imagination:
the great flood of black water heaping up in the midnight, lapping and sucking upon the barriers; and under the lanterns let at its height go surging through to its destiny.
In August 1803 a new ferryboat of sound oak was to cost £50.
The wages at the lock at this date were £2 5s. 6d.
Owen Williams, I fancy a general and connected with the mills, owned two barges on the river in 1812.
In February 1821 Geo Cordery or Cawdrey, keeper since at least 1793, was dead; and Wm. Saunders took his place.
The wages in October 1822 were £ 3 monthly including the ferry.
About this time the opinion was expressed that this lock and Hurley should be "a close Pound like unto Hamelden."
The meaning is, I think, that the sides should be boarded up; and not left open as in the view of old Shiplake lock in my General History.
Thos. Coster, a name still surviving locally, was appointed in November 1840 ; I do not learn the fate of Saunders.
The weir is noted in both 1821 and 1846 as the property of the Williams family.
The monthly wage was reduced in 1854 from £3 18s. to £2 18s. 6d.; and to Coster's duties was added the collection of the downward tolls for Marlow; and of the whole tolls for Hurley and Hambledon.
Ravenstein paid his usual Sixpence in 1861.
Coster was in charge, at 52s. monthly when the Conservancy was formed in 1866.
I get a note in July 1869 of a wire rope stretched, for some undefined reason, across the weir.
The latter was ordered in July 1872 to be rebuilt.
In 1875 the wire, being only two feet above the water, caused an accident, and Col. Williams was requested to remove it.
The lock was described in 1874 as "a conglomeration of rotten piles."
The breakwater below it was erected about March 1878.
In April 1883 Coster resigned through ill health; and after nearly forty-three years' service was pensioned.
Lewis Edwards succeeded him; and being discharged in October 1884 was followed by F. S. Jones.
Jones was transferred to Iffley exactly two years later; and W. J. Wood had his office.
When the latter resigned in April 1892 W. J. Hutchins was appointed.
A man named Simpson served from the later 'nineties till his dismissal about 1913.
In 1890 the present lock was built alongside the old one, which stood on the site of the modern rollers: a parallel case to Boveney.


In July 1783 it was reported to the Commissioners that a set of eel bucks was being erected in the River just below the church, and was expected to be of material injury to the navigation and Riverside property.
Wm. Rosewell, the owner, was ordered to remove it at once.
It seems to have extended over more than half the channel.
The current from above set directly into it, so that a drifting barge ran much risk of colliding with it:
"having made the experiment ourselves in a punt which drove directly on."
Rosewell successfully pleaded verbal permission; and was allowed £10, half its cost, and to remove the obstruction forthwith.
I get this River family name Rosewell in 1806, attached to a bargemaster at Sunbury; and there is still a boatbuilder so named, or was till quite recently, just below Walton Bridge.
It would be an interesting study, had one sufficient lives, to pursue the history of some of the more permanent Riverside families: the Salters, Bossoms, Bassons, Collins, Harris, Tims, and others as familiar; especially perhaps the Purdues, natives of Shepperton, it is said, for five hundred years.
Towards the end of 1893 a small island at Bisham called the High Boughs was dredged away.
At the end of 1897 the Great Western Railway proposed to build a track from Marlow to Henley; comprising a footbridge at Medmenham, railway bridges at Marlow and Henley, and an embankment along the whole Berkshire bank between the two towns.
It was opposed by the Conservancy, chiefly on account of the obstruction it would offer to the escape of flood water; and by strong local hostility, particularly at Bisham; and so far we have happily been spared it, whatever its undoubted material convenience.


There is some foundation for attributing the original crossing to the Knights Templar of Bisham.
It dates from at least 1309; I know of no earlier mention.
In this year letters patent issued to Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester and Hertford, granting him pontage for the repair of "your" bridge, "which is decayed and broken."
The grant was for four years; " on every ship passing under laden with merchandise exceeding 40s. in value, one penny."
Both these figures should be multiplied by at least twenty to approximate to modern [1920] values.
Further grants followed: in 1353, the hull of vessels being charged 3d. and a tariff imposed on a long list of commodities; in 1373, under the same conditions; in 1399, with the proviso "to be overseen by the prior of Bustleham " and others, barges with fuel being charged 1d., with other goods 2d.; and in 1404, including the name of Blunt as one of the trustees.
I have no further note until Leland's "of Timbre" about 1530.
In 1642 the bridge was partly destroyed by Maj. Gen. Brown for the Parliament.
I do not discover the trajectory of this original bridge; it was possibly on the line of the present bridge, being a direct continuation of the High Street.
Defoe calls Marlow early in the eighteenth century "a Town of very great Embarkation on the Thames."
In August 1679 there were
"Brave { election } doings at Marlow, where a stout bargeman duckt Sir Hen. Wynch so under water that all cried to save him."

In 1788 the Commissioners learnt that a new bridge was to be built by public subscription.
In October 1786 the old structure had been presented by the grand jury, presumably on account of dilapidations; and application was made to the county of Buckingham to contribute towards the expense.
It was thought that the tolls collected "at the Marlow and Bisham gates" should bear their share.
These were doubtless road barriers at each end of the bridge.
This second structure crossed from the end of St. Peter's street to the lower corner of the [Compleat] Angler garden; very unnatural points, when one knows the little town.
The bargemasters having petitioned that it might be built loftier than the old one, as
"the present navigable arch by being too low greatly impedes the navigation,"
the Commissioners subscribed £50 towards the expense of allowing 18in. more headway.
The fairway also was to be made nearer midstream; I think that the single navigable arch had previously been close to the [left] bank, unpleasantly near the dangerous fall of the weir which faced you immediately you left the bridge.
This second structure was also of timber.
It was at first thought that its cost would be borne by the counties of Bucks and Berks, but it was discovered not to be a county bridge (being as I said probably monastic in its origin); and was therefore built by general subscription, and opened in or about 1789.
Ireland has a pleasant and interesting view of the scene in 1790.
The Commissioners' local wharves and workshops stood close to the site of Shaw's boatyard; and much of the timber for lock building and repair was worked in them.

In 1828 the present suspension bridge was being planned,
"a little above the site of the present {second} [1789] bridge".
A report in August of this year says:
"We found {the bridge} in such a worn out state and tottering condition that to Repair it it must be made nearly New" at an estimated expense of £3,600; "and stop the passage over the Bridge 6 months.
A temporary Ferry might be set up.
Best and cheapest in the end to Build a New Bridge resting on the Buckingham shore at the wharf adjoining the Churchyard, and on the Berks shore at Mr. Roles Wharf.
If the expense is not too great a stone Bridge of five elliptical arches would be the most eligible, for there would not only be a grand entrance thrown Open to the Town on the Buckshire side, but a great improvement in the Road on the Berks side."

This [1789] bridge was then only about forty five years old; and its premature decay seems evidence that it was constructed very largely from the materials of its predecessor.
The suspension bridge was opened in 1835.
The Commissioners were asked
"to continue their towing-path from the intended new bridge by the side of the churchyard to the foot of the present bridge."
It is interesting to discover that this length of tow-path once actually existed along the edge of the churchyard; where none is now.
Lipscomb's Buckinghamshire of 1847 shews it on this site and extending under the present bridge.
Marlow built itself a new church beside the new bridge; in August 1832 a pleasing note occurs of the Commissioners' wharf already alluded to being applied for by Mr. Wright the miller as a temporary place of worship while the new church was being built.
In March 1833 the Commissioners purchased about £250 worth of timber from the old bridge for lock repairs.
In June 1887 a boatbuilder named Cannon was ordered to surrender his mooring for boats in midstream just above the bridge.


This beloved scene of the silvery Thames is full of old histories pertinent to my subject.
My earliest note concerning local navigation is the statement in an inquisition of 1306 that there then existed "a certain windasium," a winch, "upon the Thames " here.
It is again referred to in 1544.
Next Stripe's Stow, his Survey of London, singles out Marlow flashlock for unfavourable mention; as indeed did many old authors.
Writing of the period about 1585 he complains of many stations, and
"especially one Lock, called Marlow Lock, of which there had been great Complaints.
It was held by one Farmour {and 'Kepte by Georg Westcott' adds Bishop}.
The Streams there were so strong, and the Water had such a dismal Fall, that four Men within a short time were lost; three whereof drowned, and a Fourth had his Brains dasht out.
And all the Recompence the poor Widow had, was, that Farmour gave her five shillings.
But beside the Danger, it was very expensive to the poor Bargemen, the Millers selling the Water in the Stream for above £300 a year."

This is plausible, but not precise.
They did not sell the water, but the force of its current in flashes; which force they themselves needed and had a large right to, in those old days when England fed herself.
John Taylor in 1632 rhymes:

Then Marlow locke is worst, I must confess,
The water is so pinched with shallowness.

At the close of the seventeenth century
"Samuel Clarke of London, gentleman", was indicted for having, "on the first of April 1697, by force of arms, at the parish of Bissam, Berks, to hinder navigation in the River Thames, from time immemorial a common navigable river for all subjects of the King, then and there erected a certain lock in the said river, containing five feet in height and 20 feet in length, and also raised a certain other lock of 20 feet in length at the said parish, theretofore erected, by the space of three feet, whereby the King's subjects have been hindered in navigating and rowing, and many boats have been lost to the common nuisance."
This probably refers to structural alterations to the flashlock, which was in Bisham parish, though commonly styled Marlow.
Parliamentary evidence in 1793 reveals that in 1767 a total of 56,365 tons of merchandise passed upwards through this flashlock.
The first pound, seventh in downstream order of the first eight, was opened in 1773 on the Buckinghamshire bank, opposite the present lock.
Rollers were placed at suitable Spots to guide upward barges into it.
And then to haul them safely from the lock up to Rose's wharf above the contemporary bridge (bridge and lock much closer together then than now), another complicated set of winches was erected, involving the horses in a bout of towing back again down-stream.
Upon a Lord Mayor's view two years after the opening of the lock it was stated that,
as there was "no towing path between the pound" on the [right] bank "and the Wharf above the Bridge, the barges were compelled to use lines 4 or 500 yards long",br> The almost incredible length of a quarter of a mile.
The absence of the towpath at this date indicates that the track mentioned at the Bridge was a later development.
The first collector at the lock was George Phelps, with a weekly wage of 5s. 6d.
The Commissioners expressly prohibited their collectors from demanding perquisites.
It is a very considerable pleasure to be unable to recall, during an experience of a quarter of a century, one single expectant look or lingering palm amongst the lockkeepers: not even in connexion with the amiable help so heartily rendered in the lonely reaches above Oxford.
At the end of 1778 it was ordered that, when the water was so low that barges could not pass the lock, no vessel should be allowed to come down through the bridge and lie up necessarily in the interspace.
Next year the toll at the lock was raised for revenue purposes from one penny per ton to fourpence.
In July 1780 the lock, though only seven years old, was reported
"in a very shattered and decaying state; the largest Barges often stick, and cannot get through without force."
A year later a fresh set of eelbucks was discovered in the "conduit of the {flash} lock."
They were ordered to be removed, as if the pound went wrong they would obstruct the old channel.
It was also urged that the winch ought to be set up again to assist barges in ascending from the pound.
In May 1787 the shallows below the lock were so bad that "temporary stops" were suggested.
These stops were short timber dams set slantwise partly across the River, narrowing the fairway but scouring out and deepening what remained.
The best site was thought to be at Cookham; but expert opinion was hostile to the idea.
Cookham look was then still half a century from realisation.

Phelps' wages were raised to 9s. at the end of 1790 on account of extra work in attending "the Pen Lock", and of increased responsibility in collecting higher tolls.
A witness stated in 1793 that
after flashes he had "walked over the Channel at Marlow without wetting his Feet."
Flashing he stigmatised as "a very abominable Practice, because after the Flash is drawn, and the {flash} Lock shut again, it leaves the River almost dry for Twenty four Hours."
It would be interesting to know just where he crossed dryshod.
In 1797 Wm. Mellet, a local fisherman, asked leave to erect a new set of bucks in place of an old set gone to decay in the channel below the weir, between the Great Eyot and the Great Meadow.
Permission was granted on condition that they should be opened if ever barges should require to use the old channel.
A similar application was made in the summer of 1799 by a Mr. Rooke in conjunction with "Millett."

The mill in 1797 produced corn and paper; it appears in Domesday.
In June 1803 Phelps, after thirty years' service, was granted an increase of wages to £2 5s. 6d. monthly: "the same as Temple."
He died in April 1811; and John Dell was appointed his successor.
In 1812 Rolls and Gibbons owned each one registered barge trading on the River.
In August 1815 the first lockhouse was being erected.
Dell died in 1820; on 18 December Henry Turner of "Bourn-end" succeeded him.
During 1821, and again in 1846, the miller Wright is noted as the owner of the weir.
He offered it, and the old "lock", to the Commissioners in February 1824.
A year later the new pound, on the modern site, was in course of construction in Headington stone, at a cost of £4,686; and was in use before November 1826.
I note payments in the previous September for assistance in passing boats through the old pound at night.
In March 1827 the latter was ordered to be filled up; I could find no trace of it when I inquired about 1911.
Francis Deane, perhaps from Whitchurch, was appointed keeper in March 1831; Turner being dead.
In August 1833 the City surveyors found "5 upward barges lying below Marlow waiting for water."
In April 1848 the Commissioners paid Widow Deane £5 for her late husband's trouble in passing pleasure traffic through the lock.
In September the old pound was sold to the Wrights for £20, "to be filled up."
The order of 1827 had evidently not been complied with.
Next February the barge Susanna was forced through the lock on a Sunday in defiance of the prohibition of traffic on this day.

I note, in March 1850, repairs to the lock
"under 8 ft. of Water. Beer to Men Working under Water 4s. 6d."
One barge, with one hundred tons of merchandise, reached Marlow in one week of February in the previous year.
Wages were reduced in March 1853 from £62 8s. to £60 annually, to meet the competition of the railways.
In 1854 Joseph Coster, the keeper, was deprived for the same reason of the whole of his wage, stated at £3 monthly; and was allowed the pleasure tolls and use of the house, on condition of passing the traffic and looking after the lock.
Thomas Coster is noted as toll receiver here, and at Temple, Hurley, and Hambledon, in March 1854.
The Commissioners seem to have surrendered the local wharf at Michaelmas 1860.
It stood, as I have said, on the site of Messrs. Shaw's boatyard.
The mill produced paper in 1865, being owned by "Messrs. Parslowe & Wright, the great papermakers."
They contributed nothing to the upkeep of the poundlock; though they drew, in 1864, £31 4s. for the flashlock, now never used.
This is termed "a loss to the Commissioners"; whence it might be inferred, generally, that this private toll was no longer being charged to the barge traffic.
Hall mentions that the landlady at the [Compleat] Angler at this time was a Mrs. Parslowe.
Joseph Coster was still in charge here under the Conservancy in 1866, with 52s. monthly.
In November he demanded an increase on the plea that "the traffic prevented him working at his trade."
In August 1868 the turnwater was recommended, and perhaps built, below the lock, to protect small craft from the mill race; a man having just been drowned at the spot.
In September 1869 7s. 6d. was added to the wages here, being deducted at Bell Weir.
The weir was ordered to be rebuilt in July 1872.
Leslie describes the lock in 1881 as
"a dangerous one to pass, being old, with many ragged piles and broken woodwork about its sides."
Coster resigned in May 1886, and was succeeded by R. Hunt with 65s. monthly.
Hunt went in May 1890 to Romney, and W. H. Marsh took his place here, being transferred to Chertsey in October 1892.
T. Gray, whom I well remember, succeeded him: a tall lean man, now dead after much suffering.
In March 1897 the towpath at Gosmore meadow was extensively washed away; and the owner threatened to erect a fence at its extreme edge.
This is at the sharp bend below Marlow; the path there to this very day is narrow and dangerous owing to the action of the strong stream.
The fence was set up in October 1900; and the Conservancy erected a notice that the public used the path at their own risk.


My earliest reference to this spot as connected with the navigation is in 1773.
A reference of this year states that Rose, a farmer at Spade Oak,
"exercised an exclusive Right to tow the Barges to near Marlow, and even makes a Charge for towing up such Path, when the Bargermaster has towed his Barge up with his own Horses, or with Men."
Rennie also wrote in 1794:
"Mr. Rose, of Spade Oak Wharf, has a right of towage for horses along a field near his house."
Nothing was done at this time; and after a further mention in 1808 the City in 1814 again urged the institution of a ferry, as much needed
"to encourage and enable persons to use their own horses" in towing.
Its absence was still regretted in 1816; in April 1822 a boat seems at last to have been provided.
A ferry house is alluded to in 1825.
Pedestrian, in his Tour of 1834, describes the islands just above as
"numerous little aits in which osiers are grown, whose wild luxuriance imparts an added charm" to the scene.
John P. (or T.) Cutter had charge of the ferry at 30s. monthly in March 1854, reduced from £2; and at the latter figure in 1866.
In March 1875 he was dead; and Jas. Collins took his place.
A new house was ordered in May 1883.
In December Collins was transferred to Abingdon; and Robert Lloyd succeeded.
He died in November 1886; and was followed by Hy. Tibble from Wargrave ferry.
Tibble resigned in September 1891; and H. Edmonds from King's weir was put in charge, but returned to King's the following October.
J. Sparks followed; and in May 1893 W. H. Round was placed here.


Dredge has a view of the original timber structure of 1857.
It must have been a terror to the navigation; about this date the Great Western Railway was doubtless able to impose anything it liked upon the moribund Commission.
In February 1869 there was much complaint of its dangerous state; barges frequently collided with it and were sued by the railway company for damage.
It is called Marlow railway bridge at this date.
It was proposed to be entirely rebuilt in May 1893.
[ A steel bridge was built in 1893 and in 1994/5 a footpath was attached to replace Spade Oak Ferry for the Thames Path ]


Cookham Bridge is called a suspension bridge in the O.S. of 1876.
It has been described as the cheapest bridge on the River for its size.
Its appearance is not unfavourable to the statement.
But it is at least white; or was when last I saw it.
The original structure was erected in timber by one Freebody.
The work was begun in June 1839; and the bridge opened to the public on 1 January 1840.
The lowest preliminary estimate was £1918, "all fit timber."
Fir and Quebec oak was to cost £50 more ; all English oak £2931.
A balance sheet amongst the Treacher Papers reveals that the cost of construction reached £4224, purchase of the ferry £2565, and the Act and sundries £1485 ; amounting in all to £8274.
Its toll board was copied from that at Streatley, which I have described.
Sedgfleld presents a photograph of it in 1867; and announces a contemplated rebuilding in iron at an estimated cost of £2650.
It is said that in 1859 it seemed doubtful if the timber bridge would survive the winter.
[ The current bridge was built in 1867 and eventually painted a horrid blue! ]


I discovered some depositions of 1633 so full of topographical notes between here and Maidenhead Bridge that I present a précis here rather than scatter it piecemeal amongst my various headings.


The action was concerned with five fisheries, ranging from above Spade Oak down to Maidenhead.
The names of the deponents coincide in some cases with other of my local notes:
Edward Holderness of Cookham, yeoman; and Roger his uncle, a wharfinger of Wooburn.
John Taylor mentions this name, associated with a weir below Cookham, in 1632; and I note in 1638 Roger Holderness, probably the said uncle, improperly dealing with some coal entrusted to him for Pangbourne.
Roger Woodward or Woolward, a husbandman of Taplow; John Hamerton of Cookham; Robert Sawyer, basket maker, John Byrde, fisherman, and Wm. Sawyer, basket maker, all three of Cookham; Parnell, wife of John Chilburie, bargeman; Wm. Edmonds of Taplow, master of arts; John Thackham, labourer; Thos. Ward of Bray, millwright; and Bartholomew Bray, shepherd of Bray; all also gave evidence.


The uppermost [of the five fisheries], a royal fishery, is described as beginning at Salisbury pit
"in Cookham over against the rails at the upper end of Little Marlow Mead"; or variously at "about a furlong above Little Marlow Mead."
It extended downwards to a "great pile near the middle of the Thames below Cookham ferry"; and wholly across the River throughout its extent.
It contained four aits : Round, Great, a piece of Headpile, and Cockmarsh Ait.

I note in 1871 a fishery, evidently this one still surviving within its ancient bounds, delimited as between "Quarry Woods, Little Marlow rails, and Cockmarsh Ait."
Mrs. Chilburie describes this fishery as beginning at "Houltstile or near about Stone house"; and says that this stretch of water down to the Cookham pile was "the common navigable stream and natural River of Thames."


Next follows the Millpond fishery: also held under the Crown; and beginning at the said great pile, or variously "a little below Babham Farm, Bucks."
This allusion throws some dim light on my note under My Lady ferry.
Its breadth was four poles, or "across the whole River."
As regards its downstream extent, Mrs. Chilburie deposed that
"the millpond lying near Cookham Towne leading to the millbucks is a distinct water from the Thames and not navigable for barges; and is a small stream by itself running out of the Thames at a great pile below Cookham ferry and down into the said Thames {again} between two grounds, one called Beareleaze and the other Shawsies."
This piece of evidence, notably from a very old woman of seventy-seven, is the clearest and most intelligible paragraph in these depositions.
Shawsies, also termed Shawsie Heyth, is evidently the Sashes of two centuries later; by the lock "canal" across which Lord Boston in 1832 declared himself so aggrieved.
Hugh Cotterell, deceased, is stated to have farmed this fishery in his lifetime: another name in Taylor's survey.
Certain people named Farmer are also mentioned: possibly connected with the Marlow miller pilloried by Bishop in 1580.
The witness Ward adds that the spot where this back stream rejoined the Thames was called "Pages wharfe."
I get a fishery in 1890 delimited at exactly the same points; except that Cookham Bridge is substituted for the great pile.

FISHERY THREE - ISLADE [ Cleveden Boathouse to above Boulters ]

The third, again a royal fishery, was named Islade, or variously Islake.
I do not know if the final e was sounded of old time, so that by eliding the Is the "Lady", in My Lady ferry, was formed from Islade.
This fishery began at the upper end of Slogrove mead, extended across the whole River, and terminated at the lower end of Clemence, possibly Clemarsh, mead "in Taplow, about a furlong above Ray locke" (that is, weir).
It contained one ait, Islake; and a small portion of another called No Man's or Headpile: possibly a Headpile ait above Boulter's, and not that one against Cookham ferry.
Islake is in this case sometimes transformed into Islip.


The fourth fishery belonged to Taplow mill; beginning at the great pile below Clemence mead and extending to the lower end of Taplow mill pool.
It contained half of Headpile ait within the Warborough; the warborough and the stream between it and Taplow hill; two little meadows one called Neate Hendge; two little Tarries of ground near the mill bank; Cherry Tree ait below the said meadows; Flagg ait and a meadow plot by it "where Taplow men hang their nets" below the mill; and Teynter ait "adjoining to the warborough."
Several witnesses deposed that Taplow mills, "two corn milles under one roof", were anciently called Clevenden mills, from an ancient owner William of Clevendon; and one recalled a "low water corn mill built in the warborough in a place where aunciently there were buckes."


The lowest, Maidenhead Bridge fishery, also Crown property, began "at Peacockes tarrs " at the lower end of Ray mill lock pool; and extended the whole width of the main barge stream down to the bridge.
It comprised Peacocke or Pocockes tarrs; Queenes and Gladmans aits; the Great and Little tarrs; Cannon, Woodmancotts and divers other aits; a mead called Newe Eiott;
"about Maidenhead Bridge a little ait called 'after the bridge', next Buckinghamshire";
two tarrs called Fairway; and Grass hill.


Woolward and Mrs. Chilburie knew that father Cutler once sowed the aforesaid little ait first with hemp and then with barley about 1570.
Old lady Chilburie recalled
"a little weare" above the bridge, "neare unto Taplow side":
probably the one mentioned by Taylor; and also by Leslie in 1881 as having had a bathing enclosure recently erected upon its site.
Further evidence relates to the parish boundary dispute between Taplow and Maidenhead;
Maidenhead claiming the whole width of the River as within its boundary, Taplow claiming its own half.
Woolward spoke of
"two or three children borne under the end of Maidenhead bridge towards Taplowe
{Mrs. Chilburie more graphically says "under that part of the dry Arches"} which have been baptized in Taplowe church.
And he hath knowne that one that died under the said end of the bridge was buried in Taplow churchyard.
And that the inhabitants of Taplowe have usually searched & apprehended Rogues & Vagabonds usinge to lodge"
"Ever since he was ten years of age the procession of Taplowe hath gone to the Barge peere neere the middle of Maidenhead bridge; and there the minister of Taplowe hath usually read a Gospel without any contradiction."
He admitted however that the Cookham procession
"had used to come quite over the said bridge."
Bray deposed how that about twenty years previously he
"saw 12 Pirats brought prisoners by the Sheriff of Berkshire towardes London that had their yrons taken off by the said Sheriffs men near the said barge peere and then by the sheriff of Berkshire were delivered to the Sheriff of Buckinghamshire whose men then put other yrons on them and so had them towards London."
Asshheit is noted elsewhere in 1634 as an "island claimed by Sir Henry Guildford."
Hanse's Water was near the headpile of Cookham ferry; and Lollybrook the backstream from the ferry to Babham End.


[ I think this refers to the weir in the small stream South of the Lock Cut Footbridge - certainly not the main Hedsor Weir - which Fred deals with below ]

Odney Weir can be seen from the lock cut, at the footbridge.
In June 1875 it was the scene of some of the evasions of lock tolls very popular at the time; it lies in snug convenience for the purpose.


The water mill is noted as under repair in 1369.
Bishop in 1585 mentions Hedgworth weir belonging to Hugh Cottrell, in the parish of Cookham.
John Taylor also in 1632 alludes to Cottrell's weir.
Both writers probably referred to some dam connected with the mill, below the present lock.
The lock is a comparatively modern intercalation amongst the 1771 series; not having been opened for traffic until November 1830.
The desirability of a lock at this point was however patent to observers long beiore this date.
Down almost to the time of their supersession by the first Conservancy of 1857, the Corporation of London exercised a paternal and advisory oversight upon the transactions of the upper Authority:

As though some lesser god had made the Thames
And had not power to shape it as he would
Till the high God behold it from beyond
And enter it and make it ...

but I will not hazard what adjective the Commissioners would have closed the quotation with, had they survived to enjoy it.
The Corporation surveyed up to Reading in 1775; and my earliest allusion to the local difficulties of the navigation is their report upon Hedsor bucks as
"a very dangerous place; three barges sunk within the last year."
I mention at Marlow that in 1787 a stop was suggested as far away as Cookham to remedy the shallows below Marlow lock.
In 1794 I read that
"one of the most difficult and dangerous places on the Thames between Reading and Boulter's lock is from Cookham Ferry to Clifden Wall."
One of the dangers, wrote Rennie, were the
"large chalk stones that tumble from the clifts above, and lodge in the bottom of the River."
After an abortive reminder in 1796, a plan for a lock and cut on the south side of Hedsor was submitted in September 1807.
The City complained in 1814 that nothing had been done; and in 1826 an illuminating incident occurred.
Jos. >Gibbins of Abingdon
"begs to state that one of his Barges (the Mary) was coming to London laden with Bath Stone for Westminster, and in the night of the 9th of August, the water being very low and the night dark; at Hedsor, she got aground and swung across the Channel, which caused her to be broken in two. Loss about forty pounds."
I read elsewhere of
"ballasting round the Boat that Sunk with Stone".
A "roller" is indicated at the head of the Sashes island just before this date.
The lock and out were finally decided upon in July 1829.
"The first spade was put in the ground November 9";
and the opening for traffic took place on 1 November 1830.
Geo. Gyngell excavated the long cut; which was formed, as to the upper third of its length, from an existing channel called the Sashes stream.
Joseph Staniford was the first keeper, with 65s. monthly; the barge toll being fixed at twopence per ton.
A note of local towing rates occurs this year,

for a barge carrying 72 tons, in proportion for a greater or less lading
Amerden Bank to Maidenhead Bridge13s.
Maidenhead Bridge to My Lady Ferry12s.
My Lady Ferry to tail of Cookham lock cut7s.
The length of the lock cut4s.
Cookham Ferry to Spade Oak7s.

Map Cookham to Monky Island


It was not long before the Commissioners were forced, in connexion with the building of this lock, upon a very expensive and vexatious course of litigation.
In December 1832 Lord Boston, of Hedsor, applied for compensation for the disuse of his towpath along the old stream.
He "felt himself aggrieved" by the "canal "across the "Sashes"; by which he asserted that the navigation of the Thames was deserted, and his towpath rendered useless.
He claimed a sum of no less than £2113.
The Commissioners could find no precedent for entertaining such a claim; none had ever previously been advanced.
They rightly considered that the motion came with very ill grace from his lordship, as ever since 1794 repeated attempts had been made to induce him to remedy the rapids and shoals in this bend of the River; the "stoppages at Hedsor" were constantly being "exultingly thrown in their teeth" by the promoters of canals; and they had been compelled by public opinion to build the lock and cut.
Their legal advisers recommended that no notice be taken of the claim.
In the following November Lord Boston appealed to the Bucks quarter sessions; where he was awarded £1000 damages and £200 costs.
The Commissioners, judging that the King's Bench would not confirm this verdict, took no notice.
The court, however, upheld the magistrates and granted Lord Boston a Mandamus; declaring subsequently, for the Authority's moral consolation, that
"the Commissioners would have done very wrong if they had paid the money without a Mandamus.
The Court had great difficulty in coming to a decision, and decided at last with very great regret that the Commissioners were to pay."

The tolls, it may be observed, of which the new channel deprived his lordship, are stated by Krausse to have been leased at £73 10s. annually; so that the original claim was apparently based upon the usual computation of thirty years' purchase.
Morris, the Bray lockkeeper in 1910, possessed an oil painting of probably the original lock at Cookham.
Before the cut was made an ait lay at the lower end of its site: purchased and dredged away by the Commissioners about 1830.


This lock was one of a few in connexion with which no weir was at first provided: Romney, Old Windsor and Penton Hook were other examples.
The long adjacent bends of the natural stream were at each place relied upon to hold up a head of water for the lock.
Nature, however, here and elsewhere proved too little accommodating; and after much complaint a weir began to be discussed in 1834.
Venables the miller wrote:
"I think Ld Boston will discover that it will ruin his Eel traps & the probability is that the weir will not be erected."
It was, however, completed by the autumn of 1837, under condition that "no footway was to be placed upon it."
This weir involved an immediate recrudescence of trouble with Lord Boston.
The lock had robbed him of his towpath prolits; and now the weir was closing access to his wharves.
He began to fight for his pocket, like any Socialist.
I find amongst the Treacher Papers a Notice against Trespass dated July 1837, signed by his lordship and others and addressed to the Commissioners and their servants, forbidding their entry into Wooburn and Hedsor meadows, the erection of a weir in any part of the River leading to Hedsor wharf, and the doing of anything to hinder navigation thither.
Within this bend of the River, now practically unknown to River folk, his lordship possessed two wharves known jointly as Hedsor wharf: a source of profit to himself and of convenience to traders.
These being now inaccessible, were impossible to let.
The Commissioners argued, with complete justice, that Lord Boston had no more claim to compensation on this account than an innkeeper from whose house the coach traffic had been diverted by a new road; and he does not appear to have obtained such speedy relief as in the previous action.
He seems finally to have received some two or three hundred pounds in settlement; though Krausse, whose excellently informed little Thames book of 1889 deserved a handsomer presentation, says that the Commissioners built a flashlock in the weir for his lordship's benefit, and paid him only £75.
This provision of a flash opening or "lock" in the weir is doubtless the operation referred to in the summer of 1843 in the Treacher Papers:
"Altering Cookham Weir to pass the Boats thro' without Drawing"; "making Cookham Weir to act as a Pound "; "altering Cookham Weir to pound Lock."
Meanwhile Lord Boston had erected the eelbucks at the lower end of the reach; and when, to finish the history, the upper weir was rebuilt in 1869, and the "lock" therein abolished, the bucks were allowed to remain.
This is an extremely condensed account of the manner in which this long half mile of beautiful Thames scenery, not, be it understood, a backwater leading nowhere, but the ancient navigable highway, became entirely closed to the public: the unique example, I think, of the complete alienation of a length of the main Thames to private uses and enjoyment.

1n continuing the history of the lock I note that in 1849 the Susanna was forced through on a Sunday, in defiance of regulations.
In March 1853 wages had to be reduced from £115 4s. annually to £108: the highest figures mentioned at this period.
This £9 monthly was apportioned as £3 for the lock, £3 10s. for the upper ferry and £2 10s. for the lower; and was reduced in 1854 to £6; the duties being continued, with the collection of all tolls for Boulter's, and of upward tolls for Marlow, added thereto.
John Staniford, perhaps son of Joseph the first keeper, was placed in charge in March 1860
He died in 1864 and Edward Godden succeeded him; receiving in September 1861 £5 for dredging away an "island below Cookham weir in the Old River."
In October 1866 the Conservancy sanctioned a dam across "Hodney Ditch" for the benefit of Venables, the miller at Cookham.
During the next two years Lord Boston made unsuccessful attempts to procure the conveyance to himself of the two weirs at Hedsor.
In 1870 the iron bridge across the lock cut was ordered in place of a timber structure with very narrow openings.
Lord Boston in September announced that he did not recognise any public rights at Hedsor.
In July 1872 a Mr. J. G. Fennell of Barnes very justly complained of the obstruction of the public right of way.
In November Chas. Band replaced Godden at the lock; the latter going to the upper ferry.
Band was dismissed in September 1873; I find Morris in charge in September 1879.
in May 1881 Miss Fleming, the adjacent landowner, gave notice to the Conservancy that
"she would in future obstruct the bridge and roads from Cookham Lock to Cookham."
I have always understood that there is no admitted public right of way between the village and the lock.
In September the same lady procured the removal of Morris to Bray; Chainey being brought thence to Cookham.
Bell Rope meadow occurs as a towpath meadow name in Cookham in 1887 ; its title is derived from its rent being devoted to the provision of ropes for the church bells.
In December 1888 Chainey was instructed to maintain a user of the road to Cookham weir by traversing it at least once a month: a necessary step with such adjacent landowners.
He was dismissed in the following January, and succeeded by Charles Stone.
Stone was transferred to Molesey in August 1890 and succeeded here by A. Hill.
The latter went to Romney in June 1892, and E. T. Biggs took his place.
The lock was lengthened during this year; and the boat slide built about a year later.
Biggs resigned in October 1893 and Hill returned.
The Hedsor Water privilege was reserved to Lord Boston in the Act of 1894.
A pile dwelling was uncovered in building the boatslide in 1893.
Hill retired in the spring of 1914.


There are at the present day [1920] three ferries at Cookham:
the UPPER FERRY, crossing from the Berkshire end of the bridge to the head of the lock cut;
HEDSOR or the LOWER FERRY, across the tail of the weir stream;
and LADY or MY LADY FERRY lowest of all, crossing at the end of the towpath against the millstream.


Of these perhaps the UPPER is the oldest, in its original function as predecessor of the bridge; though I have no note of it earlier than the allusions in the depositions of 1633 mentioned under Cookham Bridge.
At Michaelmas 1772 Jas. King was engaged for a year by the Commissioners, at a remuneration of £20, to waft barge horses across from the Shawsies to Dodson's Close.
Dodson's is, I understand, the walled enclosure just above the bridge on the [left] bank: variously Dobson's.
"Dodson's fence" stood at the point where the roads to the church and to the ferry diverge.
Rennie in 1794 mentions "Darby and Allnut's Brewhouse" a little above the ferry.
I find a note on
"Apr. 25, 1796. This night Mr. Joseph Wyatt, a respectable young man of Cookham, was unfortunately drowned at the Ferry-place, whilst endeavouring to cross it with his clothes on.
He had been to a village on the other side of the river, to fix his wedding-day."

Was he any relative of the Wyatts at Marsh and Iflley?
I find no further allusion to the ferry until a suggestion for a ferryman's house in Dobson's Close in 1837.
In 1854 Edwd. Godden was to be discharged from the service, and his house let.
In 1866 he was acting as both lockkeeper and ferryman.
In January 1867 his son was put to the ferry.
In October the father lost his post at the lock for some fault, and was given the ferry in lieu of his son.
He was superannuated in September 1879; and was succeeded by G. Collins of Marlow.
Collins was drowned on duty in August 1881.
In April 1885 R. Humphreys was removed from this ferry to that at Kennet Mouth; and C. Curtis came here from My Lady Ferry.
Curtis was replaced by Henry Darby; who was himself succeeded by S. Hamblin in January 1889.
The latter was drowned on 21 January 1892; and was followed by J. Brooks, who was still here in quite recent years, and has ferried me over more than once.
He had partial charge of the weir.


The LOWER FERRY was I believe a mere adjunct to the navigation.
Though it is doubtless at least a century older, I get no note of it until April 1885, when W. (or J.) Dyson had charge.
A pile dwelling was excavated against the wharf house at Hedsor in 1895.
I believe that all was covered in again after examination and record.
In 1789 Turner, a farmer at Hedsor, exercised an exclusive towing right up to Cookham ferry; and charged for the passage even if the bargemaster did the work himself.


Considering the "My" as an intrusion, I suggest at Cookham Bridge that the "Lady" may be a corruption of the old local place name Is-lade.
I seem to gather that the meadow where the towpath ends, on the right bank, was called Lady Mead.
This is corroborated by a note of 1811 in the Treacher Papers:
"My Lady is on the opposite side to Hedsor."
Is this ferry connected with one that Ashmole mentions in his note of 1719:
"About two Miles above [Maidenhead] Northward there was formerly a Ferry at a Place called Babham End"?
This he states existed before Maidenhead Bridge was built.
Cooper King mentions "Babham End, near Cookham," in his Berkshire; and adds that by it ran a branch of the Great Western Road:
"a hollow way, much overgrown, marks the line taken up Clieveden Hill."
Stephen Darby describes Babham's End as extending
"south to the ford in the Thames where the old highway crossed."
There are, or were, Babham memorials of the early sixteenth century in Cookham church.
It is possible that this ferry, in its original foundation, may after all outrival the Upper ferry in antiquity.
There is however, so far as I have discovered, a long gap in the continuity of its history.
Ashmole seems certainly to imply that the service had lapsed.
And it is not until 1789 that its revival appears to have been contemplated.
A suggestion appears at this date in the Treacher Papers that a ferry should be established across the River from My Lady to Hedsor Lee.
But it was not installed in its lovely position under the woods until 1808; to aid in the Hedsor towing.
A new boat was contemplated in August 1825.
In November 1828 twopence per horse was fixed as the charge;
"and no persons or horses other than those actually and immediately concerned in the navigation to be under any pretence permitted to pass over the ferry."
Barfoot, the first keeper I find named, was complained of in December 1833 and dismissed in August 1836.
Thomas Staniford, perhaps son of John of Cookham lock, had control in 1866 at £2 monthly.
He was dead in September 1870; in the following January Chas. Curtis was in charge, with 2s. extra weekly "until the ferry house is built".
He went to the upper ferry in 1885.
For the sharp point of land on the [left] bank just above this ferry I get the name of Batty Point.


Bavin's Gulls, "below Cliefden Spring", are mentioned in City records in 1814; perhaps at the islands.
Is Bavin a corruption of Babham, just mentioned?
Botany Bay is another River name hereabouts; I believe it connotes the wide water immediately above Boulter's weir.

Boulters Plan 1637
Boulters Plan 1637


I notice no instance of the use of this title before 1746.
It is probably not a personal name, but a derivation from the milling term bolting.
The earliest reference I possess to Ray mill is in a lease of 1346.
An assignment by Wm. atte Reye of Reyelond with a watermill occurs in 1367.
Thomas Cruchefeld was joint owner in 1392.
I have no mention of the flashlock earlier than Bishop's in 1580-5: "Rea Locke" belonging to Harry Merry, one of the Yeomen of the Chamber, and kept by Robert Weston.
Thomas Rey of Maidenhead was attainted in 1653 of felony and burglary.
Griffiths in 1746 writes:
"It appears that there is no Lock on this River from London Bridge till you come to Bolter's Lock, which is 51 Miles and an half":
it is two miles less now, by way of the lock cuts.
I do not discover whether this absence of weirs had arisen through chance or by intention; in any case, by the Act of 1770 it was established for a period by statute.
"Nothing in this Act shall impower the commissioners to make any cuts between the bridge at Maidenhead and the city of London, nor anywhere above the said bridge, except for the sole purpose of making turnpike locks on the sides of the present locks";
and as no "present locks" (meaning flashweirs) were then in existence below Maidenhead Bridge no turnpike locks could there be built.
The intention was probably to conserve the rights of the City of London as against the new Commission.
These rights ran effectively from Staines downward; but for centuries the City had exercised a general supervision over the whole navigable River also.
It may therefore have been considered advisable to constitute the district between Boulter's and Staines a neutral water, wherein neither party should initiate any works.
The prohibition extended, however, only to whole-stream obstructions; short fishery hedges and "stops" being winked at and indeed actually licensed in great numbers by the Lord Mayor, within this district, for money payments.
Boulter's was the earliest in date and lowest in position of the first set of eight locks built under the legislation of 1770; after an unexplained interval of nearly a century and a half since the Oxford-Burcot series.
It was ready for traffic at Michaelmas 1772; and was situated across the River from the present lock, on the [right] bank near Taplow mill, "east of Ray mill."
The flashweir belonged in 1771 to Lord Inchiquin, by agreement with whom the lock was built.
A toll of 4d. per ton was levied on and after 5 December 1772, on every barge "before it was allowed in the lock."
The latter was of a capacity to pass vessels up to 130 ft. in length including the rudder, 18 ft. wide, and drawing 3 ft. of water.
If any bargeowner had been at the expense of reducing the size of his vessels to suit the lock he was to be reimbursed out of any tolls payable by him.
The ancient winch might be removed by the tenant of Winch meadow, in which it stood, provided that he replaced it when required by the Commissioners; at their expense.
Amongst the Treacher Papers is a plan shewing the winch at the head of the spit of land between the present lock cut and the weir stream.
It is noticeable that the tolls were "per voyage"; and according to a contemporary definition
"A Voyage is a Trip to London and back again, being two Passages" through the locks.
In 1773 Wm. Webb of Wallingford was summoned before the Commissioners for much damage done both here and at Marlow, and for refusal to pay toll.
Bargemen would by nature be reluctant to lose much time in exhibiting their opinion of the new invention.
Richard Ray, from his name presumably connected with the mill, was appointed in February 1773 first keeper, at a remuneration of 6s. weekly.
Later the same year he was granted an extra 4s. 6d. weekly for "driving and taking care" of the Commissioners' barge horses kept at the lock for towing at fixed rates.
Exceptionally at this period, a house was provided for him before 1774; most stations had to wait far longer than this.

In May 1773 Murrough O'Brien complained of barges lying in Taplow millstream.
The crews were continually trespassing in his woods and walks, and destroying shrubs and trees; and
"very much misbehaved themselves by their indecent Conversation and horrid Oaths and imprecations," said this Captain in the foot guards.
Barges so delaying or persons so misbehaving were to be prosecuted in future for a fine of £50.
The private rights of this millstream are upheld to this very day.
Next summer Ray reported that he had been "discharged by Mr. Aldridge from collecting his tolls due for the Old Lock."
His wages were thereupon advanced to 12s.
Extraneous halfcrowns came his way at odd times; thus:
"October 1779. Richard Ray at Boltus Lock 2s. 6d." from some Common Councillor;
"January 25, 1780. To Richard Ray examining the Boltus Lock Book 2s. 6d.";
"Richard Ray for willow setts 2s. 6d." in April 1781.

In 1780 the lock, only eight years old, was reported
"in as bad a state as Marlow, if not worse."
Ray was violently assaulted in January 1785 by Robert Holmes of Abingdon, "costbearer."
Prosecution was ordered; but in April Holmes offered to make amends, and was pardoned in July on paying Ray five guineas and inserting an apology in a Reading journal.
Phillips's Inland Navigation of 1792 says of the weir:
"The water above the lock appears to be above five feet deep, but below, the vast force of water coming down from such an unmechanical lock, has worked or dug a hole of twenty feet perpendicular depth, and above one hundred feet in length; beyond which rises a hill thrown up by the great force of the current, where the bed of the river has little more than three feet depth of water."
Select Committee evidence in 1793 shews that from 1785 to 1792 an average of 69,285 tons of merchandise passed annually upwards through this lock.
It was remarked this year that the fall between here and London Stone is 78 feet over a distance of "more than 16 miles" (the lock cuts have now reduced the travelling to exactly fourteen).
This alleged fall of about five feet per mile is more than thrice the average of the whole River; and may be exaggerated.
It was stated in 1844 that from Boulter's tail water to Romney head water, a distance of just within eight miles, the fall is "rather more than 11 feet."
This leaves a fall of 67 feet for the other eight miles from Romney to London Stone, a highly improbable gradient; so that some error in one statement or the other is obvious.
The average fall of the whole River is about 16' 5 inches per mile.

In the autumn of 1796
"John Langley of Great Marlow, Bargeman, paid a Penalty of 20s. for breaking the Lock and forcibly passing through the Pound" here.
In February 1806 the University of Oxford granted a lease of local property which included the flashlock and winch as paying concerns; even as late as 1832 they successfully urged a claim on behalf of a tenant at "the old lock and winch" to a toll of Sixpence on each upward barge, in spite of the long disuse of the former and the possible total disappearance of the latter.
Ray was advanced to £4 monthly in June 1811,
"in consideration of his accuracy in his Accounts and general good Behaviour."
Three years later he was further advanced to £5,
"in consideration of his long and faithful services and the additional {unspecified} duty lately ordered."
The bargeowners of Ray mills noted in 1812 are Lovegrove with three vessels, and Benbow with two.
The last salmon caught at this weir was landed in 1821, according to Falkner's Oxfordshire; there are much later records lower downstream.
Mr. Fuller owned the weir in 1821.
Ray is noted with only £4 10s. in October 1822; I find his son George was helping in 1823, and perhaps drew a share of the money.
The City complained in 1825 of the condition of the lock:
"the best plan would be to build a New Lock on the Berkshire side of the River."
In the summer of 1826 it was described as
"completely worn out, inaccessible and impassable at low water, from the height of its cill, and the crooked, shallow channel below it, lying at the distance it does from the towing path."
Consequently a new lock and cut, on the modern site, was built and opened for traffic on 30 March 1828 (or 1829); the first boat passing the following day.
It was styled at this date, and indeed as late as 1842, Ray Mill pound.
The old works and site were in December 1831 reconveyed to the Earl of Orkney for £54.
This change of situation was naturally accompanied with an alteration in the towing; and in February 1828 notice was given to the landowners on the [right] bank that the towpath there would not be required after Michaelmas.
Whereupon (and a landless man can only gasp in amazement at the opportunities of the landed gentry) a claim was preferred for compensation for its disuse: a precedent, perhaps, for the Cookham history just related.

The new station probably demanded more youthful vigour than old Ray could now boast; and it is pleasant, in February 1829, to find the Commissioners assembling
"to consider of and suggest some provision for Richard Ray, who, after upwards of fifty years' honest and meritorious service {55 or 56, actually}, has from age and infirmities, become incapable of exercising the duties of his office."
My heart goes out to the good old man; it is an honour to record even such meagre history as this about him.
I regret not to discover what he obtained: something warm and comfortable, I hope.
I find an allusion to him in 1832 as "an old labouring man living at Maidenhead."
Robert Lucas, of the same town, succeeded at the lock, with 65s. monthly wage.
The bargemen soon began to test him, as they tested his predecessor.
In May 1829 Wm. Westell was reprimanded for gross misconduct towards him; and tendered an apology which was posted at the lock.
In August 1837 a suggestion was made to let the tolls here at public auction, as had been done upstream; but no action was taken.
Lord Orkney owned the weir in 1846.
In 1849 the barge Susanna continued here her upstream successes.
Three barges reached Maidenhead in one week of February in this year with a total of 150 tons of merchandise.
In June 1850 Clifton Davy was appointed keeper; I do not learn what became of Lucas.
In 1853, for the usual reason, wages were reduced here from £39 to £36 annually.
Next year Davy was deprived of the whole of his pay, but was retained on the conditions described at the higher locks.
He still had charge under the Conservancy in October 1866, with 52s. monthly; but was discharged for incivility in September 1868.
S. Crampton succeeded him in October; being transferred to Shiplake exactly four years later as a penalty for accepting tolls without giving a receipt.
Jas. Saunders, presumably his successor, was dismissed for intemperance in November 1873; and the next keeper named is J. W. Moy in April 1876.
He resigned in June; and was followed by H. Cordrey: a descendant perhaps of the family that served the River nearly a century earlier at Temple, Hurley, and elsewhere.
He was transferred to Iffley in the autumn of 1878; and Moy was re-engaged, being sent to Cleeve in September 1881.
W. H. Turner was brought thence as his successor here; and received special commendation in the following April for saving a boy's life: an act of courage he often repeated.
In February 1888 the Conservancy ordered the provision of a "boat launch" here: doubtless the familiar rollers.
In 1899 the iron railing was placed round the lock to release it from the crowding attentions of the public.
Harrison succeeded Turner about 1905, and was still here in 1919.
It was decided in 1909 that the Conservancy should acquire Ray Mill island for the purposes of a new lock, a boat conveyor, and other improvements: all of which were duly installed.

Ray Mill Boulter's Lock 1912
Ray Mill, Boulter's Lock. 1912

I roamed and dreamed over Ray Mill close one day of March in 1912, while these new works were in progress; and discerned before it was too late what a little kingdom the island once formed for the soul and the hand of a man.
At the lower end was his material living, the mill: busy enough in old centuries when England was wise to feed herself; and close by stood his home.
Here lay all his intercourse with the outer world.
Within lay secluded what an earthly paradise, surrounded with living Thames!
Still I beheld shady undulating alleys leading by little bridges across artificial brooks; still ancient barns and bowers of honeysuckle and clematis; still tiny sandy capes and bays where, a long lifetime ago, you might have sat golden hours and watched the last Thames salmon leap below the weir.
Above the garden extends a triangular meadow, narrowing to the weir; which continues northward in its curve at least six centuries old.
On the right main Thames flows down in tumbling foam, muttering of the sea, huddling along as though already late.
Across the foam is Taplow warborough island and then the Taplow millstream; all backed by Taplow hill: the Mai dun which gives the town its title.
On the left runs the Ray millstream; beyond which is the lock island and the cut.
A memory of Boulter's this which compensates for all the alien things of Maidenhead.


Maidenhead Bridge dates from at least 1297, when it was "almost broke down."
It was then of timber.
Pontage of one penny on all passing laden vessels was granted in 1337 for six years.
In 1376 watermen were complaining of a later, similar levy: it has always seemed to me one of the minor ironies of our planet that water traffic should be compelled to contribute towards the maintenance of obstructions to its conduct.
A further grant in 1400 provides that the repairs of the bridge shall be performed under the supervision of the prior of Bisham.
In 1423 Bishop Chandler granted a commission to examine Rd. Ludlow, a candidate to become hermit at the foot of Maidenhead Bridge.
Thomas Mettyngham, chaplain of the chantry in the chapel of St. Andrew and St. Mary Magdalene, Maydenhith, recites in 1452, in addition to certain clerical necessities, that
"divers lieges of the King cannot cross without peril at certain times of the year through floods and the weakness of the bridge."
He was allowed, with others, to acquire lands, rents and possessions up to the value of ten marks a year for maintenance and repairs; he was also granted pontage
"for ever ... and the whole water under the bridge and for fifty feet on either side thereof on either bank with the soil and fishery thereof."
It would be interesting to learn the subsequent history, and the circumstances of the alienation, of this grant.
The chapel named is of the same dedication as the parish church of Maidenhead: the two are perhaps identical.
Leland notes, about 1530:
"Maidenhead Bridge of Tymbre. Ther is great Warfeage of Timbre and tier Wood on the West Ende of the Bridge, & this Wood cummith out of Barkshir."
An inquiry was held in 1577 as to whether the whole River from bank to bank, or only to the usual central line, belonged to the royal manor of Bray.
(The grant to Mettyngham, described above, is an interesting commentary on this dispute.)
Several half-stream witnesses deposed that within their memory of about sixty years and up till that day the Taplow procession had proceeded to the middle of Maidenhead Bridge;
"and that there was a gospell said there then by the curate of Taplow."
The whole River deponents did not rebut this evidence; but declared that the Bray procession always
"came over Maidenhed Bridge to the farther post of the same on Bucksyde";
thus claiming the full width of the stream.
This evidence may be compared with that of a later date at Cookham Bridge above.
It was further deposed that the bridge at this period was wholly maintained by the town of Maidenhead; and that about half a century earlier there had been a flashlock and weir on the [right] bank between the bridge and "Amarsden Ashe."
The exact site does not appear; it may be identical with the stop John Taylor records below the bridge.
Through the influence of a "Commission of Scowers" it had been "pluckt up"; one witness had helped demolish it, and another had bought some of its timber.
But it might very easily have cropped up again by Taylor's time.
A Plum eyte is alluded to.

On 24 June 1680 I note a refund to Captain John Streat of the sum of £4 6s. 8d. for boat hire for the conveyance of soldiers of the Coldstream regiment from Maidenhead to London.
Under James II the tolls by water, as well as by road, were appropriated towards the maintenance of the bridge; timber also was granted from Windsor forest.
The bridge was fortified in 1688 against William of Orange.
On 16 October 1695 an inquiry relative to the tolls beneath the bridge was held on behalf of the Attorney-General at the relation of Maidenhead Corporation; the defendants being Ralph Rose, Robert Douglas, and Edward Wilder.
(The last name is still prominent in the neighbourhood ; the second is strange to me locally; the first I get as recently as 1869 as a boatowner by the bridge.
It is indeed a frequent Riverside name, occurring in at least six distinct districts: here; at Rose Island, Kennington, doubtless from an owner or tenant; at Shifford; at Marlow; at Spade Oak; and a Rose once owned Hardwicke House.)
The deponents' names were Alday, Allen, Beach, Buckle, Hale, Harbert, Hollis, Lane, Mew, Nash, Norton, Perry, and Nicholas Rose.
Some of them declared that the bridge had always within living memory been repaired by the Corporation out of the road and water tolls, and that there were no "lands tenements or revenues", beyond the tolls, devoted to its maintenance.
Nothing, it is notable, was now remembered of the Mettyngham revenues authorised in 1452.
For the Corporation it was also noted that vessels paid at Windsor Bridge 6d. and at Staines Bridge 7d. "a ffare";
that vessels were being built much longer and broader than ever before, and were therefore more likely to damage the bridge; that about thirty years earlier an attempt had been made to stop barges proceeding before paying toll
"by setting upp a Legg or post to stop them" (Harbert said "2 Leggs"); and that the bargemen had broken them.
The bridge had been viewed that very day and found to be decayed and ruinous, chiefly
"in the Barge peer and the piles next adjoining, six of the largest piles being broaken Clift and tore" through collision of barges: an incident which several deponents had frequently witnessed.
The cost of repair was expected to be nearly £200.
It was further stated that the bridge was almost indispensable to the barges; last time it had been closed for repair the ferrying over of horses cost sixpence per vessel.

A note of the volume of contemporary traffic is given:
Wilder between 1 April 1699 (sic, ? 1694) and the last of April 1694 had passed 65 "ffares" under the bridge, Douglas 160, and Rose 211.
I imagine "ffares" denotes passages.
Their vessels were usually laden "above the whale" with timber, meal, malt or "billett."
About fourteen years earlier some £800 or £900 had been expended "about the new building of the bridge"; of which over £100 was said to be still owing by the trust.
For the defendant bargemasters it was declared that the Thames had been "creditably" stated to have been a navigable river before the building of the bridge.
Allen swore that the bridge was no benefit but a great let and hindrance to the barges, causing them to stop and strike their masts and sails; and that it was his own father, a Reading bargemaster, who had had the Legg broken down "and flung into the Thames"; the subsequent suit against him being dropped.
That the bridge trust made profits out of the road traffic large enough to maintain it, without any assistance from the barge trade being necessary.
This concludes the interest of these depositions.
None of the numerous authorities from which I compiled the Table of Tolls in my General History mentions this bridge; and I therefore presume that any charge ever levied was of a quite temporary character.
I fully agree with Stephen Darby that the true derivation of the name Maidenhead is the Celtic Mai dun, the great hill (of Taplow), added to the later and Saxon hythe: the wharf at the great hill.
Ogilby's Travellers' Guide of 1699 says:
"Maidenhead has a Key to which Barges come from London."
From the Treasury Papers I learn that in May 1714 the bridgemasters stated that the oaks they were entitled to by charter out of the manors of Bray and Cookham for repair of the bridge were of little value; and that the road tolls were much diminished through the free bridge built at Datchet eight years earlier.
Maidenhead Bridge had become ruinous and dangerous; and they sought a grant of further "pollard and dotard" timber.
In 1732 and 1733 further similar petitions, with subsequent grants, occur in these Papers.
The Bill for constructing the present bridge was passed in 1772; but the old one was still in use in 1776.
In P. Oliver's MS. notes of tours in England he writes on 30 August this year:
"A long wooden Bridge, with a Priviledge annex'd to it of cutting 3 Trees, annually, from the King's Forest, to repair it; but a Rod {5½ yards} or two above it, upstream, is now building a very grand free Stone Bridge of 13 Arches in Imitation of Westminster Bridge, which will have a striking effect, and it is said will cost £25,000."
Sir Robert Taylor was the architect.
In 1792 a roller was provided "to keep the Barge line" from fouling the bridge.
In June 1860 this "role" was renewed.


{ On the site of the eel bucks is now a cast iron footbridge with limited headroom ]

Eelbucks, probably quite modern, possibly derived from the stop noted below the bridge by John Taylor in 1632, obstruct the [left] bank channel just above the railway bridge.
They are a great evil but in spite of much litigation and private effort have been successfully maintained since about 1860, I believe.
Much interesting and amusing evidence on the subject was given before a Select Committee about 1884 by a Mr. Layard.


In August 1836 the Commissioners had much difficulty in procuring from the Great Western Railway that the barge channel and towpath should pass under one and the same arch of the new bridge.
In October Brunel agreed to form two of the proposed arches on the [right] bank into one, resulting in the present magnificent span.
Lipscomb's Buckinghamshire of 1847 exclaims to the reader
"that this beautiful outline is wholly formed of insignificant little bricks, each course of which on this enormous span has not only to carry its own weight, but its proportion of the road and the train.
When he considers the strains to which these materials are exposed, and remembers that they are subject to a pressure that must approach very nearly to the extreme limit of cohesion, he will sufiiciently appreciate the courage and the capacity which have approached so near to the verge of possibility without transgressing its bounds."

The bridge cost £37,000.


[ Nothing here now except Bray Slipway. Not to be confused with the weir at Bray Lock ]

A Weir, to which I do not find any distinctive title attached, crossed the right bank channel between the bank and the head of Headpile ait just below the George at Bray.
A weir mentioned in 1328 called Braibrok, occupied by Richard atte Lok of Bray under the Crown at a rental of five marks, may be identical.
In 1672 I note a
"certaine weare between Olde Field and Amarsden Ash,"
and Rennie in 1794 mentions Lovegrove's fishing bucks below Boulter's: these also may both allude to the same obstruction.
Nothing is now to be seen of it.
Repairs were allowed by the Conservancy in January 1882.
The bucks appear in Bacon's undated three section River map; and in Select Committee evidence in 1884 it was stated that there was no difficulty in getting through them.
Leslie has a studied drawing in 1881; and Krausse a rough sketch in 1889.
I think they disappeared finally about this date; the Bray miller, Mr. Eggleton, told me in 1909 that they had been gone about twenty years.
A ford is conjectured to have preceded the ferry here; on the same trajectory as the latter.
I discovered in the Public Record Ofiice a plan of 1640 of the River between Maidenhead Bridge and Surley Hall, drawn in connexion with another of the numerous fishery cases connected with the royal manor of Bray.
Following is a note of the place names mentioned therein, all but one on the right bank, beginning at the bridge:
Olde Field, Gaston ayt and meadow, Bray church, Headpyle ayt, an ait unnamed, Felling ayt, Mille ayt, an ait just above the mill (possibly the present lock island), Bray mill, Coney-gray ayt (on the [right] bank opposite the mill), Burnham ayt (below the mill, probably Monkey island, aide Kerry's Bray), Cherry ayt with a house, Spratwell and Queens ayts, Oakley village and "in," Page's tymbre wharfe, Cowley ayt, the bourne (probably the brook from the Great Park), Ware house ayt, Bullocks hatch, Bullocks ayt, and Ruddles Poole (where "Windsor way" adjoins the Riverside above Surley).
"Burnamware" is noted in 1366 as a shipping place of wheat for export.
The unnamed ait next to Headpyle in the above list may be what is to-day called Orchard ait.
Sawkins Bridge is in this immediate neighbourhood; I do not personally know this landmark.


Bray Lock is the highest, though not the earliest, of the locks built below Maidenhead Bridge after the prohibiting clause in the Act of 1770 had been repealed.
Water pens always of necessity existed here in connexion with the prae-Domesday mill; John Taylor notes three in 1632.
The mill is called Level's paper mill by Brindley in 1770; in 1794 it is styled Lavender's, for corn; "of little value" according to Rennie.
The first definite suggestion of a navigation station here was put forward in June 1833, to consist of "a pair of gates withinside of Parting Eyot" (the charming old name of the lock island), with a weir "across the present channel."
This would constitute, it was thought, "a most important improvement to the navigation for 2 or 3 miles above."
It appears from an allusion in 1840 that the navigation channel was at that date the present weir stream; and that barges were towed from the [right] bank, their lines sweeping the intervening island.
Nothing appears to have resulted from this suggestion; and in July 1843 the necessity of a "moveable weir" at Bray was again mentioned,
"the fall between Maidenhead Bridge and Boveney being very great, the shallows very frequent, and the current very strong."
After much negotiation Mr. Lewis of Bray mill had been induced to promise £300 towards the scheme, in consideration of the great assistance it would afford to his business.
A lockhouse was built on "Parton" ait in 1844; and a lock "without sides" was installed during the following year.
The earliest keeper named is Jas. Fenemore; in 1854 his wages were reduced from 3 gs. monthly to 47s.
In 1865 the lock is described as used only at low water times, being left open when the River was full.
The strong current was again alluded to; you may still discover it for yourself both above and below the lock.
Fenemore, perhaps father of Henry at Bell Weir, still had charge, at 52s. monthly, when the Conservancy took control in October 1866.
He resigned in the following September "owing to old age and infirmity."
It was ordered at this time that no tolls should be taken when the lock gates were open at both ends in high water periods.
Chas. Roberts was keeper in October 1872; he is possibly the "old Charley" referred to by Leslie as a favourite of Fred. Walker, the painter.
Jas. or Chas. "Robinson" (probably Roberts) was dismissed in January 1879, and succeeded by Ralph Lewis.
The latter died in April 1880, and was followed by J. Croft: transferred almost immediately to Boveney.
In September 1881 Chainey, the keeper here, and Morris of Cookham were exchanged.
Sides were added to the lock before 1877; in which year the works were stated to be a great obstruction to floods.
An old man named Simon, "or an old woman", is alleged unofficially to have been in charge at this period.
I cannot identify him, or her.
In March 1883 the Conservancy declined to reconstruct the tumbling bay to allow of barges passing it in flood time.
The lock and Weir were both rebuilt in or about 1885.
Dickens describes the former as "a rotten and dangerous structure" before it was remade; the fall at this date seems to have been "only a few inches".
E. Morris died in March 1894; and was succeeded by W. F. Morris.
No relationship is stated.
Camden states in 1720:
"There was formerly a {flash} lock between Bray and Ammerden, which was taken up by Virtue of a Commission of Sewers in 1622: then in possession of Sir Thomas Mansfield."
This is very probably the Headpile Ait weir written of above.
W. F. Morris was still here in 1919.


Amerden Bank: The high bank on the [right bank] below the lock, was from at least 1770 for long a vexatious thorn in the Commissioners' sides.
From a much earlier date the riparian owner, Murrough O'Brien, of whom I wrote at Boulter's, often "in Ireland" as you may expect, claimed the right of supplying horses and performing the towing for his own profit along this stretch of path.
In 1771 the Commissioners allowed him "the preference" in the matter; discovering almost immediately that they had no legal authority so to do.
They next erected and maintained "a close Oaken fence six feet high" to defend farmer Lucas's property, held from O'Brien, from the new public towpath; and granted, and immediately cancelled, a towing contract to O'Brien and one Grover for the whole eight miles (as they called it) between Windsor Bridge and Boulter's lock.
O'Brien got into a Celtic mood a little later; and in January 1774 the Commissioners advised him that they were ready to quit the horse towpath; having decided, until a parallel track could be raised upon the River bed, that a barge should lie by to convey the horses past his property.
I find nothing further until 1789, when a note in the Treacher Papers states that Aldridge, farmer at Amerden, was then exercising an exclusive right to tow up to Boulter's; and charged even if the barge men did the work themselves.
In 1790 the Commissioners repeated their resolve that a ferryboat should lie off Amerden Farm garden with a lineman and tackle aboard to convey the horses past the property and land them on "the Commissioners' eyot": I imagine Parting Eyot, now Bray lock island.
O'Brien was now become Lord Inchiquin; and the quarrel became more acute: a roller to help the barges up, which had been established below the property, was "cut down in the Night"; and a reward of ten guineas was offered for information.
A man named Neighbour, possibly an ancestor of the Twickenham family, was now providing horses and performing the towing; and his charges were much complained of.
It was ordered that in future he should be paid only 13s. for hauling a "Single Newbury Siz'd Barge", not exceeding 128 tons, from Amerden Ash to Boulter's; and for other craft in proportion.
A Newbury barge was 109 ft. long, 17 ft. wide, and drew 3ft. 10in. of water.
(I will not refrain from remarking how often ash trees figure as landmarks: was not an ash famous in one of Alfred's battles; and did not Offa's castle on Wytham hill stand hard by an ancient ash? There is a Walter's Ash out in the Wycombe country.)
A tourpath built on the River bed was again decided upon to enable any one to tow, as Neighbour very often had no horses ready for hours after barges arrived.

The bargemasters now remained fairly quiet until 1808, when
"great inconveniences, obstructions and delays and increased expences" were again bitterly complained of.
The Commissioners roused themselves so far as to offer £800 for a strip of land for a towpath from the Moat farm to Maidenhead Bridge, but it was not accepted; and the often threatened track in the River bed had never been realised.
In December, therefore, they decided to summon a valuing jury; but Lord Orkney, formerly Inchiquin, and Lady Kirkwall, now the offenders, forestalled them with profuse promises of reformation; and once more the guardians of the public rights allowed themselves, in this case I think very culpably, to be cozened out of their just procedure.
I find notes of precisely similar complaints, and promises of amendment, in 1821 and again in 1843: always delays in providing horses and general abuse of the monopoly.
And the Commissioners fulfilled their doom without having procured any permanent remedy of the grievance.
After a long silence the old trouble reappears in the later records: in July 1874 Lord Ruthven complained to the Conservancy that Mr. Cross of Amerden Bank farm had obstructed him while towing along the path.
A belated and oracular reply was given him in November that Mr. Cross
"has a long time exercised the right he claims to the towing path at Amerden".
A similar inquiry, concerning Mr. Cross's claim to a monopoly of the towing up to Boulter's Lock, reached the Authority from a Newbury bargemaster in May 1876; and after a long century of recorded struggle only a similar answer could be furnished.
In 1672 I get the name Foster's Water applied to the stretch of River below this point.



Contemplating severally the two syllables of this name I should be extremely glad to succeed in establishing its derivation from ownership by one of the neighbouring monastic establishments, probably Burnham; rather than from the animals painted upon a ceiling of the house upon it; as is usually, and I think fantastically, accepted.
Monks-ea, Monk-ey, is a tempting, scientific, and locally probable metamorphosis.
Unhappily I can find no corroborative evidence.
In the Burnham parish register, early seventeenth century, there is a reference to an
"Island commonly called Linings Eyte, with Water in the River Thames, commonly called Chapel Water, let for £3 10s. per annum, towards the reparation of Boveney Chapel".
This ait may be identical with Burnham Ayt mentioned just above, or with Lady Capel's ait mentioned below at Boveney; but in neither case does it help me with the Monkey.
Monkey island may be the same as Burnham ayt (as already suggested) or Cherry ayt in the plan of 1640 just described.
It is called the "Duke of Marlborough's island" in an undated print of I suppose about a century later; and "the Duke's Island" as late as 1823 and 1842.
I cling hard however, to my conjecture; it is a trial of faith.
In this handsome print five passengers are being sculled upstream by two watermen.
The craft has the awning then customary on well appointed boats, like rich men's launches of to-day.
The present channel on the [right] bank was dredged and deepened about 1775.

Map Queens Ait to Albert Bridge Datchet


The left bank channel was improved here about 1775.
I get Shooter's Bucks, with a "wattled hedge," named in 1794 and 1816, below the island; clearly distinguished from the Clewer Stream and Gill's Bucks.
They may be perhaps identical with the stop John Taylor notes at Water Oakley in 1632; in some Conservancy plans they are marked at three furlongs above Surley Hall.
In August 1841 a 'weir and gates' were suggested at or near this island, as an alternative to Bray look not yet resolved upon.
When the Surley Hall inn was vacated in 1899 this and part of Monkey island took its place as houses of call for the Eton boys; and have for their purposes been considerably trimmed and built upon.
I well remember in the middle 'nineties [1890s] two or three long and dense reed clumps extending downstream from the tail of this island.
If you were navigating down the [left] bank there was some difficulty in passing these clumps, and the succeeding shoal, into the main stream again.
I believe they are now cleared away.
Down this [left] channel I was attacked in the summer of 1910 by a particularly vicious swan, which I had much difiiculty in keeping out of my boat.


A Weir, probably a mere fishery hedge or kidel, is noted in Brindley's map of 1770 on the [left] bank about half a mile above Surley Hall: possibly identical with the weir of Ware House Ayt mentioned above.


In the summer of 1874 a telegraph wire was stretched across the River from Oakley Court, so low as to annoy barges.
It was ordered to be raised to a height of thirty feet.
The familiar waterwheel on the bank here was sanctioned in November 1875.
In the middle 'nineties, when I first began to scull up here, the weeds extended thickly every summer a third across the stream from each bank, between Surley Hall and Queen's Ait; leaving a very narrow navigable channel.
Launches were commonly supposed to slow down in this reach; which just as commonly they de more failed to do.


[ Surley Hall was to the south of the entry into the Racecourse marina, next to Sutherland Grange. OS 1896 sheet 269. ]

The well remembered inn here was closed by the Duchess of Sutherland in 1899; and entirely removed in the autumn of 1901.
In earlier years it was accommodated with a chain ferry, which the innkeeper had leave to instal in January 1886; the boat to be kept on the hotel bank.
I get some local meadow names in 1827: Mouseham's, or Mowsham's, arable; and the Paddock, or Mouseham's Meadow.
They appear to be on the [right] bank.


Hall states that a Very ancient fishery existed here "at least from 1201".
In a City of London Letter Book under the date 1375 an indenture is mentioned between certain timber merchants of London and John Baddeby of "Tappleawe".
The occasion was the claim of toll by the latter on all vessels passing his "loke" called Baddebyesloke: disputed by the merchants.
Riley's Memorials identifies this flashlock with Boveney; but alleges no evidence.
A lease of 1535 mentions a "lock and weir of Boveney and Tyrryshaw".
This probable indication of a navigation flashlock here is evidence that the absence of these impediments below Maidenhead, mentioned at Boulter's, was not of very ancient duration.
It is probable that this "lock" of 1535 is identical with Gill's Bucks, so frequently alluded to when the poundlock here was first discussed.
The earliest occurrence of this name known to me is in Brindley's map of 1770, which places the bucks about ¾ mile below Surley Hall; though John Taylor may in 1632 have intended them in his couplet quoted on page 97 of my General History:

Near Boveney church a dangerous stop is found
On which five passengers were lately drowned.

During several years I interested myself and bored very many people in an endeavour to obtain first hand information about, and exactly to locate, "Tom Gill's bucks at Boveney chapel", as they were called in 1834.
And it was not till I lit upon two plans of 1820 in the invaluable Treacher Papers that I definitely ascertained their situation.
They crossed the stream immediately in front of the cottage on the [left] bank below the lock.
This cottage was occupied, when I first knew it, by one Pilgrim; who in 1915 and earlier was in charge of Queen's Ait for Eton College.
These two plans were draughted in connexion with a proposed cut and lock to be established southward of the main River, in place of the northward scheme actually realised.
The earlier of the two is dated 24 and 25 May; and sketches a cut leaving the Thames at the bucks, and rejoining it just above the mouth of the Clewer millstream.
The lock is marked at the tail of the cut.
Gill's Bucks are shewn about 500 yards below Boveney chapel, at the head of an ait close to the Berkshire bank; and were to be transformed into the official weir.
The other plan is dated 22 June; and was surveyed, like the first, by John Treacher and Zachary Allnutt.
It sketches a longer cut: from Surley Hall to the same terminal point as in the first plan.
It started along the head of the millstream; but left it where the latter diverges southward.
Gill's Bucks are indicated at the same spot as before; but the ofiicial weir is suggested to stand in this case at the head of Bush ait marked on my Map XX.
On this plan is sketched in pencil, as an alternative, the northward scheme, much as we know it, but cutting off a larger arc.
Bush ait is named in Selwyn's Eton 1829-30.
Neither of these plans shews the cottage.
A third sketch, undated, illustrates a proposal for a cut across Boveney point, with a lock in it, and a weir exactly as in the June plan.

CLEWER WEIR is named on the June plan.
It was a long fishery hedge extending upward from the head of Bush ait and terminating almost Opposite Surley Hall.
In 1814 it was considered "unsafe for downward barges, and ought to be remove".
In August 1821 I find a suggestion that
"the top of the weir hedge below Surly should be taken off 30 ft".
And Selwyn's Eton 1829-30 remarks:
"There is a long weir very near Surly Hall connected with the island that ends there; and there is a strong stream."
Fortified with all this information I revisited the scene in January 1916.
I found that a narrow channel runs behind the cottage, forming a little island doubtless identical with the "ait close to the Berkshire bank" of the Treacher Papers.
And Kemp the lockkeeper confirmed What he had already told me in 1913: that at low water times, opposite this cottage, old stumps of piles can be discerned beneath the surface, off the left bank: indubitably the northern end of the framework of the long forgotten Gill's Bucks.
I learnt immediately after this visit that the cottage is known as Poison Ducks: a soubriquet I discuss at Medmenham.
It is attached to an old fishing weir in each case.
There had been, in a report of 1780, a movement in favour of a poundlock here previous to the period of the Treacher surveys.
It was stated at that date that
"the navigation here is very difficult owing to the sharp turns of the River; so that it woud be of great advantage coud it be eas'd by a Lock and a cut through a more direct Channell."
Then come the plans described above; and some years after, in 1827, a poundlock was ordered to be built in a cut through the point opposite Surley Hall; on the Boveney bank, to wit.
The Weir was to cross above The Willows.
Further delays however intervened; and not till February 1836 did the Commissioners begin seriously to consider the various schemes laid before them.
A pair of low gates were suggested at Gill's Bucks, probably similar to what you may see to-day at King's Weir; and
"when the water was high enough the River to be thrown open nearly as at present", which would prevent "the pernicious practice of flashing".
In May the present scheme was confirmed; though meanwhile it had again been almost decided to cut through the point opposite Surley Hall: an idea frustrated by its interference with the landowner's grounds; and also, one may hope, by its too close intrusion upon the wonderful little chapel of Boveney.
The Treacher plans appear to indicate that the present lock island was always an island.
The lock cut was probably engineered along the creek north of it, marked in the plans, which insulated it.
The title "Lady Capel's ait" seems to be attached to it, in them: was there a Lady Capel; or is Lady Chapel meant: Boveney chapel, to wit?
It may be identical with the Linings Eyte mentioned under Monkey island.
The cost of the original timber poundlock was £2877, and of the weir £1053.
The latter was
"shut in for the first time on November 17, 1838; and the cut and poundlock opened at 11.0 am. 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.
Tolls were taken for the first time on Tuesday morning, November 20, of Mr. Gibbons Boat of Marlow."

In October 1838 Jas. Duckett was appointed to the lock "now about to be opened", at 4 gs. monthly, "exclusive of all perquisites".
In December 1845 the pleasure tolls were ordered to be surrendered to the collector, following precedent upstream.
At this date John Stone became keeper, receiving in February 1847 the sum of £7 for his trouble in collecting the pleasure tolls; though he had just been reprimanded for not properly accounting for them.
He may have been transferred hither from Sonning.
In June of this year the lock sides were boarded up.
In September 1848 the weir was found, through Stone's negligence, in a deplorable condition, scarcely any of the tackle being in place.
In December 1849 his widow received £10 for his collection, while still alive, of the pleasure tolls.
Rd. Coster was the next keeper; and a man of the same name, perhaps a son, was appointed in February 1857.
The monthly wage was reduced in 1854 from 4 gs. to £3.
Wm. Coster was keeper under the new Consenvancy in 1866; and was "cautioned as to the account of pleasure tolls".
Three of this family name were at this date in charge of locks: here, at Marlow, and at Temple.
In May 1871 the Conservancy agreed to accept £35 as an annual composition for the Eton boys' use of the look.
In 1916 it had risen to about £60.
Coster resigned in November 1875; and was succeeded by Hy. Poppy; who was ordered to Teddington in April 1877, but declined to go.
In July 1881 J. Croft is named as keeper; I well remember the burly old man in the middle 'nineties [1890s].
He had been a navy bo'sun; and sold you little shilling autobiographies at Sixpence apiece, my copy of which is unhappily missing.
He came hither from Bray.
Armstrong in 1886 notes a fall at the lock of "little short of four feet."
A temporary boatslide was erected in 1895, pending the rebuilding of the lock early in 1898 alongside the old pound, which stood on the site of the present rollers.
These were built immediately after the new lock.
In March of this year Croft was fined for selling home made wine without a licence.
Little Mr. Kemp, who succeeded the bo'sun, effected his seventeenth rescue from the River on 20 November 1911.
The weir was rebuilt about 1913.
Kemp was still here in 1919.
The name of the station appears as Abovenhythe in 1255.
About Boveney chapel the main current swings away from the left bank down to the weir; and in flood time a veritable maelstrom 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 not being 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.


[ Athens is on the OS map of 1881 so the name clearly predates the gift ]

By the gift of Mr. H. Baker, of Almondsbury, Bristol, the little mound called Athens, on the [right] bank below the lock, became in 1918
"the property of Eton College in perpetuity as a bathing place."
The gift was made
"in memory of his son John, who was killed in a flying accident" in the summer of 1917.
The spot has long been used for this purpose by the college.


South Hope is, in Brindley's survey of 1770, given the alternative title of Winding Shore: the fond original of Windsor.
The name Windsor is properly divisible, as to its syllables, into Winds-or, not Wind-sor: the -or meaning a high bank, as in numerous other English place names.


As already hinted, the Commissioners were always very anxious to build a lock in this channel.
The scheme was actively discussed in 1792, as it had been, somewhat vaguely, in 1780; the site suggested being close to the mill.
After another motion in May 1819 for a "side cut with a poundlock" between Gill's Bucks and Clewer (doubtless connected with the Treacher plans above mentioned) the scheme was dropped in favour of a site near Boveney.


The placing of a lock in this little stream was another suggestion preliminary to the decision for Boveney.
It leaves the River on the [right] bank just below Athens, the Eton bathing place; and re-enters just above the railway bridge, cutting off two sharp bends of the main stream.
The site was discussed about 1793-5, simultaneously with Romney.
According to Selwyn's Eton 1829-30, the towpath bridges over the twin re-entries of this stream were called the Upper, and Lower, Bargeman's Bridge.



Great Western Railway Bridge.


{ [Right] bank above Windsor Bridge ]

This place name appears to denote a wood near a castle, or a home covert.
It may be a corruption of Brockhurst.
It is not uncommon; another instance of its use occurs near Bordon in Hampshire.

Windsor Bridge Painting by Thos. Sandby (1746-1798)
Windsor (old) Painting by Thos. Sandby (1746-1798)


Windsor possesses a long history connected with the navigation.
In 1172 Osbert de Bray, "fermer" of Windsor, accounted for £4 6s. 6d. derived from toll levied on vessels passing under the bridge.
It is noteworthy that this reference antedates by half a century the age attributed to any other bridge in this volume.
In 1236 five oaks were granted from Windsor Forest as maeremium for its repair.
(This word occurs in the Henley history also; it appears to be a sort of corruption of materiamen a mediaeval Latin term meaning building timber.)
In 1313 letters patent issued for the collection of the royal dues on vessels passing beneath the bridge; and similar orders occur later.
In 1367 the freight of coal between London and Windsor is noted at 1s. per chaldron.
Watermen complained in 1376 of the exactions at this, as well as at Staines and Maidenhead bridges.
In 1443 Eton college was granted free passage over and under the bridge.
In May 1649 the Council of State gave twenty trees as timber for its repair.
Some forty trees were ordered in February 1674 for the same purpose; but were countermanded in April, as it was found that the town had contracted to repair the bridge at its own charge.
Daniell King's rough impressions of various bridges, of about 1660, include one of Windsor; Buck's more elaborate end-on view of 1733 confirms the general idea; and my photograph of Streatley Bridge displays a strong family resemblance.
John Kip's view of the castle in 1707 is interesting in its navigation details.
It comprises the stretch of River from the bridge upwards, I imagine, to about where Jacobs's boathouse now stands.
A barge is towing up; its six horses are wading through the water against the [left] bank, and not against the Eton, or [right], bank, as they would to-day.
They have just passed the ferry; the wash of their hoofs is very realistic.
The driver rides the foremost horse; and is turning to whip up those behind.
There is a puzzling detail; a long island stretches along the Brocas bank, with a narrow channel between.
Collier's map of 1742 confirms this island: now apparently mainly dredged away or joined to the meadow.
I do not think it was meant for Fireworks Ait. In part of a parish map of 1798 in Selwyn's Greek Eton in 1829-30 it is called Cooper's Ait; and the islands above it, against the right bank, Farm Ait and Snap Ait; or variously Deadwater Eyots.
The latter name still survives; Taunt uses it in 1871.
An alternative title was Ackerman's, derived from a former tenant.
Another view of the castle and town, by either J. or W. Kip, shews the extremity of the Cobler as a heap of large round cobble stones: whence perhaps the name.
An undated cut shews a team of twelve horses towing an upward barge with a lighter in tow.
A crew of three men is on the barge; and three others attend the team, one walking ahead, and the other two riding respectively the fourth and the ninth horses.
In September 1730 one Daniel Beaumont, starch maker, was prohibited from selling wine on a ship near the bridge on the Eton side, without a licence; the scholars of the college being enticed to spend their time in idleness on board the said vessel.
Beaumont was apparently refractory, in January 1743 I find him petitioning against his nine years' imprisonment in the Fleet and Aylesbury gaol.
The same record notes that in April 1737 the bridge was in danger of collapse.
In 1735 a toll of sixpence was levied on each downward barge for the repair of the bridge.
In a cut of 1742 of the east end of Eton college a team of three horses appears, towing a barge.
Four pleasure boats also, of various builds, are introduced; containing in all twelve passengers in addition to watermen.
In 1769 an Act passed, reciting inter alia that the passage of his Majesty King George III's subjects along Thames Street, Windsor, was jeopardised by horses and men using and encumbering it while engaged in hauling barges upstream.
It was therefore enacted that in future such offenders should forfeit one horse, "with all geers, halters, and accoutrements"; and be further liable to a penalty of forty shillings.

In the same year [1769]
"a Winch or Engine was erected at or near Windsor bridge for the purpose of bringing the Barges up to the said Bridge.
The Barges could not be got up without the use of this Winch or Engine until the making the new cut and poundlock at Romney."

Now I discover no formal description of the contemporary procedure of the navigation at the bridge; but by piecing together disconnected statements by various observers I arrive at the following conjectural account.
The upper part of the present lock cut was in existence, but only as a conduit of water to the king's engine which supplied the castle with water.
The upward barges approached up the [left] bank of the present main (weir) stream, in which there was then no weir, and having arrived at the head of the Cobler, then much more nearly impinging upon the bridge, the horses were made to plunge into the water, still bearing the towlines, ford or swim across the head of the king's conduit, and land on the [left] bank just below the bridge.
The lines were then connected with the winch or roller above mentioned; and the horses hauled back again downstream, thus drawing the barges up to the bridge.
The charge for the use of this winch appears to have been originally 1s.; Bowen notes 6d. in 1775, Mylne in 1791 15. 6d.
The latter writes in 1793:
"The whole of the River Waters, in time of Floods is forced through Windsor Bridge; which, altho' 165 feet long, only, is incroached upon, by Piles, Projections, and Rubbish on the Shores, at both ends of it. ...
And, as the clumsy Piles, which support this Scaffold, are many, much obstruction is created, and there is, but one opening fit for a Barge to pass {a very common drawback to the old timber bridges; of almost every one of them I find the expression used: "The navigable arc""}.
Two Rollers, &c. on the Wharf, are used, to bring the Craft up, to the said Wharf.
Of all the Dangerous, Disagreeable Manoeuvers, I ever saw in my Life, that is the foremost.
The Horses encumber the Street, and water side, and delay is given unnecessarily to every Vessel going thro' the Bridge, upwards, to a degree that entails a heavy expence in the Freight.
The length of three towing Lines must be put together at this Place; and are often snapp'd and rendered useless.
The Horses standing about in the Street, and ways adjoining, suffer in cold weather, to wait for their Exertions, detached, as the shifting of the Warps &c. require.
There should be made a Towing-bridge across the upper end of the King's stream, to carry the horses, free of the most terrible of all evils, that of plunging into this stream, in a cold Winter's day, at the time they are extremely hot, from a long Day's work; and having got through it, that of standing still in the Street and Road, waiting to finish their desultory work. ...
The general Contention among the Watermen, to forward their own Progress, through this scene of difficulty, generally happens on a Sunday forenoon.
For a Periodical and Customary Flash of water, let on, from the great Reservoir of Boulter's head of Water, late on Saturday night or early on sunday morning, comes down the River, in short Water Times, about noon, creates the means of passing Winsdor, and entails upon this place, all the confusion arising from Trade not belonging to it, in addition to its own."

Mylne therefore " sincerely recommends " a poundlock being built just below.
Such is the graphic witness of this humane engineer to life afloat very little more than a century ago.
When the new towpath was opened about 1771 up to Maidenhead Bridge a toll was levied of 1½d per ton on all barges passing beneath Windsor Bridge.
One Grover was the first collector of this toll; and after him, in 1772, a Windsor fisherman named Wiggenton was appointed, at an annual salary of £20.
In this same year Langley, a Marlow bargemaster, deposed that
"£14 a year used to be paid to Mr. Robert Cannons who kept Windsor Bridge, but they now pay 3s. 6d. per Voyage."
(I note a John Cannon ballasting in the neighbourhood in 1855.)
The Commissioners endeavoured to procure the fixing of a chain across the navigable arch to prevent bargemen evading the payment of this toll; and fastened a notice board on the piles of the bridge.
Not securing permission from the Corporation of Windsor for the chain they drove piles and fastened it thereto.
The toll, however, was revoked in September 1772.
W. Payne's View of the old bridge, published in 1790, is the most intimate I have seen; though all indication of the winch is disappointingly absent.
A semicircular wharf projects beneath the Windsor end, beside which two or three barges are lying, and several horses stand idly by.
Mylne's much desired lock got itself built, at Romney, in 1797; and in April 1798 the bridge went under repair; the Commissioners debating whether it would not be better for the barges "to make the navigable Arch nearer to Windsor": to the [left] bank, that is.

And now a long struggle began over the rights vested in the obsolete, disused winch; Slingsby, the owner or lessee, persisting in his claim to the dues he had been collecting from the barges since its erection in 1769; although now for a year or two they had easily made the bridge from Romney cut without its aid, and the bargemasters were refusing to pay.
Slingsby successfully pleaded the Act of 1770, under which trafiic diverted from the old flashlocks and winches was still to pay the o1d charges; and in spite of the egregious injustice his claim had to be met.
He was accordingly paid in October 1801 1s. each for 789 barges that during the past twelve months had passed his "Engine at Windsor Bridge" without using it: a sum, that is, of £39 gs.
And towards the end of many subsequent years he received a similar sum; expressly, perhaps in irony, "for the use of the wheel at Windsor Bridge": in 1802 £34, in 1803 £32, in 1804 £33, in 1805 £35, in 1806 £33, at Michaelmas 1807 £30.
In May 1808 his claim was again inquired into; and it was considered that he ought not to enforce it unless he kept the winch in good repair, and allowed barges to use it at need "without any expence."
It is not clear whether the Commissioners themselves paid his fees out of general revenue, or collected them from the traffic; sometimes I find them complaining of the loss, sometimes the bargemasters of having to pay.
I trace no payment in 1809; but in 1810 he received about £36.
He was not paid his 1811 allowance until Michaelmas 1812; and simultaneously the Corporation of Windsor presented the Commissioners with
"a Bill for the Wheel at Windsor Bridge for one year to Michaelmas 1812 for 753 Barges at one shilling = £37 13s 8d."
They had, I imagine, come to Slingsby's aid for the overdue amount.
The Commissioners' local surveyor was instructed again to inquire into the origin and the utility of the "wheel"; and in the result it was decided that the claim be no longer paid.
In June 1814 the town clerk of Windsor renewed his application; apparently without result.
In March 1819 the Bill for the new bridge came before Parliament; and Slingsby and his vested interest fell into the abyss.

Cooke describes the old bridge in 1811 as
"a tottering, ruinous, rotten old fabric."
The new bridge was building in December 1822.
The River bed at the site was said to be a quicksand.
At this date so fierce was the current through the new works that a pile was driven at the corner of the island above
"to let the Boats down through the Dams.
Two Stone Boats sunk at the Cobler; were not let down by the line but run at it, and finding no ground hold fell across the Cobler and sunk."

In a view from below of the "New Bridge at Windsor," published in 1828, the Cobler protrudes a formidable snout almost up to the bridge.
From a note of August 1799 I learn that Windsor barges,
"having but a small quantity of lading downward in general Navigate from thence to London empty, in order to freight upwards with Coals, etc."
During 1812 Mason owned 4 barges here; Jennings and Atkyns 2 each, plying on the River.
In 1817 the amount of tonnage "passing up the River to Windsor and its neighbourhood" from London was

Per Messrs. Mason's barges,7,661
Per Messrs. J. & R. Jennings'4,610
Mr. John Atkinson's1,520
nearly 40 tons daily 

These owners are evidently identical with those noted in 1812.
The prospectus mentioned at Oxford states that five barges with a total of 300 tons of merchandise reached Windsor in one week of February 1849.
In spite of railway competition the traffic seems to have been maintained very surprisingly since the record of 1817 just noted.
Ashton, in his Dawn of the Nineteenth Century, states that, at that period: "taking London Bridge as a centre, the longest journey up the river was to Windsor, and the fare was 14s. for the whole boat, or 2s. each person ... afterwards increased to 21s."
This agrees with a note in 1828: that the journey then cost 3s. per passenger.
In R. C. Dillon's account of the Lord Mayor's View of the River in the summer of 1826 (a little volume charming to the printer's eye), it is stated that the shallowness of the water above Windsor Bridge compelled the party to continue their downward journey in the Water Bailiff's boat.
In December 1837 a towpath bridge from the Cobler to the Windsor bank was being discussed.
I note a curious entry in the Commissioners' accounts for 1849:
"Received of the South Western Railway compensation for a Bridge from the Cobler to the Windsor side of the River: £400."
Is it possible that this towpath bridge was built; and that the L.S.W. Railway's new wharf and station rendered it useless?
Many people who use the River at Windsor have been at some time or other annoyed by the Eton youth.
I believe their occasional unpleasantness is due to their having a set of traffic rules quite at variance with ancient public custom.
Pierce Egan, in his Pilgrim of the Thames published in 1838, describes an even worse state of affairs than recently existed.
"A boat full of Eton boys, whom it should seem, were determined for a spree, rowed right against them, as if by accident, and instead of apologizing for their rude behaviour" began furiously to splash their unhappy victims with water and overwhelm them with abuse.
In March 1893 the Corporation of Windsor were claiming the bed and soil of the River from "Beck's Cross" above the bridge to "Abbott's Pile" below Tangier island.
Tangier mill, which stood on this island (otherwise known as Cutler's ait), on the [right] bank between the bridge and the weir, was pulled down in 1899; two turbines being installed in its place.


Romney Lock was built, after nearly a quarter of a century of hesitation, in 1797: the first below Boulter's.
The choice of a site, as well as the question of a lock at all, was the subject of long debate.
In November 1774 a poundlock was decided upon immediately above Windsor Bridge, at Fireworks Ait opposite Winter's.
It was expected not only to improve the navigable depth, but to protect the bridge from the frequent fouling of its piers by the barges.
The toll was settled at 2d. per ton, and when it was opened the toll at Boulter's was to be reduced to the same figure.
Materials and tools were actually collected; but the scheme fell through owing to intense local hostility.
At the "towing path called Rumley's" in 1787 Slingsby, owner or tenant thereof, and doubtless identical with the winch owner just discussed, offered to reduce the charge for passing over his land from 2s. 6d. to 1s. 9d. per team.
The lock question was revived at the end of 1795, and Slingsby was required to put the towpath at "the Romneys" into good repair.
By December 1796 it had been decided that the keeper's wages should be 15s. weekly,
"for keeping the pound, receiving the tolls, and looking after the horses to be kept for towing the Barges up the Romneys and opening and shutting the weir,"
when built; and that until the horses arrived the keeper should ferry the barge horses over the cut.
John Flixman or Flexman, bargemaster of Boveney, was appointed keeper, providing £100 personal security; and Wm. Early, of "New Windsor", bricklayer, as a further surety: also in £100.
No Weir Was at first provided; and when it was discussed a little later Mr. Cook of Clewer mill, the Corporation of London, and Eton College all alike protested; and the Commissioners decided to forego the scheme for the time being.
The lock was opened for traffic on 17 April 1797; the toll being 2½d. per ton per voyage, 1s. each for four-oared boats, and 6d. each for punts and skiffs.
In June several barges refused to pay the lock toll, although even if they went round by the old, still open channel they were now equally liable.
By September it was found impossible to dispense with a weir any longer.
Owing to opposition the question was submitted in 1798 to an umpire, who gave his verdict in its favour; and the weir was built.
It was provided with opening tackle
"so as to admit the largest Barges navigated on the River to pass through."
Sole reliance was not yet placed, as it is now, upon the new poundlocks.
The lock house, also, was built this year.

At the end of 1799 navigation was
"found inconvenient from Windsor Bridge to the entrance of the new cut at Romney for want of a draught of water into the Cut."
According to Owen's drawing of 1811 the Cobler extended then nearly up to the bridge: a fact confirmed by other evidence already offered.
The towpath at the West end of Romney, along the head of the Cobler as I take it, was therefore lowered for a length of forty feet, so that the stream might flow over it in the required direction.
Two or three piles also were driven close below the bridge
"to enable the navigators to veer their craft more safely into the cut."
In August 1803 it was found that the weir allowed so much water to pass that at low water barges could not make the pound.
The Commissioners raised the Weir; and Clewer mill promptly complained.
In March 1806 Flixman died; and Thos. Webb took his place.
In August pen tackle was proposed for the weir, so that flashes could be run out as they accumulated from above.
This was expected to benefit the navigation for seven or eight miles downstream; and even to help the barges over Laleham gulls.
I think that in these early days new weirs were built entirely open; and that the old flash weirs were sometimes nailed up; so that there was no provision for regulating the flow.
In October the Windsor Corporation obtained leave to erect a fishing hedge in the old stream opposite the lock house: it was removed in 1879 by the Conservancy under leave from Eton College.
In 1814 Webb, being £50 short in his accounts, was discharged; and Geo. Butler of Great Marlow, carpenter, succeeded him.
In October 1820 the Weekly wage was raised from 15s. to 20s., "from the additional Trouble attending the pen lock."
A John (or Geo.) Butler is noted two years later, with £4 4s. monthly wage, for "a pen lock and much night Work."
In 1831 the Commissioners were alarmed by serious frauds in the keepers' accounts; Romney being specially instanced.
Butler was called upon to make good his deficiency; and in July Chas. Tull was given his place, naming John Tull of Windsor, baker, as one of his sureties: the name is still easily discoverable in the little town.
In October 1839 a towpath bridge across the head of the cut was proposed (see further under Windsor);
"and the stages of the upper gates made so as to pass the barge horses in lieu of ferrying them across above the pound as at present."

In December 1845 pleasure tolls were ordered to be paid to the collector.
In September 1848 Tull was allowed £10 as compensation for a serious injury received in the service.
In 1854 his monthly wage was reduced from £4 10s. to £3 7s. 6d.; and the charge of Old Windsor weir was added to his duties.
In March 1858 it was decided to let the tolls here by auction.
But in that débâcle not a single bid was obtained.
In 1864 the works were so dangerously ruined that Eton 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 on the River; it maintains the dam of water supplying the Castle; Windsor and Eton are dependent on it also."

Tull died about April 1868; and was succeeded by his son, Wm. C. Tull.
The lock was rebuilt in 1869.
A bell was ordered for the tail of the lock in May 1870; it being difficult to summon the keeper thither from his distant house.
Tull resigned in March 1873; and Headland came down from Marsh.
The weir was rebuilt about this time.
Possibly the bell was not supplied; an electric button was ordered in May 1882.
R. Hunt from Marlow became keeper in May 1890; Headland being retired.
A. Hill followed in June 1892, from Cookham.
He resigned in March 1893; and Was succeeded by W. Franks brought down from Culham: a sturdy and taciturn man, greyer now than when I first knew him soon after his arrival here.
He Was still here in 1919 : an authority on the rainfall even to two places of decimals.
The weir broke down in a great flood during the winter 1893-4.
Headland, the above named keeper, died in June 1896.
The old square building of red brick on the north side of Romney island is known as the Old Well House: formerly a source of the water supply of Eton College, I am told.
A new weir, whose building I well remember, just above its predecessor, was proposed in February 1900.
In the following April the Cobler was shortened 90 ft.
The king's water engine was installed by Sir Samuel Morland in 1681.
I note a royal warrant for oak timber to be delivered to him for the purpose from Windsor forest this year.


The Eedles is the point where weir stream and lock cut unite at the tail of Romney island.
Some "dangerous piles and stumps" here were ordered to be removed in July 1881.
The "stumps below Romney Lock" had, however, not been removed by October 1884; and the Conservancy threatened to remove them if the College failed to do so.
I heard in 1911 that they had been "lately removed."


In June 1814 the City of London complained to the Commissioners of
"that most serious and indictable obstruction to the Navigation lately made at the Head of Black Potts Ait.
It had already cost individual Barge Masters more than the value of all the fish caught."

The bucks are still in existence close to the railway bridge.


London And South Western Railway Bridge was completed about January 1850.
In April 1849 the "Windsor, Staines & S.W. Railway" had sought leave to erect a temporary crossing here.
The "old towpath" beneath it was removed in October 1851.
I have never seen this bridge mentioned in connexion with the navigation; but I know from my own experience What a cruel and dark passage it is after the heavy pull up from Old Windsor in high water times.


VICTORIA BRIDGE was built in 1851 to share with the Albert Bridge the function of the old crossing at Datchet.
Both of these modern bridges are reputed to have been designed by Albert, Prince Consort.
In 1443 Bullokeslok in Upton appears as the name of a weir in the Thames, in connexion with a fishery called Cokkeshole.


Datchet Bridge. It is not very commonly known that a bridge once crossed the Thames here: almost the only example, I believe, of a main Thames bridge having entirely disappeared; for it cannot be seriously argued that the two Victorian structures above and below it are acceptable substitutes from the point of view of land traffic.
A ferry very anciently preceded it; my earliest note of which is in 1278, when "a great barge for the king's ferry" was ordered.
In 1387 its ownership was disputed between the Crown and the de Molyns family; who had acquired it, with the manor, about 1337.
It was held from at least 1501 by Rd. Marlborough.
Christopher Rochester and John Rookes were appointed tenants in 1509.
In 1522 there is a glimpse of Princess Mary Tudor crossing by it in August and September.
In April 1536 it was granted in reversion to Robert Draper and John Halile, succeeding Rochester and Rokys.
In 1578 it was deposed, on the authority of "an old booke of survay", that the ferry had in time past attached to it "a tenement, a croft, and three acres of land, also meadows in Fleet Mead"; all let to the aforesaid Richard Marlborough for £10 annually.
The "old booke" adds that the Whole property was granted for life in 1543 to Edmond Pygeon, he paying nothing therefor.
Edmond subsequently took his son Nicholas into partnership by permission of Queen Elizabeth; without fee.
Son Nicholas took Morris Hale into the estate, including the aforesaid three acres of "errable land lying in the common feildes of Datchett"; also free of rent.
A Hale is still found as ferryman in 1678; complaint being raised of his delaying a royal messenger at the ferry.
At a metes and bounds inquiry in 1621, held at the "Christopher in Eaton", it was stated that Datchet Mead had been known also as "Milne meade".
One of the deponents, an ancient husbandman of ninety years, remembered it sowed with barley, wheat, and rye.
(In 1680 the Christopher is described as
"a large old inn with many mean outhouses; very difficult to pay the £14 5s. annual rent."
Yet in 1746 Walpole can exclaim:
"The Christopher: Lord! how great I used to think anybody just landed at the Christopher!")
Sunder or Sumpter Mead is another meadow name I get in 1681.
It extends in a long narrow strip along the left bank just below the Victoria Bridge.
An earlier reference occurs in a lease of 1586 of "Saunder meade," at the yearly rent of 73s. 6d., to Ann Twist, the queen's laundress; Thomas Shoveler having been the previous tenant.
And much earlier still, I find that "Sondremede" was given in almoin to the prioress of S. Helen in London, "on the eve of All Saints" in 1263.
One of the numerous Hog holes of the Thames lies off Datchet mead.
Tighe's Windsor has a lively view of the ferry in 1686./p>

Queen Anne built the first bridge in 1706, and closed the ferry; which a Col. Wheeler had sold to William III her predecessor.
In April of this year timber was provided for the bridge from Windsor Forest; and a Treasury warrant for £500 was issued.
The bridge was toll free, both by road and River.
In consequence the Corporation of Windsor petitioned in July 1708 for compensation for loss of toll at their own bridge.
Lump sums of £55 for themselves, and of £25 and £20 for two of their tenants, were granted in relief by the queen out of the Pensions; and an annual subsidy of £20 to the Corporation.
A similar complaint from Maidenhead reached the Treasury in May 1714; as there noted.
The condition of the bridge was complained of in August 1734; and in January 1737 I note a Treasury order to apply £800 out of the Crown land revenues to demolishing and rebuilding it.
I do not know if any immediate effect was given to this order; in 1770 however the bridge was actually rebuilt in timber, with ten arches on stone piers; its maintenance being undertaken by the Crown.
Views of it were published by Kearsley in December 1774; and by Oram in July 1780: both apparently taken from the [left] bank above.
In both a winch is shewn on the same bank between the artist and the bridge; but only nine arches, all open.
In 1794 it had
"become absolutely dangerous for carriages to pass over it, and a stone one is now in contemplation."
It partly fell through next year; but as Wombwell's menagerie was not launched till after 1804 his elephants could not have been the cause, as they are said to have been on one occasion.
George III thereupon revived a free ferry.
Hakewill has an engraving of two of the stone piers standing isolated in the water.
The third bridge was not opened for traffic until 16 December 1811.
The delay was due to a dispute as to "whether the onus of rebuilding belonged to the Crown", or to the two riparian counties.
The Quarterly Review for July 1859 presents some amusing comments upon the quarrel.
The new structure was at first projected to cross close to the site of the present Albert Bridge, near Southley House: an old monastic settlement; but the natural trajectory was ultimately retained.
The two counties concerned finally co-operated in the work, but with a very ill grace.
Tighe states that iron was used by one, and timber by the other; with as little collaboration as possible.
The abrupt termination of each half in midstream was distinctly visible during its entire existence; though when completed it was announced that there was
"scarce a bridge upon the river Thames which surpasses it": a double edged encomium!
Tibbet of Windsor was the builder.
"Pedestrian" in his Tour of 1829 curiously describes it as "of brick, having a wooden parapet."
Perhaps he meant the second bridge.
There was a substantial inn at the Berkshire end of the bridge; and two sheds, originally run up for the workmen of 1770, and not removed until the final demolition in 1851; Buckler has a drawing of the bridge and inn, made in June 1818.
Towards the end of 1810 the Commissioners' surveyor was instructed to watch that no fresh tolls were laid upon the navigation by the new bridge.
It was regarded with much hostility by the barge traffic.
I get in 1820 a note of
"2 Barges containing together 200 tons of goods being drawn by 13 Horses against the stream" here.
It is called a wooden bridge in the Illustrated London News of 26 May 1849; and remained in being until the opening of its twin substitutes in 1851.
All these old bridges at Datchet led in a practically direct line from the village church across the River.
The road then continued through the Home, or as it was then called the Little, Park in a southwesterly direction to the Long Walk.
I note a proposal in October 1851
"to retain the Pier on the Berkshire side & to fill up the space between it & the shore so as to form a Continuation of the Towing Path."
Possibly a little excavation might reveal this relic of the last bridge of Datchet.


Albert Bridge was opened in 1851, to share with the Victoria Bridge the function of Datchet Bridge.
In January 1850 a barge collided with "the second Improvement Bridge below Windsor Pound": evidently the skeleton of the Albert.
It was described as a "temporary Wooden Bridge with scarcely Pier room for Barges."
In the Winter of 1914 there were rumours of the intended rebuilding of this bridge: a work, if really contemplated, doubtless delayed by the European war.

NEVILLES BRIDGE [over a brook]

This crossed a brook that runs into the Thames on the [left] bank below Albert Bridge, from a source in the middle of the Great Park; there is still a towpath bridge on the site.
It was called anciently Swan's Bridge also.
In 1621 it is stated that
"the mannor of Windsor underoare extended into Datchet mead to a bridge called Swansbridge"; or, variously, "as far as Datchet ferry."
Taunt uses the title Swan's Bridge in 1871.
Attached to the spot was the highest of the numerous paygates upon which I remark below at The Bells of Ouseley and elsewhere.
In 1808 10s. yearly was levied on "great barges" for tow horses crossing the bridge; and 5s. for lighters.
In May 1820 an attempt was made at abolishing the toll.
Later in the same year the bridge was reported in a ruinous condition; and a further effort was made to purchase the owner's interest.
Brindley's survey of 1770 marks Watkin's Gibbet about two hundred yards above New Lock: my next study.
I do not discover the associations of this landmark; or any other allusions to it.

Map Old Windsor Weir to Staines

OLD WINDSOR WEIR - NEW LOCK WEIR [ at the top of Ham Island ]

New Lock Weir: called also Newman's Bucks.
There seem formerly to have been three long parallel islands just above the present Old Windsor Weir, between the two southernmost of which this obstruction was stationed.
Brindley shews it in his map of 1770; and it is marked in a plan of 1843 also.
In the Treacher Papers references occur to repairing these bucks.
In October 1838 they are described as "at top of Old Windsor Cut".
On 3 November "belonging to Eaton College" is added; and on the 10th they are called "Old Windsor Bucks".
Further repairs are recorded in April 1841 to a "Blow at Newman's Bucks top of Old Windsor Cut."
It seems possible that they exactly coincided with the present weir.
"Datchet stop" may be identical; where some ballasting was done in July 1854.
In old times, before Old Windsor lock was built, the towpath ran along the [right] bank round the great bend here; the barge channel being north of the islands.
In 1300 occurs an order to expend up to 100s. (say £100 nowadays [1920]) in repairing the king's Weir at Old Windsor.
Six oaks and six beeches were allowed from the forest for the purpose.
This probably relates to HORNE WERE, or HORNEDEWERE: a perquisite of the Crown.
I get an allusion about 1380 to its custody; in 1381 its profits for seven years were stated at £17 10s., about £50 annually in modern [1920] values.
In 1484 James Whitfeld was granted its custody for life; it is described at this date as being within the Thames in the parish of S. Peter, Old Windsor.
In 1507 it was granted, with the houses upon it, to Eton College.
I do not know whether it should be considered identical with Newman's Bucks; brief references to it are quite frequent in the Patent Rolls and elsewhere, but are topographically unilluminating.


The site of this lock had an old name, the "Top of Caps", which I am unable to explain.
In 1770 it was suggested to build a lock at "Capps" near Wraysbury; but landowners and the miller successfully opposed it.
In 1776 a horse towpath was ordered at Caps, "to avoid the Dangerous Towing in the River there."
It is perhaps not very generally realised to-day that horses had sometimes to enter as much as three feet of water to perform their work, so inefficient were the old towpaths.
In the sixteenth century occurs a note of an
"eight called Todds eight liyinge in olde Wyndesor now in thoccupation of Willm Cox fissherman
Whiche eight was given for the mayntenance of an obijt and a lygth wth in the parishe Churche there."

The first boat passed through this lock on 27 September 1822.
The contract price for its construction was £2476.
Henry Hyde was first keeper, with £3 10s. monthly.
In the following March his conduct during recent floods was censured; he had cut through the bank in the lock cut to let the water off, at the instigation of a neighbouring landowner.
He was dismissed, and almost immediately reinstated.
The Treacher Papers contain a long and intimate account of this occurrence.
The main features are that in January 1823 the lock cut was frozen through to a great thickness.
On the 27th the Weather began to abate, and a rapid thaw began.
Late on the 28th the River rose; and nextday Geo. Treacher consulted with Hyde on the situation.
It appears that a neighbour named Cantle actually did the cutting of the bank
"close above the pound on the south side and also about 100 yards higher up."
The newly built bridge across the cut collapsed through the washing away of the earth.
Instead of piercing the bank the proper course was to heighten it: a task to which Mr. Treacher set not only Hyde but all other help he could procure.
In October 1824 Hyde was again dismissed for irregularities, and Thos. Holderness took his place: an ancient River name at Cookham and elsewhere.
In September 1830 he fell behind in his accounts, and his surety declined any longer to answer for him.
He was succeeded by William Coombs Mitchell.
Not without precedent, no weir was installed here when the lock was built.
The first was erected in October 1836.

Mitchell was discharged in January 1841 for repeated neglect in drawing his weir during floods; and was also sued for arrears of toll.
In May Wm. Williams was appointed.
At the end of 1850 and of 1851 tolls were suspended here a year at a time in aid of the declining barge traffic.
Abingdon also was selected for the experiment; no reason appears for the selection.
Wages were reduced in 1853 from £50 8s. to £48 annually.
In 1854 Williams was deprived altogether of wages, under conditions prevailing elsewhere at this date.
Wm. Blacknell was appointed keeper in 1858; and survived into the Conservancy period with 52s. monthly.
The abolition of this lock and weir was discussed in 1868.
About 1870 the latter was extended and a tumbling bay built.
In October 1871 the lock cut bridge was built (presumably rebuilt) jointly by the Conservancy and the Crown; the latter reserving the right to lay sewage pipes across it.
Armstrong in 1886 gives a view of the original lock, then still standing.
Blacknell was pensioned in April 1888, and succeeded by his nephew G. Williams; son of the original Williams here.
The lock had thus been seventy eight years in charge of this family, up to the end of 1919.
It was rebuilt in 1889.
Wraysbury mill appears, from the Copper Mill Bridge adjacent to it, to have been engaged formerly in the copper and brass business.
I had the excellent fortune in 1910 of an object lesson in old-world River life: a tug and three barges with deals and paper held up at the bend at Old Windsor gulls below this lock; through grounding on a shoal.
In the ancient, approved fashion one of the bargemen went up to the lock to ask for a flash, and did not get it; though I noted high water above the lock when I passed up.
The crews and their families seemed very cheerful; it was a rare day in June!
I discovered the secret very quickly; the water was being held all up the River above Old Windsor for Ascot Sunday, the following day.
Doubtless the old Commissioners frequently turn restlessly in their graves!
Sydney Crossley in his Pleasure Boating says that the long bend of this weir stream
"used to be known as 'Colnbrook churchyard', being utilised by the footpads who used to haunt the neighbourhood to dispose of the bodies of those whom they had murdered and robbed."
This has been privately contradicted to me in favour of the Coln itself; but Crossley seems to be right.
I find the City in 1814 requesting the Commissioners to dredge the River bed at "Colebrook church yard."
Taunt also corroborates in 1871.
I get in 1816 three other place names of this Riverside: Haynes Bucks, Weely or Welly Bucks or Gulls, and Ballam's Lee.
I can identify none of these.


I have, unhappily, no history of this well remembered inn; nor do I know what allusion resides in its name.


There stood beside the River of old time a series of towpath paygates.
I have just mentioned, at Neville's Bridge, the highest upstream of which I am aware.
Another stood near this inn.
Barges had to pay toll at these gates, or barriers, before the horses were allowed upon the length of path enclosed between them.
With their customary public spirit the Corporation of London began, towards the end of the eighteenth century, to buy up all these interests within their jurisdiction; very often for large sums.
My earliest reference to this gate is in Brindleys' map of 1770; wherein it is marked about five hundred yards above the county boundary.
He names no toll.
In 1793 Langley, "the Marlow bargemaster", said he "has had another Bill of 25s. for a towing path gate at Old Windsor."
In the end of 1801 ten shillings yearly was being levied on every "Mastly" barge passing here.
I find no record of the exact site of this gate; but at the top end of Haines' boathouse above the Bells there survived till quite recently a crazy old five-barred gate across the path and a short disputed right of way; which may mark the spot.
Williams, the lockkeeper at Old Windsor, writes me:
"Where the gate is now was the tollgate. It was called Watergate; there was a cottage close to the gate called by that name. Also a little distance above was a public house called the Barge House; where they used to stable the horses towing the barges."
Pats Croft eyot is noted in midstream, belonging to the Ankerwyke estate; Old Windsor gulls extending below and above it.
In I327 the place name Loderlakeshacche occurs:
"Where three counties meet, Surrey, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire."
The description appears to suit the neighbourhood of the Bells.


In 1539 it was stated that Thos. Edwards and Wm. Danby held certain weirs, formerly the property of Ankerwyke priory, in the Thames between AnkerWyke ferry and Old Windsor.


I note a reference towards the end of the thirteenth century to
"the were abouen Stanes brigge."
This may be identical with Bell Weir.
A poundlock near this point was first discussed in the summer of 1811; to stand in a new cut from "nearly opposite Anchorwick Island" to Milsom's Point: the sharp bend above the lock; but the idea met With vehement local opposition.
The present site was adopted; and the lock was opened in the winter of 1817-18.
The total cost of the Works was about £6650, of which the weir cost about one fourth.
In November 1817 Charles Bell, whose name the station doubtless perpetuates, was appointed keeper with £4 monthly; to find his own residence near at hand.
This he already possessed; in earlier maps Bell's House is frequently marked, and is doubtless identical with the Angler's Rest inn close by: a modern annexe to which was burnt down late in 1911.
The new lock was the lowest downstream under the Commissioners' jurisdiction.
The City described it as an obstruction to navigation in the first June of its existence.
Bell is stated in October 1822 to have "a pen weir and no house."
No official house is doubtless implied.
The weir was "blown up" in February 1827 through an accumulation of ice; nearly causing a similar accident at Chertsey, Penton Hook weir not being yet in existence.
Fearnside in 1832 calls it Egham lock.
In July 1843
"a more efficient officer" was demanded, "superior to the general class of poundkeeper, at an increased salary, to be stationed at this the first and by far the most important poundlock within the jurisdiction."
In the following February Henry Fenimore was accordingly selected for the position.
At the débâcle in 1854 his monthly wage was reduced from £5 to £3 15s.; and the collection of tolls for Old Windsor was added to his duties.
A Mrs. Bell is noted in the Treacher Papers as leasing a shed here to the Commissioners in 1844.
The lock collapsed, after several warnings, in June 1866.
It and the weir were both rebuilt during 1867-8.
Fenimore resigned in November 1867 on account of old age; and C. Robinson was appointed to succeed him.
Apparently, however. the exchange did not take place; as I find Fenimore again resigning in September 1869, and T. Crouch taking his place.
Fenimore could obtain no pension in spite of his long service; times were very hard.
The lock was again rebuilt in 1877.
In December 1879 Crouch (or Couch) was dead, and G. Horne followed.
In June 1884 he exchanged with J. Hart from the Surrey Side pier.
Hart resigned next January and was replaced by A. Coppings from Folly Bridge; who himself retired in March 1886 for the courageous reason that his duties prevented him from attending church.
Joseph Bromley succeeded him.
His wife was drowned in the lock in February 1899; and he was retired.
J. Franks followed: he is brother to the Romney keeper, and had previously been assistant at Boulter's.
He resigned through ill health in 1918; and was succeeded by Dunsden.
The lock was equipped with rollers about 1907; a new weir, a little above the old one, had been completed in May 1904, over which a novice friend once nearly manoeuvred me in a flood.
Chitting eyet and Pye eyet occur in records of 1819; also Walnut Tree close: all three close to the lock.
The towpath bridge below the latter is alluded to in 1839 as being over "Mr. Paris's creek".
It was rebuilt in September 1848.


London Stone: London Mark Stone: the City Stone: defined for about six centuries the upper limit of the active, intimate jurisdiction of the City of London over the River Thames; as distinguished from their loose, general supervision of the stream westward thereof.
Its uppermost, and sole original, section is said to bear the date 1280, or variously 1285.
Cooke in 1811: reports the inscription as
"God preserve the city of London A.D. 1280."
Humpherus alleges both dates in different passages of his Waterman.
I have landed only once to view the Stone, and did not determine the point for myself; I fancy it Was too high overhead for the purpose.
The date, whichever it be, probably commemorates the erection of the original pillar; or, following subsequent occurrences, some visitation thereof; but I know of no contemporary event which might seem to have determined its erection at either date.
About 1620 the Stone was ordered to be set further into the meadow away from the water.
It now stands on top of the bank, behind the end of the hedge; and not noticeable unless you are specially looking for it.
The meadow in which it stands is, or was, Lammas land; with an ancient dispute attached to it concerning right of way.
Cooke in 1811 states that a new pedestal was provided for it in 1781, bearing an inscription that it stood on the site of its predecessor.
In July 1825 occurs a note of £7 paid to Thos. Slade for repairs to the "Boundary Stone."
In September 1833
"the Lord Mayor took a View of the City's boundary at Staines, when a procession was formed round the same and the usual ceremony of claiming the Jurisdiction took place; and after drinking 'God preserve the City of London' and distributing money to the numerous assemblage on the Spot his Lordship went on board the shallop and proceeded down the River."
In Trotter's Thirty Miles of 1839 a View of one of these visits is presented; the size of the Stone is absurdly exaggerated.
In earlier times these occasions were of some dignity; degenerating later into scenes of buffoonery and mere jollification.
As thus; condensed from the Illustrated London News of 15 August 1846:
"The State Barge being moored close to the edge of the meadow a procession was formed of the Watermen, Lord Mayor, the Water Bailiff's eight Watermen in full Uniform bringing up the procession.
The ceremony was commenced by walking round the Stone.
Alderman Moon then ascended to its summit, and then drank 'God bless the Queen, and Prosperity to the City of London.'
Three cheers were then given; the band played 'God save the Queen'; cake and wine were distributed among the Party, and small coin was thrown among the crowd.
There is an old custom of bumping at the Stone the Sheriifs and Aldermen who have not been made 'Free of the Waters'; accordingly, four Watermen seized upon Sheriff Laurie, and while they were bumping the worthy Sheriff his colleague, Sheriff Chaplin, made his escape, and was followed by the Aldermen, with the exception of Alderman Hughes, who declined to answer to his name when called, and had, indeed, refused to land from the Barge.
Upon Alderman Moon descending from the Stone, he was instantly bumped.
Those who had been so served then paid certain fees, and were declared Free Watermen of the River Thames.
The Lord Mayor gave the usual direction that his name, as a record of his visit, should be painted on the Stone."

Sir James Duke was the last Lord Mayor bumped at the Stone.
I believe that the towpath at this date ran along the [right] bank beneath it.
A priori, it is natural to suppose that so important a mark would be placed on a public way, and not behind a hedge in an unfrequented meadow.
And I have reason to suppose that a long towing bridge left Staines Bridge and joined on to the island immediately below the Stone.
The towpath did not, I think, run continuously along the [left] bank as now, above and below the Stone.
In April 1859 the Conservancy instructed their engineer to prepare plans for altering the ancient monument
"to admit of an Inscription recording the names of the Conservators thereon."
In the event simply "Thames Conservancy 1857" was engraved upon the pediment.

Map Staines to Shepperton


Cooper King thinks that in Roman times there were two bridges here (hence Ad Pontes): the second one crossing at the island just above the present bridge.
The earliest subsequent reference to Staines Bridge, that I know of, is in a grant by the Crown in 1228 of two oaks from Windsor forest for its repair.
In 1236 and 1237 further timber was granted on at least four occasions.
It was then probably a rough structure of piles, with transverse beams.
A typical grant of pontage occurs in 1455:
"To John Brekenok, Thomas Frowyk and John Somerton for twelve years for the repair of the great bridge by Stanys & of a causey extending from the bridge to Egham and excluding the same Water" (i.e. the Thames).
Thomas Wood was appointed "customer" of the bridge, both under and over, in September 1485.
In I Henry VIII, c. 9, it was recited that the Lord Chancellor time out of mind had been used to assign two, three or four persons to have receipt of tolls for repair of Egham causeway and of the bridge, both by road and water; and that the tolls having for some time past been improperly applied fresh trustees were to be appointed.
The townsmen were rewarded in 1530 with 20s. for a fresh salmon sent to the king.
In 1549 the inhabitants petitioned the Privy Council against a royal mandate
"to pluck up the common bridge for the safeguard of the realm as they allege from enymyes."
There were several rebellions during this year: Seymour's, the Devonshire Catholics', Ket the Tanner's, and the earl of Warwick's.
The petition stated that the demolition of the bridge
"is and wilbe to thutter undoing and destruccon of all the hoole towne and countrie thereaboute; and the said Bridge is yet staied part of it" because they had ventured first to send out scouts "to descry if any Army be coming that way."
Norden's map of 1593 shews a mill against the bridge on the left bank, driven probably by the Colne.
John Taylor, in his Last Voyage of 1641, writes:
"As farre as above Stanes (which is forty miles by Water from London)
[We call it only 36 now from London Bridge],
The River Thames is by the care and providence of the Lord Mayor well conserved and kept from impediments of Stops, Weares, Sand beds & other hindrances of passages of eyther Boates or Barges;
and from Stanes to the furthest part almost there is no stoppage (but only Weares, which Weares have Lockes to open and shut for the passing to and fro of all manner of vessells)
(passable through from London to Oxford);
betwixt which Cities the Barges doe draw up nineteene of those Lockes with Engines (like Capstanes Which are called Crabbs)."

Taylor had written less rosily of the River below Staines in his Thame Isis of nine years earlier.

In Cosmo III's Travels of 1669 is mentioned the
"wooden bridge over the Thames, which is here very shallow, a mile from Egham."
Certain depositions of 1672 relate to the tolls payable by vessels at the bridge.
The craft affected were
"certain boates used for the carrying of passengers between London and Maydenhead; not lighters or barges but a larger sort of Wherryes knowne as Rowe Boates."
Unhappily this very promising membrane is, according to the habit of the more piquant of such instruments, not only incomplete but also quite illegible after the first few paragraphs.
There is however another set of the same year from which I gather that the inquiry was into an increase of toll, during the previous half century, from fourpence to sevenpence.
In this document the bargemasters of Henley, not Maidenhead, are involved.
It is declared that up to 1640, and even much later, the charge had been for
"going forwards and backwards" under the bridge the sum of "fowerpence."
One witness stated that
"the reason why he paid the fowerpence evry ffayre he cannott depose."
The advanced rate was thus explained:
"Staine's Bridge being broken downe in tyme of the late unhappy warrs & the Bridge Masters findinge A fferry Boate to Carry over the Horses that drew upp the Barges from Stadburye to Windsor was the onely & Chief cause of the Bargemasters beinge raysed to pay 7d a Barge while before they had paid but 4d."
The higher rate was also, notably, for the repair of the Egham causeway, which was in great decay.
Ogilby's Traveller's Guide notes in 1699 a
"Wooden Bridge maintain'd by a toll on Barges," etc.
In 1777 a toll of fourpence was still being paid by every passing barge, up or down, to the bridge commissioners.
At this time, as hinted above, the towpath seems to have run along the [right] bank above the bridge, proceeding from the latter by a long horse bridge and then along the edge of the island above.
How it then continued does not appear.
A Mr. Richard Taylor much opposed the horses passing along the island before he was paid for his land, going so far as to obstruct the horse bridge with a "hedge."
The bridge toll is stated in 1793 at eightpence per barge, probably "per voyage": the gross revenue amounted to about £35 annually, from the waterborne traffic.
This original bridge survived until 1796.

In this year [1796], under the Act of 1791, a stone bridge was thrown across the River a little below the old one, which remained in position.
The central arch of this second bridge almost immediately cracked, owing to bad foundations; and the old structure was necessarily repurchased, and utilised, until the third bridge, of iron, was ready in 1803.
This also failed; and in 1807 a fourth bridge, also of iron, was opened; the original wooden bridge being again made use of during the interval.
In June 1804 the bridge commissioners, doubtless at their Wits' end for money, proposed to increase the toll; and were opposed therein by the Corporation of London, who thought that if sufficient stir were made the commissioners would yield in order to avoid an exposure of their alleged scandalous mishandling of the trust.
One reason against the increase was the already very heavy advance in freights: the barging of coal between London and Windsor had risen in a few years from 5s. to 10s. per chaldron.
Another reason was that no toll was levied at any other crossing between here and London Bridge.
When the fourth bridge was opened in 1807 the veteran wooden structure was at last pulled down.
In September 1811 complaint was made that
"the two free Landing Places on each side of the bridge had been shut up and the public thereby hindered from their usual access to the waterside."
W. Westall has a good View of this "wood and iron" bridge in 1828.

The fifth and present bridge was built by Rennie in White granite: begun in 1828 and opened on 23 April 1832.
Brayley states that it stands two hundred yards higher than its immediate predecessors, covering perhaps the site of the original bridge.
The proprietors continued at first to enjoy the tolls; but in September 1833 the City moved to rent those chargeable on the barge traffic, and succeeded Within a twelvemonth at the annual rate of £55.
In February 1858 the first Conservancy seems to have overridden this arrangement, and subsequent yearly payments consisted of £15 only, down to at least 1867: probably quite good value, considering the enormously shrunken barge traffic.
According to the Illustrated London News of 15 July 1876, the tolls both by road and water were extinguished early in 1871 at a cost of £20,125.
In June 1805 an investigation took place as to the expense of forming a towpath on the Surrey side below the bridge for about one third of a mile downward.
This distance would extend to the shooting off place and the site of Windsor's paygate: both mentioned below.
In March 1816 Charles Goldhawk, doubtless a descendant of the people I mention in 1783 at the latter place, complained that, having had
"several years past the benefit and privilege of towing Barges from a certain place known by the Name of shooting off, to a certain other place known by the Name of the Horse Bridge above Staines Bridge," he had lost the same through another new path recently made; and besought compensation, having been at great expense for lines for the purpose.
A sum of £20 was given him; and on petition in December 1819 a further £10;
"having been deprived of a part of his livelihood by the new towing path opposite Staines."
The interesting speculation arises: How did the barges ascend this stretch of River, roughly from the railway bridge to above the road bridge, before the towpath was made?
It is possible that a long line, perhaps the one mentioned at Windsor's paygate below, was floated down from the bridge to the shooting off place and made fast to the barges, which were then hauled up by a team in waiting at the upper end of the reach.
It is certain that this method was in use at similar places on the River.
(Shooting off means shutting or stopping off.
In the Hungerford country I once heard it applied by a farmer to his team of horses as they quitted their work in the fields.)
In December 1819 it was stated that the towpath
"nearly a quarter of a mile in length thro' deep water opposite to Staines," just established on the Surrey bank, completed a continuous horse towpath down to Putney.
An Ashby owned one barge trading on the River in 1812.
In 1828 it cost 23. 6d. per passenger to be rowed up from London Bridge to Staines.
In the early months of 1847 both the Great and the South Western Railways gave notice to the Corporation of London to build bridges across the River here; and were requested to provide a passage on each for the barge horses.
The former consented; but their scheme was not realised.
The latter declined to provide accommodation for the ancient traffic they were intending to crush.
In one week of February 1849 seven barges, with a total burthen of 420 tons, reached this Riverside port.
The little footbridge on the upper, Surrey side of the bridge was sanctioned by the Conservancy in May 1865.

How high were tidal effects felt in former times?
(a) The Victoria History (Surrey) boldly conjectures that, in the way of backing up the water, the influence of the tides may once have been felt at Maidenhead.
(b) In my General History I quote a complaint in 1344 that vessels could not pass from Staines to London at ebb tide because of the many obstructions then left high and dry.
Staines would not have been mentioned, perhaps, unless involved in this complaint.
In this connexion it is noteworthy that the City of London, controlling particularly the tidal Waters, set their boundary mark in 1280 just above Staines.
(c) In a discussion in the Times in the summer of 1873 a correspondent thought that, before the obstruction caused by the increase of embankments and bridges, the effect of the tide was felt as high as Walton.
(d) Harrison in 1577 states that the ebb and flow of the Thames
"holdeth on for seaventie miles, within the maine land";
a distance extending, from the Nore Light, nearly to Hampton Court.
(6) Pennant in 1790 says that
"just above Kingston" the River "feels the last feeble effort of a tide."
It is certain that, with only Kingston and Chertsey bridges intervening between Staines and London, and with no locks or weirs across the barge stream, the tides must have penetrated and backed up the River much further than is now ordinarily supposed, down to the first half of the eighteenth century.
Only however by meticulous research into local records, even if then, can the limit of their influence be definitely ascertained.


London & South Western Railway Bridge was completed in 1856.


Windsor's Paygate stood, I think, close to the steps by which you go down to Messrs. Tims' ferry.
My earliest mention is in Brindley's map of 1770, which notes:
Windsor's Paygate:
1s. A Great Barge.
9d. A Midling siz'd Do.
6d. A small Do.

Bowen's map live years later names eightpence for barges of 140 tons.
This paygate was the first attacked and abolished by the City under their general scheme already mentioned.
It disappeared about 1777-8 ; the lessee, an old man named Windsor, being granted, after some chaffering, an annuity of £20 and £300 in cash.
The latest toll mentioned is one shilling per barge, accruing to about £45 gross annually.
Windsor died almost immediately: killed by idleness, perhaps; as so often happens.
Horses towing up had to shoot or cast off here, just at the present railway bridge, I think; and pass through the town to rejoin their barges at the bridge.
In October 1783 "John Goldhawk & Co., Fishermen," were permitted to build a stop at this site.
It was stated, however, in 1787 that no action had been taken by them in the matter.
The spot appears to have acquired the reputation of an idling place for bargemen.
In Tatham's survey of the River published in 1803 he Writes:
"At this spot I found several barges Waiting, as they said, for a flash. though other barges of considerable burthen found means to get along.
It is very common for them to remain here several days: a kind of pluck-'em-in rendezvous, Where there are men Who have an interest in the monies spent in consequence of the stoppages they contrive."

In 1838 it is stated that
"a towline nearly ¼ mile long" had formerly been "kept by the Publican at the shooting-off place at Staines" before the towpath was made alluded to above.


Rushbed Hill is noted by Rennie in 1794 "a little above Fisherhouse Point."
In 1803 it is remarked:
"In a dry Summer not above 3 feet Water, at this place Barges frequently Wait for a Week for a flush of Water & often longer."
It may be the small mid-channel eyot marked in Rocque's map of 1761.


An amusing letter in 1827 contains some interesting local references:
"Thorpe, near Staines, 10th June, 1827.
General Scott's compliments to Mr. Leach { the City Navigation Clerk of Works }
in the course of rowing about last week he discovered an uninhabited island near Savory's Weir, which from an inscription on a column erected there, proves that the island has been visited some years ago, and is called Truss's Island, by those ancient Navigators.
This property is coveted by him, first because it might fall into the hands of some troublesome Neighbour, and secondly the Ladies of his family might find some amusement on landing on this island and planting it with Shrubs.
General Scott would be glad of a Lease."

The column was 'a mark-stone with the City's arms engraved," and the general was forbidden to remove it.
The O.S. of 1865 gives the inscription as:
"Truss's Island 1774 Rt. Hon. Fredk. Bull Lord Mayor."
This so-called island practically joins the right bank now; at no time can there have been much danger to the ladies in their voyage to it.
In 1890 I find that
"Truss's Island has, for over a hundred years, been the property of the Conservators or the City of London their predecessors.
It was doubtless named after Mr. C. Truss, the City's Clerk of the Works"
: predecessor of Mr. Leach.
There is a little side channel, dry whenever I have seen it, just above Savory's Weir house, which perhaps delimits the island.


Savory's Weir is one of the pleasant little River conundrums.
I cannot find that there Was ever a Weir here; doubtless the name indicates some long forgotten fishery hedge at the spot.
It now denotes merely the house known more commonly as the Fishing Temple, standing at the bend about 2 miles below Staines Bridge, on the [left] bank; or a half mile above Penton Hook lock.
The former title is given in Rocque's map of 1761; in Brindley's map of 1770 it is called Fisher House.
Whatever obstruction ever existed here must have been very anciently removed; nothing is mentioned of it in a survey of fishery stops in the winter of 1778-9 between Staines and Kew.
The spot was subsequently used as a scaling wharf; and later still as a charging station for the Immisch launches, before they occupied Platt's Ait.


I have never heard what particular station Dickens intended by "Plashwater Weir lock" in Our Mutual Friend.
It seems to me, from internal evidence, that it was possibly Penton Hook; though Sunbury, from its proximity to Watersplash farm, may also be in the competition.
(Watersplash appears to denote the splashing caused by fording a stream running across a road.)
The extremely narrow neck of land now pierced by the lock out was of old time frequently cut through by the flood water swirling down from Staines.
This impinged fiercely upon the bank athwart its course, hurried southward round the loop or hook, and turned northward again almost to rejoin forces with the head waters across the slender neck.
Thus in December 1774 I note repairs to the bank; and exactly ten years later over six weeks' Work was expended in raising a
"Bank at Pentanhook to prevent the floods cutting through."
In March 1798 the Corporation again learned that
"a Barge has passed through the Breach, which may be totally carried away by the next flood to the great injury of the Navigation westward."
In 1803 Tatham described the narrowest part of the neck as only fifty yards across.

Rennie suggested a lock here in February 1809.
The City, however, did not begin to negotiate for the necessary land till four years later.
The enabling Act was passed in 1814; in August of which year a house was begun, before the lock was excavated.
The basin of the latter gave great trouble to the engineers; it was found almost impossible to prevent the water from flooding it.
In the following October Robert Morecraft, citizen and innholder, was appointed first keeper at 28s. weekly; and the lock was announced to be opened on 29 March 1815: being the highest upstream of the City locks.
In 1820 the tenant of the Lammas land extending from the lock to the ancient course of the Thames asked for a reduction of rent on account of the difficulty in carting his hay except by
"crossing the River which is at some times attended with danger."
The lock cut had apparently barred his usual road.
The weir was not built till the summer of 1846: below the outfall of the Abbey Mill stream to please La Coste the miller.
The Commissioners contributed £500 towards its cost.
After its erection it was much blamed for floods; and a cut across the neck, below the lock, was made the same November to remedy the trouble.
It still, however, caused too strong a flow down the millstream; and La Coste now asked to have it transferred above his outfall.
The upper, timber work was accordingly shifted; but the masonry was retained as a fixed dam.
The breakwater above the lock was built about 1848.
In July of this year wages here were reduced to 25s., owing to railway competition; and only 12s. was to be offered on the first vacancy.
This quickly occurred; in the very same month Morecraft died; and John Trotter succeeded him.
Owing to prior long service as an under foreman of works he was allowed 13s. as a pension in addition to the 12s. wages.
One Stephen Taylor, it was learned, had been making himself useful to Morecraft, his fatherin-law; and now petitioned for remuneration.
He was granted £10.
Frequenters of this not unattractive spot may be interested to learn that it was he who planted the vine and fruit trees, sunk the well and built the dairy, besides "papering the parlour."
In June 1852 a complaint was raised of the
"idle and disorderly of Staines and Laleham" frequenting the lock island on Sundays; and a warning to trespassers was therefore erected.
Trotter died in December 1858; and his widow was formally confirmed in the position of lockkeeper a month later, with 12s. weekly; raised to 16s. in November 1861 and to 21s. in June 1875.
In 1877 an eyewitness protested that, during a flood, the lock was
"in charge of an old lady. I asked her why the gates Were not opened, and she said her son was gone away for a holiday, and the only reason she could give me at the moment was that her husband, who died at 80 years of age, said it was of no use, and the floods could not be prevented, for her husband told her so; she herself is getting on to 80 years of age."
With reference to the two or three women lockkeepers of this period it was declared that
"they did not open their paddles because it would wet their boots to do so."
[ Sorry, Fred never heard of political correctness ...]
This "old lady", Mrs. Trotter, died in February 1883; and T. (or S.) Godden followed her, with a guinea a week: being possibly a member of the Cookham family.
H. Simpson had charge in October 1892 ; he was transferred to Teddington in August 1894 ; and was succeeded here by H. Down.

A new weir was discussed in March 1897.
The lock was rebuilt in 1909; and is, except Teddington and perhaps Boulter's, the largest on the River.
The first time I ever saw it was in flood time in the spring of 1910; coming unexpectedly upon handsome old Myhill in charge of it, whom I knew well at far off Hambledon.
He was moved hither about 1907-8.
I thought he looked more than ever saturnine; having added to his natural air of admiralty a still profounder aspect of austerity with which not the most truculent bargeman of them all would successfully have trifled.
He seemed even cosier here than there, surrounded with White crooning doves and little lawns and orchard: Myhill; with whom royalty, they say, would once step ashore and converse.
He was retired in 1913; and a son of Kirby at Shepperton (S. J.) succeeded him.
F. Coley was in charge in 1919; young Kirby having been transferred to Shepperton.


Outflow: Inflow:

{ The Abbey River is Thames water flowing out on the [left] bank from South of Penton Hook Island and now going under the M3, to rejoin at the top of Chertsey Weir, below the M3 Bridge. ]

Taunt states with much probability that this channel was cut by Chertsey monastery in the eleventh century, for their mill.
In 1608 the mills are included in a list of royal mills as "2 watermills called Oakelake mylles."
In 1796 Mr. Barwell, of Earl's Court, complained to the Corporation of London that Truss, in charge of their River works, had ballasted away "100 tons of chalk and heather" from an ait at the outfall of this stream, Which was of great use to his tenants at the Abbey mill in turning the Thames current into the millstream.
The materials were replaced.
In 1809 the millers La Coste offered the Corporation the user of this stream as the navigation channel; in order that Laleham gulls might be avoided.
It was thus described in June:
"From the Mills to the opening at Penton Hook the various depths are in no one place less than 4 ft. and a Half but in the greater part from Six feet to ten feet, and the Width of the River from Thirty feet to fifty feet or thereabouts with a Steep Shore on both sides except in very few places."
The millers desired to reserve the towing rights, and a reasonable compensation for the user of "their" river (it is indisputably Thames water).
They were informed that the motion was too late, Chertsey lock having already been decided upon.
I note in 1810 the title
"Laleham Burway, where the Abbey Mill Stream falls into the Thames." This place name is reminiscent of the Burroway at Rushey, mentioned in my Stripling Thames.
There are some most interesting notes upon it in Pedestrian's Tour of 1834, not pertinent here.
Manning in 1814 states that the Burway pasturage is parcel of the manor of Laleham; and that when the water is high
"the cows swim across the river from Laleham to the Pasture, after having been collected by a cowherd; and swim back again."
An Exchequer deposition of 1696 describes the commonable customs of this pasture: one was that the herdsman had a boat separate from the Laleham ferryboat, in which he wafted the milkers to and from the mead.
The island formed by the Abbey stream and the Thames, upon Which the abbey was built, was known in early times as Cerotsey.
In 1838 " a fisherman named Harris " was fined for fishing "in a branch of the Thames" called the Abbey Mill river.
The case was watched as being possibly prejudicial to the Corporation's interest.
In 1863 the millers La Coste secured the gratuitous dredging by the Conservancy of the stream below the mill.
I could hear, in the spring of 1911, of no public access to this arm of the Thames, except at one or two isolated points.
Nor can the old mills, whose shell a townsman told me still survives, be visited.
He called the old millers' name Le Coaster; and seemed to recollect them intimately.
None of them is now in the little town.


Brindley's map of 1770 notes this towpath payway as extending downwards about four hundred yards from a point about ¼ mile below Penton Hook lock; with a toll of threepence per horse.
The path it controlled was in "exceeding bad repair" in the summer of 1776; when twopence only was the toll, accruing annually to about £60.
In 1788 and 1793 it is called "Lord Lonsdale's at Laleham," with a toll of twopence per horse and an annual revenue of £70.
It was offered by Lord Lowther to the City in 1802 for £600.
The latter took no immediate action except, in view of frequent complaints from the bargemasters, to request his lordship to repair it.
£700 seems, a little later, to have been agreed upon as the selling price.
The transaction was completed in July 1803.


Laleham Lower Paygate is mentioned in 1776 as near the foregoing, and managed by the same collector; one penny per horse being the toll, bringing in an annual amount of about £ 30.
In 1786 the City offered to purchase for J£600; but the transaction had not been completed by 1792;
"Mr. Perrott not being able to produce a satisfactory title to the land."
In 1793 it is noted as
"Mr. Perrott's at Laleham : one Penny per Horse, which produces about £35 a Year."
In 1802 a Mr. Winter offered it to the City for £700; being 28 years' purchase at £25 a year.
The transaction was completed in May 1803.
This gate may, I think, be precisely located at the spot where Church lane joins the towpath.
All local recollection of these gates seems entirely to have disappeared.


There was a prehistoric ford here, to guard which an earthwork, said to be still traceable, was erected on the south bank against the ferry.
About 1273 the abbot of Westminster was presented for having erected afresh a mill upon the Riverside at Laleham.
The jury decided that it was not a nuisance.
The gulls or narrows here, full of sandbanks, formed an immemorial obstacle to the navigation, mentioned in almost every detailed complaint.
They began "opposite the Malthouse", and extended downwards for threequarters of a mile.
John Taylor found "five Barges fast aground" here in 1632.
They were still being complained of in 1789:
"notwithstanding there is an Under-water Weir which has some Effect".
I note Thomas Harris of Laleham, fisherman, surrendering the lease of a small plot of land here in 1778.
In 1800
"3 Wiers of Oak Stakes have been driven to pen up the Water in the Shoals."
Two years later it was suggested to the City to make a long cut from here to Shepperton, with a poundlock therein.
In January 1804 an observer said of the navigation at the spot:
"It was painfull to me to see the Rugged State of the Towing Path, so dreadfully broke in, in places where the poor Horses go in the Water Belly deep."
He states that the stream was running over the shallows, not being in flood, at the rate of 4½ miles an hour.
During this year Lord Lucan's encroachments on the towpath at Gosness Gate hereabouts were much complained of.
No less than seventeen barges were seen aground at one time in May 1809 owing to silting-up through floods.
The Upper Commissioners offered help in ballasting, and flashes from Romney; all of which was declined with some superiority by the City.
A roseate reminiscence on the latter's part in 1849 expands this incident to seventy barges waiting for several weeks for want of water.
It is interesting to recall the suggestion, mentioned at Romney, that flashes released there might be expected to float barges over these shallows, ten miles distant.
Powers Were obtained by the City in 1810, but never used, to build a lock at Laleham gulls.
In 1828 it cost 2s. per passenger to be rowed hither from London Bridge.
In 1860 the first Conservancy considered a scheme for a lock and weir at Laleham, to replace those at Penton Hook and Chertsey.
The suggestion was again heard of in 1863.
In May 1867 a ferry chain was permitted across the stream.
The numerous posts and rails along the towpath here, for the accommodation of small craft moored to the bank, date from May 1869.
One brilliant January afternoon in 1915 I had some converse with Arthur Harris, fisherman of Laleham, upon the business of the Thames.
The River was foaming down in flood; and the absurd bungalows opposite were half their stature under water.
The newspapers had been full of the flood; and he exclaimed against "the silly young ignorant asses", the reporters, who came down for copy.
He spoke of the old-time "cow flashes": when a barge got aground a herd of cows would be driven into the shallows and suddenly withdrawn; and the flash of water so created "brought her up."
They employed the same trick at Sandford.
He named a Trotter at the ferry, with whose family (doubtless connected with the Trotters mentioned above at Penton Hook) his own had intermarried.
Chertsey Bridge he thought was originally built on dry ground; and the Thames diverted to it away from its primaeval course over Old Thames meadow, above Chertsey lock.
He spoke warmly of his own "noble little village";
et Semper, immo, vigeat! [ a little hesitantly "May it always flourish!" ]
The Laleham folk, said he, in plague time (it must have been the Black Death) were the only people who would continue to provision Chertsey abbey; and in gratitude the brethren had bequeathed all their lands to the Laleham fishermen.
A lost legacy, indeed ; there is probably some truth in the tradition.

[ M3 BRIDGE. Chertsey 1937 ] WTSWG

[ ABBEY RIVER inflow see above ]

[ CHERTSEY WEIR, [left] bank ]


Whitworth surveyed for a lock here in 1793; but the scheme was disallowed by Parliament.
Towards the end of 1805 Rennie proposed to make a cut from the southern extremity of Penton Hook to near Chertsey Bridge, "about 2500 yards in length", to contain a poundlock with a fall of about 5 ft. 6 in.
The cut would have avoided Laleham gulls; where
"the fall is so great and the River so imperfect."
The landowners however successfully resisted the scheme; of which this lock was only one feature.
Rennie again proposed a lock in February 1809:
"A Wier with Rymers just above the Tail of Chertsey Abbey Mill, to pen the Water in Summer over Laleham Gulls. Then to make a Cut [north of the River] to Doomsday Bushes with a poundlock in it."
The lock was authorised by the Act of 1810 ; above the infall of the Abbey River, not where we know it.
In April of this year the Upper Commissioners proposed that the City should build its lock against the Surrey bank, no reason being given.
In the same August its present site was inspected, though difficulties with the landowner caused the "Doomsday" cut again to be considered.
In August 1811 Lord Lucan asked to have the proposed lock as far removed from his outlook as possible.
The lower, present site was authorised by the Act of 1812; and the station was opened for traffic on September 10, 1813.
Amongst the candidates for the keepership was Richard Savory, son of the Teddington keeper.
James Smith, however, of Strand-on-the-Green, was selected by the City: at 28s. weekly.
The lockhouse is, or was, in the county of Surrey, though on the [right] bank.
Taunt remarks that
"traces are still in existence of the curved channel in which the Thames here ran; but on the lock being built the course of the stream was altered as at present."
This is, apparently, a commentary on Arthur Harris's conjecture.
Smith died in April 1833, nearly sixty of his seventy-seven years having been spent in the City's River service.

He was succeeded by John Fryer Smallman, joiner; who in 1835 complained of
"the low and therefore damp situation of his Bedrooms (which were so constructed to oblige Lord Lucan)."
No tolls were payable. either here or at Penton Hook in 1838; I think Shepperton then collected for both stations.
Smallman died this April; and his widow was elected to succeed him over eight other candidates, at the same wage as her husband had.
In July 1848 railway competition forced the figure down to 18s., and 12s. only was to be paid on the first vacancy.
The lock, after forty years' use, was quite worn out in 1854.
Widow Smallman died on 10 November 1855; and Richard Phillips her assistant succeeded her.
In February 1862 his wife was burnt to death; and the widower through infirmity, having been fifty two years in the River service, was superannuated, and allowed to spend the remainder of his days in the lockhouse.
Daniel Phillips, possibly his son, succeeded him.
I get in 1862 a riparian place name of China Field in Chertsey parish; the bank needed repair thereat.
In October 1866 Geo. Killingley came to the lock, Phillips being transferred to Shepperton.
In July 1869 the former was complained of for
"asking to be paid [for passing pleasure craft] and using abusive language."
In spite of persistent and influential local interposition he was replaced by Wm. Whatford, formerly assistant at Teddington.
He belonged possibly to the Hampton family.
The curious notice against tramps and gypsies just above the lock was erected in 1875.
In March 1886 Whatford was pensioned "after forty-eight years' service"; and was succeeded by F. Wilson, transferred to Sunbury in September 1892, and followed by W. H. Marsh from Marlow in October.
The lock was lengthened in May 1893.
Marsh highly distinguished himself in some very gallant rescues from drowning; and in October 1900 the Conservancy, perhaps with a touch of official humour, insured his life.
In 1902 James Basson was transferred hither from Marsh; and was still here in 1919.
He very kindly gave me several interesting particulars about his people's seventy five years of service at the locks.
He tells me that the Bassons and Bossoms are quite distinct families except for the one intermarriage of his father's sister Hannah with a Bossom; about which I have written at Iffley.
His father, the old gentleman mentioned at St. John's, died about 1918 at the great age of 98.
Two-thirds of this weir is entirely open.
The central portion possesses some tackle.
At the end of 1912 a scheme was adopted for rebuilding the lock 201 ft. long and 21 ft. broad, divided into two compartments of dimensions similar to the new Boulter's.
The new station was to be ready by March 1913.
In a driving rainstorm on Christmas Eve 1912 I walked over from Shepperton to revisit the old structure, already half demolished.
It now has three pairs of gates.


Chertsey Bridge is not of the most ancient origin.
Manning notes that in 1299 a sum of 3s. was paid to Sibille, ferrywoman of Chertsey, as remuneration to herself and six men for wafting the king and his family over the Thames on their way to Kingston; and infers that the bridge, therefore, could not then have been in existence.
It may have been erected by John de Rutherwyke, abbot of Chertsey 1307-1346; who was "unwearied in building stone bridges", amongst many other excellent works.
A ferry named Redwynd, by Chertsey, is noted in 1368: granted in 1376 to John Parker in succession to Wm. Debenham.
I get no further information about the bridge until Leland's reference about 1530:
"a goodly Bridg of Timber newly repairid"; presumably by the abbey.
About 1580 it had become seriously dilapidated; and an inquiry was held of which I have been able to find only the effect, not the depositions themselves.
Amongst others Sir Thomas Browne, lessee of the abbey property, was summoned to aid in the repairs.
He cried off; and Francis Vaughan of Littleton refused even to attend upon the commissioners.
It appears that the Crown had, for forty years past, been maintaining the bridge as successors to the abbot, who de more had previously charged himself with this public benefaction.
The various tenants of the former abbey estates also pleaded their inability to contribute; but the commissioners appear to have cherished a hope that the neighbours would supply all the necessary timber and gravel free.
The certificate affords some interesting particulars of this original timber bridge.
It was 210 it. in length over the water, and 15 ft. in breadth between the rails with 7 ft. additional on each side beyond the rails.
It was divided into 23 bays.
"Kamshide" was requisite for its repair,
and in addition: 140 loads of timber for
"pyles, somers, joystes, plancks, plats, postes, rayles, bracs, camshids & other necessaryes"; £100 (say about £1500 nowadays [1920]) for wages for
"fellinge, hewinge, squaringe, sawinge, digginge, takinge upp tholde brydge," etc;
£5 for "showinge" (? shoeing) the new piles with iron;
£8 15s. for half cost of carriage of timber from the queen's Woods distant from two to ten miles, the inhabitants being expected
"of their good wills towards so good a woorke" to be at the expense of the other moiety of the carriage;
and finally £2 for carrying and handling the gravel, as to which
"we fynde the Inhabitants redye to put their helpinge handes therunto & supposse will carrye ye same at their own chardge."
The total is set down as £113 15s. ; perhaps the last £2 was intentionally excluded.

In 1624 I find a grant to James Johnstone to erect a wharf at Chertsey, "on the river Wey", for convenience in carrying goods on that river and the Thames.
John Taylor in 1632 describes the bridge as like the work of a left handed man; the slantwise arches probably looking upwards to the Surrey side and downwards across to Middlesex.
This slant was the more annoying to the navigation in that, on the upper side, a large and constantly increasing flam jutted out from the right bank; so that downstream craft had to hug the Middlesex shore and then, in the grip of a strong current, shoot diagonally across stream in order to pass under the bridge.
The passage was reported, in 1774, to be very inconvenient and dangerous: a subject of serious anxiety to the City.
A new bridge was contemplated in March 1780.
The materials of the old structure fetched £120 at auction in August 1784.
Robert Whitworth the engineer had just valued them at exactly double
(he had also, to allow myself a digression, just been arrested as a French spy while on the City's business about Gravesend).
Amongst the remains were 184 piles; all were to be cut off six feet below high water mark; doubtless some of their old sharp tops still remain under water at the spot.
It is said by Pedestrian, in his Tour of 1829, that the contractor for the new bridge,
"having completed the number of arches he had engaged for, and they not reaching the Surrey shore, that county Was obliged at a great expense, to supply the deficiency."
Brayley says that the ends reached neither bank; and that both counties had to help in the completion.
A stone on the upper face of the bridge records that it Was
"Began in 1780: finished in 1785";
and one on the lower face that it was partly rebuilt in 1894.
In lieu of the lock which, as mentioned above, was disallowed in 1793 it was proposed to make
"a cut thro' the Eat above in order to give the Barges a direction through the Surry Arch to prevent their striking against the Campshutting on the Middlesex side or against the Bridge.
Current exceedingly strong, and it's with difficulty a Barge is got up."

In the event only a large portion of the flam was shorn off.
One barge with fifty tons of cargo reached Chertsey in one week of February 1849.

It must have been a wonderful spectacle when, on the eve of the Ascension, in May 1471, the body of the murdered king Henry VI was, in the words of Mr. Davey's Tower of London
"taken at mid-night by Water, in a barge followed by others loaded with torches and full of monks singing dirges, to Chertsey Abbey".

Off the [right] bank just above the bridge stand two houses once hauntingly entitled "Right of Way Villas": built apparently by some local Hampden to celebrate
"the victory over the Thames Conservancy in 1892."
The Authority are amusingly oblivious of the details of their defeat.
The inscription was painted out at some date prior to 1915.
Nettle eyot somewhere at hand bears a name at least as old as the Saxon era, it is said.


Domesday Bushes, at the head of the northward curve of the River a short half mile below Chertsey Bridge, seems more properly to be styled Dumsea Bushes: a more intelligible form of the name in use in the records at the end of the eighteenth century.
In the spring of 1911 a fisherman told me, as I was sculling down to Shepperton, that he knew Dumsea Corner.
Dumsea Deep is also well known; the Bushes seem to have dropped out of the title.
The left bank at the point here is quite open meadow and close to the road.
A little towards Chertsey however stands a clump of willows surrounding and partly filling a pond: these, or the right bank withies, were perhaps the "Bushes."
At the head of this bend stand four iron boundary posts of the Conservancy, dated 1857: the year of the formation of the first body so named.
I do not know if any history is attached to these posts.
I get a place name Crooked Cape coupled with this title in 1825, it may have been at Walton.
A Rosewell rented an "accumulation " at the cape.


Shepperton Range, formerly perhaps Rayne, a title given to the [right] bank below Domesday, was once a favourite spot for prize fights.
It is said that punts used to wait alongside in attendance upon the pugilists and their patrons; so that if disturbed by the police they might escape into Surrey.


[ I give its current map name (also Dockett Point) on the [left] bank ]

Dog Ait, properly perhaps Dock Ait, seems now scarcely to be remembered by name as an island; or even to be recognisable as such; though the title itself survives in Dockett Point, and Dockett Eddy House.
There seems still to exist, however, a small insulating
[ Fred can't get away from his latin! "Insula" = "island" so "insulating" = "island making" ]
by-stream that leaves the main River on the [left] bank perhaps a mile above Shepperton lock, its exit concealed by hedges and brushwood; re-entering more noticeably lower down at Dockett Point.
On the large island so formed stands the house once inhabited by Sir Charles Dilke.
Over its entrance a stone is built into the Wall bearing the verses of Tibullus (slightly altered):

Iam modo iners possim contentus vivere parvo
Nec semper longae deditus esse viae
Sed Canis aestivos ortus vitare sub umbra
Arboris ad rivos praetereuntis aquae;

which in English may perhaps be assumed to read:

Now almost idle let me live content
With little, on no far-flung journey bent;
But in the Dog days shun the scorching beam
Beneath a tree beside the passing stream.

Alas! In heat fiercer than that of the Dogstar, the house was burnt down in the summer of 1915.
[ Fred continues the pun - Dog Ait - Dog Days - Dog Star.
Oh the blessings of a classical education!


Pharaoh's Ait lies immediately above the head of Shepperton weir stream.
I have no definite explanation of its curious name; though I seem to have heard that it was derived from a former tenant or owner, perhaps of Gypsy blood.
I fancy the records confused this island with Dock ait: the notes I possess apply more suitably to it than to the latter.
Thus it is stated that a northern channel was dug for the navigation, past one of these islands, by the Corporation of London between 1774 and 1777.
Now there is no indication that there was ever any appreciable waterway but the northern at Dock Ait, while Pharaoh's now has both.
Also in May 1871 the Conservancy ordered the planting of willows, poplars and alders at Dock Ait; while effect seems to have been given to the order at Pharaoh's.
The modern campers on Pharaoh's have christened their bungalows with appropriate titles:
Philae, Luxore, Memphis, The Sphinx, κ.τ.λ
[ Fred will keep having his little jokes! κ.τ.λ (kappa tau lambda) is Greek for etc.! ]


In 1293 the bishop of London was presented on account of a certain gurges at Shepperton, a sluice or dam, at which he took toll of every passing ship, where no toll had previously been levied.
In an uncertain year of Edward III (1327-1377)
"John de Beauchamp of Somerset recites that he and his ancestors have enjoyed from time immemorial, at his manor of Shepperton, a right of toll from each ship passing up by treading upon his land of one penny each time they passed, as well from the King's ships as others.
And now come certain, renters [fermiers] of the Ships of our lord the King, and forcibly evade this toll to the great damage and loss of the said John."

He was allowed the remedy of distraint upon the cargoes.
The modern towpath touches Shepperton only from the lock upwards.
If this condition obtained six centuries ago, Beauchamp's claim arose somewhere between the lock and the upstream parish of Littleton.
It is, however, peculiarly probable in this neighbourhood that ancient conditions would be hardly recognisable to-day.
A Purdue had the ferry in the fifteenth century: a name still not far to seek by the Riverside.
Clement Combe of Shepperton is noted as ferryman in 1624.
Lysons has an engraving of 1752 shewing a barge opposite the church towing up with five horses wading in shallow water.
The second leader is ridden; and the barge carries a large square sail.
The lock was first built by the City of London against the little watercourse called Stoner's Gut; which cut across the neck of the southward loop round by Weybridge: a tract of River very like, but more complicated than, Penton Hook.

Stoner's Gut (1770)- Shepperton Lock
Stoner's Gut

The Conservators possess a plan of 1723, in which the adjacent property is marked
"Crown land . . . leased to Mr. Stone"
(doubtless the source of the name), and a " breach " is noted against it.
A later plan names "Stone's Gutt."
This Gut was of old time an immense nuisance to the navigation.
There was no object in making it the regular channel, since most barges in those halcyon days had business at Weybridge or along the Wey.
The floods, however, were constantly enforcing a passage.
Thus in 1774 the Corporation learned that, owing to their violence, the Gut had become the navigable channel,
"to the great detriment of the Navigation to the Mouth of the River Way."
A suggestion was approved and realised to block the entrance with a great dam.
Indeed it Would appear from Brindley's survey of 1770 that a dam had already been in existence; although his accompanying map, an extract from which I present, does not mark it.
In 1776 I find it again described as
"a new course cut by the River over a Neck of Land";
and it is at the same time stated to have been stopped in 1744 with piling
"230 ft. in length. If this place had continued open a few years longer, in all probability it would have ruined the Guildford navigation.
At the time it was stopped the water was 16 ft. deep."

The towpath in 1776 ran along the top of the dam.
This is the spot called Stadbury in some old records.
Sawbridge Island is another name given in an old map.

The statement is not infrequent that the site of a former Shepperton church is now covered by the waters of the River.
Dickens' Dictionary, for example, alludes to
"a former church standing over the Thames and built on piles (many wills being still extant leaving legacies to add piles to its foundation).
On dit a flood washed down the former edifice."

Rennie in 1805 first suggested the lock, in a cut "a mile and a half long" from below Chertsey Bridge, to have a fall of about five feet.
The scheme, as I say elsewhere, met with such formidable opposition that it was dropped.
In February 1809 he renewed the suggestion, "at Stoner's Gut."
The look was built "at" this place; but a separate cut is said to have been dug for it.
It was opened for traffic in January 1813.
A house was built
"on the ground belonging to the City at the lower End of the said Gut."
Wm. Hatch, carpenter, "of Wiston Green, Ditton Marsh", was appointed first keeper in November 1812, at 28s. weekly.
In the spring of 1911 neither Kirby the lockkeeper, nor good old Mr. Dunton of the boats, could tell me anything whatever of the Gut.
Personally I believe that the original lock cut was engineered from the old breach.
It is noticeable that in an official survey of 1845 no channel is marked at this part of the island; it omits both the Gut, and the present relief channel behind the lockhouse.
Perhaps Mr. Haslett of Dockett Point, who proclaims himself "the oldest registered fisherman on the Thames", may know the secret; but I never interviewed him, and he does not answer letters.

In 1814 Lord Portmore complained to the City that, since the new lock cut was made, his tenant of the "meadow called Stadbury" had "no way to carry off his Hay, &c."
This appears to indicate that the lock island was previously joined to the Middlesex bank; and became an island only when the waters broke through the Gut.
In November of this year the tumbling bay "at Stoner's Gut" was blown up by floods; and Hatch was warned to keep more vigilant watch.
In June 1815 "Mr. Wm. Downton", ancestor, perhaps father, of the worthy old Mr. Dunton just mentioned, declared to the Corporation that he owned Shepperton ferry, and was legally bound to maintain it, but had found his income therefrom materially reduced through Hatch having set up in the same business.
The latter was instructed to abstain from interfering.
"Downton's" was doubtless the Church ferry.
In February 1820 James Cooper was complained of for obstructing the entrance to
"a small creek which is one of the regular deeps for fishing and staked as such ... also navigable for Barges to the top thereof for the purpose of supplying Coals etc. to the Houses situated by the side, as well as being a place of security for boats and affording a convenience of access to and from the Thames."
The City ultimately decided against him.
This creek is doubtless that one which runs up from the church, dwindling gradually to a point along the Chertsey road; known, I believe, as the Silent Pool.

Early in this same year Hatch was again accused of depreciating the ancient ferry by
"ferrying over Horses, &c. to the injury of the established ferry."
George Winch, of the local family, attended the Corporation and declared that
"if the Ferry at the Lock was discontinued it would delay the Barges very materially and the Horses would be obliged to go a considerable distance round.
That Ferry is of great public utility and can be used at all times, which the old one cannot;
he has himself about 20 Horses weekly going over the ferry in the Summer, and about 5 in Winter."

Hatch was to keep an account of the horses he wafted over, and to take no passengers for hire, confining himself strictly to the barge traffic.
George Winch is doubtless identical with the man mentioned under Weybridge wharf as the largest owner of barge horses in the district.
In 1822 I get a note of a stone in Shepperton upon which was cut a flood mark of 1774: an event similarly noted elsewhere.
The 1822 flood rose four inches higher.
The lock needed extensive repair in 1825, being only twelve years old.
In 1829, owing to increased traffic takings, it was considered expedient to add a new bedroom to the lockhouse, for an assistant.
In January 1835 the wage was advanced to 32s.
There is a pleasant moonlight view of the lock in 1839 in Trotter's Thirty Miles round London.
As usual, however, with these artistic productions, the topographical details are very indistinct.
Exotic timber of sorts is shewn umbrageous along the very banks of the lock; it must in candour be admitted that there are some very unusual small trees on the spot.
I gather that the last bit of straight road by which you approach the lock from the village was laid out in 1843, for the better accommodation of the fresh relays of barge horses taking up at Shepperton lock.
In 1850 the
"parish road leading to the village of Shepperton and forming the access to the lock in wet weather was totally impassable, and at all times so for vehicles."
More than once I myself have seen it deep under water in time of floods; and craft of various kinds working along it.
Owing to railway competition wages were reduced in July 1848 to 28s.; to be only 15s. on the first vacancy.
A towing bridge below the lock was also proposed, to save the ferryman's wages.

It was about this time that the railways, having ruined the water traffic upon the Thames, began to discern the possibility of exploiting the River's allurement for their own profit.
There is an interesting series of tracts by "Felix Summerly", full of charming miniature cuts, devoted principally to advertising the countryside served by the London and South Western Railway.
They were reprinted from the Railway Chronicle,
"published every Saturday, in time for the Morning Mails, price 6d., stamped to go free by post."
From the issue devoted to the Walton and Weybridge district, published in 1846, I extract:
"A pleasant hour might be spent about the Weir and lock of Shepperton.
A boat may be hired of Keane, a fisherman, (the Keanes are the aboriginal boatmen here,) who should accompany the party, for the navigation down the rapids of Halliford Reach is troublesome, even dangerous, to those who are not familiar with the surroundings; even a crack London sculler looks foolish tugging against the current.
The passing of the towing barges does not lessen the difficulty."

Hatch in July 1859 was to get an official letter
"desiring that in all communications with the public using the Lock his language and behaviour may be courteous."
The old man must have had almost enough by this time.
Exactly a year later he was in further trouble.
An accident happened at the lock to one of the Rosewells, which was attributed to his inattention to his duties.
He protested that he was eighty years of age, and had been paying an assistant who, apparently, was inefficient.
He had been forty-eight years at his post; and was pensioned off in September, as he deserved.
The same month John Keen of Weybridge, Waterman, was selected out of thirteen candidates to succeed him.
His wages were to be 28s. without an assistant, including charge of the ferry.
Hatch was to surrender the meadow and rickyard at Michaelmas 1861.
Keen on request was allowed to keep a cow.
In March 1861 poor old Hatch asked, in vain, to remain tenant of the little estate attached to the lock: doubtless after half-a-century it was heartbreaking to have to surrender it.
Next month Keen was allowed a lad at 10s. weekly.

In June he declared he had been robbed by burglars of nearly £15 of tolls.
He issued reward bills, and asked to retain his post; but inquiries had apparently resulted unsatisfactorily; and in July 1861 Thos. Vokins succeeded him with the same wage.
The previous month a Purdue of Shepperton raised the old complaint of the lockkeeper ferrying passengers over the water, to his loss.
I fancy the ferry thus despoiled was, as already stated, the Shepperton church ferry; and that the ferry by the lock was always merely official.
For in April 1863 I find mention of a local petition that the public ferry might be removed to the lock; and this the Conservancy allowed; not however, apparently, abolishing the more ancient crossing.
The new arrangement was started by one Tomkins in. the following May.
During this year a bridge was suggested at Shepperton.
In September 1865 Vokins asked for guidance regarding bathing in the lock; and was instructed that it must not take place after seven in the morning.
A year later he obtained the position of River keeper between Battersea and London Bridge; and in October D. Phillips was transferred hither from Chertsey at 28s.
He was exchanged to Molesey before July 1869.
In June 1873 Keeper John Smith died here, and James Newbie succeeded him.
The latter was dismissed in October 1882, and was followed by R. T. Smith formerly assistant at Teddington.
Newbie's alleged offence was insolence;
and it is remarkable, to me personally, what a large number of reprimands and dismissals could take place for this reason.
In the course of about twenty-five years' experience of lockkeepers I have never had but one uncivil, and never a worse, word from a single man of them.
Possibly they are now of a better class than formerly; possibly also the self-esteem of some of the older navigators was a little too pronounced.
A pleasant word of recognition, the passing of the time of day, will always bring you a welcoming smile and a helping hand next time you are through.

In June 1885 I get a reference to Silly eyot here.
On old plans it is often called Swan ait; it is perhaps the same as Rennie names Folly ait in 1794.
The channel between it and the [right] bank old Mr. Dunton spoke of to me as Silly cut.
The hotel upon it was built in 1888.
In November 1890 "W." Smith, the lockkeeper, was drowned.
In July 1893 I get a note of "R." Smith, lockkeeper here, being placed in a lunatic asylum.
I do not discover if any connexion existed between them and the other Smiths mentioned above in 1873 and 1882.
A. Killingley was now put in charge; and confirmed in the position when R. Smith died about March 1894.
Killingley was possibly son of the keeper placed at Chertsey in 1866.
The lock was proposed to be rebuilt in 1898; and the old house was to be pulled down.
Kirby was brought hither from Teddington this October; I do not learn what became of Killingley.
The former died about the end of 1913; and was succeeded, I think, by F. C. Coley; who obtained, as sergeant-major, the Distinguished Conduct medal in 1916 during the European war.
S. J. Kirby was keeping in 1919.
Old Mr. Dunton, mentioned above, had a tragic end.
On 5 March 1915 he crossed the flooded River to visit a friend in Weybridge, and never returned.
His body was found a month later: Thames had him, after tempting him sixty years.


I find a licence in 1463 to Thomas Warner to build a wharf on the Thames here; to load and unload vessels thereat; and generally to barge goods up and down the River.
The wharf stands at the mouth of the Wey: the southernmost latitude of the Thames.
In 1788 the landowner, Bladon Tinker, who lived at Dorney House still erect close by, was asking an exorbitant amount from the City for the purchase of his towpath right of way; and an acrimonious discussion ensued.
Under the Act of 1751 the Commissioners had ordered that
"all Barge-masters shall pay yearly at Weybridge wharf for great Boats four shillings and for smaller two shillings as is now and has usually been paid."
This would have brought the usual thirty years' purchase to about £600, which Tinker rejected with contumely.
The note of passing craft between Christmas 1786 and Christmas 1787, relied upon by the City, with their destinations, is as follows:
"Chertsey 6, Stains S, Eaton 4, Maidenhead 2, Hedsor 3, Spadoak 2, Marlow 2, Henley 19, Windsor 7, Reading I3, Goring 4, Wallingford 6, Abington I2, Leatchlade 2, Oxford 13."
The discussion proceeded fruitlessly till towards the end of 1790; with much highhanded bluster on Tinker's part, and unmoved, irritating official courtesy on the Corporation's.
In October it was reported that Tinker had locked the tollgate and prevented barge horses from passing except on payment of 1d. per horse, based on the charge at Laleham lower gate.
The City forthwith set up a capstan "to work up the Guildford barges" independently of the towpath.
Next summer the wrangle was compromised for £800, and four stones were erected along the disputed path in January 1792, bearing the City arms.
I could find no trace of these stones in the spring of 1911, except possibly for a fragment level with the ground.
I find a letter addressed in May 1815 to the Corporation by Samuel Kendall, steward to the Duke of York, asking why these stones had been erected upon the duke's property
"upon Land opposite Dorney House called the Wharf and on land in front of an old cottage."
The matter was temporarily smoothed over with mutual compliments and deprecations of any intended inconvenience.
A further application to remove stones was made in September 1816; and two in front of Dorney House, alongside the Wey, were taken down.
The original four on the Thames bank, below the confluence, seem to have been left standing.
It is stated that Henry VIII was educated at Dorney House.
A note of August 1799 states that
"Guildford Barges, whose chief lading downwards is Timber to the Ship builders Yards, and having but little to take back, frequently return empty. The Shepperton, Sundbury and Kingston Barges navigate to London empty (except in the malting season) to freight back with Coals, etc."
At this time George Winch was
"the owner of the greater part of the towing horses between here and Windsor."
There is some evidence that well recognised towing monopolies formerly existed along various lengths of the River.
In a small anonymous history of Shepperton published in 1867 there are some notes about the Winch family.
They first arrived in the parish in 1787: farmers and hauliers.
A George Winch died in 1805; and his eldest son, also a George, was killed through a fall from his horse in 1835.
They were people of some consideration in the neighbourhood.
About 1816 a proposed cut and lock between Weybridge and Walton were discussed and surveyed for, to save the difficult navigation round by Shepperton and Halliford: stated to be "by far the Worst part" of the City's jurisdiction.
Private hints reached the Corporation that
"a large sum of money ought to be given or secured to his Royal Highness" the Duke of York, the landowner most concerned, as compensation.
Under this expectation the duke appeared very accommodating; but Upon the City pointing out that they had neither authority nor funds to grant any such sum as was spoken of, £7,000 to £10,000, he peremptorily declined in March 1817 to consider the suggestion any further.
He held Oatlands at this time.
Eight barges with a total cargo of 410 tons reached Weybridge in one Week of February 1849.


I have penetrated this only a little distance; in the autumn of 1915.
A few yards above its junction with the Thames is a single gate stop, penning some four or five feet of water if necessary, which is used to float barges along the intervening channel and over the cill of the first lock.
The latter, of concrete walls, has a fall of ten feet; and when empty contains only about a foot of Water.
A sculling boat pays 1s. 6d. for this and the next two locks.
The latter are without keepers; a winch is not officially provided, but Mr. Grove, keeper of the first lock, lent me one for a trifle.
Just above is an oil mill.
The ensuing three parts of a mile to the second lock are very charming; and vividly reminiscent of the lower Loddon, but without its often violent stream.
Immediately above a road bridge is a sharp bend to the left, which appeared to me to lead into the river Wey.
The tiny lock out opens below this bridge, on the right facing upstream, passing beneath the road.
The lock is a small brick structure; extremely troublesome to pass.
The gates have no platforms; and if you do not care to scramble along the beams the only alternative is to cross from side to side by the road bridge: a tedious and vexatious job.
Nor are there any steps down its walls; so that with an inexperienced companion you must land and board your craft by climbing up and down the gates.
Above this second lock the scene quietens into meadow land very characteristic of the Lea.
Time failed me to voyage much further than a second road bridge at a slight bend; and it is well to be Wary of the approaching barge.


{ Cowey Stakes is below Halliford on the old river and the Desborough Cut ]

Coway Stakes. Dr. Montagu Sharpe, in his monograph on Brentford ford published in 1906, offers evidence that the River did not flow over the site of these stakes before the tenth century of our era, but further south.
He considers that the famous two rows of stakes were either
(a) the piers of a bridge "constructed by an early abbot of Westminster", the landowner;
or (b) the fence of a swimming way for cattle, to prevent them being swept into the deeper water on either side.
The piles were too substantial, I think, to have formed part of an ancient fishery hedge; as has been suggested.
Dr. Sharpe's theory, it will be observed, is hostile to the Roman crossing theory.
He describes the stakes as "iron-shod posts of Durmast oak."
I have seen several of them; one in the British Museum is thus described:
"This stake was on 16 October 1777 drawn out of the bottom of the river Thames, in which at least five-sixths of its length were imbedded; it stood with several others which (the water being uncommonly low) were then easily to be seen, about one-third of the river's breadth from its south bank, a quarter of a mile above Walton Bridge."

Map Halliford to Hampton Bridge


[ The Desborough Cut WTSWG was dug 1930-1935 ]

Halliford, At this great bend were of old time troublesome shoals.
A cut hence to Sunbury, to contain a lock, was proposed in 1802.
Next year a witness declared:
"In dry Summers there are not more than 2 feet 6 or 8 inches Water.
Barges of the largest Dimensions will take 11 or 12 Horses to drag them over the Shoals."

One barge with thirty tons of goods reached here in one week of February 1849.


By the Privy Council in 1592-3 a letter was addressed to
"Cutberte Blacken, gentleman, & inhabitantes of Waltham-uponThames,"
to this effect (somewhat condensed):
"Complaint is made unto us by Robert Sackford and others of East and West Mowlsey who daily use to drawe with their horses up the Thames the Westerne barges, that you having a medowe called Abscourte Meade, where there is an ordinary way for their horses to passe, which way by the force and washing of the water is so decaied as their horses can hardlie passe without danger, and that the repairinge ther of appertaynethe either to you or to the parishioners of Waltham, which thoughe the said Sackforde and the rest have often made earnest meanes to have repaired, ys yet refused:
Theise shalbe therfore to requier you immediatlie to assemble your selves together and to consider which ought to repaier the said way as you will avoide the inconvenience that maie followe of your negligence."

I comment on this incident in my General History.
Some depositions in 1601 and 1604 afford a glimpse of local life and the barge traffic.
Her Majesty's Hawe called Walton Hawe is declared to be an ancient "hawe or wharf", which ought to be the only and ordinary wharf for the laying of all timber, planks, barrel boards and such stuff brought to Walton
"to be carryed by water to London or the Subburbes therof."

Wharfage had been free if the wharfinger had performed the barging; but charges had recently been made first of a penny and lately of threepence a load.
"A parcell of grounde called Coway" was recognised as a subsidiary wharf, "for ease of Carriage."
In 1676 Sir Wm. Boreman petitioned for a public horse ferry for Walton and district.

1st WALTON BRIDGE [ 1750 - 1783 ] WTSWG

One Samuel Dicker obtained statutory permission in 1747 to build a bridge; which was completed in August 1750 from a design by White of Weybridge: it forms the subject of a long contemporary article in the Gentleman's M agazine.
It was a curious structure, composed of "timbers tangent to a circle of 100 feet diameter"; and had the alleged advantage that any one timber could be withdrawn and repaired without disturbing the rest of the bridge.
Defoe's Tour has an interesting eyewitness account in the edition of 1753.
The second regatta ever held on the River took place at Oatlands on 7 July 1775; the earliest was at Ranelagh Gardens a fortnight earlier.

2nd WALTON BRIDGE [ 1788 - 1859 ] WTSWG

In December 1805 a towing bridge was built across the tail of "Walton Sea": a term I do not certainly understand unless it indicate the stream leading into the River from the ornamental water.
"The towing path has been made from the said bridge across the Sea towards Walton Bridge; they have been much used" and fully answered their purpose.
It cost 1s. 9d. per passenger to be rowed hither from London Bridge in 1828.
A solid towpath under the main bridge, in place of the above mentioned footbridge, was suggested next year.
In August 1859 part of the main bridge fell; the long delayed repairs cost the owner £500.
This was a successor of the original timber bridge ; and was designed by Payne.

3rd WALTON BRIDGE [ 1864 - 1985 ] WTSWG

The third and present bridge was built in 1863-4.
According to the Illustrated London News of 15 July 1876 it was freed of toll about 1870 at a cost of £7000.
One barge, with a total of ten tons of merchandise, reached Walton in one week of February 1849.

4th WALTON BRIDGE [ 1953 - 2010 ] WTSWG

5th WALTON BRIDGE [ 1999 - 2010 ] WTSWG

6th WALTON BRIDGE [ 2010 - ] WTSWG


Ballinger's, Or Barringer's, Weir, complained of long ago as an obstruction to the navigation, was probably identical with the present tumbling bay about three quarters of a mile below Walton Bridge on the [right] bank; regulating an outfall that rejoins the Thames by Sunbury weir.
It is mentioned in 1776 in connexion with a new channel twice made close at hand in the main River; "but it choaked up again."
I believe there was a mill here once; see under Sunbury.
A note of 1803 comments:
"Barringers Wear above Sundbury Church this in a dry Summer as low as 2ft. 4in.";
meaning presumably the depth of the water in the barge channel at the Spot.
It may be identical with Daylop Hill: a River name I get in 1821 "above Sunbury", and in 1827 below Walton Bridge: sometimes spelt Delip.
In 1811 a Mr. Barrenger is mentioned as part owner of Sunbury Church ait, which the City was then buying for the purposes of the lock.
The weir was raised nine inches in December 1863 in order to economise water.


In 1623
"100 poore barge men complained that Sir Thomas Lake had caused 2 milles to be built here to the great hindrance of a great many poore men which getts their living by the said River.
But what cares hee or such as hee?"

On 9 April, in the same year, the Earl of Nottingham, Lord Lieutenant of the county, wrote to the Lord Mayor requesting him to cause these mills to be suppressed.
One or both may have been sited at Barringer's, just mentioned.
A sort of weir preceded the lock, ordered by the Corporation in September 1789
"for the benefit of the Navigation with all convenient speed."
This was not the present weir, or indeed a weir at all in the large sense; but a mere low stop of planks and piling across part of the channel, intended to direct the stream into, and so to scour out, the usual barge road.
There were half a dozen similar inventions about Sunbury; whose "Flats" were in 1793
"supposed to have been rendered so very bad, by a Fisherman having made there certain contrivances called Wellys to catch Lampreys, by staking down in the Channel large faggots of Brushwood [kidels, to wit], which create a Stream, and cause a Shallow below."

The lock was first suggested by Rennie in the end of 1805, within a long cut from Halliford bend.
Coupled with his other suggestions mentioned under Chertsey and Shepperton, you would thus have navigated by canal almost all the eight River miles between Penton Hook and Sunbury.
The lock was to have a fall of six feet.
The plan was thwarted; and in 1809 he proposed a modified scheme which was realised.
The island on which this first lock stood was known as Sunbury Church ait; and was owned by about half a dozen proprietors, whose combined interest cost the City something over £1,000 to purchase.
The island above it was known at this time as Scotland eyte: now Wheatley's.
The lock cut was engineered "principally from an old channel of the River".
The lock was ready for traffic on 6 February 1812.
It stood against the still extant old lockhouse in the middle of the cut, against the bridge.
Paul Ruff of Sunbury was appointed first keeper at 30s. weekly, finding "Coals, Candles and other necessaries."
Was he related to the Roughs, the notable builders of boats?
His name is so spelt in City records in 1820.
A lockhouse was ordered the same May.
The installation of these City locks, like those in the upper waters, caused much temporary local inconvenience and disturbance.
Here at Sunbury, for example, a Mr. Robert Burnett wrote to the Corporation from Darby House in August, 1812, that the use of an old wharf or landing place close to the church, perhaps just where the South African memorial now stands, had been unreasonably abandoned by the bargemen, and that barges were inconsiderately being discharged on the bank in front of his house.
He continued;
"On Monday last a large Barge was brought close in by the House to unload during that and the following day.
One of the Bargemen, tho' I was standing within a few yards of him and without permission was going to take my punt from the Shore to the Barge.
Upon my refusing him the use of it after such a liberty, and stating the Nuisance 'of unloading so close to the House' He said he should Land there when he pleased.
Soon after another Bargeman fastened the Barge rope to a small punt post - I went out to notice the impropriety of fixing the rope of so large a Barge to so small a post.
He answered that if he chose, he might fix the Rope to the knocker of my Street door.
The Language used by the Men was very improper to be Within the hearing of the Ladies in the House."

In 1813 Paul Ruff Was allowed to rent the Church island at £15 for a twelvemonth.
The same year the Surrey bank above the old lockhouse was let to John Steel of Bermondsey for a rope ground.
In 1816 he found himself unable to pay his rent.
His reason was that
"a Welcome tho' unexpected peace took place; and a very different turn in the business of your petitioner was the result."
In May 1820 permission was refused him to build dwelling rooms over his wheelhouse.
In June 1821 a first mention occurs of a new inn erected on the Surrey bank above the lock: predecessor I imagine of the present Weirs hotel.
Access to it was obtained across Steel's land, for which he charged the proprietor 5s. annually.
Next month his tarhouse was burnt down and other damage done to the extent of £100.
Local sympathy refunded part of his loss; and the City remitted him a year's rent.
He pleaded very frequent and appreciable help afforded to Ruff, especially
"when the works have been in danger from the Ice."
A good-natured unfortunate, this Steel!
"I have assisted at the weir more than fifty times", he wrote.
"Once I was driven under the beam through the weir"; and had his thigh and knee bad for a month after.
"Had my forefinger kniped" by the frost at another time when helping; and would never have its proper use again.
Then during a thaw, when the weir was being, cleared of ice, a drag caught his leg and he had to go on crutches for five weeks.
"And I never expected, nor accepted though offered, of a shilling."

If only the Corporation would allow him to live over his workshops the fire would never have happened, and he would be saved crossing the River fifteen hundred times a year.
In the very next winter, 1821-2, all his sheds and plant were swept away; and in May 1823 he left the spot, to superintend some ropeworks in London.
One Thomas Tilleard took the ropewalk afterwards; I note him surrendering it in November 1834.
In the summer of 1823 Ruff was permitted to convert the osier bed on the island into meadow land, on account of the low price of rods. He died in 1832; and Abraham T hurkle, cutler, had his place in the month of November.

A Mr. John Long rented the island in December 1833.
The weir came badly to grief in the summer of 1836.
The lock, like Teddington, was provided with a central pair of gates, which began to be used in 1838, "owing to the increase of smaller sized Barges."
In May 1842 it was suggested that public angling from the weir bridge should no longer be allowed.
May's survey of 1845 shews the lock in its original position, with three sets of gates.
The adjacent land is marked "formerly a rope walk"; I do not know how long after 1834 the institution survived.
During 1847 Thurkle was in arrear with his accounts, and was failing to give receipts for tolls.
Wages were reduced in July 1848 to 27s. through railway competition; and were to be 18s. on the iirst vacancy.
In May 1849 Long, after a tenancy of nearly sixteen years, petitioned for a reduction of rent on his land.
The island had been so much under water the previous three years that he had had to find grazing elsewhere for his three cows.
The rent was reduced to £10.
Two barges with a total of 30 tons of cargo reached Sunbury in one week of February 1849.
In May 1852 the lock was very dilapidated, and had to be rebuilt; a further motive being the imminent extraction of water from the River by four Water Companies.
The work was completed by June 1856.
This second lock was built at the tail of the cut, and a new house was provided "the existing one being inconveniently distant."
The footbridge was also now built.
In June 1858 application was made to purchase the old house; but the Conservancy decided to keep it as a residence for their upper River keeper, with a deduction of £20 from his wage.
The ropewalk was still in existence; Whether in use I know not.
Hall in 1859 has one of his rare cantankerous notes:
"A weir of considerable length, and lower down a lock recently constructed on 'scientific principles', the waters being raised and lowered by machinery; but the effect of the 'improvement' is to embarrass and delay the voyager."
(It is interesting to note that locks are always built as low down the cut as possible
"because after floods, the eddy that is formed at the entrance into the river is generally the cause of a bar of sand or gravel, which is most easily to be removed by drawing the sluices of the lock; but when the water has to pass thro' a long tail cut, its motion is too languid to produce the necessary effect"; also more excavation is requisite for the deeper tail cut, than for the head.
Probably this is the reason why Sunbury lock was removed, when rebuilt, to the extreme lower end of its cut.)
In December 1860 W. Betterage offered to rent the ropewalk, but was disallowed.
In May 1862 Thurkle was granted 10s. weekly for an assistant.
In 1865 E. Clark of Sunbury applied for a piece of land "opposite Sunbury church" : apparently either on the Surrey side or on the island, to build a boathouse.
He was unsuccessful; his people are now settled on the Sunbury bank.
Thurkle died in May 1868; his widow rejected £10 as an honorarium after her husband's long service of nearly 36 years.
Hy. Joist succeeded in June.
Taunt in 1871 remarks that the lock was "very slow in emptying".
It was again rebuilt in 1886.
In February 1887 the Vestry proposed to close Vicarage wharf and drawdock; also an old ferry.
In September 1892 Joist was superseded by F. Wilson from Chertsey.
He was still here about 1911; he obtained in 1910 the prize for the handsomest garden between Bray and Teddington.
The meadowy surroundings of this lock give the impression of a much greater distance from London.


Abbs Court Paygate stood on the towpath opposite Sunbury village; near the present lock.
I do not hear of any actual gate or bar; and the toll of one penny per horse in 1776 was paid only at high water times, "tho' the Horses go upon the path at all times, but as it is possible for them to go in the Water upon the Outside of it when the Water is low, no toll at that time is taken."
Such are the curious and intricate Workings and reservations of the human mind.
The toll in 1779 was 3d. per horse, amounting to about £2 8s. annually.
The station was doubtless identical with the Abscourte Meade path mentioned under Walton Bridge; and probably also with "Col. Hodge's at Moulsey: only £5 a Year by agreement", alluded to in 1793.
This towpath Was known as Cane Hedge.
In 1808 the Corporation of London proposed to purchase it.
The owner asked £210.
There is still a distinct and appreciable hedge along the waterside below Sunbury lock; evidently here, and at Shillingford, the word is rightly Hedge, not Edge.
Does Cane, or Kean, mean osier canes: an osier hedge?
It was used as a towpath, as I have just said, only at high water; there was a lower path which could be used when the water was low.
As the City could not arrive at an understanding with the landowner they repaired and raised the lower path and restored it to efficiency.
In 1843 I get a note that the row of willows on the River's brink, some of them actually in the water, were planted, or perhaps replanted, just before this date, to contract the current.


Peggy's Ait: next above Platt's ait, so named in Brindley's map of 1770, and by Rennie in 1794.
After 1854 it is called Pecker's ait.
The City purchased it in 1855; in December 1856 a new channel was opened on its north side, and the space between it and the south bank was filled up.
In January 1865 the Angling Preservation Society obtained the use of the "ponds at Pecker's Ait " for pisciculture.


This huge tumulus of an island has been artificially heightened, I think, by receiving the ballast dredged for a century or two from the River bed in its neighbourhood.
It is a scene for Glück's Orpheus: the towpath walk hence to Sunbury lock in the gloom of a November afternoon; where huge, minatory elms and poplars tower over the sullen stream in flood.
In 1802 it was reported that
"a weir in length 100 yards has been raised to divert part of the water of the back stream into the Canal on the Surrey side":
doubtless, as I explain elsewhere, a mere low fence of planks and piling.
In 1809 Rennie proposed a lock and weir at the tail of the island.


A weir is noted at Hampton in 1578, rented by Thomas Reddknapp and John Upton under the Crown.
In 1821 an action was threatened against the City for planting trees on this island.
Davis's ait is named at Hampton in 1843.
The ornamental left bank below this point was suggested by a Mr. Giffard early in 1860.
Harvey's ait is named between Hampton and the Palace in 1869.
The stream below Garrick's is one of the numerous Hog Holes on the River.


The first definite proposal for this station was made to the City by their clerk Truss in the end of 1802: to hold up the water over the shoals at "Kenton Hedge and Sundbury Flatts above."
Nothing was done; and in February 1809 Rennie again pressed for a lock and weir.
The building was not begun till 1814, and the lock was announced to be opened for traffic on 9 August 1815.
The present lockhouse, Italianate in style, bears the date of this year upon its forefront.
John Nash, citizen and butcher, was the first keeper, at 32s. weekly.
Early in 1816 a complaint was received from Lady Yonge, who lived opposite the lock, characteristic of many such criticisms in those days.
"The House and Lands were purchased by Lady Yonge at a higher price than the usual value on the account of the advantage and great ornament of the River and the Parklike Grounds on the opposite Shore.
Since the erection of the Lock the Opposite Shore from being a level Green to the edge of the River and a beautiful Scene of Pasturage is become a Bank raised a considerable height of Gravel, Chalk, etc., with the Lock House overlooking the Lawn and Walks."

In June 1820 Nash was reported "suddenly dead; killed by a race-horse on Moulsey-Hurst."
George Nash, also citizen and butcher, was elected in his place; no relationship is stated.
In January 1829 Ramsbottom the brewer and Mason the bargeowner of Windsor complained to the City that Nash was allowing Mason's bargemen
"to leave Casks of Ale there, which were taken out of the Barges whilst in the Lock, and which were afterwards taken away by the Bargemen."
Nash vehemently protested his innocence ; but another matter of cheeses emerged; and after inquiry he was discharged.
Alas! other little matters get whispered about regarding the lockkeepers of that date: even of a cottage or two gradually pieced together from materials acquired from passing barges.

In March Cuthbert Peart, citizen and needlemaker, came to the lock.
Fearnside entitles it Hampton in 1832.
In February 1833, after only four years' service, Peart was no less than £103 short in his account.
He was given four months to make good: an indulgence apparently extended, as he was still about £40 short in August.
An interesting incident here in 1834 is described in my General History.
In June 183 5 Peart's neighbour, one Feltham; complained of Peart's goats.
"I have no wish to deprive him of any pleasure (or profit if any) he may have in seeing these animals about him, but hope that the Corporation will induce him to prevent" them browsing on the young shoots of Feltham's hedges.
Peart was again in trouble in 1836.
"Joseph Hamilton, Rowland Fencock, and John Wheatley in the Lug 'Mermaid' most grossly insulted, obstructed, and hindred me whilst on my duty at the Lock, on April 23rd, at 12 o'clock at Noon.
Witness Henry Brand in Barge 'Salisbury'.
The same men nearly every time they come to the Lock grossly insult me."

He had made enemies of the two first by obtaining a conviction against them at Kingston for petty theft.
Their employer was cautioned.
The City took a lease of the land above and below the lock in 1839.
This same year poor needlemaker Peart is again made to bleat.
"Snell has again been at his tricks. He came down the River in 'Good Intent' lug Sep 10, 11 a.m. Shell's Steam Boat was in sight after him coming with great speed.
Soon as the Lug was in the Lock Snell and another Man jumped out and forced the gates to, and placed themselves upon the gates daring me to touch a paddle.
My Wife hearing a great noise came out with another Female.
With them I prevented Snell shutting out the Steam Boat, using the foulest language that could be uttered."

More trouble occurred two months later.
In July 1842 Peart applied for help, "on account of age and infirmity", being in his "seventyeth year of Age"!
Ashen ait is named in July 1844, adjoining the lock: it was being washed away.
In October Peart asked for "a few more shillings" to enable him to keep a boy to attend to the night traffic; his "Health declining from Age" had put it beyond him.
Even as he pleaded he died; on the 15th of the month.
The candidates for the vacant post included Mrs. Peart, two old men of 60 and 62, live over 50, one of 45, and only one youngster of 29.
John Obadiah Jaques was selected, aged 60.
Mrs. Peart was pensioned at 10s. weekly by the City; and was allowed to stay in her old home during pleasure.
Wages were reduced in July 1848 owing to railway competition.

In June 1851 the reach upwards towards Sunbury came under consideration owing to the imminent extraction therefrom of water by the Lambeth Waterworks.
To counteract the expected lowering of the water level one proposal made was to
"construct a new chamber below the present lower gates at the Lock" to form a step up into the existing pound.
Some kind of works were immediately started, amounting perhaps to a rebuilding of the lock lower than before, and completed during 1853.
Jacques died in April 1854; and it was agreed that no one over fifty should be admitted as candidate; wages to be only 18s.; and agreed also that "any person not being free of this City ought not to be admitted a Candidate."
In June John Henry Smith, assistant at Teddington, was appointed at 25s. weekly, having "taken up his freedom in the Company of Spectaclemakers."
In October 1861 he was suspended for drunkenness and incivility, but reinstated on promise of amendment.
In February 1863 one Marshall of Godalming was prohibited drawing "several Teams with Timber along the Towing-path."
Fish ladders were added to the weir in October 1864.
A twelvemonth later the barge Swan was rated as a passenger boat, and charged at 20 tons, 6s. 8d. each passage.
Smith was ordered in September 1867 to exchange with Phillips at Shepperton, but the latter being very ill the transfer was postponed.
Phillips had arrived by July 1869; at this date he was reprimanded for asking gratuities from the pleasure traffic here.
The boatslide was put up just previous to June 1871.
In May 1877 a boat and men were stationed above the weir at busy times, in case of accidents to the pleasure traffic.
The weir was to be rebuilt in 1883.
Phillips was retired in July 1890, and succeeded by C. Stone from Cookham.
During 1893 and earlier I find frequent allusions to shooting the small weir, which the Conservancy had difficulty in preventing.
The lock was rebuilt in 1906.


Alexander Turke was tenant of the Stert mill in East Molesey in 1584; rebuilding it owing to its decayed condition.
I have been unable to trace this mill; nor do I know if it was driven with Thames water.
Both Hampton and Hampton Court ferries appear in some depositions in 1606.
The tenants of both were Greensmith, Crane, and Budbrooke.
One Hamond succeeded to Hampton ferry separately; whose widow and estate were acquired by one Michener.
The last name mentioned is Cheeseman.
I gather from this document that the composition for an affluent family's annual use of Hampton Court ferry at this date was 23. 8d.
That unpleasant person Edward Progers leased both ferries about 1667.
In September 1676 James Clerk obtained them; and on petition was granted in January 1678 a ninety-nine years' lease of the lower ferry, at an annual rent of £2 14s. 2d.
John Kip's view in 1707 of the palace shews a barge towing up with four horses; downward vessels are sailing.
Defoe's comment (if it be his) upon the River here in 1724 seems memorable:
"High enough to be Navigable; and low enough to be a little pleasantly Rapid." Six shillings was in 1770 the watermen's charge for rowing you hither from London Bridge; presumably for the boat, and not per person.


James Clarke, possibly son of the Clerk mentioned above. obtained statutory authority in 1747 to build a bridge here: described a century later as
"a light wooden structure."
In 1794 the
"very high toll taken of all passengers and carriages" was complained of; the owner now being Lord Brownlow.
An ancient landing place stood on the right bank against the bridge.
In 1783 John Purford, a Sunbury waterman, deposed that he had known it for fifty years past.

Hampton Court Bridge - Tombleson's Drawing of about 1834
Hampton Court Bridge - Tombleson's Drawing of about 1834

2nd HAMPTON BRIDGE [ 1788 - 1866 ] WTSWG

In 1814 the landing was removed from the upper to the lower side of the bridge.
In May 1830 it was declared regarding Hampton Court gulls, below the bridge, that
"great complaints are made by the drivers of the towing horses of the difficulty of keeping long teams (of from ten to sixteen horses) on the path at the head of the gulls in consequence of its being so narrow."
Chas. young, lessee of the bridge, was refused permission in May 1838 to drive piles on the Surrey side for the purpose of building a private tollhouse thereon.
It subsequently appeared that Young had been making himself objectionable for some time past; having "appropriated a considerable portion of the Beach to his private use, making it a receptacle for Filth, Rubbish and Lumber of every description.
It will require very peremptory measures to induce him to desist."

In 1840 the bridge had become dilapidated.
Next year Allan the owner and George Hine Young the new lessee reported to the City the necessity of considerable reconstruction; attempting, perhaps justly, to attribute the necessity to the altered set and increased violence of the current caused by the lock and weir.
They recalled that when the bridge was originally built about 1750 the stream flowed beneath it in a direct line; but that it was now considerably deflected, and also narrowed by embanking from 360 to (it was alleged) 130 feet.
The navigation was rendered very dangerous, as vessels descending frpm the lock could not make the arches designed for them.
In February 1842 the City finally disclaimed liability.
Sedgefield has a photograph of the original bridge, which he states had been pulled down by 1866.
"Crazy, hog-backed, inconvenient and obstructive of the navigation": so he describes it.
A watercolour dated 1864 in Kingston public library gives an idea of it.
A steamboat pier stood against the centre of the lower side of this bridge, according to an official survey of 1845.

3rd HAMPTON BRIDGE [ 1876 - 1933 ] WTSWG

The Illustrated London News of 15 July 1876 states that the new bridge was "opened last Saturday"; the tolls having been extinguished at a cost of £48,000.
In one week of February 1849 three barges with a total cargo of 36 tons reached Hampton; four reached Molesey with 191 tons; and two with 70 tons arrived at Ditton.
The island crossed by the Middlesex end of the bridge is called Wren's island in a map displayed in the palace.
I recount an incident connected with the small back stream in my General History.
In the same map Toy Green is marked on the left hand at this entrance of the bridge.
Gilbert White writes in his Selborne:
"About twenty years ago { circ. 1747 } the bridge at the Toy, near Hampton Court, being much decayed, some trees were wanted for the repairs that were fifty feet long without bough, and would measure twelve inches diameter at the little end.
Twenty such trees did a purveyor find in this little wood { Losel's at Selborne }, with this advantage, that many of them answered the description at sixty feet.
These trees were sold at twenty pounds apiece."

I think, from the date, that they were required for the original erection, and not the repair, of the main bridge.Early in 1914 much local opposition was aroused by the proposal to erect a new pier just below the bridge on the [right] bank.
One protest, amongst others, stated that this little expanse of the River bed had been reserved for very many years for the enjoyment of children from London;
"a place where in summer these children can play and paddle in the water, and which has been kept shallow and free from River traffic for this purpose."
About the same date a stone was discovered at the base of the ferry house, inscribed: "A remarkable high flood, March 12, 1774: water rose to this mark."
This flood is frequently recorded in this and other ways.


Map: Hampton Court to Glover's island


The waterworks were in course of excavation in February 1856.


Towpath steps were allowed here to J. Messenger in August 1859.
In October 1868 a scheme was mooted for a new bridge across the River at Surbiton.
In the early thirteenth century a peace was arranged between Henry III and Louis of France
"in quadam insula satis vicina villae de Kingestune",
[ "on that island near the town of Kingston" ]
according to Matthew of Westminster.
Was it this island, or Stevens's, or another?
Westfield Ferry crosses at the head of this ait.


Hampton Wick Paygate stood in the eighteenth century just above old Kingston Bridge, on the green on the [right] bank.
From a note under Kingston Bridge below it appears that the new bridge of 1828 crossed over its site.
The City leased it, tolls and grazing included, from the Crown in 1776, at an annual rent of £120.
The path it controlled extended upwards to a point opposite Thames Ditton church; and was at this date
"in extream bad repair, rapid stream over it in flood time."
It was then called Herbage Walk: a name now nearly forgotten.
The City sublet the tollhouse in the autumn of 1791 to one Sanders of Wapping for £26 annually, and £100 fine.
He reaped a crop of trouble over it.
First of all the man in possession refused to quit till Christmas.
Then, the City denying liability for rates to the hamlet of Hampton Wick, the local authorities seized a cottage Sanders had built and let, and dispossessed him.
He moreover acquired blood poisoning from a thorn wound received while clearing the growth from the bank at the instance of the bargemasters.
He got a little help from the City.
The path was at this period recognised as a carriage road.
In July 1796 Sanders asked the City to repair it; it was in such a bad state, especially against the paygate itself, that
"two Post Chaises were lately nearly overturned."
One Blizard was in 1811 the owner of most of the towing horses herealong.
Next year a complaint arose that the new lock at Teddington kept the flood water about, and helped to rot some wooden cottages on the bargewalk.
Several cows were pastured thereon.
In May 1834 "ruinous premises" are alluded to; let a little later to Henry Marriott, of Fleet Street, with the option of rebuilding.
About 1843 the City, held to their agreement by the Crown in spite of seriously diminished tolls, began to build a new embankment and path in the River.
In June 1844 they gave the Woods and Forests notice to quit the former track; and were reminded by the Crown solicitors that the River bed upon which the new path had been formed was Crown property,
"and having been taken without the consent of the Crown, the Board require the same to be forthwith surrendered, and the use thereof discontinued," unless terms were offered for renting it.
In April 1846 a resident complained of nearly a score of manure heaps smoking along the bargewalk.
In March 1854 the unhappy spot was again accused of having
"become a complete drying ground for all the extraordinary Garments and rags of the poor people.
It appears as if the washing was in our own grounds and is the first object seen from our Dining and Drawing Room Windows."

It is now a pleasant grassy walk, shewing no sign of all these vicissitudes.
Several substantial brick cottages have taken the place of the wooden hovels that rotted here nearly a century ago.


KINGSTON was, according to Cooke, originally called
"Mereford, from its ford over the River."
He names no authority for this statement.
Much navigation history naturally appertains to so ancient and important a Riverside port as Kingston.
The earliest incident I discover is a boat-letting agreement of about 1282, whereby
"Walter, called Clerk, of Kingestone, 'batiler', received from Henry Herford a certain 'batell' for a term of two years, on the understanding that out of the profits Walter and his partners should receive twopence, and should hand over the third penny to Henry, honestly and without fraud; and if any dishonesty should be discovered, the said Walter binds his body for prison."
In 1416 occurs an allusion to a
"weir by Kingston called Ham weir":
possibly a predecessor of Teddington weir.
It may be identical with a weir in the Thames at Ham, noted in 1253; the "use" of which was worth 26s. 8d. yearly.


The earliest contemporary allusion I possess to the bridge is in 1318, when it was in a dangerous condition; and pontage was granted of twopence on each vessel passing under with goods for sale of over 100s. value.
In February 1449 a grant of pontage was made for the very unusually long term of fifty-one years (coterminous with the century) to the bailiffs and good men of Kingston for repair of the bridge and causeways.
Kingston Bridge was until the eighteenth century the second Thames bridge from the sea.
There have been at least three bridges at Kingston.
Leland in 1539 alludes to the contemporary and to an older structure.
"Yn the old tyme the commune saying ys that the Bridge, where the commune Passage was over the Tamise at olde Kingstom, was lower on the Ryver then it is now.
And when men began the new Town yn the Saxons Tymes they toke from the very Clive of Come Park Side & builde on the Thamise Side: and sette a new Bridge hard by the same."

No doubt the two Old Bridge Streets on the Hampton Wick and Kingston sides, just below the present bridge, indicate the trajectory of the second structure, which was of timber.
Cooke, who mentions an allusion to it in 1224, states that it was 168 yards in length, and endowed with lands for its maintenance.

2nd KINGSTON BRIDGE [ ? - 1825 ] WTSWG

In August 1651 the Council of State ordered "the drawbridge" to be perfected.
For the twelvemonth between Michaelmas 1695 and 1696 the revenues accruing to the "Great Bridge" were £57 19s. 4d.; an additional amount of £60 1s. 2d. being in arrear.
A MS. of 1710 says:
"The great Wooden Bridge hath twenty interstices: two in the middle wide enough for Barges.
On a post in the middle of this Bridge is this Inscription in Brass
1567 Robert Hamon Gentleman Bayliffe of Kingstone heretofore hathen made this Bryge tollfre for Evermore."

The table of tolls in my General History indicates that at some date before 1720 the toll had been reimposed, on the water traffic at least.
The MS. states that Hamon endowed the bridge with £40 annually in land; that it had "22 Pierres of Wood" containing 126 yards; and that it had
"in the middle two fair Seates for Passengers to avoid Carts and to sit and enjoy the delightfull Prospect."
In Ireland's view of the bridge in 1792 the navigation arch is represented at the Kingston end.
In October 1802 a report said
"A new arch much wanting: the present navigable arch very dangerous, several barges having been sunk across the bridge."


In January 1825 the Corporation notified the City of London Navigation Committee that it was intended to build a new bridge: the third of the series.
It was expected to cover the site of the Hampton Wick tollhouse and stable; and was opened in 1828.
In April 1846 a resident of the Wick suggested
"the removal of the carts and waggons left under the Arch of the Bridge, tenanted at Night by Vagabonds and people of the worst description":
products, doubtless, of the new era of machinery and the vile industrialism.
The third bridge was freed of tolls in 1870 at a cost of £15,600.
In January 1911 it was proposed to widen it from 25 to 55 feet between the parapets.
The work was begun in November 1912, and completed exactly two years later.


Cardinal Wolsey brought his conduit to Hampton Court under the River above Kingston.
The supply originated at Combe Wood, 3½ miles distant from the palace.
Brayley says the pipe crossed at the Surbiton waterworks; in Brindley's survey of 1770 it is marked at about a thousand yards above old Kingston Bridge.
In 1825 it was said to be sunk beneath the bed of the River; but between 1803 and 1859 several complaints were made by bargemen that their vessels had grated upon it in passing over.
A quaint note of 1794 may perhaps be admitted: that the cardinal's water supply was
"efficacious in the gravel, excellent for drinking and washing, but unfit for culinary use," turning vegetables black.

In 1532 Erasmus Forde complained, as one of the king's commissioners of sewers,
"against the extreme handling of divers poor men.
We have found the king's weirs unlawful, and common purprestures to his own stream.
One Dean of Kingston, taker of timber and board for Hampton Court, has encroached on the Thames above all others; and, to tear us, says we be false harlots.
He came to my house, called Norbeton Hall, and like an Hemprour enters into my ground, and robbed thirty-five of my purest and fairest elms."

Lysons records that Mary Tudor gave a fishing weir to the town in 1555 in recompense for the breaking of the bridge by the townsfolk against Sir Thomas Wyat and his fellow rebels.
This is doubtless the weir complained of in 1578, as mentioned on page 49 of my General History:
"built by Benson and Wood in 2 Mary, rent paid to the bridgewardens by the builders and Gold and Jennyngs, all farmers thereof."
In a MS. of 1710, being a petition by the freemen of Kingston against abuses of the fishery, allusion is made to this weir as a grant by "Philip and Mary in 1555 of a fishware in the River and the Space of 80 Perch or Rod in the same River for such ware. Forty of the said Perch or Rod have all along been used for that purpose next above the said Bridge and the Residue next below the same."

KINGSTON AITS [ see also below ]

Almost within living memory, I think, there were islands immediately above and below the bridge, doubtless of much assistance to the weir work.
Those below clearly appear in some contemporary pictures in Kingston public library.
They formed the subject of a report to the City of London in 1703.
Sir Salathiel Lovell, Recorder, viewed the aits; and perused the title of the town to their possession.
He found that Kingston had time out of mind held and enjoyed them, and had let and demised them in 32 Henry VIII and down to that very day under yearly rents; upholding their right even against the Crown.
They therefore constituted no nuisance or encroachment upon the River; and the City consequently allowed the claim, ordering the Water Bailiff to survey and record his measurements.
I have further various evidence about these aits and weir.
Park's map after Rocque, dated 1745, hanging in the Kingston County Hall, and Brindley's of 1771, both shew the upper ait.
Some weels, "in the narrow channel near the bridge", were said about 1785 to "occasion a fall of water by which it is with great difficulty Barges are navigated up that part of the River."
Brayley has a View of the bridge from above, shewing against it in midstream a timber barrier connecting two little reed clumps: a scene doubtless very similar to that recently visible above Caversham Bridge.
In September 1757 the Gentleman's Magazine remarked:
"A considerable stop lately put down by a fisherman in the river Thames, above Kingston-bridge, under some grant alledged to have been made to him by the corporation of Kingston, was, pursuant to a warrant signed for that purpose by the Lord Mayor of London, pulled up and entirely destroyed."
Probably it was reinstated, and in 1777 Kingston produced their Mary Tudor charter in support.
The City countered with its "much more ancient charters" of Richard I and others; and successfully, for the moment, insisted upon the removal of the obstruction.
It was possibly as a substitute for this stop that one was allowed at Raven's Ait in November 1781; though Rennie mentions "Brown's Fishery Stop" against the bridge in 1794.
I believe aits and weir were all cleared away before 1857.
In 1770 it cost 5s. to be rowed hither from London; the price had dropped to 1s. 6d. in 1828.
In 1781 I discover a complaint about unseasonable fishing for salmon at Kingston.
In 1785 a Mr. Norwood of Hampton Wick was requested by the City to desist apparently from banking up the entrance of the channel at Trowlock Ait (sometimes incorrectly called Crowlock).
The spot was defined as "opposite the White Horse below Kingston."
There is no such house there now, of this name; I have wondered if the little refreshment "Chalet" was once known by this title; though I am assured not.

Kingston fishermen in May 1795 petitioned the City to be allowed to plant stakes in the River, the fishery being
"greatly injured by the West Country Bargemen and others (as they navigate the River) frequently throwing of Casting Nets and using of Spears for Eels, particularly at Kingston Bridge."
The petition was allowed.
During 1802 the Duke of Northumberland complained that clerk Truss had stopped up a weir "below Kingston" (which I do not identify) as detrimental to the navigation.
The duke produced a grant of fishery of 1604 by James I to Henry, Earl of Northumberland.
Once more the City produced their charter of Richard I,
"granting the right of the River Thames to the citizens of London"; and nothing further was heard from the duke.
In January 1803 the local bargemasters besought the City to improve the waterway down to Richmond.
Teddington lock was not yet in existence.
If the channel were not remedied they feared that the greater part of their business would be diverted to the
"Iron Railway through Croydon and Reigate and all its adjoining villages."
They allude to great damage to their craft, and loss of time, through grounding sometimes for a week together in the district named.
In 1846 the Middlesex side of the River is noted as more frequented than the other by passing traffic.
An indication of the extent of the latter is afforded by a note of February 1849, which states that 14 barges with a total of 532 tons of merchandise reached Kingston in one week of that month.
In 1859 application was made for leave to instal a floating bath in the River; I do not discover the result.
The owner of Chicken Stairs was in 1875 forbidden to rebuild them; inquiry has failed to locate these stairs.


Kingston Railway Bridge, first discussed by the River Authority in 1860, was opened in 1863.


STEVENS AITS are possibly referred to by a note of 1362 respecting "an eyte in the water of Thames" at Kingston which was 200 ft. long and 20 ft. wide.
This favourite resort of summer crowds, with its pleasant central lagoon, probably derives its name from some former part owners.
Towards the end of the eighteenth century a paygate existed upon the towpath here, mentioned by Brindley in 1770:
"At Mount Pleasant, below Kingston: 3d. per Horse."
It is again noted in 1776 with the same toll, bringing in £100 annually to a proprietary of fifteen persons.
This is closely confirmed by a reference in the previous year:
"Kingston Ayte Toll Gate belonging to Messrs. London, Burchett and Harris produces about £110 per annum, which at 30 years' purchase is worth £3300."
The owners presented the City with a claim for tolls for the year 1793-4 amounting to nearly £200; and the latter proposed, if they could legally evade this charge, to erect a towpath in the River bed along the bank opposite Stevens' aits.
Various sleeping partners are named in 1793, some called Stevens; it is they doubtless from whom the island is named.
The paygate was purchased by the City in 1796 for £1600.
An old man John Kemp, 64 years of age, who had served as caretaker on the ait for 32 years, petitioned the City to be kept on in some light capacity.
He was granted £5.
Brindley's map of 1771 demonstrates that the towpath ran along the edge of these islands.
It is shewn coming up the Surrey bank to Mount Pleasant, crossing to the aits, the barge channel lying between them and the [right] (Middlesex) bank, and returning by a bridge 350 ft. long reaching from the aits to the Kingston bank.
The horses then crossed the River by the great bridge to the Hampton Wick paygate.
Brindley marks a tiny ait between the lower island and the [right] bank.
The islands now comprise one very long and narrow, and one very small below it.

Rennie proposed a lock and weir at Mount Pleasant in February 1809.
I think that the "Kingston Ayte" mentioned above is not Stevens', but the marshy bank upon which the pleasant Canbury Gardens have been superimposed.
It is not clear why the towing could not have proceeded along this bank, except that the only navigable channel lay at this time outside the islands.
Stevens' supplied good osier crops, which the City sold annually.
In January 1802 the price was 45s. per score bolts (a bolt is defined as the number of rods a man can pick up in one embrace).
In 1804 56s. was obtained; in 1807 63s. ; dropping to 30s. in December 1809.
A year later the Jews' Society bought the crop at the same low price; and were the buyers for some years after.
The price rose to 48s. in 1814; in December 1815 to 67s. 6d.
In January 1818 72s. 6d. is noted: the last year in which the City rented the body of the island, as distinct from the towpath.
The aits were probably much larger at this period than now.
They have always had a reputation for suffering from the floods; and Cooke's view in 1818 may be allowed to witness to their former extent, though artists are given to sacrifice accuracy to picturesqueness.
The ownership of the islands passed, at what date I do not discover, into the possession of the Conservancy; and up till the spring of 1896 were privately occupied.
At this date the corporation of Kingston offered to lease them for public use; but as they proposed to charge for landing the negotiation fell through.
In the following March the Conservancy engaged a caretaker; the boathouse was built in July 1899.
Early in 1911 the Authority informed the Surrey County Council that they were prepared to vest the islands in a local body with a view to their preservation as an open space, but not to contribute towards their maintenance.
No action seems to have resulted, as in December 1913, in response to a further offer of the aits, with part maintenance, by the Conservancy, the Kingston corporation offered a sum of £200 towards their immediate preservation, without further responsibility.
I noticed to my relief about 1917 that the plague of gramophones on the islands on Sundays was silenced.


Just below these aits, on the [left] bank, stands ONE TREE: a local landmark to River traffic for centuries.
Not till one bright day in March 1915 did I first Visit this fine old elm.
It stands lopped of almost all its limbs; and its cavities are sealed with cement.
But it still displayed the promise of renewed foliage in the approaching Spring.
You will find it at the very point where the Canbury villas end and the high bank begins to curve downwards to Teddington.
From this mound is a noble View of the inexhaustible River.


First lock:

Teddington, absurdly derived from Tide End Town; before the lock was built even the weakest tides must have been felt, at least before the time of the bridges, many miles higher.
An old spelling was Todyngton; the settlement of the sons of Tead or Tod: a not uncommon place name in districts where tides are unknown.
The spot always gave the navigation much trouble through shallows.
In April 1775 stops were put down
"to controul the Current so as to form one certain navigable Channel: frequently near 20 Barges were stop'd there at one time."
The earliest suggestion of a lock came from Truss.
It was decided to build it 150 ft. long and 20 ft. wide.
This was the first station built by the City after their Act of 1810.
"Circular" gates were originally specified.
The lock was opened for traffic on June 20, 1811, and remained for nearly a century the lowest on the River.
It lay beneath the present footbridge.
The little railed enclosure at the bridge and on the Ham bank was the old lockhouse garden.
Rd. Savory of Strand-on-the-Green was first keeper at 36s. weekly, "to find Coals, Candles and all other necessaries."
He may have been connected with the Savorys at Fisher House below Staines.
The locks were damaged as soon as they were opened, here as higher up, by the truculent bargemen; who were proceeded against and heavily fined.
In like cases the upper Commissioners upon apology often remitted part of the fine, but the Lord Mayor avoided the lenient example; doubtless his wider experience had fathomed such penitence.
The accompanying weir was completed before the end of 1811.
In August the Earl of Dysart had been approached to sell a plot of land for a lockhouse.
In 1814 one Morecock offered to rent part of the island, and the waste water, in order to build and work a mill.
The City decided
"not to enter into any Treaty at present for the Erection of Mills at any of the Locks"; remembering doubtless the trouble in the upper reaches.


In March 1818 old Savory was attacked and robbed of his week's takings: a rare incident in Thames history.
I give an abstract of his own account.
"Teddingn Lock 28/3/1818.

It has been always Customary with me to rise at dawn of day because in general ye Barges move from Richmond then & often do before if the Moon shines till day & this was the Case on ye 20th early.
I rose at just past 4 & was Employed in the Office arranging some small matters before ye Craft came when I heard a Man's Voice calling.
I Open'd one of the Shutters & saw a Man standing about ½ Way between my Window & the lower Gate, and he Pointed with his hand and said here's a Trow coming.
I had no doubt in my own mind but that the Trow was very near, & as the Wind blew hard & right into the Pound it was highly necessary the Gates should be opened & ready.
I now took my hat & was going out but the Inst I open'd the Door a Stout Fellow rushed in & seized me by the throat.
While we were struggling in came 2 More & one of them had something in his hand resembling a Sack.
I was thrown with Violence over a Chair and we both came rolling to ye Ground & I then felt one of them cover my head & press it so close down that I really began to fear they meant to suffocate me.
They soon succeeded in Getting the Cloth close on my head again.
The 3rd Man that I heard busy Opening ye desks & ye Cupboard in which I deposit my Change called out to the Men that held me
if the Old Buggar won't be quiet stick it into him. ...
I now began to argue a little with a mouth almost full of blood with the Man that held me that if they were Men not Savages they would not more ill treat one Old Man.
At this Inst. I heard Mrs. S. step from her Bed on the Floor over our heads and one said
Tom go and see who that is moving about up stairs,
but I said
it's only my Old Dame.
They then took my Keys from my Coat pocket by rolling me over, and having broke every Lock & Emtied every small Box of Mrs. S. in the next room they all ran out leaving me locked in & in darkness.
By their bad discourse I must [think] them Bargemen of lowest Class.
I had about 11 or 12 Single Pound Notes & full six Pounds Silver and ye most part Sml Silver & 4 or 5 shillings in Copper.
I do indeed much fear that this is only ye beginning, for which ever Lock Receives much value it will be a Temptation to such Villians to make an attempt at ye end of ye Week. ...
Richd. Savory."

On petition the old man was allowed the loss; and a reward of £50 was offered for the capture of his assailants.
A small but interesting point about his letter is the survival of ye for the.

The lock was found to need considerable repair in 1825, fourteen years after its construction.
In November of this year a complaint was raised that
"the Fishermen had laid their Lamprey Ledges in a very objectionable manner so as to obstruct the current below the weir."
In 1827 the weir was blown up through an accumulation of ice.
A fresh burglary occurred in November 1828; and some additional rooms were ordered for the house to accommodate a resident assistant.
Meanwhile a third robbery took place before Christmas.
This fresh shock and others following seem to have stricken the victims into a state of panic.
On 9 January 1830 young Rd. Savory, who had been assisting his father, requested to be allowed
"sufficient fire Arms in case of attack on Lock as follows: A Blunderbuss and a bayonet; of course a double Arms in case of misfire, brace of Pistols and amunition also a horn for Powder."
He was actually allowed "a blunderbuss with a bayonet attached thereto."
In the spring of 1832 Oliver St. George,
"an officer of the Royal Engineers, bought and fitted up the old Richmond Steam Vessel The London for trying some new Machinery in grinding grain.
He had his Vessel moored, as the most favorable situation, to the piles of Teddington Weir.
From this, however,"
writes Leach, new clerk of the City's works, "I insisted she should be removed, and had her cast off in two instances.
Unwilling to impede so popular an object as the production of cheap bread I allowed the Vessel to remain at her own anchors a proper distance below the weir, when in consequence of being continually loaded with additional machinery, grain, etc., and being an old boat, she sunk on the 29th of May.
They made an attempt to raise her but she went down again."

She was once more at work in the beginning of July.
This is probably "the mill at the Lock, formed on a new construction, and worthy of inspection," alluded to by W. B. Cooke in his little Richmond published about 1838.
In January 1835 old Savory resigned.
"The infirmity attendant on age", he wrote to his employers, "and a severe domestic loss added, has nearly rendered your oldest Lock-keeper incapable of performing your business.
Therefore he begs you will suffer him to resign his Trust (While he has sufficient Reason left)."

Young Richard Savory was appointed keeper in February.
It is stated this year that the look possessed three pairs of gates.
The central pair had never been used, but might now be employed
"on account of the great diminution in the size of barges."
In the summer of 1843 Savory prevented a small steam vessel passing the lock, though the owner declared
"it makes no more swell than one of your skiffs."
The Conservators were engaged at this time in endeavouring to prevent their towpaths being washed away by the steam traffic, which had hitherto ascended no higher than Richmond.
In May 1848 Savory had "broken up and was incurably ill."
His son was assisting him: the third generation at the lock.
It is stated that at this date the removal of old London Bridge caused an occasional shrinkage of the water to the extent of 2 ft. 6 in. on the lower sill of the lock.
One barge with 45 tons of goods reached Teddington from London in one week of February 1849.
Savory the second died in May 1851:.
His son, also Richard, had the post; and the widow a pension of 10s. weekly.


Second Locks:

Some "projected removal of the lock and weir" is alluded to at the end of this year.
In May 1852 barges were still grounding in the lock owing to the alteration of London Bridge; and the navigation depth was suffering, in 1853, from the extraction of water for the metropolis.
It was therefore decided to rebuild the lock; in June 1854 accommodation was suggested for sea going craft, and a side lock for the pleasure traffic.
The first stone of the new pound was laid on 3 June 1857; and it was opened the following year, being the central one of the present three locks.
In 1858-9 the Authority planted the lock island with trees; I think some there now must be much older than this date.
In April 1863 Savory was ill, and some improvements were made in the house for his benefit.
In June permission was sought by a devotee to bathe in the lock in the early morning.
The cautious Conservancy declined: the water was deep and the walls were upright.
In November the tarring of barges on the island was prohibited.
In August 1864 Savory was granted three months' sick leave, but was dead before the 19th of the month.
He was the last of his line at the lock; three generations of the family had served the Conservancy here over the not very extended period of fifty-four years.
The name survived till quite recently in the locality in connexion with some launch works just below the lock.
The widow was presented with £20, and W. H. Doust succeeded to the lock.
Fish ladders were added to the weir in October 1864.
Next summer steamers were paying 14s. toll at Teddington lock for the voyage; reduced for the City Steam Boat Co. to 10s. in June 1866.
The accumulation of sewage above the lock at this date was reported to be
"six inches thick, and as black as ink."
A tide in September 1868 rose so high that it floated the weir paddles away, and the water up to Molesey ran nearly dry.
Doust resigned in October 1870 and Henry Little his assistant succeeded him.
The weir burst in December, causing a great sensation; at the Coal Exchange a censure on the Conservancy was voted.
The weir was rebuilt during 1871.
A boatslide is mentioned in October 1872 as in existence.
A bridge from the island to the Teddington bank was petitioned for in June 1873, but the Conservancy declined to provide it.
The weir burst again in January 1877, with enormous damage.
In March Little was appointed River inspector in the Battersea district.
In May a boat and men were ordered to be stationed above the weir in busy times.
H. Tame is noted as keeper in May 1878: a relative, doubtless, of the keepers at Marsh and Mapledurham.
The local authorities built, by permission sought in 1882, a footbridge across the River: opened in 1888 WTSWG.
The "fish pass" seems to have been removed in March 1883.
In April 1890 occurs the first anticipation of the fine double lock, ultimately opened on 11 June 1904.
S. Kirby came from Culham, as assistant, in October 1892.
In August 1894 Tame was pensioned, and H. Simpson from Penton Hook succeeded him.
He was dead in December 1897, and Alfred Waters took his place.
Kirby the assistant was put in charge at Shepperton in October 1898.
During an exceptionally high tide on 12 March 1906
"so full was the stream at Teddington that a tug was carried through the lock without the gates being opened."
Just below the lock the Earl of Dysart has huge gravel pits; the gravel from which was formerly loaded into barges from a wharf level with the towpath, by means of trolleys running on rails.
It was an eyesore to Twickenham and Teddington; and there was much to be said for a proposal in 1911-12 to dig a canal through the bank and into the excavations, abolishing the wharf and restoring the natural amenities of the spot; thus largely concealing the disfigurement.
The Surrey County Council opposed the scheme; partly on the ground that the then existing wharf was contrary to common law.
The proposal has now been realised.


Of the Thames between here and Richmond Walpole wrote
"Barges solemn as Barons of the Exchequer move under my window; Richmond Hill and Ham Walks bound my prospect; but, thank God! the Thames is between me and the Duchess of Queensberry."
It cost 4s. in 1770 to be rowed from London to Twickenham.
In 1776 the title of Island of Providence is given either to this or Glover's Island lower down.
On the right bank opposite Eel Pie stood the upper gate of the lowest of the old private towpaths already mentioned.
Brindley's map of 1770 places "Lord Ducie's Tollgate" exactly opposite the house on the island, and remarks: "At Lord Dysart's: 3d. per horse."
The same toll is named six years later as bringing in a gross annual income of £100.
In 1781 the Corporation were desirous of buying up Lord Dysart's interest, but he was asking too much.
They caused an inquiry to be made into the origin of his claim, the result of which was as follows.
"The Floods cutting away part of the Old Towing Path at different places near Teddington Ferry [lock and weir were not yet], the Horses were obliged to go upon some Land belonging to Lord Dysart.
The Barge Carters paid him £8 per year for the Use of that Land.
On their neglect to do so Lord Dysart erected a Toll Bar and demanded 3d. per Horse.
Mr. Jacques, Bargemaster at Wallingford, brought an Action against one Cope the Man that kept the Toll Bar.
A Jury measured the Land and valued it at £100.
Verdict found in favour of the Bargemasters, and it was ordered that the Bargemasters should pay the £8 per year as before.
The Bar was thrown open, and no Toll demanded for about three weeks."

It was said to be the second toll Jacques had defeated.
Subsequently, "Lord Dysart, in order to prevent any Tracts [? traces] of the Verdict, threatened Mr. Jacques and his Attorneys with moving the House of Peers for a Breach of Priviledge, if they did not immediately deliver up all the Papers and Writings in the Cause.
Which was done, and the Toll of 3d. per Horse demanded as before and complied with."

So the matter stood till December 1876, when, the lessee of the gate having just died, the propriety of moving afresh in the matter was suggested to the Corporation.
The Jacques incident was recalled, though it was now stated that he had himself broken down the bar, so making himself defendant and not complainant, and that the verdict going in his favour "the Bar was thrown open for a long time afterwards."
In February 1788 his solicitor joined the mêlée, with a strong letter to the Corporation offering his services.
"It is now some 22 years", he wrote, "since I had the good fortune to succeed in the Cause of Justice and the pleasure of seeing the Toll Bar lye in a Ditch.
The City hath for many Years paid his Lordship what cannot be legally demanded: and next that with my assistance the imposition may be got rid of at a very easy exPence.
As the demand is now raised to £150 per annum, and as a perpetuity of that Magnitude cannot be redeemed for less than four thousand guineas, I flatter myself that the Worshipful Committee will not reject the proferred Services of the only man now living who can effectually serve the Cause."

The Corporation, however, took no steps that I can trace; on the contrary the gate was still levying its toll in 1793.
"One", says the record, "at the Earl of Dysart's, at Petersham, who receives Three Pence per Horse towing, this amounts to £190 a year, which, since [deponent] remembers paid only £8, and that not paid by the Barge Masters, but by the Proprietors of the Towing Horses."
The gate was still in existence in 1821; and seems to have served the City as a check on the lockkeepers' traffic returns.
By the great courtesy of the legal advisers of the Dysart Estate I am enabled to print the following extracts from their papers regarding this ancient institution.
"An Abstract of the Bargeway taken in the time of her Grace the Dutchess of Laurderdale.
In 1672 First mention of the Bargeway when Sam1 Bugbert & John Harvie are charged £8 a year & paid it as Barge Carters."
This arrangement continued till 1683 and then terminated.
In 1730 "payment began again for a fresh way (the former being washed into the River of Thames)."
In 1752 the Earl of Dysart took counsel's opinion as to whether he could erect a turnpike and oblige the Barge Carters to pay threepence for every horse every time of passing, "as they pay the Proprietors of the next Bargeway": at Stevens' Aits, doubtless.
If not could an Act be procured?
He was told the step was legitimate, as he was taking rent already for the path; and as has been seen above he proceeded to the step immediately.
The revenue from October 1752 to October 1753 was £81; and for the three following years £71, £70 and £70.
The following are extracts from a neatly kept little book of "Expences of the Bargeway Begining Octo : 10th 1752."

 £ : s : d.
Octo 10: To a new Lanthorne0 : 2 : 6
To 3 pounds of Candle0 : 1 : 3
To the Man in hand for change0 : 1 : 0
Expences the 1st week0 : 1 : 0
To a weeks wages to ye Man due
and ending October the 14th 1752
0 : 9 : 0
1st week [Total]0 : 14 : 9
21 To beer amonst the workmen
at Raising the Watch House
0 : 3 : 0
To the Man's Wages due Octo the 21st0 : 9 : 0
2nd week [Total]0 : 12 : 0

Subsequent expenditure includes "Great for the Chimney 2s. 6d.";
a constant catholic item of Beer to the Man in the Week 9d.";
"Matches to Leight the Candle 1d.";
"Quire of Writting paper 1s.";
"Powder & shot to keep off ye birds from ye wheat 8d.";
"Man Mending the Gate 6d.";
"A Barge Book Six Quire of Paper Ruled & Bound 6s. 6d."
The action of May 1765, already alluded to, is described as a dispute between the earl and the bargemasters using the Thames relative to a toll set up in 1752 by his lordship.
Jacques "set up a Right which he called a Common Law right to Tow on the Banks of all Navigable Rivers as of common Right, paying nothing."
The judge directed the jury that no such right existed.
"But after staying an hour out of Court they brought in a private Verdict at the Judge's Apartments for the Plt. [plaintiff], Damages 2sh.".
Counsel advised that the verdict was irrevocable; and the earl was advised to recharge the toll and seek a new trial with a special jury.
In November, however, Jacques, and Richardson his attorney (probably the writer of the letter above quoted of February 1788), made submission, giving up all claim and the costs obtained by the late verdict, also the right of free passage.
His lordship was congratulated that "the Bargeway is thus become a good Estate of Inheritance, equal to any other part of the Estate."
The bargeway is in these documents described as
"commencing at the end of a certain lane called Petersham Lane and ending at a certain Tree near the River of Thames called the One Tree in the Hamlet of Ham": mentioned above.
I gather there were two gates: one at the end of Petersham Lane; the other, not at One Tree, but short thereof, opposite this island.
A few other details are inserted under Petersham Meadow.
A note of a local frost in December 1788 is worth reprinting.
The River was frozen over so hard that it was used as a temporary highway, and loaded carts passed freely across it.
The thaw came very suddenly, and its violence is recorded to have been so great that
"it threw the ice over all the adjacent gardens and grounds, and in many places 100 feet from the river in pieces of a ton weight.
Both sides of the weir as far as the eye could reach had the appearance of a very rocky shore, and looked very awful."

Rennie in 1794 speaks of "Snow Hill, opposite Twickenham ayt."
In February 1809 Rennie proposed a lock and weir at "Twickenham horse ferry."
Murray, in his Environs of London of 1842, writes:
"Upon this ait a house of Entertainment has been erected, and here the river steamers land great numbers of holiday folks solicitous to banquet upon eel-pies for which the tavern is famed."
In June 1862 Mayo, the tenant of the island, was requested to cut down some overhanging trees, one of which had fallen upon a boat recently.
In July the north channel was dredged to an additional depth of about four feet.
In 1881 pigeon shooting to the public danger on the island was complained of.
In 1889 it was proposed to build a bridge across the River at the island; and baths upon the latter.
The bridge proposal was revived in 1912.
In 1846 Lord Kilmorey of Orleans House was allowed to join an ait to his grounds by a solid causeway: a somewhat surprising sanction.
There was much local protest, as seems natural.
In one week of February 1849 one barge reached Ham from London with 20 tons of goods; nine with a total of 219 tons reached Twickenham; and one with 20 tons arrived at Petersham.
A stone in the wall at the southwest corner of Twickenham churchyard records the local height reached by the oft-recorded flood on 12 March 1774.
A similar stone is preserved at Isleworth; but is in worse condition than the one here, which may have been renewed.
The latter reads, in addition to the date:
"The water came rising up to this mark."
The height indicated above the road is about 8 ft.; and it appears to me that Eel Pie island must have been entirely submerged on this occasion.


My earliest reference to this (and I understand on good authority that no earlier reference is known) is in the list of ferries of 1659 noted under Kew, below.
Special interest was aroused in the famous old institution in recent times, owing to the action instituted by its proprietor, the Earl of Dysart, against the rival ferry set up at Marble Hill by Messrs. Hammerton and Messum in 1908, under a lease, or licence, from the London County Council.
The earl claimed by prescription, "or by grant which had been lost", a monopoly of ferrying from any point in Twickenham to any point in Ham: a vill-to-vill ferry, in fact.
The case, after varied fortunes in the courts, was ultimately decided by the House of Lords in favour of the new venture: a popular victory, celebrated with halfcrown fees for the passage from a sympathetic public, including, it is said, members of the Dysart household.
In the course of the judgment it was stated that
"it was certain that no man could lawfully set up a common ferry without a grant from the Crown."


An early note of payment by the City in connexion with the towing of barges herealong is:
"To Mrs. Cope, Lessee of Lord Dysart, for the tolls of Barge Horses, going through Gates above Richmond Bridge from November, 1784, to the 1st fuly, 1785 £60."
In September 1842 threepence per horse was still being paid to his lordship, amounting during the previous ten years to an annual average of nearly £250.
It was suggested to build a path in the water, at a cost of over £5000, in order to avoid this payment.
In 1848 the earl was asked, in view of railway competition, to reduce his charge; without success.
The annual revenue had now fallen to £178; in 1850 the City succeeded in renting the tolls at £105 a year.
This agreement was terminated in November 1895; when the Whole pathway from Petersham lane to One Tree was vested in the Conservancy.
The payments concluded in September 1898.
I get in 1415 a note of Petirsamwere given by the king to the Carthusians at Sheen; who were then establishing their house.
I do not know if this be identical with a weir at Twickenham in 1578, alluded to in my General History:
"builded by the monks of Sheen in 2 Mary; yearly rent £6, paid to the Marquess of Winchester by Wm. Whyte farmer thereof, of Twickenham."


In an old unsigned, undated print (perhaps Jolli's, originally published in 1749) I have remarked a sort of fishery hedge at the head of Glover's Island.
It may be the successor of the foregoing.
Cooke, in his little Richmond of about 1838, speaks of two islands at Glover's; one has presumably been washed or dredged away.
In January 1872 Mr. J. Glover of Richmond was permitted to enclose the island with stakes for its protection.
Rennie in 1794 speaks of "the islands called the Route."
I do not know if Glover's be indicated.
It was between here and Eel Pie island that I beheld, one gusty day of Spring about the year 1900, the only waterwhirl I ever saw on the River: a slender sprite that danced across the face of broad and rippling Thames.

Map Richmond to Kew


The earliest note I have of the ferry is a grant of it in 1442 to John Yong, succeeding Thos. Tyler:
"he nowise bound to find a boat."
A lease occurs on 11 February 1480 to Rd. Scopeham with all profits, rewards, eatables and drinkables, provided that nothing be taken for conveyance of the king's household.
In 1530 John Pate was paid 6d. 8d. for ferrying.
David Vincent was granted the ferry in January 1536.
A later lease, of 30 April 1594, is for twenty years to John Williams of Carnarvon, in consideration of the services of his father Thomas "of the boiling house."
On I3 May 1661 I find a lease to Sir Joseph Ash for thirty years at the annual rent of 13s. 4d. with increases and fine.
He found two boats; one for horses and one for carts.
His under tenant paid him £12 yearly; and complained that
since the demolition of "Richmond House" (Sheen palace) "it is little worth above the charge of attendance and boats."
Ash was barred from raising the charge to the public for crossing.
In 1678 the ferry was let at an annual rent of £3 I3s. 4d.; and in 1734 Joseph Windham asked for an extension of his lease.
Humpherus in his Waterman quotes an entry of 1496 from the books of the Drapers' Company:
"A barge two times to Shene, to speak with the King, which cost us and the Taylors in vytils, supplicacion and learned counsell 3L. viijs. iiijd. [ £3 8s. 4d.]"
In August 1739 the Earl of Cholmondeley sought the renewal of a lease including
"a little building called the Old Barge House," then fallen down; also of "a small parcel of waste by the River now and anciently a footway but lately annoyed by laying timber thereon."
Cholmondeley Walk is doubtless indicated.


The Act for the building of the bridge was passed in 1773, with the stipulation that the work should be begun before 1 June 1778, and finished before 1 June 1783.
Much local hostility was displayed towards the plans.
It was objected that the fairway would be reduced by 111ft., and that the abutments were unprovided with arches, to the general danger in flood time.
The latter grievance was remedied; and the bridge, begun on 23 August 1774, was opened in December 1777: James Payne architect.
A lower trajectory at Water Lane had been unsuccessfully advocated as avoiding the steep approach.
Its original aspect is' thus described in Burlington's British Traveller of 1779.
"This elegant and useful structure consists of thirteen arches, eight of which are of brick, viz., three on the Surry, and five on the Middlesex side; and the other five central arches are handsomely built of stone.
These have stone balustrades on each side, but the five arches of brick on the Middlesex side have only wooden pallisadoes.
That part of the bridge over the three brick arches on the Surry side has, for the security of passengers, a brick parapet wall on each side capped with stone.
The interior parts of these three arches are converted to private uses: one being a storehouse, the second a stable, and the third a stone-mason's workshop.
At the entrance of the bridge on the Surry side is a pyramidial stone, which, on two of its quadrangular sides, is inscribed with the distances from various places."
This stone is still in place.
Cooke says that the cost of the bridge was £26,000; and that the revenue from tolls in 1796 was £1,300.
According to Filkins' MS. local history it was built by tontine, and became free of toll on the death of an old lady of eighty, who originally invested £100, and had been receiving, as sole survivor, an annual income of £800.
Filkins says the removal of toll on foot passengers took place in May 1853.
In December 1912 a town's meeting was held to consider
"the existing traffic conditions on Richmond Bridge, and the question of bridge communication between Richmond and Twickenham."
Further proceedings were doubtless stopped by the European war.
The Water Lane trajectory again drew attention to itself for its convenience; but the business interest of Hill Street will probably again prevail.

Much debate arose in 1775 over a fishing hedge protruded by Wm. Goater 41 feet into the River below the Terrace.
He exhibited in defence the Lord Mayor's sanction; and brought forward experts, rebutting other experts, to prove that the hedge was no obstruction but rather an assistance to the navigation.
Many fishery hatches seem to have existed above the present bridge at this period; and one complaint against them was that, being "for the catching of lampern", they were kept standing all the summer, although the statutory time for them was "from 24 August till 31 March, and then to be entirely pulled up and destroyed."
(I am no angler; but it may interest the craft to record here that crayfish were reported in November 1914 to be returning to the River; and that there was then also hope for lampern and lampreys again.)
Filkins remarks:
"The ait to the northward is divided into two, making 3 aits.
The Duke of Queensberry cut the island subsequent to 1776.
The tide and this disruption have nearly annihilated it."
These islands just below the bridge were previously one long one, extending down nearly to Isleworth; and earlier still it is said that there was no island whatever; the River being only as wide as the present width between the Richmond bank and the aits.
George Selwyn beheld on 23 August 1790, being Sunday:
"on the Thames une bourgeoisie assez nombreuse."
His numerous and witty letters from Richmond contain for the most part about this proportion of French and English.
In the following year he writes of sending things to town "by my waterman."
The construction of the towpath here raised violent local opposition, resulting in riots, smashing of works, bloodshed, and consequent litigation.
Hodgson, in his, Thames-side of 1913, presents in full detail the history of these occurrences.
The chief antagonist was Mr. Colman, of the Haymarket Theatre: "the path separated his garden from the River," comments Filkins; and there seem to have been strong private grounds for the passionate hostility.
Crisp's Richmond of 1866 states that br> from "Ferry Hill [at the present bridge] to Bedford Down, as Petersham Meadows were called, the public had no access whatever" to the waterside, "as the garden of each house, wharf, or otherwise, descended to the water's edge."

All these riparian occupiers, except his Grace of Buccleuch, were cut off by the new path from this pleasant and useful convenience; and the outcry was very intelligible.
"Except his Grace", I say: for in February 1799 two Abingdon bargemasters petitioned that the towpath at Petersham might be completed above The Pigeons.
The request was unsuccessful, owing to the obstacle of the Buccleuch garden; and to this day this unfortunate gap in the path survives.
The shooting-off here was a very dangerous spot, due to the steep descent to the water's edge.
In 1825, for example, a man, and five horses valued at £50 each, were swept away here and drowned.
Along between the lowest boathouses, too, and the present railway bridge, where all is now so seemly, the City had continual trouble more than a century ago with the owners and tenants of the mansions whose lawns sweep down towards the River, owing to their persistent encroachments upon the towpath.
First a Queensberry would set his fence a yard or two forward; and under cover of the ensuing altercation a Selwyn would petition to do the like, on the plea of aligning his boundary with his neighbour's.
The City, however, steadily maintained its right in this beautiful spot.
In 1828 it cost 1s. 3d. to be rowed to Richmond from London Bridge.
In May 1845 application was made to the City for a steamboat pier by The Pigeons; but his Grace again successfully intervened.
The collection of small craft against the Castle steps was another ancient thorn in the side of the Corporation of London; threats and actual proceedings made no difference.
The owners were warned, for example, in October 1865; with only the usual result.
And the obstruction persists to this day; though in May 1897 the Conservancy moved to compel the boatletters to pay rent for such portion of the path as they required.
A note by Filkins referring to the old days says:
"What was called Palace Lane was a Passage about which the Watermen took in Passengers and Goods, and regularly plied."
Three barges reached Richmond from London with 75 tons of goods in all, in one week of February 1849.
In January 1883 a notice was placed on the towpath prohibiting shooting thereon: an offence then very prevalent on Sundays.
There was a similar notice on the Kew bank, just below the District Railway bridge, in 1919.





Richmond Lock is a half-tide scheme on the Surrey side, with a slip and rollers against the [right] bank; the channel being open at high water.
The idea of a lock in this neighbourhood was far from new.
In 1770 Brindley suggested a dam between Mortlake and Kew Bridge, with a lock on each bank; and in 1792 a lock was proposed "between an eyot and the Surrey shore, to pen over the shallows between Twickenham and Petersham."
I know of no further motion until 1859 ; when the Richmond vestry approached the new Conservancy on the matter.
Dwindling traffic returns forbade a favourable response at this date; but the application was renewed every few years.
The chief ground of a refusal in 1871 was the damage to the whole tidal estuary that was dreaded in consequence of the exclusion of so much tidal water and its beneficent scour and assistance to seaward navigation.
A fresh attack in 1883 was vigorously resisted by bargeowners and a large number of individuals and bodies corporate, including the Conservancy.
A Bill in favour was withdrawn in 1884.
Another, successful, Bill was presented in 1890; and the works were opened on 19 May 1894 by H.R.H. the Duke of York.
G. F. Smith was appointed keeper, with several assistants.
The scheme is stated to be a great success.

On 2 June 1731 "Her Majesty being in a Summer House next the river in the Royal Gardens at Richmond, three west country Barges were going for London, they all brought-to and gave her 3 cheers, for which her Majesty was pleased to order them three guineas."
The General Evening Post of 19 April 1770 announced:
"The new footway is finished between the Royal Gardens at Richmond and the Thames, in the room of the old public High road.
It is chiefly for the Bargemen, as that privilege could not be taken away, otherwise the jokes of those Sons of Liberty are rather disagreeable to those who walk on the Terrace, as it is not 45 yards from the public causeway."


[ On the [right] bank just above Isleworth Ait the River crane enters, and above that is Railshead Road, which I take to mark the place of this old ferry ]

In 1670 Charles II gave £50 to one "Baker, Justice of the Peace for Middlesex", towards the erection of a coach bridge of brick, "at a place called the Rails Head, Thistleworth, on the way to Richmond Ferry."
This was an idyllic spot sixty years ago, according to S. C. Hall.
The ferry was established by George III; and is no older.
It crossed from an ancient landing place.
Crisp states that up to 1773-4
"the towing path on the Surrey side ended exactly opposite the Railshead ferry; here the men who had towed from Barnes or Putney were taken off, and returned to the place they had started from, while others on the opposite bank drew the barges up as far as the Ait at Twickenham.
Here the path again commenced on the Surrey side."

Doubtless Glover's, and the Dysart path, are here indicated.
Crisp adds an interesting note that the hauliers were harnessed by means of broad leather straps, one per man, being each separately attached to the cable fixed to the barge.
If called up at night they were roused by the cry
"Man to horse! man to horse!"
He may have mistaken "hawser" for "horse"; or the former word may have been corrupted.
One of the many canals projected at the end of the eighteenth century was intended to run from Monkey island to Rails Head.

[ RIVER CRANE [right] bank ]


In 1369 the bridge and head of the pond of Babeworthepound were ordered to be repaired.
In 1549 local fishermen petitioned the Court of Aldermen to remove a certain weir lately set up by the Duke of Somerset here.
They were recommended to
"make their humble suit" to his Grace; "and in case they were not holpen thereby that they shulde repayer hither again for their further aid."
Meanwhile Somerset was officially reminded of the statutes against his encroachment.
In 1578 probably the same "great weir," rented at £19 annually by Thos. Honyball and Wm. Knight from Sir Francis Knollys, was again complained of.
The Modern British Traveller of 1779 shews six men towing a barge past Isleworth.
On visiting the spot in 1916 I found the stone in the churchyard wall recording the great flood of 1774.
The inscription is almost illegible; it appeared to me to read:
"The water flowed to the bottom of this Stone March the 12, 1774."
The height indicates about 2 ft. 9 in. above the road level.
A second stone marks a flood of 15 November 1875, rising to about a foot lower; and a third, dated 28 October 1882, shews a mark about 2 ft. above the road.
In July 1827 the owner of the Diana steam packet complained of shallows between Richmond Bridge and Hammersmith.
"The packet", said he, "is frequently taking ground coming down in the evening and detaining families of the first respectability on board until a late hour at night."
In one week of February 1849 twenty-three barges with a total of 769 tons of merchandise arrived at Isleworth.
Lot's Ait is the name of the head ait below Isleworth church.


In mid-sixteenth century the inhabitants of "Oldebraynford" petitioned "the Duke of Northfolks grace."
Time out of mind, said they, they had enjoyed free passage over the River to Kew with their own boats, a privilege shared by strangers; till of late, December 1536 to wit, one John Hale had gained the king's ear and obtained a life grant of the monopoly of "Cao" ferry; "& will suffer no man to passe with any maner of boote but only in his boote exactyng a certein some for every passage for every horse & man an halpenny & for every man woman & chylde a ffarthing."
Hale had imprisoned one Richard Cokyng for using a ferryboat, "to the great unquyetnes vexacon and troble of your beseechers."
The duke was requested to intervene,
"onles your besechers shulde resyste the said John wherby manslaughter and other damiges and inconvenyences myght insue."
Hale replied, in the usual formula, that the matter was raised against him "only to vex & trouble him without ground or cause"; but that yet for truth's sake he would mention that "Harry the 8th that now is King" and his progenitors "that have been Kings of Ingland" had habitually granted this ferry to their subjects; that it had been so granted to himself by patent; and that he was working it according to old custom.
In 1689 a protection issued to Henry and Joseph Parker and Duke Greenaway against impressment for the navy; "their service being absolutely necessary for working the ferryboats between Brentford and Kew."
The London Daily Advertiser reported on 23 October 1751:
"Yesterday a Coach and four being taken over in the boat at Brentford Ferry, the horses took fright and leapt into the water, drawing the coach after them."
I note in 1241 a reference to gurgitem prioris et conventus Merton in Braynford.
This is doubtless that weir of Merton abbey which in my General History I was unable to identify, under date 1454.
In 1313 the bishop of London demised his weir at "Brayneford" to Robert de Maydewelle, his cook, for 40s. a year.
Wm. Skiern of Kingston was presented at the Lord Mayor's Conservancy Court in 1455 for divers misdeeds at his weir at Brentford.
It seems quite probable that Skiern was the tenant of Merton abbey at this weir.
I imagine that the bishop of London's weir, just mentioned, was a different concern.
One hundred and sixteen barges, with a total cargo of 4612 tons, reached Brentford from London in one week of February 1849.


In a map by Park after Rocque in the County Hall, Kingston, Brentford Ait is entitled Stevens West.
In March 1811 one Robert Hunter of Kew Green described the island to the City as
"a great Nuisance to this parish and the Neighbourhood on both sides of the River."
It contained a "House of Entertainment, which has long been a Harbour for Men and women of the worst description, where riotous and indecent Scenes were often exhibited during the Summer Months on Sundays."
He asked permission to fill up thereon "a pond for catching Fish" with earth from his premises on the bank of the River; and as an act of grace was allowed to do so.
Perdita, at rest in Old Windsor churchyard: Perdita Would dine here on this island in the years about 1783.
The "house of entertainment" was, I think, called the Three Swans.
Wm. Hickey in his Memoirs speaks in 1780 of having "dined upon the Island off the town of Brentford, where there is a house famous for dressing pitchcocked eels, and also for stewing the same fish."
Dr. Montagu Sharpe, in his monograph of 1906 upon the great ford here, considers that Julius Caesar's crossing of the Thames, usually located at Coway Stakes, really occurred at Brentford.
I cannot divest myself of an opinion that some at least of the multitudinous rows of stakes he mentions, very particularly those found "with wattles and boughs [still] interlacing them," were some of the fishery hedges, or kidels, set up in this part of the River.
Their diagonal trajectory supports this supposition.


In 1530 the watermen wafting from York House to "Keyho" with sixteen oars were paid 10s. 8d.
On 24 February 1605 James I granted a lease of Kew or King's ferry to Walter Hickman.
In 1659 John Churchman was the occupier, possibly the owner.
According to depositions at Michaelmas in this year Henry and Robert Tunstall had, within the previous six months, established a rival ferry within half a mile distance, the Middlesex landing place of which was, I think, against the charming old limekiln unhappily demolished about 1914, and built originally by the said Robert Tunstall.
Their servant at the ferry was Henry Dible: "an Antient fferry man"; and the prime motive for the new crossing was to carry over the lime produced at the new kiln.
Incidentally it encroached upon the old concern by accepting general business; for which purpose it was openly advertised with small affiches in Brentford marketplace and elsewhere.
The Tunstalls pleaded through their witnesses that the old ferry was very dangerous at times of high water or southwest gales; though they could allege only one drowning within twenty years.
They declared the old service was also very inefficient and dilatory: delays up to a full hour often occurred.
One deponent described how one evening, wishing to cross from the Surrey bank to get home, the ferryman refused to come over for one solitary passenger; and he had to lie all night without doors under the trees on Kew side.
The old concern demanded eighteenpence for wafting over "a dray loaden with beare drawne by two horses", for which the new venture charged only eightpence, and brought back the empty dray free.
Dible, who had previously been in Churchman's service, was now blabbing that he left it because only through these exorbitant charges had he been able to make a living: the gap-toothed Antient!
It was thought that the annual value of the old ferry would be reduced from £50 to less than £30 if its rival were allowed to remain.
Several details of interest emerge from these depositions:
the names of Messenger, a waterman;
of Robert Cromwell, a yeoman of sixty-four years, of Ealing;
and the statements (a) that there was at this date no ferry eastward nearer than Putney, which excludes the present Chiswick Church ferry and possibly others;
and (b) that Charles I had issued a perpetual patent for Kew ferry to Basill Nicoll and John Sampson: perhaps the immediate predecessors of Churchman.
The exclusion of Chiswick ferry at this date is confirmed by a list of 19 August 1659 of ferries forbidden to work between sunset and sunrise without a special order from the Council.
Lambeth, Chelsea, Putney, Brentford, Lymekile in Brentford, Richmond, Twickenham, Hampton Court, Sunbury, and Sheperton are noted in this schedule as the ferries between London and Staines.
It is possible that Chiswick ferry existed and was exempted from this regulation; but not probable.
I think the Tunstalls may have bought Church man out; as I find the father of a Robert Tunstall of 1789 noted as the proprietor of the old ferry "known of old time as Powell's ferry".
But whether the latter title does indeed connote the ancient royal ferry I am not informed.
It had died out of local memory in 1911.


It was this father who built the first Kew bridge.
It had eleven arches, seven of timber, with a central Opening of fifty feet; and was opened on 4 June 1759.
The first stone was laid on 29 July 1758 on the Surrey side;
"after whlch there was an elegant entertainment at the Rose & Crown on Kew Green.
Two or three days before the public opening the Prince [George III J and the Dowager Princess of Wales passed over, and made a present of £200 to the proprietor, and 20 gs. to the works men.
Three thousand people crossed the first day, each paying a penny toll."

The original plan had been to join it to the Middlesex shore at Smith Hill, exactly opposite the end of Ealing Lane; which would thus have led directly across the bridge.
Owing however to the bargemasters' protests it was set lower down, "at Powell's ferry."
Smith Hill recurs in 1826 as the title of a public wharf.
This first bridge appears to have required some extensive repair in 1774; as Walpole writes of being dashed against its piles, "new building, in a flood this year"; and adds that it would not be "passable these two years."
The second bridge, of stone, was begun on 4 June 1783, exactly twenty-four years after the opening of the first; and a little eastward of it.
It was built by the last named Robert Tunstall; and was opened on 22 September 1789.
I think the first bridge. judging by Walpole's note upon it and its short career, must have been of very poor construction.
Tunstall retained his proprietorship of this second bridge until 1819, when he sold it to T. Robinson.
While the Bill for this bridge was before Parliament in 1782 a navigable arch on the Surrey side was asked for as a novelty;
Brentford having hitherto almost monopolised the navigation.
In this year "an antient landing place" at the Middlesex end is referred to; perhaps connected with Powell's ferry.
Just after the bridge was opened an unsuccessful attempt was made to prevent watermen following their immemorial custom of plying for hire in the neighbourhood.
The bridge remained a considerable time in the Robinson family.

In October 1845 George, the owner, sought leave to build a landing place for steamboat passengers against a pier of the bridge at its northern end.
He stated that "during high tides the Steam Boats now occasionally land their passengers on the Kew side, and great rioting and disorder have been occasioned by the Barge Carters drawing their Towing lines over the Steam Boats; and I myself have on one occasion seen the Funnell pulled down and great alarm occasioned to the passengers in consequence."
He declared that the expense of the bridge had ruined his predecessors.
In July 1847 there was a "Pier or landing on Wheels run out above Kew Bridge on the Surrey bank."
Robinson's petition was allowed in April 1848; the landing to be on the "north pier of the central arch and on the west side thereof."
In June, owing to the absence of a pier at Kew, "1200 or 1400 persons in one day land at the 'Strand-on-the-Green' in Chiswick parish Co. Middlesex and have to walk half a mile and cross a tollbridge to the Botanical Gardens and Park which are now opened."
It shortly emerged that Robinson did not intend to build his stage, as the steamers refused to use it; and the grant was withdrawn.
In July he renewed his application.
The Steamboat Companies had built a pier on the Middlesex shore, but used it very little, preferring to land their passengers on the Surrey towpath, in spite of the inconvenience to the barge traffic.
His request was again complied with in October; and there is no doubt that he or another did actually build a landing place as stipulated, for Hall has a View of it about ten years later, the passengers ascending steps against the middle pier of the bridge.
According to the Illustrated London News of 15 July 1876, the tolls on this bridge were extinguished about 1870 at a cost of £57,300; though Herring in his Bridges states that the Government bought it in 1873; and then opened it free of toll.
I find an allusion this year to a Kew Bridge Committee.
A sheep was roasted whole on the ice east of this bridge during a great frost that began on 25 November 1788.
The original timber bridge of 1759 was still standing and in use at this date, westward of the new structure nearing completion.
This frost is evidently the same as mentioned above at Eel Pie island.
A name frequently occurring from 1786 downwards, and doubtless earlier, is Westerley Wear: a "common Lott" meadow on the Surrey bank abutting on the lower face of the present bridge.
Whether the title perpetuates the memory of some old sluice or not I do not discover.
The meadow is used, I believe, as a recreation ground.
A correspondent remembers it covered with osiers; and suggests that "a little stream probably trickled through them from the pond on Kew Green, and there may have been some barrier at its mouth."
Below the bridge, on the [left] bank, stands the navigation toll house, built originally by the Corporation of London when they held jurisdiction over the lower River.
W. Winter was in charge in January 1865; and then reported that two barges had not stopped to pay toll; and that he had brought them back from Brentford Dock.
His wage was raised in February from £110 to £125 annually.
A new house, doubtless the present structure, was built for him in 1872; the tide, he complained, rose within two feet of his old sitting-room.
On a spring day in 1913 I saw the collector pull out to a passing barge for his dues.
"Twig Ait near Kew", named in 1873, is identical with the aits above the bridge; known also as Steven West's; and alluded to as Makenshaw on a tablet of 1610 in Fulham church.

Lord Mayor's Barge House, Kew - pulled down about 1916
Lord Mayor's Barge House, Kew - pulled down about 1916, 1915


Strand-On-The-Green Or Oliver's Island is thought to have been strongly fortified in British times, and to have possessed a ferry to the Surrey bank.
In the London Museum is a dug-out canoe dredged up in the right bank channel, which may have been a ferryboat.
John Kip published a View of Chiswick House in 1707.
Nine vessels are passing on the water.
One is a large pleasure or passenger craft rowed upstream by six cars.
In the stem is an inviting covered cabin, behind which on a raised poop sits the steersman.
An eighth man is in the nose, perhaps a handy man to make fast on landing and generally to look out.
On the island still stands the house which the Corporation built for their collector when they first began levying toll on the barge traffic in 1777.
For safety the island was raised three feet and embanked; the City purchased it in 1778 for sixty guineas.
In 1779 a new channel had to be dredged between it and the [left] bank.
Part of the island was let in 1818; in September 1826 the clerk of works reported the island
"at present nearly useless and resorted to by persons committing nuisances and destroying the building."
The weir tackle from Teddington, Molesey and Sunbury was usually brought down here in the winter to be repaired.
The City ordered the island to be fenced and partly roofed over.
Faulkner remarks in 1845:
"At low water the Thames at this place appears nearly dry, and seems to offer no obstacle to a free passage on foot."
With reference to my allusion to them in my General History a correspondent writes me that "the removal of old Chelsea and Putney bridges did more than free the traffic.
It also freed the tides, which, with old London Bridge, they had throttled; and so did away with the road along Strand-on-the-Green in front of the houses, on to which all the steps from the path gave."

Also that
"the deep channel was formerly next to this road, and not on the other side of the River as now.
The present Kew Bridge changed it to the Surrey side."


The railway bridge was completed by January 1850.
I shall not easily forget beholding from below, through its black framework, one golden November afternoon, this little alluring Thames hamlet of the charming name gleaming ethereally, under some caprice of winter sunlight, at the far end of the long grey water.
I saw a kingfisher here on 5 May 1918: a gloomy wet Sunday afternoon.

Grey Thames at flood in balance swung,
Grey gulls scared mewing overhead,
The chill grey wind a requiem said,
And over all the grey sky hung.

Grey ghosts of memory paced with me
As down to Mortlake slow I went;
Grey brooding, grey presentiment:
A grey and cheerless company.

Then looking backward up the stream,
Within the bridge's sombre frame
Of iron piers a vision came
That seemed the fabric of a dream.

The little leaning Strand, where rest
O1d barges when their work is done,
A sudden glory of the sun
Lit, like an Island of the Blest.

Ethereal on my wondering sight
It flashed from out a golden mist;
To fire its scarlet roofs were kist,
Its walls and road a curve of light.

To Mortlake then I took my way
With kindled soul and quickened will:
A touch of sun brought good from ill;
A gleam from God gave gold for grey.


For reasons already declared my work is complete at Kew.
But as a delicate close accept the following letter from a lively old lady a century ago which I first renounced with a sigh and then recaptured with avidity.
The Margravine of Anspach, Lady Craven, resided at Brandenburgh House: a mansion close upon the water's edge just below Hammersmith Bridge.
In 1812 she had been fortifying the River bank against the sweep of the tides at the bend; and the procedure was observed by vigilant clerk Leach, and reported to his employers.
On their inquiring what she was doing, and on what authority, she enlightened them thus deliciously.

"The Margravine of Anspach is only sloping from the wall that runs all along from her House to the Pavilion, & is doing nothing else.
She is delighted that Mr. Leach has taken notice of what she is doing, because she has long wished that the Posts which are in a row & serve as Boundaries &c. may be seen.
The Thames undermines the wall if the Holes are not filled up.
So far from Encroaching on the Bed of the River Thames The Margravine would widen & make deeper the Thames if she could.
Some years ago The Navigation Committee at the Margrave's request sent Deputies to see the posts.
The Margravine herself acted as the Margrave's Deputy & received the Gentlemen, who came at high water, instead of Low, & the Deputys could see nothing, & the only excuse the Deputys made, was, that they stopped at divers places on the Way which they ought not to have done; as they set out purposely to come to her at Low Water.
It is a pity some good penman did not write down what passed between the Deputies.
They talkd of rights since the time of Henry the 4th, and the Margravine, who was very angry with them, assured them her right to justice dated from the same source. - Being a right descendant of the Plantagenets; & the Conversation made the very Rowers Laugh.
She begs the posts, probably Plantagenet, may be seen.

Brandenburgh House, the 11th of July, 1812."


Haec olim meminisse juvabit.
[How pleasant one day to remember these things ]

Now some have prayed that being dead
They may be laid asleep
On a mountain crest,
Where eagles nest,
And the death-cold stars a wan light shed,
And round all night do creep.

And others will their bones shall be
Engulphed within the deep,
With the shifting tide,
To roll and ride,
In the close embrace of the clean cold sea
Soft cradled as they sleep.

But the icy stars may wheel alone
Above the peaks for me;
And the sea may gnash
For prey, and lash
At the sullen cliff, and sigh or moan;
I seek no star or sea.

For deeply hid with lovely Thames
Are the haunts my heart loves best;
Fair jewelled stream
Of dash and gleam,
Whose banks are a brede of wildflower gems;
Oh, if I might but rest_

Near meadows fringed with willow trees,
Where the curlew floats and wails,
Where o' nights I'd hear
The tumbling weir
Swell and sink on the fitful breeze;
Roar in the winter gales.

At twilight when the River's gleam
Far back among the hills
Is lost, and the Moon
Sheds a silver rune
O'er the ripples on the darkling stream,
And heaven with glory fills,

I'll softly sit and spy the craft
Go drifting to and fro;
Again on my ear
The music clear
Of deftly feathering sculls will waft,
As it used so long ago.

And lay my comely skiff with me;
Her ghostly thwart I'll sit;
And afloat between
The dusk and sheen,
By dark woods whispering craftily
And reedy isles I'll flit.

For deeply hid with lovely Thames
Are the haunts my heart loves best;
Dear stately stream
Of grey and gleam,
Whose jewels are myriad wildflower gems,
By thee how fain I'd rest!


Abbey River inflow, Abbs Court Paygate, Amerden Bank below Bray, Athens
Bablock Hythe, The Bells of Ousely, Bisham, Brentford
Abingdon Bridge, Appleford Railway Bridge, Black Potts Railway Bridge, Bookbinders Bridge, Bourne End Railway Bridge, Bournlake Bridge, Castle Eaton Bridge, Caversham Bridge, Chertsey Bridge, Clifton Hampden Bridge, Cookham Bridge, Culham Bridge over Swift Ditch, Culham Lock Cut Bridge, Albert Bridge Datchet, Datchet Bridge, Days Lock Foot Bridge, [ Donnington Road Bridge ], Eisey Trestle Bridge, Elizabeth Bridge Windsor, Folly Bridge, Basildon [Gatehampton] Railway Bridge, Godstow Bridge, Streatley (Goring) Bridge, Hailstone Hill Bridge, Hampton Court Bridge 1, Hampton Court Bridge 2, Hampton Court Bridge 3, Hampton Court Bridge 4, Hannington Bridge, Hatchetts Bridge, Henley Bridge, Hurley Cut Lower Footbridge, Hurley Cut Upper Footbridge, Hythe Bridge Oxford, [ Isis Bridge ], [ Kennington Railway Bridge ], Kew Bridge, Kingston Bridge 1, Kingston Bridge 2, Kingston Bridge 3, Kingston Railway Bridge, Lechlade Bridge, Leigh Single Arch Bridge, Leigh three Arch Bridge, M3 Bridge Bray, M3 Bridge Chertsey, Maidenhead Bridge, Maidenhead Railway Bridge, Marlow Bridge, Medley Footbridge, [ Moulsford Railway Bridge ], M & SW J Railway Bridge, Nevilles Bridge Datchet, Newbridge Bridge, Nuneham Railway Bridge, North Wilts Canal Aqueduct (culverts), Old Man's Bridge, Osney Bridge, Osney Footbridge [old Gasworks Bridge], Osney Railway Bridge, [Oxford footbridge], Pot Stream Bridge, Quaking Bridge, Radcot Bride, Richmond Bridge, Richmond Railway Bridge, Rose Island Bridge, Sheeepwash Bridge Osney, Shillingford Bridge, Shiplake Railway Bridge, Sonning Bridge, Staines Bridge, Staines Railway Bridge, St John's Bridge, Strand-on-the-green Railway Bridge, Sutton Courtney Bridge, Swinford (Eynsham) Bridge, Tadpole Bridge, Ten Foot Footbridge, Thame Bridge, [ Thames Bridge ], Twickenham Bridge 1993-, Victoria Bridge Datchet, Wallingford Bridge, Walton Bridge 1, Walton Bridge 2, Walton Bridge 3, Walton Bridge 4, Walton Bridge 5, Walton Bridge 6, Waterhay Bridge, Whitchurch or Pangbourne Bridge, Windsor Bridge, Windsor Railway Bridge
B cont:
Brocas Windsor, Burcot, Buscot Wharf
Cassington Lock (on Evenlode Cut), Castle Eaton Church, Castle Eaton Mill, Chalmore Hole, Clewer Stream, Costs of 200 ton barge London-Reading-London, Cowey Stakes Walton, Cricklade, West Mill Cricklade, Culham Wharf
Dockett Eddy, Domesday Bushes Chertsey, Duke's Cut
Eaton Hastings, Eedles Romney
Aston Ferry, Basildon Ferry, Bolney Ferry, Clifton Ferry, Cookham Ferry, Culham Ferry, Dorchester Ferry, Keen Edge Ferry Shillingford, Kennett Mouth Ferry, Kew Ferry, Lashbrook Ferry, Littlestoke Ferry, (Papist Way slipway), Medmenham Ferry, Purley Ferries, Railshead Ferry, Richmond Ferry, Shillingford Ferry, South Stoke Ferry (slipway), Spade Oak Ferry, Twickenham Ferry, Twickenham Ferry, Wargrave Ferry
F cont:
Flashlocks and Weirs
Halliford, Hampton, Hampton Wick Paygate, Hedsor Water, Hell's Turn, Solomon's Hatch, Henley, Hennerton Backwater
Bavins Gulls (Slowgrove Islands), Black Potts Ait, Brentford Ait, Buck Ait below Sonning, Corporation Island Richmond, Dog Ait, Eel Pie Island, Garrick's Ait, Glovers Island, Guards Club Island, Maidenhead, Kingston Aits, Magna Carta island, Magpie Island below Hambleden, Monkey Island, Oliver's Island, Peggy's Ait, Pharaoh's Ait, Piper's Island, Platt's Ait, Queen's Ait, Raven Ait, Rose Island, Slowgrove Islands (Bavins Gulls), Stevens Aits, Truss's Island
I cont:
Kingston, One Tree Kingston
Laleham, Laleham Lower Paygate, Laleham Upper Paygate
Abingdon Lock, Bell Weir lock, Benson Lock, Boulters Lock, Boveney Lock, Bray Lock, Buscot Lock, Caversham Lock, Chertsey Lock, Cleeve Lock, Clifon Hampden Lock, Cookham Lock, Culham Lock, Days Lock, [ Eynsham Lock ], Godstow Lock, Goring Lock, Grafton Lock, Hambleden Lock, Hurley Lock, Iffley Lock, [ King's Lock ], Mapledurham Lock, Marlow Lock, Marsh Lock, Molesey Lock, Northmoor Lock, Old Windsor Lock, Osney Lock, Penton Hook Lock, Pinkhill Lock, Radcot Lock, Richmond Lock, Romney Lock, Rushey Lock, Sandford Lock, Shepperton Lock, Shifford Lock, Shiplake Lock, Sonning Lock, St John's Lock, Sunbury Lock, Teddington Lock 1, Teddington Lock 2, Teddington Lock Theft, Temple Lock, Whitchurch Lock
L cont:
London Stone Staines
The natural course of a river, New Mills Marsh Lock, Various notes
Oakley Court, Oxford
Paygates on the towpath, Petersham Meadow, Port Meadow, Postscript, Pound Locks
Radcot Monk Mill, Red Pool, Inglesham
Abbey River or Oxley Mill River outflow, [ River Cherwell ], River Coln, Inglesham, River Crane, River Kennet, River Loddon, St Patrick's Stream, River Rey, River Thames, Wey Navigation
R cont:
Rushbed Hill
Sansom's Ford, Schoolmaster's Hole, Seething Wells, Severn Canal Junction, Shepperton Range, South Hope, St John's Bridge Fair, The Trout Inn at St John's Bridge, Subjects covered, Surley Hall, The Swift Ditch
Thames Head, Thanks to helpers Topographical Notes Cookham to Maidenhead,
Ark's Weir, Ballinger's Weir, Blackford Weir, Kempsford, Bray Weir, Breach's Weir Chawsey Weir (St Mary's island), Chertsey Weir, Clay Weir, Cricklade Weir, Cuckoo Weir, Duxford Weir, Eaton Hastings Weir, Eynsham Weir, Farmer's Weir, Ham Weir below Hannington Bridge, Hart's Lock (Weir), Hedsor Weir (Cookham), Inglesham Weir, King's Weir, Limbre's Weir, Lower Rudges Weir, Medley Weir, Moulsford Flash Weir, Nuneham Weir, Odney Weir, Old Nan's Weir, Old Windsor Weir (top of Ham Island), Pollington's Weir Wallingford, Ridge's Weir, Savory's Weir, Castle Eaton Weir, Four Cricklade Weirs, Shifford Upper Weir, Skinner's Weir, Sutton Courtney Weir, Tadpole Weir, Thames Weir, Unnamed Weir, Water Eaton Weir, Winny Wegs Weir
W cont:
Weybridge Wharf, Windsor's Paygate Staines, Cardinal Wolsey's Pipes, Wytham Stream Outfall,