THE STORY OF THE RIVER STORT and THE STORT NAVIGATION
Click on the relevant third to see a larger version
11pm, 20th April 1909. The south eastern side wall of Brick Cistern Lock at Roydon collapsed, trapping all bar one of the Stort barges above the blockage.
8th September 1911 The Lee Conservancy acquired the Stort Navigation for 5/-
17th January 1913 The Engineer reported that “Most of the locks are in a very dangerous state, and I am afraid a serious accident may occur at any time. I think one of two things should be done; either close the Navigation to traffic, or allow barges to travel at their own risk, and charge no tolls and give notice to this effect”
4th July 1924 Official reopening of the Stort Navigation.
Between 1913 and 1924 the Stort Navigation was saved by the actions of the Lee Conservancy Board. Without their involvement (and the expenditure of nearly £55,000) the river would have degenerated into an unnavigable ditch. They continued to maintain the river at a loss, spending a further £35,000, until 1948, when it was nationalised.
The lack of original and old records for the Stort may be explained by this extract from Charles Tween's Engineers Report of 23rd January 1920. "A large number of documents and plans relating to the Stort were taken away by the late Mr J Poole Davis, and as these may be in the possession of his assigns, I would suggest that a few advertisements be issued with a view to their recovery" There was a handwritten note added "to next meeting". (LMA ACC 2423/018) There were no further entries....
Of the fifteen locks on the Navigation, eight were located by or near and named after the associated Mills
South Mill, Twyford Mill, Sheering Mill, Harlow Mill, Latton Mill, Burnt Mill, Parndon Mill, Hunsdon Mill.
Three more were built to overcome the fall of mills nearby but didn't take the name:
Tednambury Lock (Little Hallingbury Mill), Sawbridgeworth Lock (Burton's Mill) and Brick Lock (Roydon Mill).
And four were built to compensate the natural fall of the valley:
Spellbrook, Feakes, Roydon and Lower Locks.
For a superb album of Stort Navigation photographs, particularly around the Feakes Lock area, click on
This site was last updated 17-Feb-2013