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Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Soulbury three and it`s village

Ok so perhaps the cruise has slowed considerably but it has not stopped completely. The beauty of the Grand Union canal is the good transport links into the London hospital where I am treated. Another plus is this latest stage of the game of hide and seek that`s going on between me and you know who is likely to be a quick fix of 1/2 days and a small rest period.

Our daughter in law Ozlem found the image (right) on line.
 Thanks for all your support everyone everywhere.

So having used Leighton Buzzard and it`s rail station for the last trip into London we moved on stopping in out of the way places. We now, or the blog does, find ourselves in
Soulbury or to be precise at the top of the Soulbury Three. Above is the top lock looking down the three locks that take the canal down just a shade over 20 feet.

The second lock has the old lock keepers cottage standing next to it. On the right is what was the entrance to a single lock so common along this section.

Above is the last pound ( stretch of water between locks) leading to the third lock. Again to the right of the lock is the single lock entrance. On the right signs of subsidence along side the third lock.
The building is the Three Locks Pub that has undergone a large modernisation that I believe has turned a lot but not all boaters away. Not quite the place to go for a pint with your boating gear on but decide for yourself.

I had in my early boating years read that the Soulbury locks had claimed the lives of several boat children and that they were buried in the church yard. I am of course talking not of present day kids but those of the working boat families during the heyday of canal freight. I never was able to find any further information on this sad subject and always thought just these three locks were for some reason a death trap for boat children.
Looking again whilst doing this blog post I discovered a Pdf that I can only guess is a list of court cases around the midlands dating from 1826-1918. The significance of this find is that sadly there are many many cases of boat children drowning but as there were in 1895 about 4,000 children living on boats this is not surprising.
On a lighter note the same document produced some funny entries.
I will put a link lower down the page but here are some of the amusing entries that strangely seem to be all connected to boaters.

Entry 91, 1862 a woman charges a boatman with being the father of her illegitimate child. He was ordered to pay two Shillings weekly maintenance and the costs of the confinement. Must have been the start of the Child Support Agency.

   Entry 132, 1869 a Master Boatman charged with stealing 4lbs. of beef. Of interest is the value of the beef, two shillings and eight pence. Remembering this is the old £sd  pre decimal be kind with my conversion to metric. Hold the front page I have help HERE.
Two shillings and 8d  is 13.5pence decimal or about 20cents.
Entry 307 shows that boaters suffocating on boats is nothing new. Entry 155 shows you might have to put a shilling in the poor box if found drunk. Entry 162 shows you can`t even if a boater drive a Cow with pneumonia along the public highway at least not in 1874.
   Lastly the 1874 explosion aboard six barges along the Regents canal is told in entry 164.

The whole document is HERE.

Along the lane for about a mile and we entered Soulbury village. Above is not just a picture of my finger but also a nice example of the thatch that covers a few buildings in the village.
The animals on the roof line are called straw finials and their meaning ranges from warding off evil spirits to the thatcher of the past warning others of his trade the home owner is not a good customer for many reasons. Whatever the reasons their domineering the roof line is quite common. It is said a good water reed thatched roof should last 50 years.  Examples of thatching HERE.

The old school house dates back to 1870.
It`s now a private residence of 3 bedrooms.A couple of years back it sold for £600,000 ($900,000)
Notice the carved stone above the leaded windows and the patterned brickwork leading up to the carved white barge boards.
Look at the sloping corner stones at the sides.
Nowadays buildings are just plain and because of the building`s Grade II listing it will be around for many years to show the skills that went into the construction.
The bell tower  even has a finial just like the thatched houses.

All Saints church, Soulbury. As is the case in so many churches we find on our travels it has been added to over the centuries but parts do date back to the 14th century. No sign of any boat children`s graves but perhaps they were interred in unmarked graves.


locheriboll said...

This is so interesting and funny! I'm glad you don't have a cow with pneumonia... Good to know you are doing well and you are in our thoughts every day x

Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

Well, that was a blast from the past - as I have said to you before, I think, Soulbury is where my aunt Daphne lived in Chapel Hill next to the old school which is also now a private residence. She is buried in the churchyard and I am sure her grave is in your photo - unmarked though. Chapel Hill is the cul de sac across from the church and has The Stone at the top of the street.
I am so pleased you did the walk. It's a lovely village, isn't it? Brought bhack lots of memories for me, thank you Les and Jaq. Mxox

KevinTOO said...

Well thanks for that Les, I know what I'll be reading this wet & windy bank holiday weekend... the 99 page PDF file... LOL

As for 'The Three Locks' having looked at their web I see where you are coming from, but I'd give'm a go especially as they quote "Dogs are welcome on a lead in the bar area only. All boaters are entitled to a 10% discount on all food. Please show your IWA membership card. Join our mailing list and receive a FREE meal voucher." what's not to like in a free meal?? LOL

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs