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HER Number:MDV106271
Name:Lumburn lock and lock gate, Tavistock Canal

Summary

Timber lock gate and lifting bridge at the east end of the Lumburn aqueduct on the Tavistock Canal. The only lock on the canal, the water level only drops 2 feet 6 inches (76 centimetres).

Location

Grid Reference:SX 463 726
Map Sheet:SX47SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishGulworthy
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishTAVISTOCK

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • LIFT BRIDGE (XIX to XX - 1801 AD to 2000 AD (Between))
  • LOCK GATE (XIX to XX - 1801 AD to 2000 AD (Between))

Full description

Hedges, C., 1975, The Tavistock Canal. A Short History (Monograph). SDV361772.


Buck, C., 2013, Tavistock Canal, Devon: Archaeological Impact and Recording Report, 11-12, 16; Figures 15-16 (Report - non-specific). SDV356300.

The necessity of keeping the water at the correct level was important for the Morwell Down tunnel, with this lock gate possibly forming this function also for the Lumburn aqueduct. The timber lifting bridge is said to be of a Dutch design common on canals in the Welsh borders, and may not be contemporary with the canal's construction. The lock gate and lift bridge were previously restored in 1998, however by 2012 one of the timber arms of the lift bridge had snapped and parts of the timber walkway rotted. In addition the lower parts of the swing lock gate had rotted where it is in contact with the canal water. Between July and September 2012 the bridge and lock gate were dismantled, the main structural timbers replaced, then they were reassembled. Photographs show them before and after restoration. Map object based on this source.


Ordnance Survey, 2014, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV355681.

Map object based on this source.


Buck, C., 2015, Buctor Farm, Tavistock (Report - Assessment). SDV359746.

This study was commissioned by the landowner on behalf of Natural England as part of a Higher Level Environmental Stewardship Agreement Scheme and produced by Cornwall Archaeological Unit, Cornwall Council.

This site is outside the study area, but has been included for historical context reasons. The
construction of the adjacent Canal cottage for operation of the lock gates, the lifting bridge and the visible remnants of the semi-circular trans-shipment basin (or turning/waiting area) is indicative that this part of the canal was quite busy (see Fig 9, the 1867 map). The latter (sited close to the lock gates) is now infilled, but the tops of some of its vertical timbers still visible. According to Waterhouse (forthcoming), the timber lifting bridge is of a Dutch design common on canals in the Welsh borders, and may not be contemporary with the canal’s construction.

Survey
The lock gate and lift bridge were previously restored by October 1998, funded by South West Water and British Waterways. However, one of the timber arms of the lift bridge had snapped and parts of the timber walkway rotted. In addition the lower parts of the swing lock gate has rotted where it is in contact with the canal water. All of these items were repaired and rotted timbers replaced to the same specification in 2009 (Buck 2013, 11).

Significance
High
This site has a High significance rating, given its site history, its impact upon the landscape and its designation as being part of the Cornwall and West Devon World Heritage Site. The tunnel portal and tunnel itself are Listed Buildings (Grade II).

Recommendation
All sites should be retained after any obscuring vegetation clearance. If there is to a site interpretation strategy for this higher stewardship scheme, this could include the provision of an interpretation panel, for example near Site 52.1, (near the towpath and overlooking the site of the Wheal Crebor water wheel), a viewpoint perhaps towards Wheal Crebor mine across the Lumburn Valley. The provision of occasional guided tours around Wheal Crebor Mine could also visit this impressive feature.


Waterhouse, R., 2017, The Tavistock Canal. Its History and Archaeology, 324-5, 402, fig 11.26-11.28 (Monograph). SDV361789.

Lumburn Wharf was a small wharf centred on a small basin at the eastern end of Lumburn Aqueduct. The main activity at this wharf seems to date to the period after 1844, although before this time boats would moor up here when waiting to pass through the lock.
Lumburn Lock is the only lock on the Tavistock Canal and follows a standard design, with two gates and a ground sluice adjoining the upper gate on the left bank. The water level only drops 2 feet 6 inches (76 centimetres), instead of the approximate 8 feet drop of a typical English canal lock. The reason for this is not clear; may be due to errors in John Taylor's original survey, but could also be to maintain the water level in the upper pound, whilst providing a safely-valve to ensure the retension of this water should the aqueduct fail unexpectedly; an aim stated in the 1812 annual report.
Waterhouse includes a measures survey of the lock and wharf.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV355681Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2014. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.
SDV356300Report - non-specific: Buck, C.. 2013. Tavistock Canal, Devon: Archaeological Impact and Recording Report. Cornwall Council Report. 2013R046. A4 Comb Bound + Digital. 11-12, 16; Figures 15-16.
SDV359746Report - Assessment: Buck, C.. 2015. Buctor Farm, Tavistock. Cornwall Archaeological Unit. 2015R055. Digital.
SDV361772Monograph: Hedges, C.. 1975. The Tavistock Canal. A Short History. The Tavistock Canal. A5 Paperback.
SDV361789Monograph: Waterhouse, R.. 2017. The Tavistock Canal. Its History and Archaeology. The Tavistock Canal. Its History and Archaeology. Paperback Volume. 324-5, 402, fig 11.26-11.28.

Associated Monuments

MDV4067Part of: Tavistock Canal, Northern Section (Monument)
MDV123103Related to: Lock keepers cottage, Lumburn Aqueduct (Building)
MDV124671Related to: Lumburn Wharf, Tavistock Canal (Monument)
MDV18721Related to: Mill Hill Cut Canal Branch to Millhill Quarry (Monument)
MDV123232Related to: Tavistock Canal, Main record (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6414 - Archaeological Monitoring of Tavistock Canal Lock Gate and Timber Lifting Bridge
  • EDV7058 - Archaeological Management Plan, Buctor Farm, Tavistock (Ref: 2015R055)

Date Last Edited:Jan 17 2019 2:42PM