Griggs’ Report 1844: The Wharfing in support of the railway in good repair; it is an expensive piece of work opposite Pishiobury Park.*
No 9 Lock called Feaks Lock, not affected by a Mill. A foot bridge at the tail. The lower gates dated 1836. Upper ditto dated 1832. Depth of water on lower sill 2’ 9’’. Ditto on upper sill 3’ 3’’. The side timbering is low but this lock may be called in good order.
* The Wharfing may have originally been built as part of the building of the railway two years earlier, for delivery of raw materials.
Beardmore’s Report 1870: Fixes Lock is in bad repair
Childs’ Report 1880: Fixes; Upper gates fair condition lower gates bad and require renewal. Brickwork upper and lower end requires repair. Open sides very bad require renewal. Will require an outlay of £500 within 3 or 4 years.
Childs' 1884 Report: "Fixes Lock - Upper gates leaky and about to be repaired. Lower gates bad and require renewal. Brickwork, upper and lower end requires repair. Open sides very bad, require repair (sic), will require an outlay of £500 within 3 or 4 years.
Tween's 1901 Report: ''Upper gates, 1900. Top end of lock very good. Lower gates bad, 60 years old. Brickwork at lower end requires repair, open sides. Cost £500. Both upper and lower sills should be lowered 1 foot 6 inches"
This lock was named after Samuel Feake, Governor of Fort Bengal and Chairman of the East India Company in the 18th C, who owned much of the riverside land in the area. He lived at Durrington House, Sawbridgeworth and died, aged 75, in 1757. His son, also Samuel Feakes, lived in the same house. He died in 1774. This is the only lock on the Navigation named after a person.
In a report of 1772, the lock was noted as Pishiobury Hall Lock, presumably referring to the nearby Pishiobury House.
In Nicholas Beardmore’s report of 18th May 1870 it is called Fixes Lock. There have been other interesting mis-spellings, including one Fawkes!
The originally turf sided chamber appears was built to compensate for the natural fall of the river. There is no mill nearby.
Since the nearest settlements along the towing path are nearly a mile in either direction, it seems that the Edwardian photographers were unwilling to carry their heavy plate cameras that far. No post-card image seems to have survived - but if you know better please make contact!*
* 3.6.2010 This just proves how wrong you can be! The card below was posted on December 28th 1909 and illustrates the lock very much as it had been built 140 years before! The shed by the top gate bears a sign over the door. "Notice. The Punishment for Tampering with these Works is Transportation". A sign bearing this inscription was also found at South Mill Lock.
It would also be interesting to learn of the origin of the red and green circles that appear on the lower gates of several of the locks on the Lee as well as the Stort. If you have an answer, please contact me
This site was last updated 16-Feb-2013