Latton Lock


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Lock State Date Length Length - Working Distance Width Fall
Latton Lock Built turfsided 1766/9 89' 6'' 86' 0'' 13' 6'' 6' 0''
Latton Lock Rebuilt in brick/concrete 1915 89' 6'' 86' 0'' 13' 6'' 6' 0''

Griggs’ Report 1844:No 7 Lock called Latton Lock affected by a mill. A mere trifling (sic) footbridge for the Lock keeper. Brickwork below the lock gates is aged. Depth of water on the lower sill 3’ 3’’. Ditto on the upper sill 3’ 6’’. The lower gates are weak, the planking bad. Dated 1815. Brickwork above the lower gates pretty good. The side timbering in the lock is very low. The land ties to the lock piles are weak and worn. Brickwork about upper gates is good. The upper gates are good dated 1840.

Beardmore’s Report  1870: Latton Mill Lock is in good repair

Childs’ Report 1880: Latton; Upper gates new 1878 good. Staple posts old but in fair condition. Lower gates (put in 1860) in fair condition. Sides in fair condition. Main piles good, brickwork requires pointing. Altogether in fair condition. Depth over upper sill 3’ 9’’, lower 4’ 6’’.

Childs' Report 1884: ''Upper gates, new 1878. Staple posts old; but in fair condition. Lower Gates (put in 1860) in fair condition, sides in fair condition.  Main piles good; Brickwork very bad and requires pointing. Altogether in fair condition.

Tween's Report 1901: "Upper gates, 1878. Staple posts old; all in bad condition. Lower Gates 1860, in very bad condition, sides in bad condition.  Main piles bad; Brickwork very bad and requires pointing. Altogether in bad condition. Upper sill should be lowered 1 foot. Cost about £500.  Navigation Manager's house, substantially built brick house, with good out buildings," 


The house can clearly be seen in this card, post-marked 3rd August 1915.





Latton Mill stood on the Harlow side of the footbridge to the north of the lock.  Latton Mill was first recorded in 1449 and was continuously in use (except for a period in the late 18th century) up until the end of the 19th century.  An examination of the site will reveal some of the foundations of the mill.










Latton Island House, the roof seen in the picture below, burnt down in 1950.   Again, the foundations can still be found.  A plaque over the door read:

“Man may come and man may go but the river goes on for ever”




A story reported in the local press "In about 1949, a family moved to the lock-keeper's cottage by boat (because there was no road access) but the boat sank and the family lost all their possessions. A year later the lock cottage burned down.  Because the lock cottage was isolated they had to make their own electricity by a generator.  The fire started when the generator engine was being refuelled."


Apparently, the cottage was a very popular place for the lock-keeper's daughter's school friends because it was such a delightful place to play.


One of the original quoin stones which anchored the gate hinge still lies on the lock-side, there since the lock was upgraded from its original turf sided chamber in 1915.  It is still possible to see the join between the 1769 brickwork and the 1915 stonework in the upper end of the chamber.







John Poole Davis, who lived on Latton Island at the Census date of 5.4.1891, was the River Stort Navigation’s engineer in 1864 and Manager of the Navigation for Truman, Hanbury and Buxton, the owners. He bought the Navigation in 1889 from them for £100 when the brewers wrote it off their books, having paid £15,000 for it in 1873. 


Mr Davis sold the Navigation on to Sir Walter Gilbey in 1898 for £500, having ruthlessly asset-stripped it and was probably the only man ever to profit from the Stort Navigation!




Placed here in 2007 this sculpture, "Mill", was inspired by the history of Latton Mill: once a busy water mill, Nicola Burrell has captured the water and the movement of mechanical parts to create a sculpture which both symbolises and evokes the heritage of this area.



Latton Island House






Location given by enumerator

Census Reference






No listing


Henry George Clayden (20)



Latton Island



John Poole Davis (68)

Civil Engineer


Latton Island



John P Davis (58)


Mary (nee Theakston)

Rupert House, High Road, Tottenham




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This site was last updated 16-Oct-2013