Sheering Mill Lock


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Lock State Date Length Length - Working Distance Width Fall
Sheering Lock Built turfsided 1766/9 90' 0'' 87' 6'' 13' 5 1/2' 5' 8''
Sheering Lock Rebuilt in brick/concrete 1917 90' 0'' 87' 6'' 13' 5 1/2' 5' 8''

Griggs’ Report 1844: No 10 Lock called Sheering Lock is affected by a mill. Has a Road Bridge attached to it. 6 timbers oak planking; it is an old bridge. Headway 6’ 0’’. Depth of water on lower sill 3’ 6’’. Ditto on Upper Sill 2’ 11’’. The lower gates in fair working order dated 1833. The upper gates in good order dated 1828. Some of the brickwork below the lower gates in middling repair. However this lock is in good condition. No 5 Lock house at Sheering Lock in middling order

Beardmore’s Report  1870: Shearing Lock is in good repair

Childs’ Report 1880: Sheering; Upper and lower gates and brickwork all in very good condition. Sides renewed 1875. Closed nearly to upper pool level. All in most satisfactory condition. Ample depth over sills. Lockhouse and shed lath and plaster built and tiled, old but in fair condition.

Childs' 1884 Report: "Upper and lower gates and brickwork all in very good condition.  Sides renewed 1875, closed nearly to upper pool level, all in most satisfactory condition. Ample depth over sills. Lock house and shed. lath and plaster built and tiled, old but in fair condition."

Tween's 1901 Report: "Upper and lower gates and brickwork all in fair condition.  Sides renewed 1875, closed nearly to upper pool level, all in fair condition. Lower sills should be lowered 12 inches.  Lock house and shed. lath and plaster built, and tiled, old , but in fair condition."


The image below is from the 1901 Report



(Note the Thos. Clayton horseboat in the chamber - a long way from its home in Oldbury!)


Although  a mill in Sheering was recorded in Domesday, it is not certain that that the site corresponded with the present position.  The mill here was called Quickbury Mill in 1241 but the date of the change of name to Sheering Mill is not known.  The Mill, from which the photograph below was taken, closed in 1914, probably due to lack of demand for its produce.  It was purchased by the Lee Conservancy  and demolished in November 1917. The tail race tunnels are still visible. There is a miller's plate above the top gate. 























Sheering Mill Lock Cottage in the early 1950's (Jenny Snow)



Sheering Mill Lock Cottage c1986 (Peter Carr)


The 1799 lock cottage lasted until 1980 but was then allowed to deteriorate, unoccupied, until it had to be demolished. However, the original plaster plaque that was over the front door, bearing the red hand of the baronet and Sir George Duckett’s initials (see above) still survives.  


The  old cottage was replaced by the present building in 2000.




 The photograph below is said to be taken in 1910, on the day of the Annual Survey although no record survives of any survey before 1915. 




The lock keeper standing by the towing path gate is probably Edmund Higgins. His wife Caroline is to the left. Far left is possibly Elizabeth Reed, noted in the Census as a domestic servant.  Higgins was first recorded as the lock keeper at Sheering Mill in the 1901 Census. He died on 1st May 1921.



                    Peter Golden                 

Here is an earlier image, with an earlier lockkeeper.  


He is almost certainly Edmund Higgins' predecessor, James Dorrington, who was born in the cottage in 1821. It is a pity his position totally blocks a view of the plaque.  However, when the picture was taken, the house still had the gothic pointed windows, similar to those which are still visible at Brick Lock.  The bridge has timber railings. The well-dressed lady and gentleman are unidentified.












The rebuilding of the lock chamber was commenced in September 1916 and completed by June 1917.  There is a plate on the lockside commemorating the Re-opening of the River Stort in October 1924.


Sheering Mill Lock





Location given by enumerator/Comments

Source Reference

c. 1.1962 Albert Ernest Todd   Appointed from Aqueduct Lock Mick Welsh
4.10.1954 William Frederick Watkins Labourer/Lock keeper Appointed at £7.14.11.  Died 1.3.1962. LCB Records
4.10.1954 Charles Edward Welsh Lock keeper Transferred to Spellbrook Lock Jenny Snow 9.2.2010
20.9.1950 Charles Edward Welsh Lock keeper Appointed ex LCB  Police Constable at £4.18.6 LCB Records
1939 David O'Brien (b. 30.11.1894) Lock keeper Iris  b. 3.2.1915 1939 Register


D O’Brien

Lock keeper

£1.6.0 to £1.7.0

NA Rail 845/123


David O’Brien

Lock keeper

Appointed 26/- per week

NA Rail 845/122


A Hammond

Lock keeper

15.7.1938 Retired with pension 7/2 per week with lump sum of £41.5.6

NA Rail 845/122


A Hammond

Lock keeper

£1.5.0 to £1.6.0

NA Rail 845/122


A E Hammond (67)

Lock keeper

To retire after 17 years service

NA Rail 845/121


A E Hammond (66)

Lock keeper

16 years service

NA/Rail 845/120


A Hammond

Lock keeper

£1.1s to £1.2s

NA Rail 845/119


A Hammond

Lock keeper

Increase to £1.1s (minimum wage)

NA Rail 845/112


A Hammond

Lock keeper

Increase from 15/- to 17/- per week

NA/Rail 845/48



Lock keeper

Ex Police constable, appointed at 15/- per week

NA/Rail 845/48


E Higgins (74)

Lock keeper



23.7.1920 “That a uniform was due to Lock keeper Higgins for the year 1919, but that as he was then and still was very unwell….” It was agreed that  “…the cost viz £6.5.6, should be given to him” (NA/Rail 845/47)


E Higgings

Lock keeper

17/- + house, garden, and uniform

NA/Rail 845/46


E. Higgings

Lock keeper

15/- per week

NA/Rail 845/66


E Higgins (70+)

Lock keeper

12/- up to 13/- per week with house , garden and uniform.  Allowed to keep boats for hire

NA/Rail 845/43


E T Higgins

Lock keeper

+2/- per week

NA Rail 845/42


E T Higgings

Lock keeper 

 Into the service of the Board at 10/- per week

NA/Rail 845/38


Edmund Thomas Higgins (66) Lock keeper Caroline Eliza Lock House, Sheering RG14PN9803 RG78PN517 RD189 SD3 ED10 SN118


Edmund T Higgins (56)

Lockman to Stort Nav.

Caroline E.D

Back Lane Cottage



James Dorrington  

 “James Dorrington, the well-known lock-keeper at Sheering mill lock on the river Stort, died on Wednesday from bronchitis, following an attack of influenza.”

James Dorrington, of Sheering Mill Lock House, lock-keeper, died 3rd February 1892, leaving an estate of £205. However, two newspapers reported that he left property of the value of £3,000.

The late Mr. Dorrington, of Sheering Lock, who died last month, has, it is reported, left property of the value of £3,000.”

SHEERING. Wealthy Lockkeeper.—It is stated that the late Mr. Dorrington, Sheering lock, who died recently from influenza, has left property of the value £3,000.” 


Essex Herald: 9.2.1892


Barking, East Ham & Ilford Advertiser, Upton Park and Dagenham Gazette: 27.2.1892

Chelmsford Chronicle: 26.2.1892


James Dorrington (71)

Lock keeper


Sheering Mill Lane Lock House



James Dorrington (61)

Lock keeper


Back Lane 



James Dorrington (50)

Lock keeper


Sheering Lock House, River Stort


9 or 16.7.1861 Henry Prior (32) with Samuel Turner and John Judd were taking the barge Endeavour from Sawbridgeworth to Harlow.  Prior went ahead to set Sheering Lock.  He slipped and was drowned Bishops Stortford Observer 20.7.1861


James Dorrington (41)

Lock keeper


River Stort Lock House



George Dorrington (71)

Lock keeper


Lock House 



George Dorrington (60)



Lock house (James D 20y)



George Dorrington     Sheering Lock House Essex RO D/DU 283/52













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This site was last updated 09-Oct-2021