Spellbrook Lock


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Lock State Date Length Length - Working Distance Width Fall
Spellbrook Lock Built turfsided 1766/9 90' 0'' 87' 6'' 13. 5 1/2' 5' 0''
Spellbrook Lock Rebuilt in brick/concrete 1921 90' 0'' 87' 6'' 13. 5 1/2' 5' 0''

Griggs’ Report 1844: No 13 Lock called Spellbrook Lock not affected by a Mill. Has a bridge attached with 5 oak timbered oak covering and in middling repair; headway 6’ 3’. Depth of water on lower sill 4’ 3’’; ditto on upper sill 4’ 8’’; the upper and lower gates dated 1842; this lock is in good order. No 6 Lock house at Spellbrook in fair order.

Beardmore’s Report  1870: Spellbrook Lock is in bad repair

Childs’ Report 1880: Spelbrook; In very good condition generally. Open sides. Upper gates good. Lower gates moderate. Sills deep enough. (Lock house) brick built and tiled in very good condition, had about 12 feet new end added last year.

Childs' Report 1884: "In very good condition generally, open sides, upper gates good; lower gates moderate, sills deep enough. Lockhouse Brick-built and tiled, in very good condition, had about 12 ft new end added last year"

Tween's Report 1901: ''Upper gates 1874, in fair order, Lower gates, 1842. Open sides, fairly good, pointings very bad. Cost about £200. Lockhouse: Part brick and tiled, in fair condition.''

This lock derives its name from the small brook that flows into the river below the lock.   The timber-framed lock cottage was built here by the Navigation Company and bore a plaque with the date 1820.


In this postcard image, the galley beam over the gate is reminiscent of the Constable painting.  Its purpose is to hold the gate posts vertical and is perhaps indicative that the lock was not in very good condition in about 1908 when this picture was taken.

Benjamin Salmon was the lock keeper at this time but since he would have been 64 in 1908, it is unlikely that the children would have been his!


This delightful photograph shows the last Spellbrook lock keeper Charles Welsh in the foreground.  The picture was probably taken following the winning of the "Best Kept Lock" competition in 1960, an award he won on several occasions. His daughter Jenny is with him and her brother Mick is standing in the porch of the cottage.




Photo: Courtesy of Jenny Snow






Charles Welsh left British Waterways' employ in 1962 and a few months later the cottage was demolished.


Photo: Courtesy of Mick Welsh




Spellbrook Lock House





Location given by enumerator/Comments

Source Reference

1962 Charles Edward Welsh Lock keeper Left Jenny Snow 9.2.2010
4.10.1954 Charles Edward Welsh Lock keeper Appointed ex Sheering Mill Lock.  (Wife: Doris.  Children: Michael, Jennifer, Charles) Jenny Snow 9.2.2010
2.8.1950 S J Skinner Lock keeper To £4.18.6 LCB Records
9.6.1948 S J Skinner Lock keeper To £4.15.0

LCB Records


S Skinner

Lock keeper

To £1.7.0

NA Rail 845/123


S Skinner

Lock keeper

£1.5.0 to £1.6.0

NA Rail 845/122

1.4.1937 S J Skinner Lock keeper £1.2.0 to £1.5.0

LCB Records


S Skinner

Lock keeper

£1.1s to £1.2s per week

NA Rail 845/119


S J Skinner

Lock keeper

Increase to £1. 1s (Minimum wage )

NA Rail 845/112


S J Skinner (40)

Lock keeper

Son-in-law to Salmon, appointed at 19/- per week + house and garden. Employed on river since 8.1916

NA Rail 845/108


LCB Records


B Salmon (77)

Lock keeper

“Unwell for several weeks and was past work”  A pension of 8/- per week be granted.

Died 18.9.1936 aged 89

NA Rail 845/108



NA Rail 845/120


B Salmon

Lock keeper

19/- per week + house, garden, and uniform

NA/Rail 845/46


B. Salmon

Lock keeper

17/- per week

NA Rail 845/66


B Salmons

Lock keeper

+2/- per week

NA Rail 845/42


B Salmons

Lock keeper 

 Into the service of the Board at 15/- per week plus house and water. Value with emoluments, 18/9 per week.  (He added to his income with sale of refreshments.)

NA/Rail 845/38

2.4.1911 Benjamin Salmon (66) Lock keeper Maria Lock Cottage, Spellbrook RG14PN7498 RG78PN365 RD134 SD1 ED7 SN101


Benjamin Salmon (57)

Lockman on River


Spellbrook Lock

Ex/Gt Hallingbury/6/2


B Salmon


Appointed (brother of J Salmon at Harlow Lock)

NA Rail 845/108


Daniel Samuel Dorrington (32)

Lockman on the R Stort


Spellbrook Lock

Ex/Gt Hall'bury/6/5


Daniel S Dorrington (22)

Lock keeper on R Stort

unm/Sarah (mother)

Spellbrook Lock house

Ex/Gt Hall'bury/6/2


Daniel Dorrington (47)

Lock Manager


(Daniel 12y)

Ex/Gt Hall'bury/6/3

11.12.1868 Daniel Dorrington Lock keeper Witness in Court case regarding Willam Barber and waste of water (see press cutting) Press cutting, Chelmsford Chronicle


Daniel Dorrington (37)

Lock keeper River Stort


(Daniel 2y)

Ex/Gt Hall'bury/6d/10


Samuel Dorrington (61)




Ex/Gt Hall'bury/4/10


Samuel Dorrington (50)



(Daniel 15y)

Ex Gt Hall'bury/5/14


Sam. Dorrington     Spellbrook Lockhouse Essex RO D/DU 289/52

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This site was last updated 18-May-2013