Whilst researching the
Wormingford Cut, I observed that a tributary was constructed
just above Wormingford Lock
But why ?
(between C and D on the map)
Ref:- The Essex and Suffolk River Stour Navigation
of the surrounding area, highlights a distinct line running from
the Lock towards the north of the Hall
Could this have been a boundary fence between the Hall and the adjacent
fields or even a drainage channel ?
||This 1876 Map, clearly
shows this to be a line of trees with possibly a hedge line.
Maps as far forward as 1891 still
indicate a tree line, but by 1900 this has disappeared and been
replaced by a dotted line.
It also seems to extend directly into the farm yard, the opposite
side of the entrance driveway.( see below)
<<see 1900 map.
1925 map shows this this line extending all the way into the farm
So what can we conclude from this
My own thought's are that Lighters
turned into the tributary north of Wormingford Lock to unload goods
for the Hall.
The tributary was constructed because any stationary Lighter loading
or unloading goods would have impeded the navigation for other traffic
travelling along that stretch of River.
To impede the flow of traffic would be in violation of the Navigation
Possible goods that were transported:-
Coal for the many fireplaces inside Smallbridge Hall
Grain for a Water Mill that was located within Smallbridge Farm.
Flour from Smallbridge WaterMill
These goods were then transported
using the track adjacent the Treeline
Possibly circa 1900, the trees were removed to make way for a more
substantial hard surface carriagway to haul the Lighter goods.
The tributary was constructed in 1838, so after sixty years the
track would have been in a very poor state so it would have required
This may account why the track bed has been seen by one local resident
across this field ( similar to
crop circles) during a specific time of the year.
Little Mill Cottage was a late 17th
cent Cart Lodge associated with a 17th cent farmhouse
Little Mill Cottage could have stood beside "Little Mill"
one of the many medieval mills in the area
Although the rail track was found in that location, the working of "Little
Mill" would have been far too early for this type of transportation.
Documents list a Smallbridge Mill in 1090, but it is more than likely
There was also another Watermill at
Hole ( now Hold) Farm using Assington Brook just to the North of
Heather Hargrove, Smallbridge
Mark Curteiss, Eseex CC Archeaology Dept
John Cowlin who worked for Churchs at Arger Fen
James Lunn, archivist with the River Stour Trust