The Exeter Canal and surrounding area
including The Double Locks Inn/Hotel, The Salmon Pool Tea House/Inn, Bromhams Farm, Spring Gardens/Reynolds Farm

The Exeter Canal and the Double Locks Hotel

The Double Locks Hotel was built in 1701 as a lock-keepers' cottage. It was erected in metric size and Dutch bricks were imported to use as ballast. During the expansion of the canal in the 1820s James Green rebuilt the Double Locks re-using some of the earlier bricks along with more modern factory-made bricks. A towpath was also added to each side of the canal to allow larger ships to be towed by horses.

The lock itself is the longest in the country, 95m long by 8m wide and it can take two ships at once, hence, it was called the double locks. When HMS Exeter was refitted in 1938 the old masts were used for the arms on the lock gates.

From Trewman's Exeter Flying Post. 1st June 1825. A body of a man was found drowned in the canal and a rumour appeared in the local newspaper that the lock-keeper had refused to allow the body to be placed in his house. The Flying Post printed a statement acquitting the landlord of the slur and gave the true story. The landlord, Mr Perryman, was not at home at the time of the incident and the body was conveyed to the House of Reception at the Exeter Lime Kilns. The article says ''. . . and exculpates Mrs Perryman (who was much hurried) from the slightest imputation of inhumanity or neglect.

During the 1930s when the lock keeper was patrolling his area he found a human leg in a brown parcel. A search revealed a second leg also in a brown parcel. The police sent divers into the canal looking for a body but none was ever found; it was decided that a medical student had disposed of the legs.

Residents of the Double Locks
1791 From Trewman's Exeter Flying Post 12th May 1791 'Saturday died, in an advanced age Mr John Hayward, keeper of the Double Lock'.
1825 Thomas Perryman
1841 Jane Perryman publican
1850 Thomas Perryman (White's Devonshire)
1851 Thomas Perryman inn keeper and care of the locks
1861 William Rower innkeeper
1871 William Pearce licenced victualler
1881 William Hannaford inn keeper
1981 William C Hannaford
1897 W. C. Hannaford (Kelly's)
1906 W. C. Hannaford (Besley's)
1911 William Carter Shellabear Hannaford lock keeper
1923 William Carter (Besley's)
1934 C. W. Lamprey (Besley's)
1951 Geo. H. Hutchings (Kelly's)

The Exeter Canal

This was the first canal built in Britain since Roman times.

In 1563 John Trew of New Haven House, Haven Banks Road, Alphington was engaged to build the Exeter Canal.

In order to build the canal land was purchased from Alphington land owners. Mr Coffyn sold a marsh 120 acres 3 1/2 perches and other parcels of land running to the Alphin Brook.

The first part of the canal ran to Countess Weir and was completed in 1573.

The canal was deepened and extended towards Topsham between 1671 and 1676, this was completed in 1698.

In 1821 James Green widened the canal and in 1824 James extended the canal to the Turf, this was completed in 1829.

In 1830 The Canal Basin was added.

Memories of the Exeter Canal

In 1769 parts of the banks of the Exeter Canal were reported to be in a dilapidated state, therefore, in the company of a city engineer 200 ladies from Alphington picked up their shovels, put on their straw hats to carry out the repairs. After they had finished their work they had tea at the mayor's house, followed by three huzzas (applause or exultation) before returning to their homes.

Salmon Pool

The Alphington Tithe Map shows a building on the Alphington side of the River Exe right beside St James Weir, Salmon Pool. A record dating back to 1828 shows William Quick running the Salmon Pool Tea House here.

John Quick, a farmer aged about 42 is recorded at Salmon Pool in the 1840s and 1850s. In the 1860s he was a rate collector. In the early 1870s John, now aged 73, was recorded as a licenced victualler and in 1872 the house is recorded as the Salmon Pool Inn.

In 1879 records show Mrs Ann Wood at the residence running the Salmon Pool Inn and Pleasure Garden. In the early 1880s William Walter Hasson, an accountant was residing in the house.

Bromhams Farm

Bromhams Farm was situated between the River Exe and the Exeter Canal and opposite Marsh Barton. Maps dating back to 1875 recorded that the farm house/buildings could be accessed by a bridge over the Canal. This swing bridge named Seage's Bridge was situated on a slight bend in the canal just a little way up from the Salmon Pool Swing Bridge. The bridge is no longer there but the original position can clearly be seen.

The Alphington Tithe Map records the land owner of Bromham's Farm as Mary Fuller and the occupier as William Satterley. At that time the farm land consisted of one garden, one orchard and ten pasture meadows. William continued to farm the land until the early 1850s when George Newton is recorded as the farmer. George died on the 11th December 1860 and his wife took over the running of the farm and records described her as an agriculturalist.

In the early 1870s John Seage was the farmer, I imagine this is who the swing bridge mentioned earlier is named after. The farm at this time covered 21 acres. John continued to farm at Bromham's into the 1880s and the farm was now recorded to cover about 23 acres.

Henry Meathsell took over the farm between 1881 and 1891 and records show him farming well into the early 1900s. Henry married the daughter of the publican at The Double Locks.

Spring Gardens

Spring Gardens was situated between the railway line and the canal just after Seage's Bridge. In 1838 Spring Gardens was occupied by Nicholas Mounsden a cow keeper. From records the land came with a residence or residences; in the early 1840s three families were in residence headed by Easual Griffin an agricultural labourer, John Babb an agricultural labourer and John Bishop a gardener.

By the early 1850s the families residing at Spring Gardens were headed by Michael Langmead a gardener, Joseph Coles a farm labourer, Esaul Griffin a farm labourer and William Mitchell a market gardener.

Over the next few years the number of residents gradually dropped leaving William Mitchell a gardener, market and Edwin Griffin an agricultural labourer in the early 1860s.

By the early 1870s William Mitchell was the only resident and was described as a gardener and farmer of 13 acres.

By the early 1890s William's son James R. R. Mitchell had taken over the land and was described as a market gardener. Four families had now moved in and records show them living in separate cottages.

By 1911 the sale occupier was James Mitchell continuing to work as a market gardener. The name Spring Gardens had now changed to Reynolds Farm.




Copyright © Rowena Kirkpatrick