I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Sandford Lock (River Thames) – Wednesday 24th September

Steve and Diane have two cats on board – Sooty and Sweep (and no Sooty isn’t black!)  Sooty in particular likes to hunt at night and has been bringing in little presents for his parents.  Every morning we get updated with what the night’s catch was but last night had to be the best – SEVEN mice!!  Steve and Diane must be shattered as Sooty does like to wake them up with his presents!  It is also Steve and Diane’s wedding anniversary – so not a good start to their special day.

Our first lock was King’s Lock.  Kings is a modern version of Kingisweire - kin meaning cattle.  In 1289 a weir and fish traps were recorded on the current site.  It wasn’t until 1928 that the pound lock, which is still in use today, was built to replace a flash lock. 
A sad sight at Iffley which according to the Lockie at Sandford
sank in strange and interesting circumstances
Next was Godstow Lock which has the distinction of being the highest hydraulic-operated pound lock on the River Thames.  Godstow is also well known for its nunnery ruins which date back to the 1100s, when Henry II was King of England. Here you will find legends of scandal, notoriety and war. It was in the nunnery that Henry II met his mistress, Rosamund Clifford, who bore him two sons. Later the nunnery became notorious for its 'hospitality' towards the young monks at Oxford.  Henry VIII, during the dissolution of the monasteries, destroyed Godstow Abbey. Later, during the Civil War the village was used by Royalists to defend Godstow Bridge. When the Roundheads attacked, the whole site was burned down.

Someone actually lives on this!
We pulled over just after Osney Bridge at the East Street moorings and went searching for a shop as we both needed bread and milk.  We had to walk right up to the Westgate shopping centre to find Sainsburys – it was only half a mile (according to Google maps but it felt a lot longer!)

East Street moorings
After lunch we set off again through Osney Lock which was built in 1790 by the inmates of Oxford Prison. It cost the mere sum of £750.

Down passed the moorings at Christchurch Meadow where the same boats were moored as had been on our way up.  Apparently between Osney Lock and a point just downstream of Iffley Lock, the Thames also goes by its Roman name, the Isis.

The happy couple

I had booked lock moorings at Sandford Lock so that we could go to the King’s Arms for dinner.  In fact we didn’t use them but moored on the free 24 hour ones above the lock.  We drank champagne on the bank and then went over for an excellent meal at the King’s Arms which is now open again following the recent flooding.

7.54 miles
4 locks

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