Ancient Monuments

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Post medieval sea lock at Bude Canal

A Scheduled Monument in Bude-Stratton, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.8294 / 50°49'46"N

Longitude: -4.5517 / 4°33'6"W

OS Eastings: 220395.412568

OS Northings: 106426.220439

OS Grid: SS203064

Mapcode National: GBR K2.X0RC

Mapcode Global: FRA 16CX.0JZ

Entry Name: Post medieval sea lock at Bude Canal

Scheduled Date: 20 December 1972

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1005454

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 912

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Bude-Stratton

Built-Up Area: Bude

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Bude Haven

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a sea lock, situated at the north western end of the Bude Canal and to the south of Summerleaze Beach, where the canal meets the River Neet. The lock survives as a stone-built rectangular basin with a rounded seaward end with lock gates and hand winches. It was built in 1819. Although the timber gates are 20th century restorations, the winches are original. The inner gate was destroyed in a storm in 1904.

Designed by James Green, who worked under Rennie before being appointed as the Surveyor of Bridges and Buildings in Devon from 1818 - 1841, the canal originally linked Bude, Holsworthy and Launceston and was built between 1819 and 1825. It was constructed to convey sea sand inland for use as a manure to improve agricultural land. The sea lock, with a depth of approximately 4.5m at spring tides, allowed sea going vessels of up to 300 tons to dock in the basin where the cargoes were then transferred.

The sea lock is Listed Grade II* (64771).

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-31941

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Inland navigation using rivers originated in Britain in the prehistoric period and continues in use to the present day. From the Roman period, both canals (artificial waterways constructed primarily for navigation purposes) and river navigations (improvements to existing waterways to make navigation easier) were constructed, and medieval canals such as the navigable dykes dug by the monks in Holderness or the Exeter Canal are known. Although the advantages of canals and inland waterways for the inexpensive and safe means of transporting heavy, bulky or fragile goods had long been recognised elsewhere in Europe, it was not until 1759 that the principal age of canal building began in England began, with the construction of the Bridgewater Canal from Worsley to Manchester. Canal construction also brought with it the requirement for a whole range of associated structures. Many of these, such as bridges, canal workers' houses, warehouses, wet docks, dry docks, locks and water management systems involved the modification and development of the existing designs of such structures to meet the new requirements of the Canal Age, which also introduced the need for major technological innovation in, amongst other things, the construction of tunnels and aqueducts, and the development of inclined planes and boat lifts. The great age of canals lasted until about the 1840s, when their utility was eroded by the huge expansion of railways with their quick and cheap transportation of people and goods. During their relatively brief period of use, however, canals became the most important method of industrial transportation, making a major contribution to England's Industrial Revolution. The post medieval sea lock at Bude Canal is of particular interest for its technical innovation in utilising the highest tides in order to effect the transportation of material inland.

Source: Historic England

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