Estimated ‘old’ Thames height v King’s Weir

Estimated old thames

From photographic evidence 26/01/2016, even with the stream below the weir partially blocked by fallen trees, I estimate that the drop from the Thames to the stream is currently about 1.5 meters. If the stream were to be cleared to allow free flow downstream then it is likely that the range will increase, possibly up to 2 meters which would then mean that King’s Weir/lock would be dry and so would Oxford (without Wytham Weir).


Please note, for the entire length of the ‘old’ Thames from Wytham in the North to Sandford in the South along the western edge of the flood plain, it is at a lower elevation to the Isis which runs along the eastern edge of the flood plain between the same two end points.


Obviously without some serious maintenance of the whole length ‘old’ Thames stream/river bed from Wytham to Sandford and necessary upgrades to return any ‘lost’ drainage channels, diversions of this nature would not be possible in the short term.



“1885: The Royal River –

The picture from here is exceptionally interesting. A rustic bridge spans a backwater trending towards Witham Mill, and in the direction of Oxford. The thickset woods stand out in prominent relief, and another farmhouse of the higher class, surrounded by ricks, appears to the left.
Hagley Pool, which is merely a lake-like widening of the water at the bend, is covered with yellow water-lilies.”

Seacourt Stream

Weir Stream leaving on Right Bank.
The Seacourt Stream is probably an old course of the river which entirely by-passes Oxford, going through Hinksey and rejoining below Iffley Lock.  I think this can be canoed.”



King’s Weir (now lock) 1910

kings weir 1910

“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.  To celebrate its 80th anniversary and to improve facilities for all our visitors we decided to extend the lock office with an experimental building.  Designed to test carbon saving construction techniques it has car tyre foundations and straw bale walls. We intend to use some or all of these techniques and materials elsewhere on the Thames once we have evaluated the success of this project.  The building has been funded by the Environment Agency’s Carbon Reduction Fund to offset some of the carbon we produce when carrying out our functions.”


A close up of the Norman cut at Godstow?

Norman cut


“From Hinksey ferry to Wycroft on the eastern edge of Port Meadow the perambulation seems to have been more concerned with common of pasture than with fishing rights, although the town owned fisheries from Hythe Bridge to Godstow in 1556 and between Botley mill lock and Hinksey in 1582. (fn. 24) The mayor’s party went from Hinksey ferry to Botley mill and then along the Shire Lake (Seacourt stream) to Godstow, going round, as the 15th-century account stressed, Wyke, Binsey, Medley, Cripley, and Port Meadow, the last three of which were part of the burgesses’ common pasture in the early 12th century. (fn. 25) The 19th-century boundary differed slightly from the earlier one, leaving Shire Lake at Godstow holt to follow another stream a few yards further east, rejoining Shire Lake as it entered the Thames above Godstow Bridge.”