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Architecture

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Devon County

Devonshire Rgt.

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History

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Transportation

War Memorials

 

(Continued from the previous page)

 

An old lock on the former Stover Canal

An old lock on the former Stover Canal

© Richard Harris

 

TRADE BEGINS

 

The first consignment of clay was shipped along the canal from Teignbridge, not Ventiford, on 4th March 1790 and Teignbridge continued to be the starting point of the most of the clay traffic along the canal. Josiah Wedgwood visited the area in 1791 and contracted to purchase Kingsteignton clay which was shipped along Templer’s canal. As Templer had hoped, trade blossomed and by 1800 the volume of clay shipped through Teignmouth had increased to 15,252 tons.

 

A sailing barge heading back from Teignmouth Harbour

A sailing barge heading back from Teignmouth Harbour

(An interesting picture which also shows Seine fishermen using nets to catch

salmon and the occasional trout from the river Teign.)

From the postcard collection of Richard Harris

 

The barges carrying the clay were some 56ft in length with a beam of 13ft 6ins capable of carrying a load of 30 tons. It appears that barges were built on the canal from an early point in its history at lock four, the smallest lock, beside which was built a graving dock. The canal never had a towpath for horses and the barges were for the most part bow hauled to the estuary where a square rigged sail was used to gain assistance from the wind. Taking a barge down the estuary could often involve a journey by night to catch a high tide. With barges lying low in the water with their cargo this could prove hazardous when facing a stiff easterly wind. The hard work of poling barges meant it was a job for tough men. Over the years the crews of the barges also gained a reputation for hard drinking, with the Passage House Inn at Hackney and the Coombe Cellars Inn at Combeinteignhead becoming favourite stops.

 

Coombe Cellars on the river Teign

Coombe Cellars on the river Teign

From the postcard collection of Richard Harris

 

There is one reported instance of the landlord of the Coombe Cellars taking out a court order against a group of lightermen who called at the inn at 4 o’clock in the morning and refused to leave until he had opened up!

 

A register of 1795 shows that 10 barges were working the Teign Estuary between Teignbridge and Teignmouth of which 8 were owned by James Templer and named as follows; George, James and Mary, Compton Castle, Tor Abbey, Lady Clifford, Lord Courtenay Lovely May and Neighbour Hail.

 

James Templer died aged 65 on 21st June 1813 at Bellamarsh after imbibing an excess of medicinal water. Bellamarsh was once famous for its chalybeate spring, but whether the medicinal water referred to was the spring water or something stronger, we are left to guess at.

 

His heir, George Templer, was a cultured man educated in the classics. A keen huntsman and Master of the South Devon Foxhounds, he is reputed to have had a pet monkey which he kitted out in hunting gear and took with him when he rode to hounds. He also founded the Teignbridge Cricket Club which played near Teignbridge on the site of what is now the East Golds clay works.

 

 

All material on this page is the copyright property of Richard Harris

 

 
 
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