Answers to Questions


NORMAN, Lock Keeper, Marsworth, mid 19th century

July, 2010





NOTE:  This answer relates to the Grand Junction Canal in Bucks, but has been included because of its link to an earlier post relating to the canal at Watford, and also because it relates to an area where I frequently walk for fresh air and exercise.

Col Coleman (cco84286 @t of Townsville, Queensland, Australia, has seen Lock Cottages, Cassiobury Park, Watford, circa 1900 and writes: My maternal grandfather was Frederick Charles Norman, born at Watford approx 1861, his father was Charles Norman, Lock Keeper, Watford, Herts. I obtained this information from F C Norman's marriage certificate, dated 1/8/1899. he was married at Saint James Cathedral, Townsville, Queensland. I would like to make contact with any relatives of Charles Norman of Watford,

When I answered Nicole's question I noted that Charles Norman was born at Marsworth and I wondered if there was any connection with any of the Lock Cottages associated with the Marsworth Flight of Locks mentioned elsewhere (Lock Keeper's Cottages, Bulbourne, 19/20th Century).  I checked the 1851 census and found the following entry at an unspecified location in the parish of Marsworth:

Norman Norman Head 53 Canal Lockkeeper Aylesbury, Bucks
Cathering Norman Wife 50   Blisworth, Northants
Charles Norman Son 20 Canal Labourer Marsworth, Bucks
Ann Norman Daughter 18 Strawplaiter Marsworth, Bucks
Edward Corkett Norman Illegitimate Son 9 m   Marsworth, Bucks

This was not very helpful in determining whether he was living by the canal, possibly in a purpose built cottage, or not. Norman Norman appeared not to be listed in the 1861 census, and his son Charles had become a lock keeper at Watford (married with the start of a family) by this date, so that didn't help location where Norman Norman's cottage was at Marsworth.

      Moors Norman Norman 40 Lock Keeper
      Catherine Norman 35  
      Charles Norman 10  
      Ann Norman 9  
      Stephen Norman 1  
    do Charles Redhead 30 Lock Keeper
    Cook's Wharf Hugh Cook 45 Ind (and family)

The 1841 census was more helpful in that it showed that Norman Norman and his family were living at "Moors", as was another lock keeper, Charles Redhead, and the next property was called Cook's Wharf - which must have bordered the canal. The enumerator book states that it covers the part of Marsworth Parish to the east of the Grand Junction Canal, which rules out the collection of buildings, including the White Lion Inn, at Startops End - which are on the west of the canal and listed separately. As Norman Norman is the first name listed in the book it is likely that his house was at a "suitable" starting position alongside the canal.

Cook's Wharf. Marsworth, September 2009

To make thing's simple, Cook's Wharf still exists, as a hamlet close to the point where the canal enters the parish of Pitstone, and a long way from Marsworth village proper.. Last year, when walking my dog, Franci,  I took the above photograph of of some fishermen on the bank opposite the wharf, which is now a marina for canal boats. 

This helps fix the route taken by the census enumerator. and hence locate Norman Norman's lock cottage. The enumerator started along the canal at the bridge near the Red Lion public house and walked east along the canal until he came to the double locks, now numbered 37 and 38

Double Locks No 37 and 38, east of Marsworth Village

These locks are in open countryside (The Moors?) and in 1841 he would have found lock cottages beside the canal in this otherwise isolated position.  There would also be a pumping station - which would need attending, presumably by the lock keepers.

Lock Cottage and Pumping Station

The pumping station building is still there, but the current lock cottage (now a private house) was built in 1909, presumably replacing the earlier lock cottages that were occupied by Norman Norman and Charles Redhead.

If you can add to the information given above tell me.

August 2010   Page created