Waterbodies & Maritime => Waterways => Topic started by: man-of-kent on March 08, 2014, 17:02:48

Title: River Len
Post by: man-of-kent on March 08, 2014, 17:02:48
Has anyone ever noticed the interesting collection of sluices and weirs where the River Len passes under Bishops Way in Maidstone?
Title: Re: River Len
Post by: Sentinel S4 on March 08, 2014, 17:05:30
Um... No I have not noticed them Man-of-Kent.

Title: Re: River Len
Post by: man-of-kent on March 08, 2014, 17:20:57
Forgive me if I don't use the correct terms here. The mill pond beside the old Rootes building, seems to be maintained at a constant level. Nearest to Palace avenue there are two manually set gates which get opened during high river flow times. Next is the fixed level weir, then in the corner is another culvert where the water flows under the road to another adjustable weir. All four culverts come out in what I think is called Palace gardens where the stream there takes the Len into the Medway.
Title: Re: River Len
Post by: davpott on March 08, 2014, 19:43:05
Do you mean here?

It is what is left of the medieval bridge. I can't dig up anything more on it at the moment because she who has to be obeyed has just shouted up something about the pub being busy :)
I'll try and add more Monday evening if no one else has answered more fully earlier.

There is certainly someone on here that knows about it as this picture was used in 'Guess the Place a year or so ago and it was answered straight away.   
Title: Re: River Len
Post by: man-of-kent on March 08, 2014, 21:27:06
Yes, that's the place. Next Tuesday we'll be in Maidstone so I'll try and walk down there with my camera.
Title: Re: River Len
Post by: mad4amanda on March 08, 2014, 22:26:06
A lovely spot we used to fish there as kids, we even used to get an inflatable dingy and row out to the piers under the roadway and catch dace and perch as I recall, been terribly flooded recently though.
Title: Re: River Len
Post by: cliveh on March 12, 2014, 21:28:17
I was on a tour of 'Medieval Maidstone' last year and the guide told us this was all part of a mill. The mill owner / operator's cottage still stands in the Palace garden:

Title: Re: River Len
Post by: davpott on March 12, 2014, 22:53:06
J.M.Russell, probably writing sometime in the late 1870s, unfortunately has little to say, he being more interested in the people and their houses than the topography.

He is walking north from the direction of what is now Lower Stone Street.

The river Len crosses Stone Street has for several centuries been spanned by a bridge, and during the present century, it has also been built over on the west side, where it divides into two streams, the south one having been formed about the beginning of the reign of George the Third's reign [1860]in order to prevent flooding above the bridge.

 'The History of Maidstone'  J.M.Russell published in 1881

Unfortunately when he walks down Mill Street to the Archbishop's Palace he doesn't mention the bridge at all. 

Title: Re: River Len
Post by: man-of-kent on March 13, 2014, 06:52:26
Looking at the Old Maps website, there was a corn mill shown there into the early 20th century.
Title: Re: River Len
Post by: davpott on March 13, 2014, 15:26:48
I've just scoured the pages of Archaeologia Cantiana but only managed to find mention of the Len of any relevance to this thread.

page 254 Vol. XXV published 1902 



IT was seen that this project, which has for some time past been
under the consideration of the Corporation of Maidstone, if carried
out as originally conceived, would involve the destruction of all
that which lends such a charm to the southern end of Mill Street
on its western side, namely, the old half-timbered Mill House, the
Corn Mill, the beautiful Mediaeval bridge which spans the river
Len, and the ancient gate-house of the Archbishop's Manor House,
known as the Palace. As soon as matters were sufficiently
developed Mr. Hubert Bensted, F.R.I.B.A., brought the whole
matter under the notice of the Honorary Secretary. Both working
together acted promptly, laying the above particulars before the
National Trust and the Society for the Protection of Ancient
Buildings. Mr. Bensted prepared an admirable alternative scheme
accompanied by a plan, by which the eastern side of Mill Street
was dealt with instead of the western, thus doing away with
necessity of demolishing anything of archaic interest. This was
duly laid before the Corporation and the Trustees of the Palace, while
in the meantime urgent appeals were sent to those bodies by the
two societies already named. Subsequently, at a meeting held of
the Trustees, Mr. Robert Hoar and Mr. George Payne were kindly
permitted to attend, and were invited to give their views upon the
whole subject. The latter, at the close of his remarks, strongly
urged the Trustees, if Mr. Bensted's alternative scheme were
finally adopted, to endeavour to acquire the garden of the Mill and
connect it by means of a rustic bridge with the Palace grounds.
At the conclusion of the meeting the Trustees resolved to invite
the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings to send down
an expert to report on the questions at issue. It is earnestly hoped
that the active measures which have been taken may induce the
authorities at Maidstone to preserve that which blends so charmingly
with the Church, College, and Palace adjoining.
                                                                          GEORGE PAYNE

On checking that my spelling of Arch. Cant. I discovered that KAS have this edition on their website. The original is here http://www.kentarchaeology.org.uk/Research/Pub/ArchCant/025-1902/12/Arch%20Cant%2025-12.pdf
Title: Re: River Len
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on December 27, 2014, 22:51:53
There were two water-mills where the River Len joins the Medway, Church Mill on the north bank of the Len and Little Church Mill on the south.
It is possible that the Church Mill site was listed in the Domesday Survey, it was certainly in use in 1536. Both seem to be out of use by 1900.
See The River Len Water-mills by R. J. Spain. Archaeologia Cantiana Vol. 82 1967, pages 93-100.
Available online @ http://www.kentarchaeology.org.uk/Research/Pub/ArchCant/Vol.082 - 1967/082-02 The Len Water-mills.pdf (http://www.kentarchaeology.org.uk/Research/Pub/ArchCant/Vol.082 - 1967/082-02 The Len Water-mills.pdf)
Note that Mill Street was known as Mill Lane prior to c1839.
Title: Re: River Len
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on February 13, 2015, 15:20:15
My apologies, broken link, here's the new one.
http://www.kentarchaeology.org.uk/Research/Pub/ArchCant/Vol.082 - 1967/082-02.pdf (http://www.kentarchaeology.org.uk/Research/Pub/ArchCant/Vol.082 - 1967/082-02.pdf)
Note, this includes all the water-mills along the River Len.