070305.Monkton Combe-Winsley, Flight of the Black PigMarch 5, 2007 at 1:23 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bridges, Canals, Chisel Marks, Conservation, countryside, Doric Order, Monkton Combe, people, river, River Avon, Riverboats, somerset, Trees, Wiltshire, Winsley | 6 Comments
The black riverboat is the Black Pig and it’s going over the Dundas Aqueduct, which means it is between Monkton Combe, Somerset and Winsley, Wiltshire (the lines aren’t exact so I might be wrong–also both a “symbolic counties” only.)
The black-red riverboat doesn’t have a name, and perhaps for good reason because we’ll be checking up on it tomorrow. Are you excited? I know I would be if I were in your place. But I’m not. I took the photos and know what is going to happen. It’s nothing to be all that excited about but maybe I shouldn’t have told you that.
This 1798 aqueduct spans 150 feet of the Kennet and Avon Canal over the River Avon on three arches. In 1961, it was designated an Ancient Monument Grade I and three years later they “conserved” it by fixing up its leaks and relining it with concrete. Ironically, it was built on the inferior local Bath stone material instead of the recommended brick because before the canal was built brick was far more expensive than local stone, which would of course change after the completion of the canal. Of course, Bath stone became popular after the completion of this canal as well (as previously discussed in the Ralph Allen series.)
“At the opposite extremity of the [Monkton Combe] Parish towards the east the stream of the Avon is spanned by the Dundas Aqueduct. This engineering work, very different in appearance and use from the Roman aqueducts, forms a beautiful object when seen from the top of the hill on which Limpley Stoke lies. It is in form a graceful bridge of Bath stone in three arches. But instead of a highroad, it carries the Kennet and Avon Canal across
“Charles Dundas, after whom it is named, was a man of some eminence in his time. Born in 1751, he entered Parliament in 1774, and remained a member the rest of his life, being for the greater part of the time Member for Berkshire. His first wife brought him the estate of Kentbury, Amesbury in Wiltshire, and that brought him into connexion with Bath by means of the Kennet and Avon Canal. In the Act of Parliament passed for the construction of this canal the name of Charles Dundas occurs iin the long list of proprietors. But he appears really to have been one of the originators and chief promoters of the scheme. Probably his own estate benefited by it. But as the canal was a public work of great utility to the City of Bath and the Country of Wilts, Dundas must rank as a public benefactor, who deserves to be remembered. In 1832 he was raised to the peerage with the title Baron Amesbury. But in the same year he died [of cholera and is buried in Kintbury].
“For the tablets and inscriptions on the two sides of the Aqueduct see [below].
“When the canal was opened in 1810 track boats for passengers were put upon it, called locally “the Scotch boats,” because built after a Scotch model; and it became a favourite amusement for the inhabitants of Bath to travel out in them in leisurely fashion to the Dundas Aqueduct, and spend the day at the Italian villa with grounds sloping down to the water, now occupied by Mrs. Freestun, but then a hotel.” –D. Lee Pitcairn and Alfred Richardson, An Historical Guide to Monkton Combe, Combe Down and Claverton (Bath: F. Goodall Printer, 1924), 30-31.
Dundas Aqueduct; plaque, south face.
TO CHARLES DUNDAS ESQ. / CHAIRMAN OF THE KENNET AND AVON CANAL COMPANY / FROM ITS COMMENCEMENT A.D. M.DCC.XCIII. / THE PROPRIETORS / MINDFUL OF HIS IMPORTANT SERVICES, / AND HIS UNREMITTED EXERTIONS / THROUGH A PERIOD OF XL YEARS, / GRATEFULLY INSCRIBE THIS TABLET. / A.D. M.DCCC.XXVIII
Dundas Aqueduct; plaque, north face.
TO THE MEMORY OF / JOHN THOMAS, / BY WHOSE SKILL, PERSEVERANCE AND INTEGRITY, / THE KENNET AND AVON CANAL / WAS BROUGHT TO A PROSPEROUS COMPLETION, / A.D. M.DCCC.X. / THE PROPRIETORS / GRATEFULLY INSCRIBE THIS TABLET. / A.D. M.DCCC.XXVIII