The earliest currently known records on this area are from the Anglo Saxon Chronicles; Lulla, Handmaiden to the Bishop of Glastonbury was gifted land at Lydford and elsewhere, in about 750AD.
When the original weir was built across the river Brue is not yet know, but it is known that St Dunstan had work undertaken on the river, in the local area, arround 950AD.
The earliest currently known record of the weir and leat is in the Doomsday Book of 1086 where a mill in Lydford is recorded.
The current ‘King o Mill’, or as it was refered to at the time Kingham Mill, fed by the leat from the weir, was built arround 1600. The mill having the rights to the water flow and maintenance of this water flow.
In 1840 the area was owned by the Coulston Family, and Reverend Coulston rebuilt the church by the weir, the bridge just upstream of the weir and the nearby rectory, he probably also paid for the weir repair at that time.
In the 1930’s the Rivers Authority had the weir repaired, and after a partial collpase in the mid 1960’s they had the eastern half of the weir rebuilt, in concrete.
Thus it looks as though the weir needs substantial repair approximately every 50 years.
The Lydford community is continuing with research into the histoy of the weir and surrounding area, and more will be added to this note as it becomes available.
Lydford Weir Company is now a registered company, limited by guarantee and a registered charity, with Memorandum of Understanding and Articles of Association as required by the Charities Commission.
The aims of the company are;
The Lydford Lower Weir is a very ancient structure structure that will originally have been built to create a mill leat to proved the water source to power the mills downstream, both of which still exist, although not as working eater mills; it is mentioned n the Domesday Book.
As a result there is a two kilometre stretch of the River Brue upriver, in effect a level millpond, which creates a particularly delightful environment, especially for the church of St Peters which stands by the riverside that is the main place of worship for the residents of Lydford and a popular venue for weddings. This is all much appreciated not only by the local residents but also by the many visitors who come to walk beside the river and by the fishermen from Glaston Manor fishing whose principal beat this is.
The weir itself is adjacent to the Forest Garden, itself a registered charity, created by a local person and maintained by local residents with donations and work. The Forest Garden itself is planted with a variety of native fruit trees and hedging plants. It is much used by families for picnics in the summer. The whole ensemble, including the weir, is a haven for many kinds of wildlife, in particular kingfishers and other riverine species, including eels and voles .
This would all be lost if the weir collapsed, which is regarded as potentially imminent in the case of heavy weather. So the principal purpose of the charity is to maintain the beautiful environment, in the first instance by repairing the weir to ensure its long term integrity and thereafter to continue to maintain and improve the amenity surrounding it.
The objects of the charity are:
The conservation and improvement of Lydford weir, in Somerset, and its surrounding habitats, wildlife, flora and fauna for the benefit of the public.