Southrey Ferry

Southrey Ferry

Old and New Ferry

If you were today to take the footpath that runs from Highthorpe, along the western and southern boundaries of Soulbury House, across the paddock and down to Lowthorpe you would find, in front of you, Water Lily Cottage.  Now if you were to travel back in time over 170 years to 1841, you would find the footpath crossed over Lowthorpe and continued straight on down the slope to the River Witham to the site of the ferry which was already, in 1841, classified as ‘old’.

Presumably even by 1841, the footpath from Lowthorpe to the old ferry was obsolete, the Enclosure Plan of that date showing a ‘new ferry’ sited at the bottom of Ferry Road.  Although it has been written that the re-siting of the ferry occurred as a consequence of the building of the railway in the 1870’s (a disputed date for the railway), the new ferry seems to have existed even before the arrival of the railway at Southrey in 1848.

The Ferry and White Horse Inn

It is said that the White Horse Inn, which lies on the southern bank of the Witham, was initially established as a ferry house to the village of Southrey.

As yet the date of the establishment of the White Horse Inn remains elusive (unless anyone out there knows differently!) but certainly by 1842 there was a beerhouse and ferryman on the Fen at Dunston and on the census of 1841 the same name appears as a publican on Dunston Fen, though no mention is given to him being occupied as a ferryman. 

The White Horse Publicans and Southrey Ferrymen

1841       Robert Taylor  Publican

1842       Robert Taylor  Beerhouse and ferryman

1861       Thomas Gresham  Dunston ferry

1868       Joshua Gresham  Ferry Inn and farmer

1871       Martin Quincey  Farmer and publican, White Horse

1872       Martin Quincey  Farmer and victualler, White Horse

1881       Martin Quincey  Publican, White Horse

1885       Martin Quincey  White Horse PH, Southrey Ferry

1889       Martin Quincey  White Horse PH, Southrey Ferry

1891       Joshua Gresham  Publican and farmer, Dunston Fen

1892       Mr William Foster; Joshua Gresham  Victualler, White Horse; farmer and ferryman, Southrey Ferry

1896       William Rylatt  White Horse PH, Southrey Ferry              

1901       William Rylatt Publican and farmer

1905       Charles Brooks  White Horse PH, Southrey Ferry

1909       Cornelius Amos  White Horse PH, Southrey Ferry

1911       Cornelius Amos  Publican and farmer, Southrey Ferry

1911       Henry Moreland Amos  Ferryman

1913       Cornelius Amos  White Horse PH, Southrey Ferry

1919       Harry Cooke  White Horse PH, Southrey Ferry

1947 – 1954         Charles Alfred Doughty  Landlord, White Horse Public House, Dunston Fen

Closure of the Southrey Ferry

Just as it is unclear when the ferry moved sites and when the ferry house was built, so there is differing opinions as to the date of the closure of the ferry.  Was it in 1965 that the last ferry crossed the Witham at Southrey, or are other sources that claim it continued into the 1970’s more accurate?


Created: February 2013