A Kennet built-barge known as HARRIETT, 500m north-west of Kingshill Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of A Kennet built-barge known as HARRIETT, 500m north-west of Kingshill Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Stroud (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SO 68294 04013

Reasons for Designation

Despite deterioration as a result of neglect, weathering and vandalism, the Kennet built-barge known as HARRIETT, 430m west of Middleton House survives comparatively well and represents the only known survival of an original Kennet-built barge. The barge is particularly representative of a once more common local vessel type, reflecting the significance of waterborne transport in the development of the Bristol dockyards. The use of the vessel to reinforce the riverbank on the west side of the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal is of interest, but the importance of the monument is considerably enhanced by abundant contemporary documentation and the survival of a wide range of features meaning that HARRIETT has considerable potential for providing an insight into late 19th century boat building construction techniques.


The monument includes an earth-fast Kennet built-barge known as HARRIETT situated on the eastern bank of the River Severn, near the hamlet of Purton. The barge is of carvel-built timber construction with cast iron fixings and measures 21.94m long by up to 4.29m wide. The vessel is firmly embedded and partly buried with all of her keel and part of her hull surviving below the present ground surface. The hull currently extends up to 1.5m above the ground. The barge is formed by broad timber planks laid end to end with a smooth finish supported by vertically aligned frames. The interior is clad with further horizontal planking known as ceiling planks. The timbers were treated with steam and bent to provide the curve that gives the hull its distinctive shape. At the stern are the remains of an elum (a combined rudder and tiller) either side of which the transom is inscribed: HARRIETT to the port and BRISTOL to the starboard. A cast iron plate is attached to the stem post. The barge is divided into four bays by cross beams that are attached to the top of the barge sides. Within the vessel are the remains of a mast tabernacle and cast iron bilge pump. The HARRIETT was built by Robbins, Lane and Pinnegar of Honeystreet, Pewsey about 1900 for Ashmeads of Bristol. The company built barges for their own use in the timber trade on the Kennet and Avon Canal from the early 19th century. The coming of the railways in the 1840s saw canal traffic dwindle, and Robbins, Lane and Pinnegar began to build barges for use by other carriers on other rivers and canals. The barges for the Thames area were known as Kennet barges. Larger examples such as the HARRIETT, known as Honeystreet barges, were built to serve as transhipment vessels to carry loads into the Bristol docks from ships that were too large to pass to the east of the city. The HARRIETT was registered in Bristol and worked the city docks. In 1964, she was beached at Purton, Gloucestershire, where she remains, as part of an assemblage of beached vessels. From the early 20th century boats were arranged in the riverbank in order to shore up the neighbouring embankment of the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal, and latterly as a convenient means of disposal. The interpretation board adjacent to the north west side of the vessel is excluded from the scheduling, but the ground below is included. Sources: Barnett, L.P. (2008) The Purton Hulks: the Story of the Purton Ships Graveyard. Benbrook, I. (1989) Bristol City Docks: A guide to the Historic Harbour. Leather, J. (1984) Barges. Parker, A. J. (1998) Remains of boats at Purton (East), Gloucestershire. Archaeology in the Severn Estuary 9: 91-93. Presley, J. (2010 Time, Tide and Harriett, Nautical Archaeology, 2010.1, 11.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Barefoot, I, Purton Hulks Recording Project 2008, 2009,


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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