Lock House on the Grantham Canal, Stenwith


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Lock House, Lock 13, Grantham Canal, Stenwith, Lincolnshire.


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Location Description:
Lock House, Lock 13, Grantham Canal, Stenwith, Lincolnshire.
South Kesteven (District Authority)
Woolsthorpe By Belvoir
National Grid Reference:


Lock House at Stenwith is a small brick-built house sited close to Lock 13 on the Grantham Canal. The canal opened in 1793, and the house is likely to date to the late-C18 or early-C19 It was originally built to house a canal lock keeper, but is presently unoccupied and in a delapidated condition.

Reasons for Designation

Lock House, Stenwith, a canal lock-keepers house that is likely to date to the late C18 or early C19, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Historic interest: the building is an integral part of the development and operation of the Grantham Canal, engineered by the celebrated canal engineer Wiiliam Jessop, which opened in 1793;

* Rarity: the survival of an unaltered and unenlarged canal building dating to the most prolific period of canal construction is now extremely rare;

* Completeness: the building appears to have suffered little alteration, externally or internally. The original interior plan survives, together with early fixtures and joinery.


The Lock House at Stenwith is presumed to have been built to house the lock keeper responsible for Lock 13 on the Grantham Canal. The canal was opened in 1797, the longest of the ten canals in the region to have been engineered by the notable canal engineer William Jessop. It was 33 miles long, with 18 locks and 69 overbridges, and attained its most profitable return in 1841. Traffic and business declined following the canal's acquisition by the Grantham to Nottingham Railway Company in 1861, although it remained in use until 1936, when it was closed by the then owners, the London and North East Railway. With the nationalisation of the railways in 1947, the canal network was largely nationalised too, and in 1963, the canal became the responsibility of the British Waterways Board. The Board placed the canal in a 'remaindered' state in 1968, keeping the watercourse in water, but not in a navigable state.

The development of the canal system brought with it not only the engineering of a complex network of canals, locks, reservoirs, bridges and aqueducts, but also a range of buildings needed to service and maintain the canals. These included dwellings for lengthmen and lock keepers, stables, boatyards, chandleries and warehouses. The management of traffic through locks, and their associated winding areas was often a complex and time-consuming operation, with the lock keeper being responsible not only for traffic, but also for ensuring the sound working condition of the lock chamber, gates and sluice mechanisms. Accommodation close to the lock chamber was often deemed to be necessary, as can be seen at the Stenwith Lock House. It is not known when exactly the Lock House was built, but it appears to date to the end of the C18 or the early C19, a little after the opening of the canal in 1797, and to have remained in use until at least the operational decline and closure of the canal in the early C20.


The Lock House at Stenwith is associated with the Grantham Canal and thought to have been built for occupation by the canal lock keeper. It is likely to date from the late-C18 or early-C19, the canal, engineered by William Jessop, having opened in 1797. Materials Red brick with gable chimneys and a red clay pantile roof covering. The building's brick exterior appears to have had a light external render of wash coating which has now largely decayed.

Plan Aligned roughly north-west to south-east, the building is linear in form, and of single room depth, with an off-centre doorway, facing away from the canal, enclosed within a single-storey gabled porch.

Exterior The house is of two storeys and three bays, as originally built, with a single-storey lean-to addition to the left-hand gable. The central gabled porch is flanked by stacked window openings with two-over-two pane sash frames. The openings to the ground floor have shallow arched heads, whilst the heads of the upper floor windows are at eaves level. There is a small, off-centre upper floor sash window to the right of the porch gable apex. The lean-to has a separate entrance below a shallow canopy, and a small square chimney to the rear outer corner. The rear elevation has a small, canted bay window to the ground-floor room at the north-west end from which traffic on the canal approaching the adjacent lock from both directions could be observed.

Interior The interior layout of the building appears to be original and has suffered little alteration. The entrance porch gives access to a narrow central hall passage and a dog-leg stair, below which is a small basement. Either side of the hall passage is a ground-floor room, each of which has longtitudinal beams supporting exposed joists and a hearth in the end wall. Beyond the north-west room is the added lean-to with its hearth. The central winder stair has a small semi basement below, accessed by means of a small doorway leading from the hall passage. The stair gives access to three upper floor rooms, one to the rear of the building accessed directly off of the staircase, the two rooms at either end of the upper floor accessed from a short landing passage located above the hall passage. The small central sash window lights the landing passage.

The building retains much of what appears to be its original joinery, with four-panel doors, moulded architraves, and hearthside cupboards with raised and fielded door panels. The winder stair has a plain plank door at its base, stick balusters, and a simply moulded handrail. The lean-to and north-west ground-floor room retain cast-iron ranges, whilst the south-east ground and first-floor rooms have domestic-scale hearths with substantial contemporary surrounds, the ground-floor example with a later hearth insert.




This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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