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Twickenham Ferry

Nature and Human Nature
The Wild Side of Town
Bird-Watching
Harvest Anthem
Laura's Song
Butterfly Galliard / Falling Star
I Was The Child
Another World In The Night
Fox On The Rails /Dance Of The Starlings
Woodlands Of England
See This Lake, Son?
My Beautiful Bomb Pit
Comin' In On A Wing And A Prayer
Tomorrow's Too Late
Why Have You Stolen Our Earth?
Human Nature
Stand Quite Still
If There's No Other Way
The Rockery Rock
This Blessed Plot
Don't Clear That Corner Away
Art Nouveau
Brambles on a Hill
Our Stolen Season
Good King Henry
You Never Know Where We Have Been
Harvest Will Come
Just Human Nature
The Albion River Hymn: prelude
The Albion River Hymn
Sweet Themmes Run Softly
Three Men in a Boat
Down The Stream The Swans All Glide.
Swan-Upping Song
The Sheep Shearing Song
The Building of Our Bridge
Twickenham Ferry
Letters
Still On The Wild Side of Town
Rumour Hill
Life on the River
Horse Music
Yellow Taxi / New Jerusalem
Dragonfly
Lemady / Arise and Pick a Posy
Foxy Comes to Town
The Wind in The Willows
John Moore (1907-1967)
Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey
Gilbert White (1720-1793)
Landlines

The Twickeham Museum

The Twickenham ferry originally crossed the River Thames by the shortest route between Ham House and the Middlesex bank, no nearer to Twickenham proper than permitted by the tail of Eel Pie Island. The earliest documentary reference to its existence known is in a Privy Council Ordinance of 19 August 1652. In this year it was listed, with others, prohibiting use after sundown except by special dispensation. It could be held that the ferry was established when Ham House was built by Sir Thomas Vavasour in 1610, as ownership, or at least the Right to Licence ferrymen was always claimed by the owners of that property, notably the Dysart (Murray) family. Indeed, the ferry was sometimes known as the Dysart Ferry. However, unlike Richmond Ferry it is not shown on Moses Glover's map of 1635. Curiously, given its name, the ferry did not communicate directly with Twickenham proper where, at the foot of Water Lane stood the Waterman's Arms, a focus for river traffic. Perhaps the row upstream against the current was a deterrent. Certainly the licensed ferrymen all seem to have come from Twickenham. The earliest known was Richard Blower, licensed some time before 1692. His family are recorded in Twickenham as fishermen and watermen from 1600. They lived in a riverside cottage which was leased. The original cottage probably demolished by Alexander Pope when he built his villa at Cross Deep in 1719.
 
A Rival Ferry Starts
 
Sometime before 1743 a "pirate" ferry appears to have been started by Twickenham inhabitants: one Treherne, Margaret Langley, Samuel Kain (or Keen)and Samuel Kain the Younger. This ferry may have been operated to serve an entertainment enterprise on a barge known as The Folly. This provoked complaints, addressed to the Lord Mayor of London. He referred the matter to the Court of Aldermen on 28 May 1745 who heard that he had received a letter from several inhabitants "…Complaining that there is lately fixed near the Shore of Twickenham on the River Thames a Vessell made like a Barge and called the Folly wherein divers loose and disorderly persons are frequently entertained who have behaved in a very indecent Manner and do frequently afront divers persons of Fashion and Distinction who often in an Evening Walk near that place, and desired so great a Nuisance might be removed,…" The Lord Mayor was authorised to deal with the matter on behalf of the Quality. In fact both the Ferry and the Folly were closed in the following year when the Earl of Dysart took the matter to the Court of Common Pleas and obtained judgment on 5 March together with a bond for 100 against default.
Twickenham Ferry features in Charles Dickens'  Little Dorrit in 1857 when Arthur Clennam crossed to Ham and back one morning. It is further commemorated in a song of 1878 written and composed by Theo Marzials (1850-1920).

Twickenham Ferry

“Ahoy! and O-ho! and it ’s who ’s for the ferry?”
(The briar ’s in bud and the sun going down)
“And I ’ll row ye so quick and I ’ll row ye so steady,
And ’t is but a penny to Twickenham Town.”
The ferryman’s slim and the ferryman’s young,
With just a soft tang in the turn of his tongue;
And he ’s fresh as a pippin and brown as a berry,
And ’t is but a penny to Twickenham Town.
 
“Ahoy! and O-ho! and it ’s I ’m for the ferry,”
(The briar ’s in bud and the sun going down)
“And it ’s late as it is and I have n’t a penny—
Oh! how can I get me to Twickenham Town?”
She ’d a rose in her bonnet, and oh! she look’d sweet
As the little pink flower that grows in the wheat,
With her cheeks like a rose and her lips like a cherry—
“It ’s sure but you ’re welcome to Twickenham Town,”
 
“Ahoy! and O-ho!”—You ’re too late for the ferry,
(The briar ’s in bud and the sun has gone down)
And he ’s not rowing quick and he ’s not rowing steady;
It seems quite a journey to Twickenham Town.
“Ahoy! and O-ho!” you may call as you will;
The young moon is rising o’er Petersham Hill;
And, with Love like a rose in the stern of the wherry,
There ’s danger in crossing to Twickenham Town.

Theophile Julius Henry Marzials. (1850 - 1920)
Belgian/ English poet and songwriter.

Later years

In later years other ferries were operated. One known as the Buccleugh Ferry downstream towards Richmond Bridge in 1894 and in 1909 the Hammerton Ferry was started, which led to a further lawsuit pursued by the Earl of Dysart which, on this occasion he lost.
When Ham House was presented to The National Trust in 1948 ownership of the Ferry was transferred to a private operator. After further changes in ownership, a decline in traffic and a long dispute about the Right of Way down the slipway on the Twickenham side the Ferry finally closed in 1970.

Twickenham Ferry with sheep, at Riverside, c1850

a rival to the Twickenham Ferry

an historical overview.
from British History Online

The River Thames has long
been a conduit for the
movement of goods and
people and a
focus for leisure.

William Champion with his ferry boat, c1890

4 More Poems By
Theophile Julius Henry Marzials

Selections Illustrating the Editor’s
Critical Review of
British Poetry in the Reign
of Queen Victoria.
edited by
Edmund Clarence Stedman.
from which Twickenham Ferry
is taken

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