Life by the River
"Sweet Thames run softly" - this has not always been the case. (1)Ashton Keynes has always suffered from flooding, and the River Thames that flows along beside High Road and crosses under Gosditch Street by the little bridge was prone to washing down to the School and beyond. Villagers expected to be flooded every winter although the water could be controlled and directed to some extent by opening and closing 'hatches' on the river, People talked of keeping their back door and front door open so the water flowed straight through, and of a foot of water standing indoors for weeks. As late as 1924 there were 23 children absent from school in June when the houses in the Derry just south of the Horse and Jockey were marooned in their bedrooms after a night of storms. Ditches all round the village helped to channel the water, but as these were also used as a place to tip household rubbish and the privies drained into them - there was always a serious public health problem in Gosditch Street. (1) Taken from the book "Ashton Keynes A Village With No History" by Madge Paterson and Ernie Ward, Published by Keith Cowley, Oaklands Road, Chirkbank, Shropshire. ISBN 0 951146106.