Tag Archives: St John’s Pill

A Bourne mystery

Here is an ad, from 1785, offering to let flour-mills at Portlaw, Co Waterford, and a bake-house in John Street, Waterford, to a “tenant possessed of abilities”.

The ad is interesting in several respects. First, although the location of the flour-mills is not clear, they may have preceded the iron-works, the famous Malcolmson cotton-mill and the later tannery on the site; they certainly seem to have used the water power of the Clodiagh.

Second, the ad suggests that flour could be carried from the mills by three rivers to Waterford: the Clodiagh, the Suir and St John’s Pill, which is another navigation featured on this site.

Third, the ad invites applications to be sent to either John Thomas Medlycott in Dublin or John Edwards Bourne in Mayfield, Waterford. The Post-Chaise Companion [4th ed] says

Within half a mile of Portlaw, on the L is Glen-house the seat of Mr Bourne.

At Portlaw are the extensive mills built by Edward May Esq, and about a quarter of mile beyond Portlaw on the L is a large house built by the same gentleman.

About a mile from Portlaw, on the R situated on the banks of the Suir, is Mayfield, the noble and delightful seat, with very extensive and beautiful demesnes and plantations, of William Watson Esq and on the L is Coolfin, the seat of the Rev Thomas Monck.

That puts a Mr Bourne in Portlaw, though in Glenhouse rather than Mayfield. The Glenhouse address is confirmed by Matthew Sleater in 1806.

But what interests me is whether the John Edwards Bourne mentioned in the ad is related to John Edwards Bourne of Dunkerrin, Co Offaly, formerly of Nenagh, Co Tipperary, who died in 1799 or so. The Offaly Bourne seems to have had four brothers and three sisters.

I would be glad to hear from anyone who knows anything about the Portlaw Bourne (or indeed any of the other Bournes). If you can help, please leave a Comment below.



St John’s Pill (River) in Waterford

Brian Simpson writes from Waterford:

There’s a new bridge being built on the Waterside in Waterford City and sadly it looks like it is going to be a death blow for the Friends of St John’s River and Waterford Small Boat Owners Association’s attempts to restore navigation along this waterway.

The new bridge at high tide (Brian Simpson)

Please find attached the Facebook link for comments and attached photo of bridge at high tide.

Half our canal was taken by a humpback bridge, Wyse Bridge, being replaced at Poleberry in 1980; this effectively stopped any chance of barges navigating the other part of the waterway, which was being done up to the 1950s.

I do hope that boats will still be able to use the Pill.

Update: a link to a video.

Improvements at St John’s Pill, Waterford

Thanks to Brian Simpson for this update on the continuing resurrection of St John’s Pill [river] in Waterford.

Waterford Council had new fencing erected by Fairybush Landscaping Ltd around Cherrymount bridge and around the slip area. The Council also recently opened a beautiful greenway for pedestrians and cyclists along the St John’s river right into Waterford City Centre.

Our slipway at Cherrymount bridge was being eroded by heavy rainfall and
strong currents when the canal was swollen.


The slipway


The slipway fenced (but eroded)

In order to prevent further damage with the approach of autumn and winter, improvement works had to be carried out. With a low tide window for much of the day and a couple of dry days beforehand, Saturday 29 August 2015 was our perfect opportunity.


Men at work

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our Chairman David Hayes [of David Hayes Engineering, Waterford] for organising the mixer, sand/gravel cement from Doyle Concrete


Doyle Concrete

… and the concrete slabs and capping from Boyce Mulrooney, scrap merchant, Tramore Road, Waterford.

All the committee members who donated bags of cement, tools, ideas, labour and teamwork.


Wade in the water

A great day was had and most importantly the slip is now much secure and pleasing to look at too.

On the Pill

Brian Simpson has kindly sent me photos of the small-boat rally on St John’s Pill (River) in Waterford at the end of May; I’ve put them on this page.

The Scotch Quay crane

Here is a page about the crane on Scotch Quay, on St John’s Pill in Waterrford. I would welcome information on the age of the crane, on who made it and on how it works.

St John’s Pill: an update

I have found a little more information about the involvement of George Lane Fox with the upper reaches of St John’s Pill; I have written about it here.

The mysterious Pill

Some questions and speculations about trade on St John’s Pill in Waterford.