Water supply for the Priory of St. Dominic

From Wightpedia
Priory of St. Dominic hydraulic pump
Priory of St. Dominic's hydraulic pump (1907 OS map)

When the Priory of St. Dominic was built at Carisbrooke, Isle of Wight in the 1860’s, problems were encountered in obtaining an adequate water supply.

In 1890 the Priory authorities sought the advice of Newport ironmongers firm, Wood and Horspool, to obtain a supply from a source in the lower grounds and use a Warner’s self acting hydraulic ram to raise it to the Priory.

The first source considered was at the Paper Mill field alongside Froglands Lane, but the owner required too much for the Priory to take the water.

A further search resulted in locating a suitable source on Convent property in the valley below Little Whitcombe Farm.

A reception tank of some 20 feet was built and the resulting fall was sufficient for the working of the hydraulic ram. From the ram, a delivery pipe was laid to the Convent, a distance of some 600 feet and to a height of 136 feet where the highest tank was positioned in the roof of a convent building. The waste water from the ram was fed to a cattle trough and onto a water course. About 10% of the water flowing into the ram, about 1000 to 1200 gallons a day, was lifted to the Convent, the other 90% goes to the cattle trough etc.[1]

The position of the hydraulic ram/pump was shown on OS maps from about 1898 to 1962.

  1. Isle of Wight County Press - 26 April 1890