Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for OUSE, or Great Ouse (The)

OUSE, or Great Ouse (The), a river of Northamptonshire, Bucks, Beds, Hunts, Cambridgeshire, and Norfolk. It rises near Greatworth, in the S W corner of Northamptonshire, 4¼ miles N N W of Brackley; and pursues a remarkably winding course of about 142 miles, mainly in an easterly direction, and nearly all through aflat country, to the S E corner of the Wash below Lynn. Its windings are remarkable over most of its course, but are specially so over the long distance between Newport-Pagnell and St. Neots; and have been noticed in our article on Olney. Its course in Northamptonshire ischiefly south-south-eastward, past Steane and Brackley, to a point 1¾ mile below the latter; in Bucks, is chieflyeastward, 3 miles along the boundary with Oxfordshire, and 3 thence to Buckingham, east-north-eastward thence to Thornton, north-eastward thence 4¾ miles along the boundary with Northamptonshire, past Stony-Stratford, and north-eastward thence, past Haversham, Newport-Pagnell, and Olney, to Newton-Blossomville; in Beds, first 2 miles northward along the boundary, past Turvey, then 4¾ miles north-eastward, past Harrold and Odell, to Sharnbrook, then very windingly south-by-eastward, past Bletsoe, Milton-Ernest, Oakley, and Kempston, to Bedford, thence eastward to Great Barford, and thence north-north-eastward to a point ¾of a mile below Little Barford; in Hunts, first 2½ miles northward along the boundary, past St. Neots, next north-north-eastward, past Great Paxton and Offord-Cluny, to Huntingdon; and next eastward, past Hartford, Houghton, Hemingford, and St. Ives, to a point ¾of a mile above Holywell; in Cambridgeshire, first 5¼ miles north-eastward along the boundary to Earith, next mainly through an artificial cut, called the New Bedford river, directly north-eastward to a point in Norfolk, 2 miles S W of Downham-Market, but partly in its old natural bed, now called Old West river, eastward into junction with the Cam, and next north-north-eastward, past Littleport, to a point near the influx of the Little Ouse; and in Norfolk, northward, past Downham-Market, Holme, the Wiggenhalls, and Lynn, to the Wash. The Ouse receives the Tove at Stony-Stratford; the Ouzel, at Newport-Pagnell; the Ivel, at Tempsford; the Cam, at Stretham; the Lark, at Prickwillow-Bridge; and the Little Ouse, at Brandon-Bridge. It is navigable to Ely for barges, and to Bedford for boats. It under-went great modification of course at the draining of the Bedford level, particularly within Cambridge shire and Norfolk; it has multitudinous ramifications connected with drainage works; it presents a very varied appearance, as to volume and character, in the middle and lower portions of its course; it is subject, from a point above Lynn, to the bore at the autumnal equinox; and it has undergone vast change throughout its run along the upper part of the Wash, by the great embankmentsformed for reclaiming sea-bottom, and noticed in our article on Lynn.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a river"   (ADL Feature Type: "rivers")
Administrative units: Bedfordshire AncC       Buckinghamshire AncC       Cambridgeshire AncC       Norfolk AncC
Place names: GREAT OUSE     |     OUSE     |     OUSE OR GREAT OUSE THE     |     THE GREAT OUSE     |     THE OUSE

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