Barkhouse Lane is named after the process of barking whereby sails and nets were boiled in oak tanin to act as a preserver. The process gave rise to the fake darker colouring of the natural fibre nets and the attractive rust coloured sails of traditional working boats.
This area of the village features some of the remaining industrial structures but the site of the barkhouse which was recorded in 1825, together with a former slaughterhouse and the associated lairage (place for keeping cattle overnight) building, have all been demolished and replaced by the group of modern houses in the early 1990’s.
If you look up you will see part of the workings of the ingenious leat system which was engineered to prevent the harbour sluicing up and becoming impractical for shipping.
Water was transported from the Luxulyan Valley, seven miles away, into two storage ponds midway up the village. The water from these ponds ran through a leat system appearing and disappearing again through tunnels and conduits before discharging eventually into the harbour. A system of cables and pulleys carried on poles operated the sluice gate on the lower of the two ponds allowing a rush of water to sluice silt out of the harbour at very low tides. This complex water system constructed to feed and scour the harbour is one of the key features of the settlement and some of the pulley mechanism can still be seen here in Barkhouse Lane
If you have enjoyed your history walk around the village please consider making a small donation to help maintain the trail and the history of Charlestown. Thank you.