About this Site

This website is based on the archive of the Company of Proprietors of the Stroudwater Navigation which is thought to be the most complete archive of any canal company in the UK. The documents are now held at Gloucestershire Archives under the Finding Reference D1180.

Company of Proprietors of the Stroudwater Navigation
This Company was set up in 1774 to build the canal linking Stroud to the River Severn, and it is still in existence, claiming to be the longest surviving canal company in the country. As the formal name of the Company is so long, it was usually abbreviated to the Stroudwater Navigation Company. After the Company was reorganised in 1954, however, the new management did start using the full name, and this is now commonly abbreviated to Company of Proprietors or CoPSN.

Stroudwater Navigation Archive Charity
This group (known as SNAC) was set up by the Stroudwater Company to make their archive more available for studying the lives of people connected with the canal in the past. Volunteer members of the group have prepared summaries, made extracts and photographed thousands of documents for presentation on this website. Whilst much care has been taken in preparing the material, the work has not been double checked, and if any errors are identified, please notify the Website Team so they can be corrected. The dedicated work of this group has been recognised by the presentation of the Alan Ball Award for the best local history e-publication in 2020.

Canal or Navigation?
In the eighteenth century, most inland waterways were formed by making rivers navigable by the construction of locks, and they were known as navigations. When inland waterways were built independent of any river, many were also referred to formally as navigations, but even from the start they were commonly called canals. For this website, the waterway will normally be referred to as a canal, but the word navigation will still be retained in the name of the owning company.

Cotswold Canals Trust
The forerunner of this charitable trust was set up in 1972 to promote the restoration of the Stroudwater and Thames & Severn Canals. Hard work by thousands of volunteers showed that restoration was feasible, and financial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Stroud District Council led to a section of canal being restored through Stroud.

Cotswold Canals Connected
This new project, involving the above organisations and and supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, aims to reconnect the first restored section of the Stroudwater Canal through Stroud to the national network at Saul Junction. The Project is also using the material in this website to enrich the lives of local people.

Use of Material
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Users are welcome to copy extracts for non-commercial use, giving an acknowledgement to 'Stroudwater History Website' and to any named copyright holder. For permission to use material for commercial use, contact the Administration Team.