Minutes from 29 December 1774 to 9 October 1783
Title page of minute book
The first General Meeting of the Commissioners held at the George Inn, Stroud. Attended by the Commissioners and the Subscribers. The sum of £20,000 having been subscribed in order to build the Navigation.
The following officers chosen – Ben Grazebrook, first Clerk and Keeper of the Company’s Books and Undersurveyor. Rich Hall, second Clerk and Undersurveyor at Framilode and Keeper of the Account of the Tonnage. Mr Grazebrook and Mr Hall each paid £50 per annum. Mr Jn Colborne, Attorney, appointed Treasurer.
The half-yearly General Assemblies fixed. The first to be on 6 July 1775. The second on 4 January 1776. All half yearly meetings to be held on the 1st Thursday in July and 1st Thursday in January at 11.00 am.
The method for choosing the Directors to be as follows – 2 Inspectors and 2 Scrutineers to be appointed. Each subscriber to prepare a list of nominees of no more than thirteen names nor less than 9, the Inspectors are to write on the outside the number of votes the proprietor has, the list then to be placed in a bag or container for that purpose. The lists to be counted, in secret, by the Scrutineers. The votes are to be listed in columns and the original lists destroyed. The Chairman to have a casting vote in the event of any ties. The first nine to be appointed Directors for the coming year. Mr Coleman and Mr Knight appointed Inspectors and Mr B Grazebrook and Mr R Hall appointed Scrutineers.
The following Committee Members were reported as returned by the Chairman, W Dallaway – W Dallaway, W Knight, J Wathen, T Lewis, G Hawker, J Winchcombe, J Hollings, T Baylis, T White, R Ellis, R Aldridge, J Hawker, W Shurmer.
Directors present are named at the start of meeting report.
Benjamin Grazebrook and Richard Hall to stake out the river from Framilode to the road from Gloucester to Bristol and measure out each person’s land to enquire about value and the amount of land to be purchased at the mouth of the river and that at the most convenient part of the canal be made wide enough to turn a vessel
Benjamin Grazebrook to examine soil to see if it is suitable to make bricks.
Advertised in Gloucester Journal for rough hewn ashlar stone for two lower locks at Framilode.
Advertised for seasoned oak timber and green Elm for the flooring of the lock.
John Gleave of Willoughby, Northants asked to bid for overseeing the puddling and making of banks.
Locks fixed at 16ft 2ins wide and 70ft long in the chamber.
Thomas Bartlett of Worcester to act as foreman of masonary at 10s cash each week. He ordered to visit stone quarries at Gatcombe and at Abbey, Tintern.
Call of 5% to be made on subcribers for payment by 7th March in Gloucester Journal.
Advertised for proposals for digging canal from Framilode to Gloucester Road.
Samuel Jones of Boston, Lincs to build lower lock and to be paid 1 guinea and a half per week. Was told to visit the [Droit]Witch and the Stourport Navigations.
Edward Heals proposed burning lime at 1 penny a bushel.
Lower Lock stone ordered from Gun Mills. 100, 200 or 300 tons to be ordered and taken to Broad Oak.
Mr Bennett of Coleford to supply timber.
Examination of owners of vessels to ascertain lengths and widths of vessels. William Symonds who has used the Severn for 15 years from Brosely to Bristol carrying 50 tons to 80 tons.
Average length 57 to 59 feet. Greatest length 68ft, breadth from 16ft to 17ft 6ins. Draught from 4ft to 5ft 6ins.
William Symonds objected to mouth of canal being near Mr Hall’s house as he had known the river to fill with sand so that vessels can’t get within 60 yards of the low water mark opposite Mr Halls wharf and rocks project out when there was no sand.
Thinks Kemmett’s Orchard best place for canal entrance. He doesn’t think there is a problem as long as the Stroudwater river (Frome) has current enough to scour out the sand.
Lower lock to be built 15ft 2 ins wide on a timber frame with bricks.
Samuel Jones discharged.
John Priddey appointed chief engineer and surveyor at £100 a year. He must attend to the canal at least a quarter of his time with a quarter year warning on either side for termination of contract.
Mr Kemmett’s house and barn bought for £150.
Bricks to be made immediately in Mr Kemmett’s orchard.
Mr Hall ordered to bring 100 tons of Aberthaw stone for burning lime at 5s a ton.
Benjamin Grazebrook reported that the soil at Kemmett’s Orchard appeared to be appropriate for bricks. 6 labourers digging in Kemmett’s Orchard for brick making have contracted to dig, make and burn at 6s per 1000 saleable bricks.
Mr Hall reported that stone from Gun Mills quarry (Littledean) is too hard and therefore too expensive to work. So used for facing the inside of the lock but not for quoins.
Mr Priddey to send pattern tools to Droitwich.
Next full moon for Aberthaw stone for lime.
Thomas Barnwood to be asked if he can supply up to 50,000 wether bricks
Timothy Lewis in the chair.
Mr Priddey to set out the lower lock in Kemmett’s Orchard and to employ proper hands to dig out the same in order to finally determine the propriety of placing the first lock next to the Severn at that place.
Timothy Lewis in the chair.
Trustee of widow Partridge to sell land at 34s an acre and 35 years purchase. Richard Owen Cambridge, Mrs Ann Morse and Richard Martin agree same terms. John Saunders asks for 20s an acre and 35 years purchase.
Tythe land in Saul to be exchanged for similar quantitiy of land equal to the tythes. The tythes for common land is 5s per acre when under corn, being fallow every third year, when only tythed 1s.
Ordered a large quantity of barrows and Mr Priddey to engage carpenters and masons for the lock work.
Call of 10% to be made on subcribers.
Day work to be avoided.
Thos Bartlett ordered to stop digging stone in the Forest but stone to be dug from Hampton quarry (Minchinhampton).
Tool book to be kept and every two months the tools to be accounted for.
John Horwood to be employed as carpenter at 21s each week.
William Lewis employed as bricklayer at 18s each week.
Locks to be 74 feet long and 15ft 2inches wide at the bottom.
Messrs Lane and Jepson appointed as Solicitors.
Mr Dadford to be paid £4 4s for his second survey.
Property should not be entered on ‘until it appears that the same is regularly agree’d for at the perils of the person ordering such entry.’
Mr Clutterbuck to be applied to about his land by Messrs. Colborne, Grazebrook, Arundell and Captain Hawker.
Timothy Lewis in the chair.
Mr Clutterbuck’s land to be entered with his verbal leave and the tenant’s (Saunders) consent.
Solicitors to take Opinion on powers of Act of Parliament for making Stroudwater Navigation and Mr Grazebrook to draw up plan showing differences. Mr Lane to propose trying the powers on a feigned issue.
Mr Colborne (treasurer) to pay Grazebrook £200 for the use of the Navigation and that the clerks be ready with their accounts for the inspection of the directors on the 29th May 1775 at the New Inn at Framilode.
William Dallaway in the chair.
Opposition to changes refuse trial on feigned issue.
£300 to be paid to Mr Cambridge in London bills to Mr King.
Griffith Cooper of Little Deane to supply nails at 3 1/2p per pound.
The treasurer pay Benjamin Grazebrook £300.
All the cutting to be done by the next meeting at Framilode.
‘No order to be made on Griffith Cooper’s bill (for stone hauling) until he be talked to about it.’
A third call of 10% be made on subscribers to be paid by 11th August.
‘Mr Pridee shall direct Edward Hinton to make as many bricks as possible.’
Settlement of accounts, paying of bills and paying of salaries.
Two directors replaced.
Clerks to attend all times, and call over men's names twice a day.
Mr Priddy to leave written orders of work to be done.
Mr Grazebrook and Mr Hall to attend three days in every week.
Clerk to pay people alternatively every Saturday night in money.
Clerks have powers to dismiss anyone not obeying their orders.
Mr Hall's balance paid.
Meeting adjourned to 27 July [no record of this meeting]
Special meeting to be called for 24th August to discuss whether or not to apply to Parliament for an amendment to the bill.
Mr Lewis to survey the river to lay before Parliament. Mr Yeoman to be asked to view revised line with view of speaking for it.
Mr Nathaniel Peach to make contact with the members for Bristol, Joseph Martin, Sam Blackchurch, James Whitchard and Sir William Guise.
Framilode Lock to be finished but cuts that have begun are to be left in and protected so that they will not be harmed.
A true state of the debts due from the Company for works done, materials and land to be prepared for the next General Meeting.
Application made to a member of Parliament for support.
An exact plan of land to be purchased off Lord Middleton made and sent by William Dallaway to Lord Ducie, who had promised to befriend Lord Middleton
William Dallaway and Joseph Wathon to ask Duke of Beaufort to look favourably on the Navigation
Charles Garth and James Sutton, members for Devizes, to be approached for support, Sir Edward Bainton and Sam Marsh for Chippenham and members for Wiltshire all to be approached.
Special General Meeting
The question was put whether to apply to Parliament to procure further powers for making the Stroudwater Navigable or for a new act for cutting a new canal from Framilode Lock to Wallbridge. Passed unaminously.
Also asked whether the directors should put this plan into action. Passed unanimously.
Signatories noted the amount of new money they would supply. Thomas Baylis and John Gardner £1000 each. Durley Wintle, John Butt and Joseph Wathen pledged £500 each.
Mr Lane to draft new act. To be read over on 26th September.
Petition to be carried forward to utmost, and taken to Gloucester Music Meeting.
Mr Lane read new Act, which was agreed to.
BIll should be one amending existing Acts, not a new one. Mr White to be consulted on form.
Mr Hall to produce Large Plan with Index of references within a fortnight.
Mr Priddy to complete Framilode Lock, the Clerks to ensure he has all the materials needed for this.
The Case of the Stroudwater Navigation discussed and all landowners to be asked whether they support the canal and Navigation.
Stone for Framilode Lock to be obtained from the Forest.
Subscribers to be chased to pay the third call on the shares.
Mr Lewis – mason and bricklayer reported that Framilode Lock secured for the winter.
All work people turned off.
Mr Grazebrook to speak to mill employees about becoming witnesses for case.
William Beard – millman of Oil Mill - says Sundays water running away and there is waste water every day.
William Dallaway, James Winchcombe, Thomas Baylis and Timothy Lewis set out for London with this evidence.
First reservoir to be 7ft deep, from which Mr Cook’s mill can draw up to 3ft.
Report of the directors of the Company who travelled to Bristol to gain support from Merchant Hall application to Parliament.
Mayor and corporation of Bristol to be asked for their support.
It was resolbed that evidence should be found that when there is short water in the River Stroud (Frome) there is short water in the River Severn and no vessel can navigate upon it and to prove that the state of the weirs at every mill and to show that Mr Stephens estate is not injured by Kemmetts Navigation.
John Beard (examined by the board) worked at Fromebridge Mill 3 1/2 years and at Framilode Mill 1 year.
‘They drive sometimes on Sundays two (of 7) heads for scouring the weirs - these two heads will take all the water in short water time. If they were not to go there would be plenty of waste water on Sundays’
Mill workers examined from Whitminster Mill and Eastington Mill.
The Navigation will not injure Whitminster Mill - Mrs Wildings Mill is out of the question - they have a weir to carry off the waste water; they draw up their floodgates of a Sunday.
Examined Thomas Lawrence mill man at Whitminster Mill for 8 years. They draw up flash boards of a Sunday. He lived at Eastington Mill 6 years and then they draw up the Sunday’s water and there was a weir.
Mr Stephens land being cut by Mr Kemmett was of great service to the mills in preventing frequent flooding, which stopped the mills.
Clerk to take Minutes of everyone to appear as evidence at the House of Commons.
Mr Simmons engaged to prove that the Severn is not navigable down the river to Framilode for months together, therefore there will be but little water wanting for the canal during that time. This is to be done by Mr Grazebrook.
Defence of encroachment into Carter’s Close, for which written permission was received prior to cutting canal through.
John Gleave to provide evidence that work done after July injunction on Framilode Lock was necessary to secure it against the equinox tides. Lock has cost £1500 to build, and needs £100 to finish it off.
Samuel Simmons of Gloucester reports that the River Severn has so much lack of water that barges cannot navigate Shrewsbury, Bridgenorth, Bewdley, Stourport to Gloucester or Framilode. The last summer no coal got to Framilode for two months.
John Gleave said that all Carters Close was cut through before the 19 April 1775 except 12 yards which they cut through sometime after. They thought it necessary to preserve the lock from the force of the tides.
A paper is to be sent to the landowners stating that the land is in better condition this winter than formerly, being protected from floods and winter tides.
Evidence of two mill workers, William Beard and William Mayo, recorded.
Reported that coal can be delivered at the head of the Stroudwater Navigation 6p a ton more than it is delivered at Framilode.
That during the summer no vessels can come down the Severn loaded to Gloucester sometimes for 15 to 20 weeks so that the canal would be little used by coals coming from the river.
Cuckolds Brook empties itself into Mr Daniel Chances mill pond the third mill below Wallbridge and in the driest time of summer Thomas Lawrence has seen the stream diverted by a dam over a meadow and flood it.
Messrs Wathen, Baylis and Winchcombe to secure Lord Ducie’s interest.
Witnesses to be taken up to London are William Dutton, John Gleave, William Beard, William Mayo and Thomas Lawrence
Edward Hinton agreed to make 600,000 bricks at 6s per 1000.
AGM for putting into execution an act passed this session and nominating a committee to manage said Navigation.
Joseph Grazebrook appointed as clerk.
A call of 5% to be made on subscribers for payment by 7th May.
Mr Glynn offered to complete the canal for £14225 8s 6d.
Mr Glynn’s estimate should include plans and sections of locks and bridges.
Joseph Bough, stone mason of Birmingham, to meet with directors with 4 or 6 hands.
John Pashley (from Ripon) to finish carpentry on the lower lock.
Can draw one half guinea each week for each man.
Work to be lett to be advertised in Birmingham and Gloucester Journals and London Evening Post.
NB From this date the minutes of each meeting were signed by those present at the foot of the minutes.
Inventory of tools to be examined and compared with previous one.
Stone brought from a quarry in the Forest of Dean to Newnham on Severn by Griffith Cooper and John Wooley and be measured by Mr Grazebrook.
Joseph Grazebrook to start to contact landowners about further purchase of land.
Mr Cambridge asked about land around his mill pond if the canal crosses it.
Framilode Lock to be secured by piling around each side of the tail.
Damage sustained in Carters Close amounted to £47 10s 10d.
Various expenses paid to men on Navigation business.
Nothing yet done about piling the lock.
Read letters from Mr Glynn and Mr Dadford asking if the Committee would them as surveyor.
Mr Grazebrook ordered to pay John Priddey the balance owing him.
Richard Owen Cambridge would not discuss his land north of his Mill Pond until a surveyor was appointed and his balance paid from land already purchased. Money is to be paid to Mr Cambridge.
Benjamin Grazebrook to meet with potential contractors (William Wright of Warwick and William Sharrow of North Alterton) about completing the canal.
All locks on canal to have same breadth and bevil as the Lower Lock.
Joseph Grazebrook, Clerk to company, to convey offer of £60 per acre to John Purnell and if he does not agree to tender him £40 in payment for the land required. Otherwise Severn Commissioners will be asked to sign an order.
Agreed to purchase Mrs Wilding’s house for £60.
Mr Priddey given ¼ of a year notice of dismissal.
Mr Purnell refused money offered by the Company, preferring to leave the matter to a jury.
Benjamin Grazebrook found Mr Kemmett’s oak timber to be suitable for use.
Meeting with Lord Middleton’s steward Mr William Lowe, and Mrs Sophia Colston represented by Richard Bignell, to secure permission to enter and cut the canal on their land.
As a jury could not be immediately summoned for valuing land the Company offered (Mr Purnell) the amount of money he was asking - £52 10s.
William Wright of Warwick attended meeting and stated that he had built 20 locks for the Birmingham Canal. To view line of the canal tommorrow and to state terms for surveying the canal and supervising its building.
Mr Partridge paid £82 for his land, and Mr Martin £50 towards the purchase of his.
Design of bridges approved according to Anthony Keck’s proposals. Each bridge to have a span of 26 ft. He wanted ‘a quantity of bricks of special moulds for the sides and crown of the arches intended for the several bridges on the canal.’
NB This was the first time Anthony Keck had joined a committee meeting since being appointed on 4 April.
Mr Wright has offered to complete the canal at ½d per yard less than the current price. Asked to submit proposal for surveying canal till completed.
Framilode to be piled immediately.
Dimensions of vessels reported to the committee -
Owner – Pool = 69ft 10ins long including rudder by 15ft 4ins wide.
Trader to Bristol = 70ft 1in by 15ft 7ins.
Bewdley vessel = 69ft 8ins including rudder at right angles by 16ft 2ins.
Wing walls of lock to be immediately executed, and tail from the wing walls be piled.
A smith to be appointed to fashion the ironwork for Framilode Lock and attend the hanging of the gates. Mr Pashley promised to finish the lock gates within one month.
No servant of the company may sell or lend any material or tools belonging to the company.
Thomas Howell to be employed as smith to the company.
Mr Bough proposes to deliver stone for bridges and stop gates at 20% less than other proposals.
Anthony Cooper to be paid 3 guineas for 18 months rent of his quarry in the Forest of Dean.
A quarry near Blakeney has suitable stone but would want 43 guineas for 3 years use, or until Navigation is completed. Committee will consent to Mr Bough supplying stone from quarry for a price not exceeding 9d a foot, including transport and laying (6d per foot for tunneling).
Contract for 300,000 bricks required.
Thomas Howell to supply all smith’s work at 4d per lb.
Mr Wright declined cutting the canal.
Owners of land in Fretherne parish to be asked for consent to open ditches and drains through their lands to Hock Ditch and Cheese Lane.
Contract placed with Mr Davis for 100,000 bricks at 11s 6d per 1000.
Agreed to contract Edmund Lingard for 2 quineas a week for 6 to 8 weeks to survey and direct the Navigation and if his conduct is approved then £300 for surveying the whole.
Mr King to get inhabitants in Fretherne and Saul parishes to agree to drains.
Mr Winchombe to arrange for Mr White to print 100 copies of Acts of George 2 & 3 with index annexed.
Mr Lingard reported that stop gates are put up and the swivel bridge is completed.
Ordered to dig the canal to at least 6ft deep.
100 wheelbarrows to be made by Edward Keene, or some other person.
Day workmen only to be appointed by Mr Lingard.
A level to be made for Mr Lingard.
Mr Grazebrook to contract with John Pashley for making a centre for the bridge at the tail of the lock.
Mr Lingard asked to set men to raise as much limestone as possible out of the canal.
Anthony Keck that plans for all locks, bridges and aqueducts be prepared, and that Bills of Scantlings for all gates and other timbers be published in the Gloucester Journal.
Mr Lingard to set out for the North to induce workers to come to work on the canal.
John Priddey to be paid £76 for his work on canal.
Mr Lingard obtained men from Warick and Leicestershire.
Mr Keck to give order for timber to Mr George.
Land to be set out to the Bristol road by Mr Grazebrook and Mr Lingard and cutters set to work.
Then land to be set out to Chippenham Platt and owners contacted.
200,000 more bricks to be contracted for.
A call for 10% to be made on subscribers.
Mr George’s deal planks rejected as improper for use and returned. Some of Mr Kemmetts timber also unsuitable: cannot give more than 1s 2d per foot for good planks.
John Gleave, Kames Cocksey, Robert Perry and James Houghton have taken charge of the cutting canal up to Bristol Road.
100,000 bricks purchased from Mr Barnard for 12s per 1000. Advertisement to be placed in Gloucester Journal for bricks and weather stones to be delivered to Bristol Road and Chippenham Platt.
The road in the Forest leading to Blakeney Quarry should be repaired by the company so that stone can be brought to finish the wing walls of Framilode Lock. The owner of the quarry was Mr Lodge.
Ralph Sherward of Upton agreed to supply oak scantlings at 21d per foot.
Mr Grazebrook to agree terms with Mr Lodge of £35 for 20 years use of quarry.
Rev. Robert Stevens has agreed to sell land needed for canal at 33s per acre and 35 years purchase, and accepted £100 in part purchase until land is measured.
Mr Baylis reported that Mr Sanders had complained that the drains being built were not wide or deep enough to take flood water.
Mr Lingard to erect crane to loading stones and bricks.
Benjamin Grazebrook had seen stone from Hanham Lock on the Bristol Avon which would suit better – so contracted for a sample of 20 or 30 tons at 5s a ton.
Mr Grazebrook to aquaint Mr King that Lord Middleton will be accommodated with a bridge of communication on his land. Mr Lingard to help identify a suitable place.
100 cutters employed in cutting the canal.
Mr Bough need 600 ft of stone for trunks. Mr Bough to go to Hanham to order stone.
John Pashley ordered to make lock gates to spring but one fourth in the cill.
Mr King approves lengthening bridge at Bristol Road to continue the communication of Lord Middleton’s land.
The stone at Hanham approved for foundations to locks and bridges but not for quoins. 1000 tons to be ordered. Samuel Deague to deliver same for 2s 6d per ton (3s for pieces waying more than 3cwt).
The banks to be made up and puddled in Pool field, and the ditch from Saul field to the Severn at Frampton be widened and deepened.
AGM statement that accounts had been examined and confirmed
Committee could not agree with £20 asked by Mr Pingo for a company seal. Mr Richard Bigland to fix a reasonable price.
Some of timber sent by Mr Sherward not fit for purpose – to be returned.
Mr Lingard to draw up plan showing proposed route through Mr Baxter’s land.
Agreed that the locks and bridges be built of Hanham Stone up to high water mark then brick. Hollow quoins, coping and trunking of Abbey, Tintern stone.
Mr Bowen to be given 2s 6d per ton for stone delivered to banks of Wye, and 9s per ton for scabbled stone fit for quoins, etc.
Mr Bough to provide estimate for building brick bridge, and Mr Pashley for a timber draw bridge.
Thomas Pritchard to be paid 4s per ton for 37 tons of stone transported from Abbey Tintern.
Ordered a culvert to be cut near Moor Street Bridge to drain Saul and Pool field.
Moor Street Bridge to have more gravel covering the arch.
Accounts ordered to be paid.
A call for 10% to be made on subscribers.
Mr Beswick’s proposals for cutting rejected as more than the present price.
Cutters to back up Mr Martin’s Bridge and Moor Street Bridge when water let into canal.
Several sorts of clay have been tempered and are now drying. Two may be suitable for brick making.
Mr Bough to make sand bricks at 11s 6d or 12s per 1000.
Mr Lingard to be in charge of the cutting and let lengths of it out to men or sets of men. But they must clear up what they have done before they move past Bristol Road
Advert for good timber to be placed in Shrewsbury Journal.
Grazebrook and Lingard to consider buying a vessel to berth at Framilode next week.