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Waterways Chronology from 1634 to 1683

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Chronology Index

1634

Old Bedford River

Sir Cornelius Vermuyden

He was employed by a company lead by Francis, Earl of Bedford to drain a large area of land now known as the Bedford Level. The work included the Bedford River and nine other major drains.

1636

River Avon (Warwick)

Sir William Sandys

He received an Order in Council authorising him make the river navigable. He began work on this but it seems did not do any work on the River Teme, which he was also authorised to improve.

River Avon (Warwick)

Promoted under an Act.

1637

Old Bedford River

Sir Cornelius Vermuyden

His task was declared complete by the Commission of Sewers.

1638

River Tone

Some of the river was made navigable around 1638.

River Derwent (Derbyshire)

Sir Cornelius Vermuyden

Charles I wrote to Derby corporation asking for him to be accomodated as "with his partners, has undertaken a work very acceptable to the King about the lead works at Wirksworth, and to make the river of Derwent to be navigable till it fall into the Trent".

1639

River Avon (Warwick)

Sir William Sandys

He finished making the river navigable by building 13 flash and pound locks so that 30-ton barges could navigate from Tewkesbury to Stratford.

River Avon (Warwick)

Open for navigation.

1642

River Ouse (Yorkshire)

Promoted by Act.

1649

River Great Ouse

Sir Cornelius Vermuyden

He started drainage works that included the cutting of the New Bedford or Hundred Foot river parallel to the Old Bedford River.

Middle Level - Forty Foot River

Sir Cornelius Vermuyden

He cut this river from Ramsey to the Old Bedford River at Weches Dam.

Middle Level - Sixteen Foot River

Sir Cornelius Vermuyden

He started cutting this river fromWell Creek to the Forty Foot river to drain the area around Chatteris.

River Nene

Sir Cornelius Vermuyden

He completed works on the outfall and improved Morton Leam.

1651

River Wey

Promoted by Act.

1652

River Great Ouse

Sir Cornelius Vermuyden

He completed drainage works that included the cutting of the New Bedford or Hundred Foot river parallel to the Old Bedford River.

1653

Dick Brook

Made navigable by Andrew Yarranton about this date.

River Wey

Navigation from Weybridge to Guildford opened.

Dick Brook

Andrew Yarranton

He made the brook navigable with two flash locks in the first yards from the Severn. These were built to take iron-ore to a forge about half a mile above the upper lock.

1655

River Salwarpe

Andrew Yarranton

He and Captain Wall offered to seek letters patent from the Lord Protector to make the river navigable. He made an agreement with Droitwich corporation which allotted land to him for 21 years as payment for this. No further action was taken on this proposal.

1657

River Ouse (Yorkshire)

Promoted by Act.

1660

In 1660 there were 685 miles of river navigation.

1662

River Salwarpe

Promoted by Act.

River Stour (Worcestershire)

Improvements were authorised by an Act.

River Wye

An Act was passed for the Wye Navigation in 1662.

1664

River Medway

Navigation was promoted by Act.

River Welland

Work was started.

1665

River Stour (Worcestershire)

Andrew Yarranton

He started work on making the river navigable for 16 ton craft between Stourbridge and Kidderminster, building 12 locks and 4 "turnpikes" (thought to be half-locks) a task he completed in 1667. He wrote that he "fell on, and made it compleatly Navigable from Sturbridge to Kederminster; and carried down many hundres Tuns of Coals, . . . and there it was obstructed for want of money, which by Contract was to be paid". He also constructed a tramroad from near Stourbridge to a colliery, for a 1,255 fee.

1667

River Stour (Worcestershire)

Robert Yarranton

He attempted to complete the works but lack of money meant little more was done.

River Stour (Worcestershire)

Improvements were completed.

1670

River Great Ouse

Promoted under Act.

Little Ouse or Brandon River

The first act was passed relating to navigation on the river.

Norfolk and Suffolk Broads

Promoted by Act.

River Welland

Stamford Canal from Stamford to Market Deeping opened.

1671

River Witham Navigation

Promoted by an Act.

1675

River Avon (Hampshire)

Andrew Yarranton

He surveyed the river, at the request of Lord Salisbury, and found it was practicable to make it navigable. He thought timber and ironstone might be carried.

River Avon (Hampshire)

Samuel Fortrey

He was appointed engineer.

Exeter Ship Canal

Richard Hurd

For a fee of 100 he throughly dredged the canal, extended it half a mile, so avoiding a mile of difficult river, and built a new transhipment basin and entrance with a pair of single gates that would take 60 ton craft. He also built a new weir at Exeter. The work continued into 1776.

1677

Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation

Andrew Yarranton

In his book England's Improvement by Land and Sea he recorded the results of his survey and estimated a cost of 8,000 to make the river navigable.

Oxford Canal (Southern Section)

Andrew Yarranton

In his book England's Improvement by Land and Sea he proposed making the River Cherwell navigable from Banbury to Oxford for 10,000 so that corn from the area could be carried to London.

1681

River Wey

Promoted by Act.

1683

River Wey

Promoted by Act.

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Chronology Index

 

Jim Shead Waterways Photographer & Writer
Text and photographs copyright of Jim Shead.
Home Introduction Waterways List Waterways Map Links Books DVD Articles Photo Gallery
Features Contact me Glossary Boats Events List History Local Waterways Help Photo List