Grand Western Canal

Joseph Priestly Grand Western Canal

Historical Account of the Navigable Rivers and Canals and Railways of Great Britain - Joseph Priestly 1831

Grand Western Canal

36 George III. Cap. 47, Royal Assent 24th March, 1796.
51 George III. Cap. 168, Royal Assent 15th June. 1811.
52 George III. Cap. 16, Royal Assent 20th March. 1812.

The canal, which is designed to open a communication between the Severn and the Bristol Channel, thereby facilitating the supply of the country on its line with coals, timber, &c. as well as the export of farming produce, was sanctioned by the legislature in 1796, under an act, entitled, ' An Act for making a navigable t Canal from the River Exe, near the town of Topsham, in the county of Devon, to the River Tone, sear .the town of Taunton, in the county of Somerset; and for cleansing making navigable a certain Part of the said River Tone; and for making certain Cuts from the said Canal.'

By this act the company were incorporated under the title of " Proprietor. of the Grand Western Canal," and were authorized to make a line of navigation from the tideway in the River Exe, near Topsham, into the Tone River, in the parish of Bishop's Hull, in Somersetshire. They had also the power of making three collateral cuts or branches, vis one in the parish of Cullompton; a second from the parish of Burlescombe to the parish of Tiverton; and a third in the parish of Wellington. They also were empowered to make two reservoirs, in the valley of the River Culme, and two others in the valley of the Tone; from both which rivers they may take supplies of water. That part of the Tone which lies between Bishop's Hull and Taunton Bridge is, by this act, considered part of the canal, and vested in the proprietors thereof

By this act the proprietors were authorized to collect certain rates, which it is not necessary to mention here, as they were repealed by a subsequent act, and another table substituted in place thereof The sum of £220,000 is directed to be raised in shares of £100 each, and they might raise £110,000 in addition, if necessary either amongst themselves, or by new subscribers, or on interest. The provisions of the' act above-recited, were put into immediate execution, and the proprietors proceeded to complete their undertaking without delay; but it having been found necessary to vary the line prescribed by the above act, a second was obtained for that purpose in 1811, entitled, ' An Act to vary and alter the Line of a Cut authorized to be made by an Act of the Thirty-sixth Year of his present Majesty, for making a Canal from the River Exe, near Topsham, in the county of Devon, to the River Tone, near Taunton, in the county of Somerset, and to amend the said ' Act.' In consequence of this second act, the line was varied, but some difficulties still remained; to remedy which, parliament was again applied to, and in the following year a third was granted, entitled, 'An Act to alter and increase the Rates of Tonnage authorized to be taken by the Company of Proprietors of the Grand Western Canal: and to amend the several Acts passed for making the said Canal;' wbereby the former rates, as we before stated, were repealed; and, for securing to them a fair remuneration for the money expended on the works, and to be hereafter laid out in completing them, the proprietors were empowered to demand the following


For all Coals, Culm, Cinders, Coke, Lime, Limestone, Iron‑stone, iron-ore, Lead-ore, and all other Ores, Stones,Tiles,Slates. Bricks, Flag-stones, Clay and Sand, and all Arti‑cles used for Manure, and for repairing Roads

3d per ton, per mile
For all Rough Timber, Pig-iron, Bar-iron, Pig-lead, Sheet-lead, Tin in lumps and Bars, Charcoal, Salt, Corn, Hay and Straw 4d per ton, per mile
For all Wrought Metals, Oils, Wines, Liquors; Groceries, Cheese, Earthenware, and all other Goods, Wares and Merchandize, not specified before, carried on the Canal and Cuts, or any Part thereof 6d per ton, per mile
Fractions in Distance to he taken as a whole Mile, and in Weight as a Quarter of
a Ton.

The Company may charge Rates, to be determined by themselves, for the Carriage of mail Parcels, and for the Wharfage of such Goods as shall remain more than Twenty-four Hours on their Wharfs. Tables of such Rates to be put up in some conspicuous Part of the Wharfs .