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HER Number:MDV1497
Name:Grand Western Canal

Summary

Section of the Grand Western Canal, running 17.7 kilometres from Tiverton to the Somerset border, completed in 1814. Used for the carriage of stone and coal until about 1924.

Location

Grid Reference:ST 022 143
Map Sheet:ST01SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBurlescombe
Civil ParishHalberton
Civil ParishHolcombe Rogus
Civil ParishSampford Peverell
Civil ParishTiverton
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishHALBERTON
Ecclesiastical ParishHOLCOMBE ROGUS
Ecclesiastical ParishSAMPFORD PEVERELL
Ecclesiastical ParishTIVERTON
Ecclesiastical ParishBURLESCOMBE

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Grand Western Canal. Nineteenth century canal, tow path and associated features

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: ST01SW/12
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CANAL (XVIII to XXI - 1701 AD to 2009 AD (Between))

Full description

Hadfield, C., James Green as a Canal Engineer., 44-56 (Article in Serial). SDV56251.

NMR, SS91SE41 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV338167.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, ST01NW 5 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV338168.

NMR, ST01SW 19 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV56255.

Ordnance Survey, 1904 - 1906, Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map (Cartographic). SDV325644.

Hadfield, C., 1944, Untitled Source (Article in Serial). SDV56252.

Hoskins, W. G., 1954, A New Survey of England: Devon, 156-7 (Monograph). SDV17562.

By 1820 the only part to be finished was that from Tiverton to Burlescombe (about 12 miles) and used chiefly to carry limestone from the Canonsleigh quarries.

Mahood, A. S., 1954 - 1955, Devon and Cornish Canals, 53-4 (Article in Serial). SDV56245.

It was originally decided in 1792 that a canal should be built between Topsham and Taunton, with branches leading to Tiverton, Cullompton and Exeter. Various difficulties delayed its construction, and a decision was made in 1812 to abandon completion of the whole canal, although in 1814, the stretch between Holcombe Rogus and Tiverton was opened. Subsequent plans to extend the canal were marred by financial difficulties, but it was eventually completed in 1838. Competition from the railways caused the ultimate failure of the canal although it continued to carry stone until 1924. Full history of the canal in Hadfield (Hadfield 1967). In the 19th century, stone was conveyed from the quarries at Burlescombe to the limekilns at Tiverton. Other sources by Hadfield are cited.

Hadfield, C., 1967, Canals of South West England, 95-115,194-5 (Monograph). SDV58.

Photo and plan.

Minchinton, W. E., 1976, Industrial Archaeology in Devon, 6 (Monograph). SDV7016.

Grand Western Canal running for 17.5 kilometers between ST00011362 - ST04581499. This level waterway between Tiverton and Lowdwells was constructed as a branch of a canal intended to link the English Channel and the Bristol Channel with terminals at Topsham and Taunton. The canal was never completed but until about 1924 this section was used for the carriage of stone and coal. The canal is now being restored as a pleasure waterway.

Gabriel, A. + Fletcher, B., 1986, Untitled Source, 20-2 (Monograph). SDV56246.

The Grand Western Canal. Plans for a canal to run from Taunton to Exeter were first drawn up in 1768 as part of a scheme to provide a navigable waterway between the Bristol and English Channels to ease trade between Wales and Cornwall. Eventually a plan was approved which included a branch line from Taunton to Tiverton, passing through Holcombe Rogus and Burlescombe. Work on this began in 1810 at Lowdwells. The 13 miles stretch from Lowdwells to Tiverton was completed in 1814. The section from Lowdwells to Taunton was finished in 1838. The canal was much used by the limestone quarries at Burlescombe, Holcombe Rogus and Westleigh; however, this branch line was the only part of the original plan to be built. The Grand Western Canal Company sold its property in 1854 to the railway company.

Griffith, F. M., 1987, DAP/HV, 10-12 (Aerial Photograph). SDV46813.

Cox, J., 1993, Untitled Source (Un-published). SDV37585.

Wessex Archaeology, 2003, Blundells Road, Tiverton, Devon: Archaeological Desk Based Assessment, 8, 18 (Report - Assessment). SDV345760.

Figure 2, site WA 24.

Southwest Archaeology, 2004, 4 & 6 Chains Road, Sampford Peverell: Desk-based assessment, 2.4 (Report - Assessment). SDV56242.

The building of the Grand Western Canal was proposed by an act of Parliament in 1796 and engineered by John Rennie. The route was to be from Topsham to Taunton with another canal linking Bridgwater to Weston-Super-Mare. The canal eventually reached Taunton in 1838 but never reached Topsham. The Taunton section of the canal fell into disuse in 1867 and the Tiverton section in 1924. In 1962 a Tiverton Canal Preservation Committee was established and the remaining section of canal was managed by Devon County Council for leisure purposes in 2004.

Dodd, D., 2006, Historic Buildings and Structures Along the Waterways: Grand Western Canal in Devon, 1-2 (Report - Interim). SDV351654.

Watered canal owned by Devon County Council except for the last 400 metres from Lodwells Lock to the Devon/Somerset border, which is of tub boat section and in private ownership. Springs found during construction of Whipcott cutting provided adequate water for the canal as built, and eliminated the need for the planned reservoirs.

Exeter Archaeology, 2007, Archaeological Assessment of Land at Hartnoll Farm Near Tiverton, Devon, 6 (Report - Assessment). SDV339485.

The Grand Western Canal was established under an Act of Parliament in 1796 and the Halberton section was completed in 1814. The canal was declared a Country Park in 1971 and a local nature reserve in 2005.

Exeter Archaeology, 2007, Archaeological Assessment of Land at Tiverton Parkway Railway Station, Sampford Peverell, 2 (Report - Assessment). SDV338166.

the Grand Western Canal engineered from 1796 ran from Taunton to Tiverton. Site 2.

Scott Wilson, 2008, Hanson Town Farm, Devon. Archaeological Desk-Based Assessment, 12 (Report - Assessment). SDV344495.

Site 38.

Valentin, J., 2009, Tiverton Eastern Urban Expansion Area. Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Assessment and Evaluation, 4, App.1 A100 (Report - Assessment). SDV345204.

Passmore, A., 2014, Stop Gate at Swing Bridge, Grand Western Canal, Devon: Results of Archaeological Recording (Report - Excavation). SDV356611.

In November 2012 the north embankment of the east of Swing Bridge was breached causing extensive damage to the canal and flooding of the adjacent fields. Repairs to the damaged stretch of canal have been taking place since 2013, and as part of the works a stop gate at Swing Bridge was partially exposed. The recorded gate at Swing Bridge, along with others along the canal, is of the stop gate type. On the Grand Western Canal they were located in pairs either side of bridges.

Davenport, P + Crees, G., 2014, The Grand Western Canal, Halberton, Devon: Interpretative Earthwork Survey, Photographic, Survey and Watching Brief (Report - non-specific). SDV356472.

An interpretative earthwork survey, photographic survey and watching brief were undertaken on a section of the Grand Western Canal near Halberton, in association with restoration work around a breach in the canal embankment. Prior to the restoration works, the embankment of the canal was observed to be a simple construction consistent with documentary evidence of its construction. The restoration works within the canal route partially exposed in situ remains of a stop gate potentially dating to the use of the canal in the late 19th century. Detailed plans, elevations and sections as well as a photographic record of the exposed fabric of the canal and associated infrastructure were completed. See report for full details.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV17562Monograph: Hoskins, W. G.. 1954. A New Survey of England: Devon. A New Survey of England: Devon. A5 Hardback. 156-7.
SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV338166Report - Assessment: Exeter Archaeology. 2007. Archaeological Assessment of Land at Tiverton Parkway Railway Station, Sampford Peverell. Exeter Archaeology Report. 07.16. A4 Stapled + Digital. 2.
SDV338167National Monuments Record Database: NMR. SS91SE41. NMR Index. Card Index.
SDV338168Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. ST01NW 5. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV339485Report - Assessment: Exeter Archaeology. 2007. Archaeological Assessment of Land at Hartnoll Farm Near Tiverton, Devon. Exeter Archaeology Report. 07.48. A4 Stapled + Digital. 6.
SDV344495Report - Assessment: Scott Wilson. 2008. Hanson Town Farm, Devon. Archaeological Desk-Based Assessment. Scott Wilson Report. D118857. A4 Stapled + Digital. 12.
SDV345204Report - Assessment: Valentin, J.. 2009. Tiverton Eastern Urban Expansion Area. Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Assessment and Evaluation. AC Archaeology Report. ACD30/2/1. A4 Stapled + Digital. 4, App.1 A100.
SDV345760Report - Assessment: Wessex Archaeology. 2003. Blundells Road, Tiverton, Devon: Archaeological Desk Based Assessment. Wessex Archaeology Report. 54068.01. A4 Stapled + Digital. 8, 18.
SDV351654Report - Interim: Dodd, D.. 2006. Historic Buildings and Structures Along the Waterways: Grand Western Canal in Devon. A4 Stapled + Digital. 1-2.
SDV356472Report - non-specific: Davenport, P + Crees, G.. 2014. The Grand Western Canal, Halberton, Devon: Interpretative Earthwork Survey, Photographic, Survey and Watching Brief. Cotswold Archaeology Report. 12382. Digital.
SDV356611Report - Excavation: Passmore, A.. 2014. Stop Gate at Swing Bridge, Grand Western Canal, Devon: Results of Archaeological Recording. AC Archaeology Report. ACD843/1/0. Digital.
SDV37585Un-published: Cox, J.. 1993. The History of the Grand Western Canal. A4 Stapled.
SDV46813Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1987. DAP/HV. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 10-12.
SDV56242Report - Assessment: Southwest Archaeology. 2004. 4 & 6 Chains Road, Sampford Peverell: Desk-based assessment. Southwest Archaeology Report. 041106. A4 Stapled + Digital. 2.4.
SDV56245Article in Serial: Mahood, A. S.. 1954 - 1955. Devon and Cornish Canals. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 26. Unknown. 53-4.
SDV56246Monograph: Gabriel, A. + Fletcher, B.. 1986. A Short History of Holcombe Rogus. Unknown. 20-2.
SDV56251Article in Serial: Hadfield, C.. James Green as a Canal Engineer.. Journal of Transport History. 1. Unknown. 44-56.
SDV56252Article in Serial: Hadfield, C.. 1944. Economic History Review. 12. Unknown.
SDV56255National Monuments Record Database: NMR. ST01SW 19. NMR Index. Card Index.
SDV58Monograph: Hadfield, C.. 1967. Canals of South West England. Canals of South West England. A5 Hardback. 95-115,194-5.
SDV7016Monograph: Minchinton, W. E.. 1976. Industrial Archaeology in Devon. Industrial Archaeology in Devon. Paperback Volume. 6.

Associated Monuments

MDV109621Parent of: Old Dock on the Grand Western Canal (Monument)
MDV106669Parent of: Remains of Stop Gate, Grand Western Canal (Monument)
MDV109677Parent of: Winding Hole on Grand Western Canal (Monument)
MDV49998Related to: Ayshford Bridge (Monument)
MDV49966Related to: Batten's Bridge (Building)
MDV69350Related to: Boat House, Grand Western Canal (Monument)
MDV21880Related to: Boehill Bridge, Sampford Peverell (Monument)
MDV50000Related to: Bridge over Grand Western Canal, Halberton (Building)
MDV49963Related to: Buckland Bridge (Building)
MDV50007Related to: Buildings, Grand Western Canal Wharf (Monument)
MDV16700Related to: Canal Aqueduct over the Railway, Halberton (Monument)
MDV109861Related to: Change Over Bridge, Grand Western Canal (Monument)
MDV78657Related to: Crane, Grand Western Canal Wharf, Tiverton (Monument)
MDV49999Related to: Crownhills Bridge, Halberton (Building)
MDV50001Related to: East Manley Bridge (Building)
MDV49637Related to: Ebear Bridge (Building)
MDV49635Related to: Fenacre Bridge (Building)
MDV109641Related to: Former Boat Yard, Grand Western Canal (Monument)
MDV49636Related to: Fossend Bridge over Railway (Building)
MDV49996Related to: Fossend Canal Bridge (Building)
MDV109626Related to: Fossend Wharf, Station Road, Burlescombe (Monument)
MDV49677Related to: Grand Western Canal, Burnill or Lowdwells Lock (Monument)
MDV49969Related to: Greenway Bridge (Building)
MDV49971Related to: Holbrook Bridge (Building)
MDV14084Related to: Limekilns, Grand Western Canal Basin (Building)
MDV50005Related to: Lower Warnicombe Bridge (Monument)
MDV24650Related to: Manley Bridge (Building)
MDV50004Related to: MILESTONE in the Parish of Halberton (Monument)
MDV49970Related to: Milestone IV on Grand Western Canal (Monument)
MDV50032Related to: Milestone on Grand Western Canal (Monument)
MDV50002Related to: Milestone on Grand Western Canal, 3 miles from Tiverton (Building)
MDV49995Related to: Milestone on the Grand Western Canal (Monument)
MDV49965Related to: Milestone VI on the Grand Western Canal (Monument)
MDV49633Related to: Milestone, Grand Western Canal (Building)
MDV109662Related to: Milestone, Grand Western Canal (Monument)
MDV50006Related to: Milestone, Grand Western Canal (Monument)
MDV109630Related to: Railway Bridge over Grand Western Canal (Monument)
MDV49967Related to: Rock Bridge (Building)
MDV49964Related to: Sampford Peverell Bridge (Building)
MDV109683Related to: Sampford Peverell Wharf (Monument)
MDV49962Related to: Sellick or Sellake Bridge (Building)
MDV49968Related to: Swing Bridge, Grand Western Canal (Monument)
MDV24508Related to: Tidcombe Bridge, Grand Western Canal, Tidcombe (Building)
MDV45085Related to: Tunnel south of Shrubbery Cottage, Burlescombe (Monument)
MDV49634Related to: Twin Culverts under the Grand Western Canal (Building)
MDV49678Related to: Waytown Tunnel (Building)
MDV49638Related to: Westcott Bridge (Monument)
MDV109445Related to: Wharf at Waytown, Grand Western Canal (Monument)
MDV109459Related to: Wharf north of Whipcott Bridge (Monument)
MDV45089Related to: Wharf south of Whipcott Bridge (Monument)
MDV49676Related to: Whipcott Bridge (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4202 - Land at Tiverton Parkway Railway Station
  • EDV4301 - Archaeological Assessment of Land at Hartnoll Farm
  • EDV4635 - Archaeological Desk-Based Assessment of Hanson Town Farm, Devon
  • EDV4893 - Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Assessment, Tiverton
  • EDV6456 - Survey of Section of the Grand Western Canal near Halberton (Ref: 4408)
  • EDV6457 - Watching Brief on Groundworks on a Section of the Grand Western Canal (Ref: 4408)
  • EDV6458 - Photographic Survey on a Section of the Grand Western Canal, Halberton (Ref: 4408)
  • EDV6482 - Excavation and Recording at Swing Bridge on the Grand Western Canal (Ref: ACD843)

Date Last Edited:May 6 2020 5:10PM