Joseph Priestly Glastonbury Navigation

Joseph Priestly Glastonbury Navigation

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


Glastonbury Navigation


7 & 8 George IV. Cap. 41. Royal Assent 28th May, 1827.

This navigation commences from the confluence of the River Brue and Parrett, in Bridgwater Bay, Bristol Channel, whence it takes a south-eastwardly direction along the course of the River Brue, to Highbridge Lower Floodgates. From this point a canal is to be made in the bed of the river, by Newbridge, to about ten miles beyond Basin Bridge, where it then follows the course of the south drain, over Westhay and Meese Heaths, and through a very flat country to the west side of’ the town of Glastonbury, where it terminates. The total length of the navigation is fourteen miles, one furlong and seven chains, viz. from low water mark on the shore of the Bristol Channel, to the proposed tide lock near HighBridge, is seven furlongs and six chains, This tide lock will be so constructed, that the top of the gates will be on a level with the highest known smooth tide, which rose 40 feet. The surface of the canal will be 10 feet below the top of the gates, and the canal will be 10 feet deep from the lock to the junction with the South Brue Drain, a length of ten miles, three furlongs and three chains. At the end of this fine pool there is another lock, with a rise of 3 feet 2 inches, and thence, the remainder of the canal to Glastonbury will be only 5 feet deep. The Estimate for this navigation was made by Mr. John Beauchamp, and amounts (exclusive of application to parliament, plans, &c.) to the sum of £15,234.

The act for making this navigation is entitled, ‘ An act for ‘ improving and supporting the Navigation of the River Brue from ‘ the mouth thereof, at its Junction with the River Parrett; to ‘ Cripp’s House, and for making and constructing a Canal from ‘ thence to the town of Glastonbury, in the county of Somerset’

The party who undertook to execute this navigation consisted of thirty-six persons, (amongst whom was Sir Alexander Hood, Bart.) and was incorporated by the name of ” The Glastonbury ” Navigation and Canal Company,” and who are empowered to raise among themselves the sum of £18,000, in three hundred and sixty shares of £150 each, and a further sum of £5,000 on mortgage of the undertaking; and they may borrow any part of the original sum of £18,000 on promissory notes under the common seal, or of the Exchequer Bill Commissioners.


Coal, Culm. Coke. Cinders, Charcoal. Timber, Iron, Bricks, Tlles, Stone, Slate, Turf and Manure 1s 6d per ton
Cheese, Timber, and other Goods, Wares and Merchandize 3s 0d per ton
And so in Proportion for any greater or less Weight than a Ton
For any Goods remaining on any of the Wharfs or Quays beyond the Period Twenty-four Hours, such additional Rates as may be fixed by the Company ; but that not more than Three-pence pet Ton shall be paid for any Goods which do not remain on the Wharfs, or Warehoused, more than Six Days.

As the drainage of the low lands on the banks of the Brue is under the management of the Commissioners of Sewers, the company are bound to invest £1,000 in the Three per Cent Consolidated Bank Annuities, to be at the disposal of the commissioners, to be applied in repairing or making any alteration in the necessary drainage works, which may be required in consequence of the making and completing this navigation.

The object of this navigation is to open a short and more ready communication between Glastonbury and the sea, and to facilitate the exportation of the agricultural produce of that part of Somerset, and to import fuel and other general merchandize.