Kennet and Avon Canal Archives at Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre

The Kennet and Avon Canal’s archives are spread across a number of different repositories, not all of them local. Over the course of the next few months I will try to bring together a list of what is available in these various archives. The list below covers items catalogued by the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre. This is a County Archive, based in Chippenham, which has many records relating to the Kennet and Avon Canal.

  • Items in 9/: Deeds, Lease and Releases, and Conveyances, relating to land to be sold to the Kennet and Avon Canal Company, in Froxfield, Little and Great Bedwyn, Collingbourne Ducis, Burbage, Shalbourne, Collingbourne Sunton, Crofton Mill, Burbage, Savernake, Wolfhall, etc., also mortgage and assignment of 300 shares in the Kennet and Avon Canal Navigation Company, 1765-1869.
  • Item 212B/7169: Conveyance and plan of lands to the south of the canal, Wilcot betwen(1) Proprietors of the Kennet and Avon Canal and (2) Sir George Montagu, 1823.
  • Item 315/62: Records of Messrs. Elwell and Son, Solicitors, of Highworth, including a Letter to William Crowdy describing the damage which might be caused by cutting the Kennet and Avon Canal on Mr Kent’s estate at Little Bedwyn, 1801.
  • Item 477/33: Conveyance of a piece of land at Seend. Includes a small plan. Parties: Proprietors of the Kennet and Avon canal navigation; Arundell, Locke of Seend, 1806.
  • Item 490/29: Acknowledgements and receipts for stock purchased by the Earl of Radnor in the Kennet and Avon Canal Co., with 10 share certificates, 1793-1807.
  • Item 492/270: Inquest taken on the claim of Rev J L Bythesea on the Kennet and Avon Canal Navigation, 1789-1798.
  • Item 515/1: Five leases of Byde Mill in Poulshot. Parties: Long of Rood Ashton, Chappell, Awdry; Company of Proprietors of the Kennet and Avon Canal Navigation, Great Western Railway Company, 1700-1853.
  • Item 574/205: Title Deeds of land at St. Margarets Moor in Trowle including part sold by the Kennet and Avon Canal Company, with plan, 1818.
  • Item 727/2/9: Series includes a letter from William Salmon, attorney, commenting on the sale of some of Wyndham’s property to the Kennet and Avon Canal Company, 1802.
  • Collection 1033: Correspondence and papers of Elwell & Son, Highworth, Solicitors, concerning the Duke of Marlborough’s dealings with the Kennet and Avon Canal Company, especially concerning land at Rowde, 1795-1809.
  • Item 1059/1-2: Two day books of the business of Winifred Gye as a coal merchant, carried on from Hilperton Marsh wharf on the Kennet and Avon canal, 1851-1853.
  • Item 1081/218: Copy of Conveyance by John Hope senior, and John Hope junior, devised by the will of Mr. John Hope, deceased to the proprietors of the Kennet and Avon Canal of Duns Leaze, Calne and property in Rowde, Devizes and All Cannings, 1803.
  • Item 1090/76: Great Western Railway. Revised classification of merchandise traffic and revised schedule of maximum tolls and charges in respect of canals and navigations, including the Kennet and Avon canal and the rivers Avon and Kennet, 1892.
  • Item 1225/167: Papers relating to the estate of Samuel Robbins of Honey Street, Woodborough, timber merchant, including the deed of the site of the Honey Street premises purchased by Harry Robbins from the Kennet and Avon Canal Co., with plan, 1813.
  • Collection 1300: Papers relating to the Marquis of Ailesbury of Savernake including some relating to the proposed Kennet and Avon Canal, 1790-1813.
  • Item 1461/1011: Kennet And Avon Canal Act, 1795.
  • Collection 1644: Extensive collection relating to the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust and Wiltshire Council, including maps, Acts, registers of traffic between 1879 and 1893, reports, plans, studies, and pamphlets. 1711-1992.
  • Item 1772/1/1683/1-2: Petition to save the Kennet & Avon Canal, 1956.
  • Item 1802/120/21: Community Council for Wiltshire correspondence relating to Caen Hill Country Park, 1974-1979.
  • Item 1802/120/7: Community Council for Wiltshire correspondence relating to the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, 1970-1974.
  • Item 2057/L/11: Act for the Kennet and Avon Canal, 1794, with two letters, 1804; and Wilton Turnpike Roads, 1815.
  • Item 2164/77: Correspondence Files of the Rural District Councils Association Wiltshire Branch relating to the Kennet and Avon Canal Restoration, 1970.
  • Collection 2532: Documents relating to the River Avon and Kennet and Avon Canal, 1710-1877, and Case papers relating to the dispute between canal traders on the Kennet and Avon Canal and the Great Western Railway Company 1876-1877.
  • Item 2756/9: Deed of a cottage in West Tockenham from 1765; deed of 1810 also includes shares in the Kennet and Avon Canal Co.
  • Item 2860/62: Photographs of Kennet and Avon Canal with dredger at Honey Street, Woodborough, c.1970.
  • Item 2940/1: Kennet and Avon Canal Company day book for work done on repair and maintenance of canal, 1815-1824. Includes detailed accounts of the maintenance of the eastern division of the canal principally around Great Bedwyn. Payments to labourers include work on the steam engines at Crofton, locks, buildings and breaking ice.
  • Item 3084/47: Correspondence Files of The Piscatorial Society, including papers re fishing rights on the River Kennet at Barton Court, Kintbury, and on the Kennet and Avon Canal at Thatcham, with objections by the Society against the Canal Company ceasing to maintain the canal, 1928-1977.
  • Item 3497/1/13 B/W: photograph from the collection of Mr W Lane of Christchurch of the Kennet and Avon Canal and Swing Bridge near Bishop Cannings, and a culvert under the Canal, 1909.
  • Item 3579/5/1: Correspondence of Milton Lilbourne Parish Council Documents relating to the Kennet and Avon Canal, 1955.
  • Item 3620/113/3/1: Wilton Estate correspondence files relating to fishing on the Kennet and Avon canal and other waters, 1957.
  • Collections 3798 and 3798C: Photographs of the Kennet and Avon canal, c.1995-2006.
  • Item 3641/1: The History of Crofton Pumping Station on the Kennet and Avon Canal, a pamphlet by C. Ian Broom, 2007.

The National Archives website search (as distinct from Discovery, which will be investigated at a later date), lists two items at the National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port relating to the Kennet and Avon Canal:

  • Series 2015/14: Photographs of scenes on the Staffordshire and Worcestershire, Birmingham Canal Navigation, Caldon, Peak Forest, Shropshire Union, Kennet and Avon canals, c.1975-1979
  • Series TWA 2008/4: British Waterways Board: botanical survey of the Kennet and Avon canal, 1991.

I’ll be checking the catalogues for more records soon!