1795-12-03 Bath Chronicle

FOUR MILLIONS and upwards between Melksham and Calne. Those who are desirous of contracting for supplying the above, are requested to deliver in their Proposals to the Committee at their next Meeting, on Thursday the 10th day of December next, at the King's-Arms Inn, in Melksham aforesaid. Apply for particulars to Mr. Whitworth the engineer, at the King's-Arms aforesaid. By order of the Committee, Nov. 19, 1795. J. RALPH, Principal Clerk.

1796-12-15 Bath Chronicle

ANY Persons desirous of contracting for the digging, puddling, and completing that part of the line of Canal which lies between Stanley and Foxham Common; a distance of about three miles and six furlongs the branch to Chippenham, about one mile and five furlongs; and that part of the branch, to Calne, as lies between Stanley and Cunnegar-Farm, a length of about one mile and five furlongs; are requested to deliver in their proposals to the Committee of Management, at their next meeting, on Thursday the 29th day of December instant, at the Crown Inn in Swindon, by eleven o'clock in the forenoon. The Committee will also at the same time be ready to receive proposals from any person or persons desirous of contracting for the making of Two Millions of Bricks and also for the building of the several Road and Occupation Bridges and Culverts, on the above respective parts of the line of Canal. For particulars apply to Mr. Whitworth, the engineer at the King's-Arms Inn, in Melksham. By order of the Committee, JOHN RALPH, Principal Clerk. Dec. 8th, 1796

1797-02-16 Bath Chronicle

ONE MILLION at the Brick-yards at Stanley and Pewham-Forest. Any Persons desirous of Contracting for supplying the above, are requested to deliver in their proposals to the Committee at their next Meeting, on Friday the 24th day of February next, at the Angel Inn in Chippenham, by eleven o'clock in the forenoon. For particulars apply to Mr. Whitworth, the Engineer, at the King's-Arms Inn, in Melksham, Wilts. By order of the Committee, Jan. 27, 1797. JOHN RALPH, Principal Clerk.

1802-06-12 Oxford Journal
Wilts and Berks Canal, TO CONTRACTORS, MASONS, &c.

NOTICE is hereby given, That the Committee of Management will, at their Meeting to be held at the Crown Inn, in Swindon, on Friday the 25th Day of June Instant, be ready to contract for the Building of four Locks near Wootton Bassett, and all the Bridges and Culverts upon the Canal, from the Crossing of Broad Town Brook, near Wootton Bassett, to the East End of the Head Level, at South Marston, a Distance of about ten Miles; also the cutting and completing the Canal from Lad's Mill, near Swindon, to the East End of the Head Level, a Distance of about four Miles and a Half. Plans, Sections, and Specifications, may be seen by applying to Mr. Whitworth, the Engineer, at Wootton Bassett; to whom Proposals must be delivered, by Persons desirous of contracting, the Day before the Meeting of the Committee.

1803-12-05 Salisbury and Winchester Journal
Wills and Berks Canal.

NOTICE is hereby given, That the Committee of Management will be ready, at their next Meeting, which will be held at the Crown Inn, in Swindon, on the 30th day of December inst. to contract for ONE MILLION OF BRICKS, to be delivered upon the Canal, near South Marston, in the ensuing summer.

1805-12-14 Oxford Journal

THE Committee of Management inform the Public, that the Canal is now open and Coal brought to Longcott, near Faringdon, there is also a regular Conveyance for Corn from thence to Bath, and all intermediate Places.


THE Wilts and Berks Company are selling the best Somersetshire Coal at the following Prices, viz,- At Swindon Wharf, - - - - - £1 7s 0d per Ton. At Marfton Wharf, - - - - - - £1 8s 0d Ditto At Longcott Wharf, - - - - - £1 9s 0d Ditto The best Smith's Coal from Haul Lane may be had at either Wharf, and is 3s a Ton higher priced. N. B. A Drawback of 1s. 6d. per Ton will be allowed on Coal taken from Swindon or Marston Wharf, a Distance of fix Miles, and the like Drawback on Coal taken from Longcott Wharf, a Distance of fix Miles on the South Side of the Canal, or three Miles on the North Side of the Canal. The said Company carry Corn to Bath, at the following Prices: From Swindon Wharf, Oats, - - - - - 1s 8d per Quarter Barley, - - - - 2s 0d Ditto Wheat, - - - - 2s 5d Ditto Beans, - - - - 3s 0d Ditto Malt, - - - - - - 1s 4d Ditto From Longcott Wharf, Oats, - - - - - 2s 0d per Quarter Barley, - - - - 2s 4d Ditto Wheat, - - - - 2s 10d Ditto Beans, - - - - 3s 6d Ditto Malt, - - - - - - 1s 7d Ditto And to all Places between Bath and the aforesaid Wharfs, at proportionate Prices.

1808-12-31 Bath Chronicle

THE COMMITTEE of MANAGEMENT of the WILTS and BERKS CANAL, will be ready at their next Meeting, which will be held at the Barrington Arms in Shrivenham, near Faringdon, Berks, on Friday the 25th of September next, to Contract for the cutting the said Canal from Breachfield, near Wantage, to the river Thames at Abingdon, a distance of about eight miles; for the Building of eleven Locks, and making the several Bridges and Culverts; and also for making two million and five thousand Bricks. Plans specifications of the work may be seen at Mr. Whitworth's. the engineer, at Shrivenham, any day after the 15th of September; of whom all particulars may be known, and any proposals for the work are to be delivered at his house before the 23d of September. The Contractors will be required to perform their work before the 31st December 1808.

1855-12-17 Swindon Advertiser

Yesterday (Sunday) week a sad catastrophe, which almost proved fatal, happened to Thomas Day, cowman to H. L. Dunsford, Esq, of the Wharf. It appears that Day had been to Stratton to spend the evening with a few friends. On his return home between ten and eleven he was alone, and his residence being at Cetus' Buildings, he had thither up the towing path of the Canal. Then descending from the main road to the water side, he awoke some men who were sleeping in a boat near the bridge by singing out in a stentorian voice " Ay, ding dong for dumplings," which he repeated several times. The men arose, and the unfortunate man had not proceeded any great distance before he was, by some means or other, precipitated into the Canal, His cries for assistance were. soon heard: the boatmen hastened to the spot, and succeeded, after great exertion (not escaping, however, without a "cold bath" themselves), in extricating the aged man from the water and a watery grave, after having recourse to the usual restoratives. We hear he has since been enabled to resume his wonted avocations.

1858-09-20 Swindon Advertiser

Mr. Kinneir, who appeared on behalf of the complainant, was preferred by Mr. John Toomer, a large coal and timber merchant, of this town, against Mr. Henry Lyde Dunsford, who was the clerk and agent of the Wilts and Berks Canal Company, at Swindon; and that the complaint was that Mr. Dunsford, as such agent, had obstructed the free passage of a bridge passing over the canal, belonging to the Wilts and Berks Company, and running across the street New Swindon, now known as Bridge street. That there was no ill-feeling between the parties to the complaint before them, and that he believed the obstruction complained of had been used by Mr. Dunsford, for the purpose of raising and determining the question as to whether or not the bridge had by use become a highway, to obstruct which was an offense punishable under the General Highway Act. Mr. Kinneir then proceeded to state the history of the bridge, and of the roads on each side of it, and said that the earliest at known as to the road was that by a decree made in the year 1657, it was directed to be set out for the use of the owners and occupiers of the adjacent fields, and to be repaired by them. That the land on which the bridge now stood was purchased by the Canal Company, In the year 1805, and the bridge was built soon afterwards. For the last fifty years the public had passed over the bridge without interruption, and that was a convenient passage for the public from the Old Town of Swindon to several villages near.

The bridge road on each side of the bridge, had been made by public subscription in the year 1845. when it was thrown open to the public, and since which time it had been repaired by the parish at the cost of the highway rate. This road being completed, and the station of the Great Western Railway having been previously made, the traffic over the bridge considerably increased, and the public had used the bridge without the slightest interruption until the month of June, 1857. Mr. Kinneir then drew the attention of the Bench to the great changes which of late years had taken place at New Swindon, pointing out that each of such changes had been the means of adding to the traffic over the bridge, and contended that on the authority of the cases decided and quoted by him on the subject, it was the duty of the Canal Company (had they not intended the public to acquire a right of free passage over the bridge) to have given long since public notice to that effect, or done some other act adverse to the public use. The notice given in June, 1857, was too late, for he public having previously acquired the right, the Company could not then revoke it.

Mr. Kinneir then examined Richard Gilmour. who said-I am a labourer and live at Eastcott; I am 60 years of age the 20th of Nov. next. I have lived always in Swindon, and was born there; I recollect the canal being made; I was four or five years old when I went down with some more children, there was some paper put on sticks when the Canal was being dug. and a man came and laid a stick across my shoulders. I recollect the bridge being put up, and a great number of people used it, amongst others Mr. Sheppard and Mr. Reynolds, and have known people go to Hayden, Rodborne, and that way to Blunsden, and drive cattle to Swindon market; old fashioned farmers used to come that way. I have seen people from Purton that I have known, and I have known people come out of Eastcott lane along Bleet-lane and up the road. Mr. Sheppard occupied a farm which had land on both sides, the canal cut his field off in the middle; we called the upper part the Upper Cow Leaze, and the lower part the Lower Cow Leaze. I lived with Mr. Sheppard and worked for him. I remember the present road being made by subscription; I had left Mr. Sheppard, long before that. I lived with him 17 years before that. I have known butchers carts go that way. I never knew of anyone interrupted at the Bridge, until Mr. Dunsford sent some man, not two years since, to stop me. I told him to go and tell his master that I knew more about the road than he did, that man is now dead. After the subscription everyone used the road. I keep a pony and cart, and draw coal and goods. I used the road 5 or 6 times a day, and was never interrupted until the last year or two.

Cross-examined by Mr. Chubb: I have known butcher's carts go up Rodbourne-lane, and cattle brought to our market, from Mr. Greenaway. of Even Swindon, and Mr. Edmonds's. I have known people come from Old Swindon Road, down Rodbourne-lane, over Bleet-lane, and up over were the bridge is to our market. I have known people come with horses and carts over the Lion Bridge. I have been to the station ever since the Railway Company have been there, five or six times a day since the bridge was built. Re-examined by Mr. Kinneir: I have known people come from Little Blunsden. William Read, examined by Mr. Kinneir, said- I am and have been a surveyor of highways for 14 years; 1 am about 40 years of age, and have been here 30 years. Previous to 1840, I knew Eastcott-and, there was a hard road to a point a little beyond the house lately called the Steamer, and after that an open field. On the other side of the the Steamer, a hard road was made to the Whale an Bridge, the road was repaired by the Parish. There always was a public road to the gate near the cottage. On the other side of the Golden Lion Bridge there was a road called Bleet-lane, running from the Christian Malford-road to the Cold Harbour-road. There was a general traffic over the Golden Lion Bridge. When the railway came in 1840, people used to go over the road to Bleet-lane, by Davis's public-house, to the station.

I was summoned by Mr. Strange for the non-repair of Bleet lane. The Bridge was used by the public for years, up to the time the Iron Bridge was opened. There was a vast deal of traffic over Bridge-road, and a meeting was called in 1844, as to making a new road, and a subscription was raised. I assisted Mr. Sheppard in getting up subscriptions -we raised £145 or £146, and I was instructed to make the road; the road was completed in the latter end of 1845. I superintended the making of that road. We carted the whole of the materials required on the station side over the Bridge. We were never obstructed by the Canal Company. The Canal Bridge is about ten or twelve feet, and narrower than the other part of the Canal. There is a hard approach each side-that part has been repaired by me, it is supposed to be part of the Company's property. The traffic has considerably increased to the station. Mr. Edwards and Mr. Sheppard concurred, and both the owners assisted me in plugging out the road. I afterwards applied to the parish for leave to mend the road.

On the 12th Dec., 1845, a meeting was called, and I was authorised to repair the road, (Mr. Read here read the minutes of the vestry), and ever since it has been repaired by the parish and paid out of the highway rates. After that there was a desire to get a better road to the station, and a vestry meeting was called on the 16th December, 1852, (the minutes of this meeting were also read), in pursuance of which a new road was made to the station. The iron bridge and thoroughfare to the station were completed in 1853. The public were never interrupted to my knowledge till last summer, when notice was given by the Canal Company. The road is 30 feet wide, and this is not the first question that has been raised as to this being a highway. I have taken proceedings respecting an encroachment close by this bridge. Joseph Barnes was the defendant for an encroachment; he was convicted. I was one of the committee called respecting the road. Cross-examined by Mr. Chubb: My use was only occasionally; the road was so bad, I could not use it. The Turnpike road is as good, but there is a toll to pay. Stephen Hibbard, said: I am in the employ of Mr. Toomer. I have had constant journeys to the station with horses, carts, and carriages, several times a-day. On the 16th of August I was sent by Mr. Toomer; I was coming to Swindon with some coals. I came to the Bridge with a horse and cart, and 5 cwt. of coal. Mr. Dunsford, stood on the bridge holding his horse, he asked me where I was going; I told him. He then forbid me. I asked him why the other cart belonging to Spackman, the carrier, had gone before me? He said that is my business. I asked him to let me go; he said I should not, and I had to turn back. About six months ago was the first time I was stopped. I never before was stopped. Before I was in Mr. Toomer's employ I was waggoner to Edwards and Thompsons since the Iron Bridge was built and then went way.

Mr. Chubb, on behalf of the defendant, relied on the Statute of Limitations, under which, as he said, a public right of way could not be acquired in a less period than twenty years; and he contended further, that as the Canal Company, under their Act of Parliament, were bound in certain events to reconvey the land held by them, to the original owners thereof, it could not have been the intention of the Company that the public should acquire a right of way over the bridge. As the Company had no power to grant such a right, and would be responsible to the original owners were such a right acquired. He then read portions of the Statute of Limitations, and the Canal Act, and cited cases in support of his views. Before calling his evidence, : he said he desired to have the decision of the Bench on the points raised by him.

Mr. Kinneir having been heard in reply to the 3 cases cited by Mr. Chubb, and having quoted other cases supporting his, Mr. Kinneir's view of the case, : and shewing that the question did not depend on the number of years during which there had been an uninterrupted user by the public, but rather on the intention of the Company, and their acquiescence in the public use. The Magistrates then retired, but shortly afterwards returned, when the Chairman said the Bench would prefer hearing the evidence of the defendant before they gave their opinion on the points of law raised. Mr. Chubb having, however, consulted with his client, stated that he had now determined on no calling any witnesses. The Magistrates therefore again retired, and were absent, about a quarter of an hour. On their return, the Chairinan said the Bench were of opinion that the case of the complainant was fully proved and convicted the defendant in the penalty of 1s and costs

1862-12-15 Swindon Advertiser

On Saturday evening last an Inquest was held before. W. B. Whitmarsh, Esq., coroner, and, a respectable jury, at the Golden Lion Inn, New Swindon, on the body of William Cooper, a tramping conjurer, who on the previous night had fallen into the Wilts and Berks Canal.

Heber Spencer sworn, said: I keep the "New Rolling Mills" public house, Bridge street, New, Swindon. Last night about a quarter before eleven o'clock, deceased came to my house, and after having a look round the tap room, someone said to him, "you are too late to night, you should have come earlier." He then said he was going to the Old Town, and asked how far he had to go. After. standing in the room about five minutes he left the house and I directed him which way to go to get to the Old Town. He appeared to be rather the worse for liquor. About ten minutes afterwards I went to fasten my front door when I saw a light and some people on the bridge and thinking that there was something wrong, I followed the people into the Golden Lion Inn, when I saw the deceased laying on the floor of the tap-room before the fire. He had just been brought from the canal. I cannot say whether he was insensible or not, as I did not stay in the house, but returned immediately to my own house. The distance from my house to the canal is about twenty-five yards.

By a Juryman: Deceased had a tambourine under his arm when he came into my house. I had never seen him before he came into my house on this occasion.

Lewis Bizley: I am landlord of. the Golden Lion Inn, New Swindon. o'clock last night, as I was in my house, I heard A few minutes past eleven some one in the road cry out for a light. I at once ran out with a small lamp, but it was quickly blown out, and I went on towards the canal without a light. Just over the bridge there was the mail-cart with lamps, and I asked the driver to let us have one of his lamps, but before he gave it me I saw a man in the canal, and with the assistance of another man got him out of the water in course of two or three minutes. There were a great many people passing at the time, and in course of a few minutes a large number of persons had assembled. Directly we got him out of the water we carried him into my tap-room. At first he was quite insensible, but in course of half an hour he revived and spoke, and I as well as others thought him out of all danger. I sent for a doctor directly we got the man into the house, and in course of ten minutes afterwards Mr. Swinhoe's assistant, Mr. Pierce, arrived. The man was then stripped, and by direction of the medical man was rubbed with rough towels, and afterwards wrapped up in a warm blanket, and at about half-past one o'clock we carried him to bed. At this time he seemed much better, and thanked us for what we had done for him. Before he was taken to bed I sent the deceased a glass of brandy and water by order of the medical man. I did not see the man drink the brandy and water, but I saw him take some medicine that was given him by Mr. Pierce. After the man was put to bed I heard his cough twice, the last time between two and three o'clock this morning, and I made the remark to my wife that he appeared very comfortable. About half-past seven o'clock this morning when I got up I went to the man's bed room, and found him in bed dead, laying on his side, with the blanket still round him.

Mr. Arnot Wylie Pierce; I am a licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeon of the Royal College. About a quarter past eleven o'clock last night, I arrived at the Golden Lion Inn, where I found deceased laying on the tap room floor. His clothes were wet, and he appeared insensible, and appeared to me to be labouring under appoplexy, I was given to understand that he had just been taken out of the canal. I at once had him stripped and put into a warm blanket on the table, and then rubbed with coarse towels. I also gave him a table spoonful of brandy and water, and in half an hour after I gave him some medicine. I remained with him about three quarters of an hour, when finding that all was going on well I left. He could speak before I left. I asked him if he felt better, and he replied "Yes." Before I left I felt doubtful about his recovery. About half-past eight o'clock this morning the landlord and the police man came to the surgery and told me the man was dead. I examined the body about half-past twelve o'clock to day, when I found some slight bruises on the face, probably caused by falling into the canal. I should say the cause of death was appoplexy, probably produced by the shock consequent upon his falling into the water, but he might have had the fit before falling into the water. By the smell of his breath I should say deceased was in liquor when I first saw him.

By a Juryman: Deceased vomited in consequence of an emitic I gave him. Mr. Harry Smith, one of the Jury, said deceased came to his house, the "Riflemans Arms," and remained there about three quarters of an hour When he came in he was intoxicated, but he Mr. Smith, refused to draw him any. Philip Beaney sworn said I belong to Hastings in Sussex. The deceased William Cooper and I have been travelling about the country together for the last nine months. I have been getting my living by playing the violene and deceased sang comic songs and performed conjuring tricks. He was a native of Shoreham, and was about 35 years of age. My wife have been travelling with us, but Coopers wife lives at Brighton. Last night about nine o'clock, I left deceased in a public house, near the canal, he was then a little the worse for liquor, he was very much given to drinking liquor. We came from Lambourne yesterday and arrived here in the afternoon.

By a Juryman: I have known deceased to have a fit, I have known him 25 years. This being the whole of the evidence, the jury after a brief consultation, returned the following verdict: "That William Cooper died of appoplexy, caused by the sudden immersion in the Wilts and Berks Canal. The jury at the same time strongly recommended that some protection be placed at the sides of the Golden Lion Bridge, which is very dangerous to the public, several persons having recently fallen into the same place."

1863-04-13 Swindon Advertiser

On Saturday afternoon last a public meeting of the ratepayers of Old and New Swindon was held in the Town Hall, Old Swindon, (Mr. W. Foote in the chair,) for the purpose of considering what steps it was advisable to take to replace the present unsafe and inadequate bridge over the Wilts and Berks Canal by a new and efficient bridge. The meeting, which was well attended, was unanimous that something should at once be done in the matter, and a committee consisting of W. F. Gooch, W. Foote, W. B. Wearing, J. Toomer, W. Gillett, J. Fawcett, G. Adams, J. Benskin, and W. Read was appointed to confer with the directors of the canal company on the matter, and to take such other steps as they might see fit. This matter has now been agitated for eight or nine years, and we do trust that the gentlemen who were appointed to act as a committee will at-once proceed to do all that is necessary towards making the bridge adequate to the requirements of the public and the great traffic constantly passing over this spot.

1863-05-04 Swindon Advertiser

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, that the FISHING in this CANAL will in future be STRICTLY PRESERVED. All Persons are therefore requested to abstain: from Fishing without an Order, which can only be obtained on application to MR. DUNSFORD, at the CANAL OFFICE, SWINDON. The Orders, which will not be Transferable, wil be granted for Six Months, commencing from the First of May, and will be available at any part of the Summit Level, which is Eight and a Half Mile in length, and also the North Wilts Branch, Nine Miles, to Fish with One Rod and Line, from the Towing-Path side only, and the Charge for such Order will be Ten Shillings. Persons detected Fishing after this Notice without an Order will be prosecuted. Boatmen detected Fishing will, in future, be punished, as provided by the Act of Parliament. By Order of the Committee, HENRY LYDE DUNSFORD, SUPERINTENDENT. Swindon, April 18th, 1863. Special Orders will be issued for other Parts of the Canal.