Shardlow Heritage Centre
The Working Port 1770 - 1948
 
  
 
BOATBUILDERS AT SHARDLOW  
 
written 1 December 2000 
 
written 1 December 2000
written 19 January 2002
written 5 December 2000
  
 
Robert (Bobby) Tingle, Wood and Tingle 

We believe that Robert Tingle was born in Little Dean in the forest of Dean overlooking the Severn Estuary, 18 December 1763. We know that he was not from Shardlow as he was listed as a non-parishioner and his 2 eldest children are Elizabeth and William as are the parents of the Robert Tingle in Little Dean. 

We surmise he may have come to the village as an apprentice or worker to Benjamin Clifford boatbuilder of Shardlow, as Robert married Rebecca Clifford 1 June 1794. 

In 1798/9 in the assessment of duties list Robert is a poor inhabitant not assessed, with a house of 4 windows. 

By 1816 they had 8 children. Robert died in 1832? The Tingle family lived at Wilne in part of the house now known as Tudor Cottage, which was owned by the Burgin family. 

Tudor Cottage 
Tudor Cottage

In the 1851 Census for Wilne the oldest daughter Elizabeth is living in the family home with the youngest daughter Maria and they are both lace runners. In the same Census for Trent Lock on the Erewash Canal (3 miles downstream from Shardlow), the second son James is listed as a boatwright as are his sons William, Robert, Joseph and Enoch, all James's sons having been born at Castle Donington. 

Some of the boats are described in the boat tables as having been built by Robert Tingle, and some by Wood and Tingle. We think that Wood may have been the Benjamin Wood listed as paying 4/6d tax on a house with 6 windows 1798-9. 

In George Gilbert's memoirs he describes taking a walk round the village in 1879 and seeing the chimney of the steam corn mill on Millfield, says "just behind here was a dock of which one Robert Tingle was the proprietor and called 'old Bobby Tingle's dock'. This has now entirely disappeared and all belonging to it." 

In the 1816 map of the Trent and Mersey Canal now in possession of British Waterways Fazeley office the dock is marked on the end of a short arm now obliterated by the flood bank. The arm ran parallel and to the north of the arm shown on the extreme right of the 1852 plan (see 'Setting the scene' page). 

As you approach the village from Derwentmouth Lock, you would have gone straight ahead into the dock whereas the main line veers left and through the modern floodgates. 

The only records we have of his boats are for those used on the Trent system and gauged by the Trent Navigation Company. 
 
TNCo 
number
Builder Year  
Built
Length X Beam Rigging First Owner Trade
626 Robert Tingle, Shardlow 1812 75' 4" X 14' 1" mast and sail Sutton and Co, Shardlow Trade between Shardlow and Gainsborough 
682 Robert Tingle, Shardlow 1813 71' 2" X 13' 11" mast and sail James Sutton and Co, Shardlow Trade between Shardlow and Gainsborough 
729 Wood and Tingle, Shardlow 1814 76' 5" X 14' 1" mast and sail James Sutton and Co, Shardlow Trade between Shardlow and Gainsborough 
842 Wood and Tingle, Shardlow 1815 75' 9" X 14' mast and sail James Sutton and Co, Shardlow Trade between Shardlow and Gainsborough 
911 Wood and Tingle, Shardlow 1815 76' 4" X 13' 9 1/2" mast and sail James Sutton and Co, Shardlow Trade between Shardlow and Gainsborough 
999 Robert Tingle, Shardlow 1816 72' 6" X 13' 10" jury mast and line Thomas Smith, Loughborough Coal to Loughborough
1011 Robert Tingle, Shardlow 1817 72' X 13' 11 1/2" mast and sail Robert Dawson, Cavendish Bridge Coal to Cavendish Bridge
1315 Robert Tingle, Shardlow 1826 71' 7" X 13' 9" mast and sail Wm Baker, Loughborough Coal to Loughborough
 

There is more information on the later generations of Tingle boatbuilders in the Trent Navigation Company Gauging Tables. 

James Tingle of Trent Lock both built and operated boats for example. 

In 1866 he built a narrowboat which from 1867 was being operated by Thomas Newton of Shardlow chiefly on the coal trade on the Grand Junction Canal, and in the 1860's James Tingle's boat No 1, Thomas Turner - master, was dredging gravel in the River Trent, the boat originally built by William Marshall of Nottingham in 1821 but rebuilt by James Tingle in 1864 - this was a wide boat with immovable cabin. 

At the turn of the 19th/20th centuries, James's son Enoch is also building boats. 

 
Benjamin Clifford 
Trent boatTrent boat 2
We don't know exactly where or when Benjamin was born but according to the records of his boatbuilding in the Trent Navigation Company Boat Cargo Gauging Tables he flourished from 1768. He died without leaving a Will on 22 October 1808, leaving Goods and Chattels etc not above £150 in value. His death was attested to by his Widow Ann, James Soresby – wharfinger, and William Charles Flack - wharfinger. 

We do not know for certain which boatyard he worked from, but his close connection with the Soresbys and the later use by Samuel Clifford of Soresby's boatyard points to his occupation of Soresby's boatyard (No 21 on the 1852 plan). 

Soresby's dockyard
Soresby's Dockyard, the low building on the right
Benjamin Clifford was Shardlow's most prolific boatbuilder. So far the only records we have of his boats are the Trent Navigation Company's Gauging Tables, and these list 55 wide boats for use on the River Trent and related waterways. These were about 72ft by 14ft, the longest being 76ft and the widest 14ft 7ins.  There were a few small wide boats of about 60ft by 12ft 6ins. However the same records include 9 narrowboats, several of which were weighed by the TNCo for the first time many years after being built - the indication being that these boats had previously traded on the canal system. We expect there will have been many other canal boats built by Benjamin Clifford for which we don't have any records. 

The first owners and their cargoes for boats built by Benjamin Clifford as listed in the TNCo tables were as follows. The Trade of the first owner is not indicated if the boat had been sold on before the first weighing by the TNCo. Where the boat had a sail at the time of gauging, it should be remembered that if the boat had been sold on, then the sail was not necessarily part of the original equipment. 
 
Owner TNCo 
number
Date 
built
Wide 
boats
Narrow 
boats
Trade (where defined)
John Adderley of Mountsorrel 
(see also Kirk and Adderley)
175 
633
1795 
1795

1
  Coal - Loughborough and Leicester 
? (boat sold on)
Richard Barrows, Nottingham 76 1787 1 (sail)   Trade between Gainsborough and Nottingham
James Bell, Castle Donington 199 
304
1793 
1797
1 (sail) 
1
  Coal on the Trent 
Coal to Shardlow
Robert Birkinshaw, Cavendish Bridge 216 
268 
114
1785 
1786 
1789 
3   ? (boats sold on)
Robert Birkinshaw, Cavendish Bridge NB12 
NB16
1791 
<1799
  2 ? (boats sold on)
R Birkinshaw, Nottingham 247 1788 1 (sail)   Timber, Cavendish Bridge etc to Gainsborough etc
Thomas Bradshaw, Barrow 88 
89
1794 
1794
1 (sail) 
1
  ? (boat sold on) 
lime and stone to sundry places
Broughton and Sutton 398 
411 
451
1804 3 (sail)   Salt, Shardlow to Gainsborough
Aaron Bull, Mountsorrel 184 1796 1   Coal, Loughborough and Leicester
Thomas Clifford, Long Eaton 449 
80
1793 
1797

1 (sail)
  Coal to Newark and Leicester 
Coal on Trent, malt to Shardlow
William Crosby, Shardlow 340 ? 1   ? (boat sold on)
Douglas and Co, Loughborough 234 
326
1777 2   ? (boats sold on)
Gainsborough Boat Company 233 1768 1   ? (boat sold on)
John Hall, Wollaton 92 1798 1 (sail)   Coal and lime down Trent, timber up Trent
The Harborough Canal Company 285 1796 1   ? (boat sold on)
J Heathcote, Barton (on Trent) 387 1804 1   Coal, Nottingham
Robert Hunter, Wollaton 281 1800 1 (sail)   Coal or lime trade on the Trent
William Jelly, Zouch Mills - Sutton 
William Jelly, Loughborough
159 
22
1785 
1788

1
  Coal from Trent to Sutton (Bonington) and Leicester 
? (boat sold on)
Charles Johnson, Cromford 986 1796   1 ? (boat sold on)
John Kirk, Cossington 158 1797 1   Coal to Leicester
Kirk and Adderley, Mountsorrel 178 1795 1   Coal to Loughborough and Leicester
Messrs Nutt and Co, ? 160 1779 1   ? (boat sold on)
Thomas Oldnow, Lea-Wood (Cromford) 956 1802   1 ? (boat sold on)
Mr Shelton, Brinsley 271 1795 1   ? (boat sold on)
Francis Shenton, Mountsorrel NB4 1799   1 Slate to Shardlow
James Soresby, Soresby & Co, Shardow 30 
97 
352

1780 
1785 


  ? (boat sold on) 
? (boat sold on) 
? (boat sold on) 
James Soresby, Soresby & Co, Shardow 227 1785 1   Coal to Shardlow
James Soresby, Soresby & Co, Shardow 293 
296 
295
1793 
1796 
1799
1 (sail) 
1 (sail) 
1 (sail)
  Trade between Gainsborough and Shardlow 
Trade between Gainsborough and Shardlow 
Trade between Gainsborough and Shardlow
Soresby and Flack 913 
NB53 
912 
1259

1797 
1804 
1807
 


1
? (boat sold on) 
Trade between Shardlow and Derby 
? (boat sold on) 
? (boat sold on)
Soresby and Flack 415 
457 
574 
1793 
1796 
1796 

1 (sail) 
1 (sail) 
  ? (boat sold on) 
? (boat sold on) 
? (boat sold on) 
Soresby and Flack 478  1799  1 (sail)    Trade between Gainsboro' Shardlow Leicester 
Soresby and Flack 431 1801 1 (small)   Trade between Shardlow and Nottingham 
Soresby and Flack 379 
445 
1803 
1807 
1 (sail) 
1 (sail) 
  Trade between Shardlow and Gainsborough 
Trade between Shardlow and Gainsborough 
Soresby and Flack 446 1807  1 (sm, sail)    Trade between Shardlow and Leicester 
R Stenson, Bramcote 215 1794 1   Coal to Loughborough and Leicester
William Stretton, Derby 276 
375
1786 
1786
1 (sail) 
1
  ? (boats sold on)
John Sutton, Heanor 291 
226 
244
1775 
1780 
1782


1
  ? (boat sold on) 
Coal to Loughborough and Leicester 
? (boat sold on)
John Sutton, Loughborough 236 1786 1   Coal to Loughborough and Leicester
John Varley, Shardlow 350 
366
1801 
1802

1
  Coal to Leicester 
? (boat sold on)
From the TNCo records, we know that at least 4 wide boats per year could be built, with 5 being built in 1796. Busy periods of building of wide boats in 1785-6 and 1793-7 seem to have been associated with improvements to the Trent and Soar navigations. 

For example boats built 1785-6 follow the Act of Parliament of 1783 that allowed the building of a towpath on the river Trent and change from manpower to horsepower for towing or 'higging'. Jessop began to make the path and improve the river from the Shardlow end in June 1783 and it was completed to Nottingham in January 1784, Newark - May 1784 and Gainsborough September 1784. 

The boats built for use on the River Soar are concentrated in the years 1793-7, the Leicester Navigation  being completed to Leicester in 1794. 

Some interesting points can be made about his customers - for example 2 of the boats 1786 were for W Stretton of Derby who had taken over the warehouses of the Derby Boat Company who had sold up because of competition from the Trent and Mersey Canal (advertisements in the Derby Mercury). 

The boat built for the Harborough Canal Company in 1796 is of particular interest because the Leicestershire and Northamptonshire Union Canal did not reach Market Harborough until 1809. The boat could only ever have reached Debdale Wharf (one mile short of Foxton) which was opened 7 April 1797. The line from Leicester terminated there as the Union Canal Company had run out of funds. 


The Sephton family 

Francis Sephton and his wife Mary, together with Francis' children by his first wife Elizabeth (Pacey) - James 12 and Elizabeth 11, and by his second wife Mary (Bursey) - Sharlott 4, and Francis junior 1, appear in the list of Shardlow inhabitants 1798/9. In the 1816 list of Inhabitants not Parishioners, Francis appears as a Boatbuilder together with his wife and daughter [unnamed], Francis 20, William 18 and Mary 15. 
Francis senior was Baptised 30 November 1759 at Misterton, Nottinghamshire. 

His eldest son James, born 7 August 1785 at Misterton went to Foleshill,Coventry and together with his son John (born c1809 at Leighton Buzzard) started the Sephton’s boatbuilding yards at Tusses Bridge, Foleshill (at the junction of Hawkesbury Lane with the Oxford Canal), and Hawkesbury Junction/Sutton Stop (situated north of Tusses Bridge at the point where the Oxford and Coventry Canals meet). - thanks to Dr Carole Eales, descendent, for this Coventry information

Francis senior was dead by 1841 but his wife Mary was living next door to Francis junior on the Wharf, Shardlow. 
Two of Francis senior’s sons, both boatbuilders, marry and raise families in the village. 
William born c1799 married Ann. They had at least one child, Ann born 1823 in Shardlow. William and Ann had moved to Derby by 1837, when the Trent Navigation Company Boat Cargo Tables (entry 1608) list him as building a sand dredger (50ft 8in by 11ft 10in) there for William Johnson. 
Francis junior born c1797 married Catherine and had a son Thomas 1823-1861 and a daughter Elizabeth born c1829. Francis is in the 1857 but not the 1860 directory, and does not appear in the 1861 census. Francis junior’s daughter Elizabeth married William Meakin, butcher. His son Thomas, who was a blacksmith and iron merchant in Shardlow, married Elizabeth Fowkes and they had several children including Francis a joiner and Thomas a locomotive engineman both living in Derby in 1881. 
Both Francis Sephtons worked as boatbuilders for James Sutton and the Shardlow Boat Company at James Suttons boatyard, no 11 on the 1852 plan. They lived at the cottages, now demolished, next to Idle Bridge, no 9 on the 1852 plan. 
 
The records we have so far of their boats are for these - used on the Trent system and gauged by the Trent Navigation Company. 
TNCo 
number
Builder Year  
built
Length X Beam Rigging First Owner Trade
1137 Francis Septon 
Shardlow
1821 75ft 6in X 13ft 101/2in Mast, Sail, Blocks, Lines 
7 poles, 3 deal planks, 
1corn tub, firestand
James Sutton and the 
Shardlow Boat Company 
-boat no 23
between Shardlow 
and Gainsborough
1240 Francis Septon 
Shardlow
1825 76ft X 14ft Mast, Sail, Complete 
Standing Rigging,etc
James Sutton and the 
Shardlow Boat Company 
- boat no 29
between Shardlow 
and Gainsborough
1359 Francis Sefton 
Shardlow
1829 75ft 9in X 13ft 11in Mast, Sail, Rigging, eic James Sutton and the 
Shardlow Boat Company 
- boat no 31 - (Providence?)
between Shardlow 
and Gainsborough
  
Boatwrights living at Shardlow 

The 1851 Census lists the following boatwrights living in the village: 
 
Schedule Name Age Occupation Place of Birth
8 John Gilbert 26 Journeyman Boatwright Shardlow
90 Thomas Shardlow 46 Boatwright Journeyman Shardlow
90 William Shardlow 20 Boatwright Apprentice Loughborough
24 William Dakin 44 Boatbuilder Shardlow
27 Thomas Dakin 39 Boatbuilder Shardlow
63 William Bancroft 65 Boatbuilder Draycote
65 Samuel Clifford 66 Boatbuilder Shardlow
65 William Clifford 40 Boatbuilder Shardlow
81 Francis Sephton 51 Boatbuilder Shardlow
89 William Cook 36 Boatwright Wheelock
In the 1852 Poor Rate Survey we can see the place of abode for the above people and the sites of the boatyards: 
 
Name Plot Description
Gilbert, John 121 Behind the school on corner of Ambaston Lane
Shardlow, Thomas 357 Cavendish Bridge
Shardlow, William 259 45 The Wharf (opposite Soresby's boatyard)
Dakin, William 287 Wilne
Dakin, Thomas 269 Cowlishaws Row - first set of 4 cottages on right hand side
Bancroft, William 260 House attached to Maltings, now the Malt Shovel Inn
Clifford, Samuel and William 194 Behind Soresby's boatyard
Sephton, Francis 205 Houses - now gone - by London Road (A6) next to Idle Bridge
Cook, William 345 Wilne Lane by Navigation Inn
Soresby, James Stevenson 194 Owner occupier Dockyard,Warehouse, Shed, Boatwrights Shop, Blacksmiths Shop and Timber Yard - number 21 on the 1852 Plan
Sutton, James and others 203 Two Docks, Timber Yard, Carpenters Shop, Nail Shop, Paint and Tar Shed etc - number 11 on the 1852 Plan (land owned by the canal company - the North Staffs Railway Co)
Sutton, James and others 204 Stables, Blacksmiths Shop etc - number 10 on the 1852 Plan (land owned by the canal company - the North Staffs Railway Co)
 
 
 
   
 
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Brief History of the Village   
1882 Map of Shardlow
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A Walk through the Village
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THE WORKING PORT
NOW IN THE FOLLOWING 5 PAGES:
 Setting the Scene and 1852 Plan 
 Carriers by River and Canal at Shardlow 
 Boatbuilders at Shardlow (THIS PAGE)
 Other Traders in the Canal Port 
Local Waterways on Old Postcards
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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last updated on 23 January 2002