Shardlow Heritage Centre
The Working Port 1770 - 1948
 
  
 
BOATBUILDERS AT SHARDLOW  
 
written 1 December 2000 
 
written 1 December 2000
  • The Sephton Family and other boatbuilders will follow!
  
 
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 

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. 
 

   
 
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THE WORKING PORT
NEW FORMAT 11/2000
NOW IN THE FOLLOWING 4 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 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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last updated on 1 December 2000