Shardlow Heritage Centre
The Working Port 1770 - 1948

written 22 January 2000 , updated 6 October 2016 
written 28 January 2000, updated 3 Dec 2013
written 14 April 2000
written 1 December 2000, updated 6 October 2016
written 25 January 2002
written 27 January 2002
James Sutton and the Shardlow Boat Company; Broughton and Sutton
Broughton and Sutton expanded 6 Oct 2016
The first Sutton that appears in our records is Thomas (? to 1814). He is in the village in 1775 recorded in the  Town Book receiving expenses as a village official. His earliest known project is building the Navigation Inn 1788-9. In the early 1790's he also builds the two houses which adjoin the warehouse (no. 34 on the 1852 plan) and the butchers shop which adjoined the Navigation Inn. Between 1792 and 1817, together with his son James (1767 - 1830) he builds a large cottage, a small cottage and a salt warehouse on the triangle of land between the river Trent,  the canal and the turnpike road (number 7 on the 1852 plan). This James Sutton (nicknamed 'old bag' by the villagers, after a scandal) is reputed to have started his working life as a simple boatman (George Gilbert memoirs) - he was later to possess considerable wealth, including ownership of Shardlow Hall as a result of his business success especially in the salt trade. In 1795/6 James is in occupation of the Navigation Inn and a lease in 1818 shows that he  had a riverside wharf on the Derbyshire bank upstream of Cavendish Bridge, where the river runs close to the turnpike road. By then he has a teenage son, another James (1801-1868).
There are records of Upper Trent Boats being built by the Shardlow Boat Company for their own use from 1774 to 1785, the most recent of these was sold in 1796. We do not have evidence of a connection between this company and the Sutton's at that time.
Thomas Sutton was a regular supplier of coals to the Shardlow Overseer of the Poor as early as January 1803 which implies that he was carrying then. James the elder purchased Trent sailing boats from 1808 and by 1820 was trading as 'James Sutton and the Shardlow Boat Company'. However the name James Sutton and Co. continued to appear after 1820, presumably as an abbreviation. With the competition from the railways the family fortunes decline and James Sutton the younger, faced with a re-evaluation of his property for assessing the amount of poor rates he must pay, bemoans in 1851 that '....we think the Property over rated and if he [John Bromley 1852 surveyor] used Sanders [1837 surveyor] (in dear times) valued at certain rates it will influence him in valuing in these very low times.' [letter from Sutton to Soresby Nov 4 1851 - Derbyshire Record office 1326A/P057]
By 1850 the Suttons have stopped building boats. By 1858 they had closed their wharf in Derby, and the 1860 Directory for Shardlow no longer lists them as Canal Carriers - although James Clifford, close friend and former partner is then listed as a general carrier.
J Sutton and SBC conditions
enlarged reverse of the below ticket
ticket for shipment of church bells from Coventry to Shardlow
the ticket for shipment of 5 bells, wheels etc. for Shardlow Church April 26 1841
the bells were cast at the Whitechapel foundry (London) and were taken as far as Coventry by Messrs Morris Herbert and Co
Shardlow Boat Company and Sutton's Boats
Trent Boat c. 1815
Upper Trent Boats
The Trent Navigation Company gauging tables show Upper Trent Boats owned by the Shardlow Boat Company from 1774, and at the time of measurement 1799 the 2 early boats had jury mast and line (for hauling or towing), and the boats built 1785 and 1795 had mast and sails. The tables show that Sutton & Co was  operating Upper Trent Boats with large mast and sail between Shardlow and Gainsborough from 1808, salt from  Shardlow to Gainsborough being a principal cargo. Corn and malt to Shardlow is also listed , as is 'Trade' between the two ports.
These boats were approximately 72 feet long by 14 feet wide, with considerable individual variation - the largest was 76' 5'' by 14' 1''  and was built by Wood and Tingle at Shardlow. The tables do not give names for the boats.
(We have not yet reviewed the Trent Navigation Tables for 1816 - 1854, but we know that Sutton boats are plentiful in these)
The tables for 1855 onwards indicate that by then Sutton's  may have finished trading, only being listed as previous owners of several boats.
Sutton Narrowboats
The Trent Navigation Tables for 1855 do include 2 narrowboats built by Sutton & Co at Shardlow in 1838 and 1840. These boats had width of only 6' 6'' and 6' 8'' respectively, so may have been used as flyboats. We have not yet seen any gauging records for Sutton's boats on the canal system.
Some of Sutton's narrowboat names in 1831 were:
Expedition, Speedy, Norway, Robert, Zealous, Hambro, Northwood, Swift, Safety 

Sutton Employees
Names of boat masters on Trent boats were: Thos Crane, Joseph Woolley, Josh. Woolley, James White, and John Tomlinson. There will be more names in the portion of Trent Navigation Tables that we have yet to review. 
We know of more than 40 names of narrowboat captains working for James Sutton from the 1830's to 50's of whom just a handful have been identified in the Shardlow census records. The family of whom we know most is that of Samuel Till senior and junior: 

Till, Samuel junior   [died 14 Nov 1872 aged 51, buried in Shardlow churchyard with his wife and daughter Diana] 
Schedule76   1851 census   Shardlow Lock 
Samuel Till 29 Canal Carriers Boatman Middlewich
Catherine 26   Shardlow
Edward 5   Shardlow
Joseph 3   Shardlow
Diana 10 months   Shardlow
Samuel Till is listed in the 1852 Poor Rate Survey living at plot 179 owned by Holden [no. 7 on our 1852 plan] 
         We think built by Thomas Sutton (photo much enlarged background of small snapshot from 1930's) 
plot 7 (1852 plan)
 Canalside - Plot 179 on 1852 plan
1861 census -  Boats on the Canal - 'Swift' 
Edward Till 15 captains son Shardlow
Joseph Till 13 captains son Shardlow
from Cargo records 
Samuel Till senior Feb 12 1844 1 truss hosiery Leicester to Middlewich
Samuel Till junior July 29 1850 40 loads malt in 48 sacks Shardlow to Middlewich
Samuel Till junior Aug 3 1850 1 box starch, 
1 hogshead sugar, 
1 chest tea, 
1 bag coffee, 
1 tin molasses
Liverpool to Middlewich
                                       The 1816 list of inhabitants in Shardlow who were not parishioners include the following people who have been brought in to work for the Suttons:  
Joseph Cubley  from Swarkestone a clerk in Mr Sutton's office
Joseph Gilbert from Loughborough a warehouseman
Jonathan Glasby from Yorkshire a clerk to Mr Sutton
George Wilkinson from Gainsborough ropemaker to Mr Sutton
Sam Shepherd from Weston Mr Sutton's blacksmith
           We also know from the Will of Sarah Cantrell 1855 that her son in law and executor was John Hinkley Williams, Accountant and Clerk to Mssrs Sutton and Co.. Interestingly the Witnesses included Thomas Sephton of Shardlow who was a boatbuilder. 

 The  1832 Cholera epidemic had dreadful consequences for one of James Sutton's boat families. The Derby Mercury of 12 Sept 1832 reports: 
'We understand a case of cholera occurred at Shardlow on the 2nd. The person afflicted was the wife of a boatmaster in the employ of Messrs Sutton & Co. A meeting of the inhabitants was convened on the following Sunday, James Sutton Esq. in the chair, when it was resolved to fit up a vessel as a temporary hospital afloat on the river Trent.' 

Sutton's cargo
Entries in the 1827 and 1850 Directories show the extent of the trading network:  

1827 - Conveyance by water. James Sutton and Shardlow Boat Company's fly boats, every day to Derby, Market Harborough, Hull, Sleaford, Loughborough, Leicester, Nottingham, Grantham, Lincoln, Newark, Boston , Gainsborough, Horncastle, Manchester, Melton Mowbray, etc.: also conveyance to all places on the line of the Trent, Mersey, and Bridgewater canals. 

1850 - CONVEYANCE BY WATER. To LEICESTER, DERBY, HULL, Sleaford, Lincoln, Nottingham, Gainsborough, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, the Staffordshire Potteries, Cheshire Salt Works, Stourport, Wolverhampton, Stourport, Coventry, and all parts of Yorkshire, Jas. Sutton & Co's Fly Boats, daily; goods forwarded to all parts of the Kingdom.

                               Details of James Suttton's cargoes are known from 1831 - 1850. The earliest, from the records at the Derbyshire Record Office, list goods from Red Bull Wharf to Liverpool and Shardlow but do not list the contents of the bags, chests, crates, casks and hampers. 
From the records at Ellesmere Port Boat Museum which cover 1842 - 1850 (with gaps) the total variety of goods is fascinating but those from Shardlow are confined to malt, beans, oats, barley, flour, timber and the odd 1/2 hogshead of vinegar. 
Examples of other shipments are as follows: 
1842 1 box of hats  from Manchester to Middlewich
1843 5 bundles of spades from Preston to Middlewich
1843 3 sacks of seeds from Etruria to G. Geesby, Middlewich
1843 1 cask of ale from Stoke to Mr Greatbatch, Middlewich
6 Mar 1847 1 box of candles from Leek to James Wall of Chester - landed there (9 Mar 1847)
1847  60 bags of malt  from Shardlow to R. Longton of Winsford - note several bags 
in a very wet  state 
                                       The records for the second half of 1850 seem to be complete and some idea of journey and turn-around times for individual boatmen can be given.  
5 July 1850 James Drakefield travels to Middlewich from Stoke with vinegar. On the 13th he is in Middlewich again with a cargo of matches from Manchester, he returns to Middlewich from Liverpool on the 22nd, from Shardlow with malt on the 25th and from Liverpool with tea and flour on the 29th. 
In  September of 1850 he is in Middlewich from Manchester with candles on the 21st, from Leicester  with 1 truss on the 26th and from Liverpool with molasses on the 30th.
                                We also know that in the Staffordshire Record Office there are vouchers  for the transport of goods by James Sutton and the Shardlow Boat Company for James Wardle of Leekbrook (a dying company), 1830 - 1845 which we will be looking at soon. (ref D1313/2) 
Broughton and Sutton
The title 'Broughton and Sutton' appears in Glover's Directory in 1827 as 'Broughton and Sutton  - salt men - Shardlow' and is recorded as a boat owner in the Trent Navigation Tables between 1804 and 1815. Four boats are listed, No.1 to No.4, being Upper Trent Boats with large mast and sail, purchased between 1804 and 1809, and  the last record shows one being sold in 1815 (The other boats may have continued in use for years without needing re gauging, as implied by the 1827 Directory entry).  They carried salt from Shardlow to Gainsborough, and two of the masters were John Sutton and Thos Johnson. 

It is natural to assume that the company name refers to the Broughton after which  Broughton House was named, the house  which had been built by Thomas Sutton who died in 1814.  We do not have any records of Broughton residing in Shardlow, and this connection needs further investigation. Maybe he came from the Cheshire end of the salt trade? The boat master John Sutton was not descended from Thomas Sutton, but may have been related. 

6 October 2016:

The following information from the Cheshire end has been supplied by Trevor Ellis:

Broughton & Sutton 1821 - 29?

This firm appear only in Pigot & Dean's 1821-22 Directory carrying to London, Litchfield, Fazeley, Tamworth, Derby, Nottingham, Sheffield, the Potteries, Chester, Warrington, Stockport, Rochdale, Halifax, Huddersfield, Leeds, Liverpool and all parts of the North, from Castlefield Warehouse, Manchester, agent William Toplis. "Huddersfield" is included among the range of places to which they carry, many on narrow canals, though no places are specified which are only on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, whereas Rochdale and Halifax are included on the wide-beam route. James Sutton & the Shardlow Boat Company are also listed at the same place and with the same agent, carrying to Derby, Loughborough, Leicester, Nottingham, Newark etc. The Chester Courant 12 April 1825 carries a brief advertisement "The Public are requested not to pay any money on our account to Peter Joynson, our late agent, he having been dismissed from our employ. Broughton and Sutton, Wheelock Salt Works." The advert is repeated in the Chester Chronicle on the 15th. The Chester Courant 4 October 1825 carries an announcement of a General Meeting of the British Rock and Patent Salt Company. Among its Directors are H.D. Broughton and James Sutton. Again the announcement is repeated in the Chronicle on 7th. The Chester Courant 29 May 1827 contains an announcement that payment will be made on certain notes issued by "the late Nantwich Bank." Among the signatories of the notes are a Broughton and a Sutton.  

The Manchester Courier 07 March 1829 under "Partnerships Dissolved" includes "H.D. Broughton and J. Sutton, Lawton, Wheelock and Roughwood, Cheshire." The Leeds Mercury 25 July 1840 includes an advertisement by James Sutton & Co., who describe themselves as "General carriers on the Bridgewater Canal, Trent & Mersey Navigation and Rivers Trent and Soar" to say that they have just concluded an agreement with the Midland Counties and North Midland Railway Companies. The firm give an address at the Navigation Wharf in Leicester, so this would seem to be the Sutton in question earlier and this part of the partnership appears to have continued.

Soresby and Flack, J and W Soresby written 28 january 2000
The Soresby family moved to Cavendish Bridge from Eyam in Derbyshire sometime after 1758. James, with his wife Sarah  and his recently widowed mother Elizabeth, may have come to join Edward Soresby and his family. Edward built the last ferry to operate at Wilden before Cavendish Bridge was opened in 1760.

The earliest reference is in the Derby Mercury 5th July 1771:
"Yesterday pm, accident in Derby - John Wright waggoner to Mr Soresby of Cavendish Bridge - in loading some red lead near St Marys Bridge, a barrel rolled back out of the wagon  and falling upon his breast killed him on the spot."
The Lodge 1909 The family moved to Shardlow on the news of the proposal for the canal, buying a large plot of land given to Richard Attenborough  at the Enclosure award in 1760. The canal bisected the land providing the Soresby's with two areas for wharfs and warehouses, (marked 21 and 29 on the 1852 plan). In the 1770's they built  the family home 'the Lodge', recently known as the Lady in Grey (30) and raised two children, James (1766 - 1837) who took  over the business on his father's death in 1790 and Elizabeth (1771 - 1806) who married James' partner, William Charles Flack in 1799. On their marriage Elizabeth and William lived in the Firs (20)
James and Elizabeth (nee Stevenson) had six children, two of whom died in their teens. The two remaining sons inherited the business (W C Flack had died in 1831) which runs from 1837 as J[ames Stevenson] and W[illiam Charles] Soresby. The daughters Elizabeth (1807 - 1886) and Jeannette (1815 - 1886) lived with James (1804 - 1870) who never married, at the family home until their deaths. William (1811 - 1868) married Rebecca Holbrook and moved to Nunsfield House, Alvaston, Derby.
the Granary on Millfield In the declining years of the carrying business, the family was also involved  in the cotton mill at Great Wilne and built a steam corn mill in 1860 on Millfield (26 on the 1852 plan) which was burnt down in the 1890's. The granary, office, stable block remain, all very much altered.
The last entry we have found for the carrying company is 1860, and in the same year Joshua Fellows bought 10 of James Soresby's boats according to Soresby family records. 

Charles Holbrook Soresby, (William's son) returned to live in the Firs c. 1910 and his grand-daughter still lives in the village.

Soresby Property
In addition to the two wharf and warehouse plots already mentioned as owned by the Soresbys, in the early years they tenanted the areas numbered 7 and 35 on the 1852 plan and possibly built the 1780? warehouse. They were also tenants of the Liversage Trust  and had  land and property in Derby on the Morledge beside the Markeaton Brook.

Lease on plot of land, part of old bowling green, in the Morledge - Derby April 1806 for 60 years.
between Mssrs Soresby and Flack and the Liversage charity trustees. The land "is now in the occupation of the said James Soresby and W C Flack and upon which they have lately and at their own expense erected and built, or are now erecting and building, a dwelling house and other buildings (576 sq yds) by the Morledge Brook the surface or soil of which for a depth of 6 1/2 feet has lately been cut and taken away for the purposes of widening and making the said brook navigable. Year rent £13 - 10s -. And before the end of three years cause to be erected such other good and useful buildings as will make the same premises with those now erected to be always of the yearly value of £20 - 5s - and finding ropes for the capstan and supporting and keeping in repair the capstan" ........"the capstan is at the mouth of the Morledge Brook for assisting navigation of boats and other vessels passing out of the river Derwent into the Morledge brook to and from the Holmes Mills" 

Soresby Boats
In 1702 a document listing charges for building the new ferry (Wilden Ferry) shows: 
'paid to Ed Soreby for building her £24 - 10s - 
 paid to Ed Soreby for 2 days more £- - 2s - 
We have not established that there is a connection between this Soreby and the later Soresby family. 

The Trent Navigation Company gauging tables show three wide boats belonging to Soresby and Co c. 1780 - 1800 having small jury mast and lines, built by Benjamin Clifford at Shardlow. One ('boat no. 4') is recorded as carrying coal to Shardlow but the others had already been sold on, yielding no information on their use by Soresby. 

Between 1796 and 1838 boats appear under Soresby and Flack ownership, fleet number 7 onwards, their highest fleet number being 24. 

Like the Sutton boats, they are about 72 ft by 14 ft but with considerable variation, plus two at about 60 ft 6 ins by 12 ft 6 ins (trading Shardlow to Leicester) and one at 51 ft 6 ins by 11 ft (trading Shardlow to Nottingham). 

The larger boats traded Shardlow to Gainsborough, with large mast and sail, as did one of the 60 ft boats. The 50 ft boat had a jury mast and line. The largest of their boats was No 22, built by Soresby and Flack in Shardlow, being 76 ft 3 ins by 14 ft 3 ins. 

Upper Trent Boat
an Upper Trent Boat
The last recorded gauging is for boat No. 3 in 1841, although they could have traded for many more years without the need for re-gauging (required only after alterations to the boat). 

There are two Soresby and Flack narrowboats in the above table, and being only 6 ft 6 ins and 6 ft 8 1/2 ins beam, they may have been part of their flyboat fleet 

When James the younger died in 1838 the Company name changed to J and W Soresby - the last two recorded weighings being in that name (1838 and 1841) 

We do not yet have any records of their narrowboats being gauged on the canal system. 

Many of their boats were built by Benjamin Clifford of Shardlow - we believe he was located at the dockyard owned by Soresby (no 21 on the 1852 plan) because we know that by 1841 Samuel Clifford was located there, and continuing there in 1852.

The Soresby family records show that Joshua Fellows bought 10 of Soresby's boats in 1860 - "8 Trent boats and 2 canal boats". 

Soresby Cargoes
Entries in the 1827, 1850 and 1860 Directories show the extent of the trading network:

1827 - Conveyance by water: 
Soresby and Flacks fly-boats 4 times a week to Derby, Leicester, Loughborough, Manchester etc.
also to all places upon the line of the Trent, Mersey and Bridgwater canals

1850 - Conveyance by water:
To London, Liverpool, Manchester, Derby, Leicester, Loughborough, and intermediate places
J & W Soresby's and Pickford & Co's boats daily

1860 - Carriers by water
Soresby James & William C - Shardlow Wharf

business card
J. & W. Soresby's business card

Apart from saying that they carried just about anything it is difficult to be specific as we have little hard information.

Most of the cargo tables say that they are employed in "trading". We know from the notice of John Wright's death that they carried red lead and from the tables that one boat was employed in bringing coal to Shardlow in 1800. 

Three surviving invoices for 1843 at the Boat Museum add a little information:  

Jos or Jas Williamson master. 
Etruria wharf to Middlewich 17 February 1843
1 bundle of hoops and 1 bundle of staves to R. Beck, Chester from Mr Whittaker of Hanley
John Potts master. 
Brassingtons Wharf, Stoke to Middlewich 28 March 1843
1 hamper of goods for John Carney, to be called for at Middlewich
William Williamson master
from Stone, Field Wharf to Middlewich 5 February 1843
4 bundles lead?  to Charles Sproston, Carrier at Middlewich - to be delivered immediately
                           Also regarding this period a lady visitor to the Heritage Centre summer 1999 told us that her ancestor was transported in the 1840's for stealing 15 cheeses from Mr Soresby's warehouse in Shardlow.
 Soresby Employees
The earliest known employee is Mr John Wright the waggoner who was killed in 1771 (see above). 
Then in 1792 we have our earliest boatman. When John Smith took soundings of the River Trent to update his own of 1786 and those of Jessop in 1782 he was: 
"attended in the above Survey by John Beighton, Joseph Sheffield, and John Hickon, three persons who are Master- men of Boats belonging to the Grand Trunk Canal, the Burton Boat Company, and Mr Soresby, I was enabled to take the foregoing Soundings, pretty accurately." 

From the early boat cargo tables (gauging records of T. N. Co.) we have the masters of Soresbys boats being weighed in these years: 

Cowlishaw, J 1800
Robotham, R 1801 (narrowboat)
Vickers, Jno 1811
Turner, Christopher 1811
Kemp, Richard 1811
Slater, Joshua 1811
Bosworth, Perc 1814
Elliott, J 1814
Beeby, John 1814
Kilbourn, J 1814
Ironmonger, R 1815
John Vickers must be the same as one of the two John Wickers in the following extracts from the 
'1816 list of inhabitants - not parishioners of Shardlow':  
Henry Smith   Castle Donington clerk Mr Soresby's office
Thomas Thorpe   Shipley boatman to Mr Soresby
Dolly wife      
John Wickers    [Burton on Trent scored out] Willington boatman Mr Soresby's
his wife (scored out)   dead  
John     married and lives in house of Mr Soresby
Thomas     a soldier
Ann     married
Nathaniel 14    
William 12    
John Wickers   [Burton on Trent scored out] Willington boatman Mr Soresby
Betsy 3    
Eliza 1    
Martin Wardle     Mr Soresby's sailmaker
his wife      

George Gilbert's [1817 - 1880's] memoirs -  
"....most of the men employed in the wharves and working the boats belonging to the two local firms of Sutton and Co. and the Messrs Soresby and Flack resided in the numerous villages which surround this place but chiefly at Castle Donington."
George's brother Thomas b. 16 February 1812 in Shardlow, after leaving school, went to work for Mssrs Soresby and Flack the river and canal carriers. He became a clerk in the office but died 3 July 1833, buried in Castle Donington.
                           In the records at Ellesmere Port Boat Museum we found three of Soresby's boatmen of the 1840's: John Potts, Jos or Jas Williamson and William Williamson. John Potts and his family appear in the 1841 and 1851 census: 
1851 census schedule 36 Cowlishaw Row [Long Row]
John Potts   48 boatman Shardlow
Ann wife 47        "
John son 19 labourer      "
Ann daughter 12        "
Robert son 10        "
Mary daughter 8        "
We can tell from the 1852 poor rate survey that the family lived in part of plot 276 owned by George Cowlishaw which means that they  occupied the third house from the far end of the row of 20 on Long Row. 
Cowlishaw Row
Cowlishaw Row [Long Row] where John Potts and family lived in 1851
By 1861 John Potts had become an agricultural labourer.
We may know even more about John Potts as he could be John, the son of Thomas who appears in the 1816 list of inhabitants as follows:- 
Thomas Potts
Castle Donington Boatman, settlement
gained by service with 
Mr Wright - Donington Park
                           In 1841 and 1851 Soresby's clerk John Taft lived in what is now 14 Millfield (26 on 1852 plan). By 1861 just after the steam corn mill was built the house was occupied by the miller John Buxton, his wife Martha and their two small children. 

Thanks to Soresby's descendants
We are in contact with several descendants of the Soresby family who are all being very helpful. They have lent us photographs, family histories and family trees and are still searching for other material which may add to the story.

The Cowlishaws
written 14 April 2000
The Cowlishaw family was a long established farming family in the village before the coming of the canal. The family homestead was on the corner site between  London Road and Aston Lane (opposite the Dog and Duck). Here the senior branch of the family built and lived in the present Shardlow House (see '1882 map' and 'a Walk Through the Village') which is on the site of their previous residence.

The earliest record we have of the Cowlishaws on the waterways is from the Trent Navigation Company's Gauging Tables. George Cowlishaw bought an 8 year old boat second-hand in 1792, and it was gauged in 1799, 73 ft by 14 ft 2 ins with  mast and sail, carrying coal to Loughborough and Leicester, and corn etc. from those places to Shardlow.
George Cowlishaw received payments from the Shardlow Overseers of the Poor, for regular deliveries of coals to the poor, every few weeks throughout the winter e.g. Jan 13 1803 George Cowlishaw for coals £1 - 1s - 0d
In 1799 George was assessed for duties and paid 12 shillings duty on 2 horses used for business purposes. He also paid for one '4 shilling dog', and 4 shillings and 6 pence for  a house with 6 windows.
The horses appear again in his will (probate 13 October 1812) :
'I give and bequeath unto my eldest Son John Cowlishaw and to my third Son William Cowlishaw my Boat with the (?Lines) Ropes Poles and all other Implements and Appurtenances thereto belonging and my Horses with all the Tackle and Gearing belonging to them equally to be divided between them my said two Sons share and share alike.'

John Cowlishaw (1779 - 1845) is recorded as Master of Soresby and Co boat No 4 in 1800, carrying coal to Shardlow. In 1805 he purchased his boat No 1 (74 ft 5 ins by 14 ft 3 ins) from the Gainsborough Boat Company (who had built it at Shardlow in 1798), and this was reweighed August 1812 when he was carrying coal on the Erewash Canal. He appears again as owner/master of boat No 1 in 1816.
In the 1828 directory, John and William Cowlishaw are listed as coal merchants at Shardlow, but are not listed in the 1835 onward directories.
William (1789 - June 1862) had 2 children Mira and William Joseph and in later life describes himself as a proprietor of houses and land, and a rate and tax collector. He lived at Holly Villa, at the corner of Long Row and Wilne Lane. See below for more about his son William Joseph (1854 - April 1918). 
Returning to John Cowlishaw (1779 - 1845), he had 3 children - Sarah (1819 - 1891), John Dewsnop (1824 - 1884) and George (1827 - 1882). 
John Dewsnop takes over the family wharf (No. 28 on the 1852 plan) in the late 1850's, probably in 1858 on the death of his mother Hannah. This wharf had been run for some years (at least since 1835) by Philip Burton who also occupied 'the Lawn' as a tenant. John Dewsnop Cowlishaw receipt
The 1861 census shows 'the Lawn' being occupied by: 

John Dewsnop Cowlishaw Head Coal Merchant
George Cowlishaw Brother Clerk in carriers office
Sarah Cowlishaw Sister Housekeeper
George Cowlishaw was listed in Directories as the Agent to Joshua Fellows & Co between 1864 and 1874. As Joshua Fellows bought James Soresby's boats at the end of 1860 and set up his local depot here in 1861, we suggest that George was Clerk to Mr Soresby and transferred to Joshua Fellows employ at this time. 

Returning to George's cousin William Joseph (1854 - 1918) he seems to start his own business in 1887, combining being a coal merchant with the office of Assistant Overseer to the Poor. 
William Joseph Cowlishaw's boats appear in the Trent Navigation Company Tables and the Ilkeston Register of Canal Boats (to register the boats as a dwelling). He is believed to have run 3 boats at any one time although there appears to have been replacement of some of the fleet at sometime. 
The Ilkeston Register describes 3 boats each with cabin (the Registration also gives cabin dimensions and cubic capacity) as follows: 
Ilkeston Reg. No. Boat Name Date of Record Event Master
No. 37 'Shardlow' 6 October 1887 Registration John Woolley
16 November 1909 Inspection Bradley
11 May 1910 Inspection Bradley
9 August 1916 Inspection G. Sheffield
20 May 1920 Inspection  G. Sheffield
Route: Shardlow to Shipley and Langley Mill
Cargo: Coal:
Propulsion: Horse
Max. number of persons: In aft cabin, 3 persons
The 1909 inspection specifies it as a wide boat.
No. 38 'Admiral Dundas' 6 October 1887 Registration John Woolley
19 July 1910 Inspection ? (3 men)
9 Nov. 1911 -'this boat is in full working order' note
Route: Shardlow to Shipley and Langley Mill
Cargo: Coal and Coke
Propulsion: Horse
Max. number of persons: 2 Adults 
1 Child under 12
No. 39 'The Hope' 9 May 1888 Registration James Woolley
(no subsequent records)
Route: Shardlow to Shipley and Langley Mill
Cargo: Coal
Propulsion: Horsepower. Wide Boat
Max. number of persons: In aft cabin, 4.
We have a photo of this boat in Shardlow Lock, showing the Ilkeston Registration number. 

The Trent Navigation Company also records 3 boats, but does not quote their names, and one was not built until 1892, and did not join the Cowlishaw fleet until some time later, and appears to be a narrowboat (judging by hold length and gauging weights/freeboard - unfortunately the table omitted the length and beam measurements...). Maybe this boat was a replacement for the original 'Hope'. 
The Trent Navigation Co. records are summarized: 
No. 2151 (late 1529) Reweighed 24 Jan 1903. Master - H. Hackett 
Built by Samuel Clifford of Shardlow in 1838, for a previous owner. 
W. J. Cowlishaw purchased in year (unknown). 
Rebuilt by W. J. Cowlishaw in year (unknown). 
74 ft 9 ins by 14 ft 2 ins with 2 Trent lines 

No. 2155 (late 1903) Reweighed 16 March 1903. Master - W. Webster. 
Built by Joseph Barnsdall of Nottingham Trent Bridge in 1841, for William Jackson of Newark. 
W. J. Cowlishaw purchased in year (unknown). 
71 ft 3 ins by 13 ft 10 ins with jury mast and Trent lines. 

No. 2173 Weighed 18 March 1905. Master - D. Brown. 
Built by Mssrs Rudkin Bros. of Leicester about 1892 for Messrs Kendal & Co of Nottingham. 
Length and Beam not recorded. Hold length 48 ft, max. gauged load 30 tons. 
W. J. Cowlishaw purchased about 1901. 

Two newspaper articles quote Mr. John Nash's memories of Cowlishaw in the 1890's. One article is from Nunews, the cutting is undated but believed to be from the 1970's and the other, from which the quotations are taken, is from the Long Eaton Advertiser 21 March 1975. John describes the following trip taken with his father who was one of Cowlishaw's boatmen: 
"At Cowlishaw's coal wharf .... coal was brought by horse-drawn boats from the various coal pits via the Erewash Canal. My father was a boatman and sometimes he would take me on these trips. 
I was not very old for I was wearing petticoats and skirts at the time. It was all right going down for I had the empty hold to play about in. But coming back with the boat loaded I had to stay in the cabin or in the well deck. 
I well remember one of those journeys. We had just cleared Sawley Lockhouse Lock into the River Trent. I had managed to climb up on to the bow and was watching the bow cutting through the water. 
Old Joe Sabin, who lived in Long Row, was at the helm when he drew my father's attention to my dangerous position. I can just remember being snatched off the bow, hard across his knee, my clouts being turned up and having a good belting, After this I had a leather belt around my waist and a piece of rope fastened to it - so it was a case of so far and no further." 
The article in Nunews lists the boat names and their Captains: 
Shardlow (Capt. J Bradley), Hope (Capt. W Webster), Admiral Dundas (Capt. Beeley from Castle Donington). 

The Cowlishaw boats were used for the village annual outings before the first world war: 
"Once a year we had our annual treat. Mr. Cowlishaw would have one of his wide boats cleared out. Zachary Smith would supply barrels. Ellis the joinery works on the Wharf would supply timber to be placed on top of the barrels to make seats. One of Cowlishaw's boat horses would be dressed up in coloured ribbons, its hooves black-leaded and polished. On Saturday  afternoon all the village kids would load up and we would set off to Weston Cliff for tea and sports." 
The two photographs are of the 1913 and 1910 boat trips, Capt. Webster is standing in the boat nearest the balance beam on the left hand photo. The right hand photo shows the awning that was erected to protect the women and children. 

Cowlishaw boat trip 1913 Cowlishaw boat trip 1910
Boat trip 1913
Boat trip 1910
The Cowlishaw family are responsible for erecting many of the buildings in the port area. Henry, the brother of George whose story began this section, sold the latter some land for the wharf and the house, 'the Lawn', which George built in 1795. As Henry was unmarried, he also gave an important piece of land to George's children to be divided among them equally. The land had been allocated to Poulson at the Enclosure of the village in 1758 and had been separated by the canal in 1770 into two very unequal parts. The land to the South of the canal (No. 27 on the 1852 plan) was given to William, whose sons sold it. Part of the land to the North of the canal (No. 25 on the 1852 plan) was laid out as a road (originally called Cowlishaw's Row, now Long Row) and all of the children got together and in about 1840 built a row of 20 houses, owning 4 each and the plot on the opposite side of the road on which two of them built a further two short rows of 4 houses each. Many of these were occupied by boatmen (see section on Soresby with photo). In 1891 Cowlishaw's boatman John Woolley lived here with his wife Charlotte and his grandson. 

John Nash was also involved in the distribution of the coal: 
"When I grew up I joined several other lads and with  some home-made barrows, we would call on Mr. Cowlishaw to see  if he wanted any coal taking out to the local houses. This would be half a hundredweight or one hundredweight at one shilling per hundredweight. After several journeys we would receive anything from a ha'penny to tuppence. I can tell you we felt like millionaires when we went into John Pegg's toffee shop for a farthing bull's eye." 

William Joseph Cowlishaw and his wife Louisa had 4 children, two boys and two girls but obviously none wanted to continue the business,. The executors ran it for at least five years after William's death as a photograph in the Heritage Centre of one of their boats unloading at the wharf was taken in 1923. 

Joseph Moore and Sons. later J and G Moore
written 1 December 2000, updated 6 October 2016
 Joseph Moore (1821 - July 7 1900) was the son of John a boatman, and Alice - both born c.1795. 

Joseph married Harriet Milward, the daughter of a brickmaker at Ockbrook, in 1845 at Derby. They had 5 children known to have survived - Alice, Sarah, Mary, John and George. The 2 sons continued the business as J and G Moore. 

On his marriage Joseph was already described as a boatman of the Morledge, Derby. In the very early years Joseph and Harriet lived on Cowlishaw Row (now Long Row) in the 5th house from the far end. There is a picture of Long Row in the Soresby section (above). They soon moved however to a house on Canalside (picture in the Sutton section above), where Joseph lived for the rest of his life with his son John and his family, with George and his family only 2 doors away. 

The earliest that we know he was in business for himself is from the Ilkeston Registration of Canal Boats, 1894-5. At that time he had: 
Ilkeston Registration Number No. 53 No 55
Boat Name Cambridge No. 2 Harriet
Owner Joseph Moore and Son, Shardlow Joseph Moore and Sons*
Master George Moore Joseph Moore*
Route Erewash Erewash valley
Traffic Mineral Minerals
Propulsion Horsepower narrow boat 
not as fly boat
Horsepower narrow boat
Cabins One One
8' 10" by 6' X 5'  
Rule of Dimensions Rule B. No 1 one fifth (Rule one)
5' 0" 5' 2"
8' 10" 8' 6"
6' 7" 6' 6"
Cu Cap
290' 10" 285' 5"
58' 2" 57' 1"
232' 8" 228' 4"
Applied 25 October 1894 1 November 1895
Examined 25 October 1894 1 November 1895
Registered 1 November 1894 ?(sic) 4 February 1896
Place Registered Ilkeston ? Ilkeston
Number of people  In aft cabin 4 persons ?3  ?3 1/2 
In aft cabin ? 3 1/2
  'Broken up' [presume pre 1946 when register finished] Broken up 24-10-24 
Mr Trevethick - Lenton
    *name of owner and master altered
27 July 1906 when new cert sent 
to Gotham Co Ltd

After Joseph's death in 1900 his estate gross value £275 was divided equally between his sons John and George who continued trading. We have several references to their boats: 

Trent Navigation Company table 13. No 2172 weighed 29 December 1904 
70' 6'' by 10' 7'' with Trent line and jury mast. Rebuilt by Mr R. Gilbert of Lenton for J and G Moore of Shardlow. 
Master G Moore, cargo - Coke, route - to Shardlow 

update 6 Oct 2016:
Among the receipt stubs rescued by Jim Stevenson when the Derby Canal Lock cottage at Sandiacre was demolished are 8 referring to J and G Moore. These include references to cargoes between Sandiacre and Spondon of the following: Permit no. 640, August 13 1918 - 34 tons of blocks; permit no. 642, August 13 1918 - 5 tons, 100 sleepers; permit no. 652, August 15 1918 - 34 tons of sand; permit no. 660, August 16 1918 - 32 tons of cinders. In each case John and/or George Moore are steering their own boats. Another example is shown in the image.

J and G Moore cargoe permit

We know that the 2 narrow boats were still in use in the 1920's as we have snapshots with them in the background under the arch of the Clock Warehouse in Shardlow, still bearing the name Moore - the image is very much enlarged from one of the snapshots. 

J and G Moore's narrowboat at Clock Warehouse

John (1858 - 1940) and his wife Mary Ann (1855 - 1931) had a son Joseph who died in France in 1917. 

George (1865 - ?) and his wife Mary had at least one child - Gertrude. 

We are grateful for information on the family from Joseph's great, great grandson.

John Varley (1740 - 1809) and John Varley jnr (1774 -)
written 25 January 2002
John Varley worked with James Brindley the canal engineer. In 1769 he did a survey for a canal near Rotherham but his first major project was the Chesterfield Canal where he was appointed Resident Engineer on Brindley's death in 1772. In 1792 he worked with William Jessop surveying the Leicestershire and Northampton Union Canal. 
The first mention of him in Shardlow is in April 1793 in connection with the proposed link between Shardlow and the Derby Canal (never built). This information comes from a document at the PRO in Kew RAIL1019/15/54, a bill of costs [list of expenses] for Mr Simpson concerning the Derby and Nottingham Canal Bill 1792 - 4. 
In 1793 Mr Simpson journeys to Shardlow in late January and early April: 
"April 4 - attended Mr Varley, Mr Moore and Mr Outram to advise with them as to the variation proposed for the accommodation of Lord Harrington, Mr Holden and Mr Fosbrook [owners of land over which the proposed canal would pass]." 
April 8 - met Mr Varley at Shardlow. 
April 9 - ".... to inform them that the branch from Shardlow to Derby was abandoned." 
On the 19 January 1795, John Varley (Jnr) of Great Glenn, County of Leicester, engineer married Catherine Rose by license at Aston on Trent [Shardlow's Parish Church]. 
By April 1800 John Varley is listed as an 'Inhabitant of Shardlow'. He has at least 4 boats built for him, probably all by Benjamin Clifford. At this time Varley was working on the Huddersfield Canal. He did a little work on Stanedge Tunnel but was sacked. This loss of confidence in him may have led to bankruptcy, one of his boats having been bought in 1803 "from Mr Varney's creditors". 
It is also possible that the J Varley whose river view was the subject of an engraving by John Soresby (the teenage son of the Shardlow canal carrier) was this John Varley.

Two of John Varley's boats are recorded in the Trent Navigation Company Gauging tables: 
TNCo gauging 350 - boat built 1801 by Benjamin Clifford of Shardlow for John Varley of Shardlow, his boat no 3, master Richard Smith, carrying coal to Leicester. 
73ft X 14ft with small jury mast etc. Capacity 55 tons. 

TNCo gauging 366 - boat built 1802 by Benjamin Clifford of Shardlow for John Varley of Shardlow. 
72ft 4ins X 14ft 5in 
Bought by Joseph Wilkes of Brinsley from Mr Varley-s creditors in 1803. 

Fellows Morton and Clayton
written 27 January 2002
James Fellows started the carrying business at West Bromwich about 1837 and his son Joshua took over about 1860. It is in 1860 that we first know of the firm's link with Shardlow. In late November Mr Fellows and his brother-in-law Mr Davis came to Shardlow to buy 8 Trent boats and 2 canal boats from Mr James Soresby. This begins a fairly regular, sometimes fortnightly, series of visits meeting the Trent boatmen, valuing and purchasing horses and generally supervising his business. Sometimes Joshua brings with him his brother William, his other brother-in-law Mr Rowley and by June 1862 his wife. By then the relationship between the Soresbys and the Fellows has become social, Joshua and James go fishing together and James' sisters went to stay with Mrs Fellows. 
Messrs Joshua Fellows and Co appointed George Cowlishaw as agent in the village. [see above section on the Cowlishaws]. The firm under its various titles appears in the Shardlow directories until the last directory of 1941. 
In the account of rents payable to the Canal Company 25 March 1884, Fellows Morton and Company are paying £1 5s half yearly rent on land at Shardlow. It is not specified where in the village this was but Mr Nash remembering Shardlow in the 1890's says: 
"On the left a large warehouse with a long berth [the Old Iron Warehouse no 17 on the 1852 plan]. Here, privately-owned boats, but mainly Fellows Morton and Clayton boats, the chief inland waterways transporters, would be discharging or loading their cargoes." 
[For more information on the Old Iron Warehouse see the section on Daniels and Payne, Other Traders in the Canal Port
Fellows Morton and Clayton went into voluntary liquidation 1 January 1949. 




 to continue, see links to other sections of THE WORKING PORT below:
Home Page and update info
Exhibition and Special Events 
Brief History of the Village
1882 Map of Shardlow
Shardlow - placename and surname
A Walk through the Village
Photo Gallery
Dobson's boat yard   (NEW 30/10/2016)
Links to Related Sites
 Setting the Scene and 1852 Plan
 Carriers by River and Canal at Shardlow (THIS PAGE)
 Boatbuilders at Shardlow
 Other Traders in the Canal Port
Local Waterways on Old Postcards





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last updated on 6 October 2016