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Canal Boat Register Index, 1795-1797


In 1795 an Act of Parliament was passed, later given the Short title the Registry of Boats etc. Act. It ordered that vessels using navigable rivers and canals be registered by the local Clerk of the Peace, who issued certificates as evidence that vessels had been registered. The purpose of the Act was probably to enable speedy requisitioning of barges for use as auxilary troop transports in case of emergency. At the time the country was two years into a series of wars with revolutionary and Napoleonic France, which were to continue, with odd short periods of peace, until 1815.

About the records

This volume (Staffordshire Record Office, Q/Rub/1) contains details of the vessels registered by the Clerk of the Peace for Staffordshire in the period 1795 to 1797. Unfortunately, this is the only surviving register of it's type for Staffordshire and it is possible that after 1797 vessels were not registered at all. Having consulted the surviving records for a number of other counties, it is probably fair to say that for the vast majority of counties the records do not go beyond 1799, the two exceptions encountered so far being Lincolnshire (to 1807) and Sussex.

About this index

The register included the names and place of abode of the vessels' owners and masters as well as the number and capacity of the men employed onboard. It also provides information about the vessel, such as it's burthen (load), number and usual navigation route.