THE SOMERSET RIVER AUTHORITY & WESSEX WATER AUTHORITY (SOMERSET DIVISION)

This record is held by Somerset Heritage Centre

Details of THE SOMERSET RIVER AUTHORITY & WESSEX WATER AUTHORITY (SOMERSET DIVISION)
Title: THE SOMERSET RIVER AUTHORITY & WESSEX WATER AUTHORITY (SOMERSET DIVISION)
Reference: D\RA
Description:

Commissioners of Sewers for Somerset had been functioning from the late medieval period over an area of about 160,000 acres although records of their activities survive locally only from the 18th century. A system of 'dole' work developed whereby landowners undertook allotted portions of works which were overseen by the viewers or dyke reeves who made presentments at the sewers sessions for their division. Late 18th century and early 19th century schemes, e.g. Axe, Brue and King's Sedgemoor Drainage, imposed further duties of maintenance of artificial streams. The responsibilities for these schemes devolved on the commissioners of sewers following the completion of works specified in the acts. The River Tone remained under the view of the Conservators of the Tone, although from 1877 works were undertaken by the Drainage Commissioners. The Parrett Navigation Company, formed in 1836, took over navigation responsibilities for that river but was insolvent by 1860. Following the Land Drainage Act (1861) five drainage districts were set up for the Parrett hinterland, Chedzoy, Aller Moor, Stanmoor, Curry Moor and North Moor, and commissioners of sewers were appointed for the King's Sedgemoor district, thus removing it from the Langport and Bridgwater divisions. General Commissioners for Othery, Middlezoy and Westonzoyland were appointed in 1841 under the terms of the enclosure act of 1830. Following the Somerset Drainage Act (1877) overall control of the area of the rivers Axe, Brue and Parrett, Tone, Ile and Yeo (123,000 acres) was vested in the Drainage Commissioners. Ten new internal drainage boards were created, viz. Upper Axe, Lower Axe, Upper Brue, Lower Brue, King's Sedgemoor and Carey Valley, Bridgwater and Pawlett, Stockland, Cannington and Wembdon, West Sedgemoor and Langport. Saltmoor was also created but later amalgamated with Othery, Middlezoy and Westonzoyland.

 

The Land Drainage Act (1930) led to the creation of the Somerset Rivers Catchment Board which took over the powers of both the Somerset Drainage Commissioners and the Somerset Commissioners of Sewers since the Midland (Wells) and Northern(Wrington) Divisions of Sewers continued after 1877. Three new internal drainage boards were created, viz. Gordano Valley, North Somerset and West Mendip. In 1946 a board was set up for the Dunster district.

 

The Somerset River Board succeeded the SRCB in 1951 and took over river pollution prevention duties previously administered by local authorities. It also assumed the powers of the Avon Brue and Parrett Fishery District which had been created under the Salmon Fishery Act (1865). The SRB became the Somerset River Authority which was merged with the local water boards to become the Somerset Division within the Wessex Water Authority in 1974. The accumulation of much of the pre-1930 records is due largely to the efforts of E.L. Kelting, OBE, engineer to the Board 1938-1973.

 

Details of related drainage records in other collections are noted in their appropriate sections. The River Authority archives were sorted and assigned reference codes when at the Somerset River Board offices. This arrangement was in effect up to 1985 and consequently was adopted by Michael Williams in his work The Draining of the Somerset Levels (1970). This older arrangement, e.g. Parrett Navigation, (PN) Brue Drainage (BD), Drainage Commissioners (DC) has been superseded by a numerical system of coding.

Date: 1684-1974
Held by: Somerset Heritage Centre, not available at The National Archives
Arrangement:

INDEX

 

1 Commissioners of Sewers for Somerset

 

1/1 General

 

1/1/11-17 Commissions & subsid. papers 1773-1929

 

1/1/18-26 Public Undertakings 1811-1881

 

1/1/27 Reports 1854-1873

 

1/1/28-29 Newspapers 1801-1885

 

1/2 Northern Division (Wrington)

 

1/2/1-10 Sewers Sessions Books 1782-1934

 

1/2/11-33 Court papers 1760-1913

 

1/2/34-53 Schedules of Sewable lands & rates with plans 1834-1920

 

1/2/54-89 Miscellaneous, incl. accts. 1836-47 1801-1930

 

1/2/90-93 North Weston Drainage 1810-1840

 

1/2/94-98 Congresbury Drainage 1811-1881

 

1/2/99-101 River Kenn Drainage 1861-1883

 

1/2/102-105 Kenn Moor 1834-1899

 

1/2/106-115 Individual Views: Banwell Jury 1771-1934

 

1/2/116 Congresbury Jury 1867

 

1/2/117 North Weston 1869-1898

 

1/2/118-119 Worle & Kewstoke 1881-1931

 

1/2/120-124 Yatton 1774-1937

 

1/2/125-133 Public Undertakings 1862-1932

 

1/2/134-139 Plans of Yatton & Portbury Levels post 1904

 

1/3 Eastern Division (Wincanton)

 

1/3/1-8 Court papers & subsidiary papers 1793-c.1920

 

1/4 Midland Division (Wells, Glastonbury)

 

1/4/1-6 Sessions books 1826-1935

 

1/4/7-14 Various: rates, etc. 1772-1879

 

1/5 Western Division (Bridgwater)

 

1/5/1-3 Sessions Books 1789-1881

 

1/5/4-13 Various: rates, plan, etc. 1684-1878

 

1/6 Southern Division (Langport)

 

1/6/1-5 Sessions Books, 1790-1827, with Bridgwater, 1759-1765; Axbridge, 1784-1789 1759-1881

 

1/6/6-16 Various: rates, surveys, plans 1804-1880

 

1/7 North Western Division (Axbridge)

 

1/7/1-3 Sessions books [see D\RA/1/6/1 above for 1784-1789] 1790-1880

 

1/7/4-9, 11 Various: court papers, rates 1816-1881

 

1/7/10 Cheddar Moor Reeves' accounts 1802-1875

 

1/8 King's Sedgemoor Drainage

 

1/8/1-2 Award & plan 1796

 

1/8/3-11 Various: rates, plan, etc. 1775-1877

 

1/9 Brue Drainage

 

1/9/1-4 Award & plan 1806

 

1/9/5-8 Commissioners' minutes and accounts 1801-1881

 

1/9/9-27 Various: plans, rates, deeds, etc. 1802-1891

 

1/10 Axe Drainage

 

1/10/1-5 Award, plan & act 1802-1810

 

1/10/6-7 Commissioners' minutes 1811-1817

 

1/10/8-19 Rates 1802-1879

 

1/10/20-34 Various: deeds, accounts, reports & plans 1800-1857

 

2 Somerset Drainage Commissioners

 

2/1 Minute Books 1877-1931

 

2/2 Accounts 1881-1932

 

2/3 Rates & assessments 1880-1929

 

2/4 Commutation of liabilities 1881-1925

 

2/5 Plans post 1840-early C20

 

2/6 Additional lands - see also 2/5 above 1879-1927

 

2/7 Letter Books 1886-1932

 

2/8 Reports: Engineers & Finance Committee 1881-1929

 

2/9 Various: Somerset Drainage Act 1877; mortgages, orders, licences, contracts and plans, legal cases 1877-1932

 

2/10 Public Undertakings 1883-1927

 

2/11 Newspapers & cuttings 1864-1929

 

3 Parrett Navigation Co.

 

3/1 Minutes 1836-1878

 

3/2 Accounts 1836-1878

 

3/3 Various: Parrett Navigation Act, 1836, Bye-laws, 1838, & subsidiary papers, deeds, contracts, plans, mortgages, assignments of shares 1835-1880

 

4 Individual Drainage Districts

 

4/1 Othery, Middlezoy & Westonzoyland

 

4/1/1 Drainage, plan & Act 1830, 1838

 

4/1/2-8 General Commissioners' minutes 1841-1945

 

4/1/9-12 Southlake sub-district ledger & rates 1923-1961

 

4/2 Chedzoy

 

4/2/1-3 Board minutes 1865-1962

 

4/2/4 Financial statements 1867-1952

 

4/2/5-11 Various: creation of the District, deeds, contracts, plans and bonds 1865-1927

 

4/2/12-16 Correspondence, returns, etc. 1866-1908

 

4/2/17-21 Vouchers 1866-1913

 

4/2/22 Sale plans of the Manor & Parish of Chedzoy n.d., c.1850, 1860

 

4/2/23 Correspondence 1932-1938

 

4/3 Curry Moor

 

4/3/1-6 Board minutes 1864-1969

 

4/3/7-11 Accounts 1863-1912

 

4/3/12-20 General papers 1879-1900

 

4/3/21-29 Various 1864-1941

 

4/4 Northmoor

 

4/4/1-3 Board minutes 1913-1963

 

4/4/4-31 Various: plans, rates, general papers & contracts 1866-1928

 

4/5 Bridgwater & Pawlett

 

4/5/1-4 Board minutes 1881-1962

 

4/5/5 Pawlett Water Board minutes 1942-1946

 

4/5/6-24 Rates, accounts & general papers 1881-1952

 

4/6 Cannington and Wembdon

 

4/6/1-4 Board minutes 1900-1968

 

4/6/5-6 Rates & accounts 1926-1958

 

4/6/7-8 Letter Books 1923-1931

 

4/7 Lower Axe

 

4/7/1 Board minutes 1959-1966

 

4/8 Langport

 

4/8/1 Board minutes 1958-1969

 

4/9 King's Sedgemoor and Carey Valley

 

4/9/1 Board minutes 1964-1968

 

4/9/2 Tender 1951

 

4/10 West Sedgemoor

 

4/10/1 Irrigation Bye-laws 1889

 

4/11 Upper Brue

 

4/11/1 Contracts for works 1882-1902

 

4/12 Dunster

 

4/12/1-2 Rates 1948-1958

 

5 Avon Brue & Parrett Fishery District

 

5/1-2 Orders, plan establishing the district bye-laws & later orders 1857-1939

 

5/3-6 Fishery Committee (conservators) minutes 1866-1950

 

5/7 List of conservators 1867-1922

 

5/8-11 Accounts incl. licence books 1925-1950

 

5/12-14 Various: correspondence & papers 1921-1950

 

5/15 National Assoc. of Fishery Boards papers 1935-1939

 

6 Somerset Rivers Catchment Board

 

6/1 Orders, bye-laws, sanctions for purchases of lands, plan of North Somerset Internal Drainage District 1931-1946

 

6/2 Minute Books with a duplicate series, incl. Engineers' Reports, 1936-1950 1931-1950

 

6/3 Accounts 1930-1936

 

6/4 Letter Books 1932-1948

 

6/5 Reports: Financial, rainfall & artificial series of engineers' reports 1824-1950

 

6/6 Commutations of Liabilities schedules & plans 1936-1938

 

6/7 Various: schemes & plans, general papers 1931-1967

 

6/8 Public Undertakings 1932-1943

 

6/9 Legal papers 1935-1937

 

7 Somerset River Board

 

7/1-2 Board Minute Books with committee minutes from 1954 1950-1965

 

7/3 Committee Minute Books 1950-1956

 

7/4 Reports 1950-1965

 

7/5 Letter Books (incl. S.R.A.) 1950-1975

 

7/6 Accounts (incl. S.R.C.B.) 1946-1959

 

7/7 Miscellaneous 1942-1965

 

8 Somerset River Authority

 

8/1 Minute Books 1965-1974

 

8/2 Reports, estimates 1965-1974

 

8/3 Miscellaneous 1964-1974

 

9 Miscellaneous historical documents relating to Drainage Matters collected by E.L. Kelting, former engineer to Somerset River Authority [1637]-1958

 

10 Wessex Water Authority (Somerset Division)

 

10/1 Minute Books (none deposited yet)

 

10/2 Reports, etc. 1971-1977

 

10/3 Inherited Records

 

11 West Somerset Water Board

 

11/1 Minute Books 1962-1974

 

12 National Rivers Authority South Western Region

 

12/1 Minutes

 

13 Miscellaneous

 

13/1 Acts of Parliament

Language: English
Extent: 135 Boxes, 100 volumes, 100 rolls.
Subjects:
  • Somerset
  • Drainage
Creator Names:
  • Commissioners of Sewers for Somerset, fl 1400-1930
  • Somerset Drainage Commissioners, 1841-1930
  • Somerset Rivers Catchment Board, 1930-1951
  • Somerset River Board, 1951-1960s
  • Somerset River Authority, 1960s-1974
  • Wessex Water Authority (Somerset Division), 1974-1996
Immediate Source Of Acquisition:
  • C/2259, C/2305, C/2785, C/3243, C/3336, S/1467, S/2398a , S/2644

     

    G/460

Conditions of access:

open

Related Material:
  • [See also A\BFD - Maintenance books, Congresbury area, 1849, 1891, 1910 & n.d (c1918)].

     

    For accounts 1867-1952, see DD\BA/2/1-7

     

    For Stanmoor District Board rate & mortgage 1863-1865, see DD\LC/25/1

     

    For West Mendip Internal Drainage District rates, 1937-1951, see D\B\wsm/37/2/1-6.

     

    For accounts 1882-1952, see DD\BA/3/1-3

     

    For accounts 1911-1952, & byelaws 1955, see DD\BA/4/1-2

     

    See DD\LC/33/1-9 & A\BOI

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