Page:Rivers, Canals, Railways of Great Britain.djvu/72

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50
AXE RIVER.

frequently overflowed and rendered useless for agricultural purposes. Application was therefore made to parliament for powers enabling the proprietors of lands to improve the drainage of the same, and to make the navigation more efficient; an act accordingly was obtained on the day above quoted, entitled, 'An Act for draining, preserving from Water, and improving, certain Low Lands and Grounds, lying within the several parishes, or chapelries, of Wookey, Westbury, Rodney-Stoke, Wedmore, Mear, Weare, Nyland, Badgworth, Biddisham, East Brent, South Brent, Cheddar, Axbridge, Compton Bishop, Loxton, Bleadon, Brean, Berrow, and Lympsham, all in the county of Somerset; and for altering and improving the Navigation of the River Axe, within the said parishes of Bleadon, Lympsham, Loxton, East Brent, Compton Bishop, Biddisham, Badgworth, Weare, and Axbridge, some or one of them, above and from a certain place called Southern Mead Bars, situate within the said parish of Bleadon.' By this act, the execution of the works proposed, was entrusted to three commissioners, who were authorized to raise £15,000, on mortgage of the rates and assessments which they were empowered to collect, for the purposes of the act, from owners of lands that were benefited by the drainage; and for their trouble, in executing the trust, a salary of three guineas a-day each was also granted them. Their power extended to four years and six months beyond the time required for the execution of the works, and after that, the navigation and drainage were to be vested in the commissioners of sewers for the county of Somerset.

In the execution of the above works, the commissioners have shortened the navigation by making two cuts, one of which, near Loxton, is above a mile in length They have also constructed a lock, near Southern Mead Bars, which is the only one upon the river. The navigation, by this act, is free of toll. It extends to the village of Lower Weare, near Axbridge, and from its head, to its fall into the Bristol Channel, is nine miles in length.

The line of the proposed Bristol and Taunton Canal crosses this river, near the village of Loxton, and from whence, a branch was laid out to extend to Cheddar, but this part of that projected canal, together with the above-mentioned branch, is now abandoned.