|Water flowing over the weir and through the derelict chamber of Moor lock. The stonework is still in remarkably good condition.|
|Original Owner||Caistor Canal Navigation Company|
|Principal Engineer||Robert Dickenson|
|Date of Act||1793|
|Date of first use||1800|
|End Point||River Ancholme|
|Status||Derelict but largely extant|
The Caistor Canal was a 4-mile (6.4km) canal in Lincolnshire, England, constructed in 1800 and abandoned in 1936, although it was not used after 1855. It ran from the River Ancholme, near South Kelsey toward Caistor through 5 locks, although it did not reach the town as it terminated in Moortown 3.5 miles (5.6km) away.
Water transport to the area served by the Caistor Canal were improved as a result of work carried out on the River Ancholme between 1767 and 1769. The Caistor Canal was therefore conceived in July 1792 as a feeder to the river, enabling boats to reach the marker town of Caistor, some 8 miles (13 km) to the east. An initial meeting was called by a Mr Hall on 3 July 1792, at which it was decided to ask the canal engineer William Jessop to prepare a survey of the route. His plans were considered by the Ancholme Navigation Commissioners, in order to assess the risks of flooding caused by such a proposal. As they did not oppose the plans, the canal was authorised by an Act of Parliament passed on 3 June 1793, which created the Caistor Canal Navigation Company, with powers to raise £15,000 in £100 shares to construct the canal, and an additional £10,000 if required. The potential for flooding was to be mitigated by routing the local springs into the head of the canal.
Work on the construction of the canal began in 1795, when Robert Dickenson was employed as the engineer, and under his direction, the canal took about five years to build, opening in 1800. Traffic consisted of agricultural produce leaving the area, with lime for fertiliser, coal and general merchandise moving in the opposite direction. There were five locks, which lowered the level of the canal by 42 feet (13 m), although Priestley stated that there were six. The Act authorised the building of the canal to Caistor, and a lane was constructed from the town centre to the site of the proposed basin, but the construction stopped at Moortown, some 4 miles (6.4 km) to the west. It is likely that financial problems were the reason for this, as the company borrowed £4,600 from Francis Foljambe, one of the commissioners of the River Ancholme Navigation in 1798, and income from the tolls was not sufficient even to pay the interest, for there were £574 of arrears on the loan by 1813.
Soon after it opened, there were proposals to extend the canal to Market Rasen, but no further action was taken. The canal had a working life of 55 years, as it was not used after 1855, but was not formally abandoned until the passing of the Caistor Canal Act Revocation Order in 1936.
The canal is no longer navigable, as the lock gates have been removed and replaced by fixed weirs, in order to maintain the water levels. The remains of the five locks and the bridge where the River Ancholme towpath crossed the canal are now grade 2 listed structures, under the care of West Lindsay Council. Despite being closed, two narrowboats successfully reached the first lock in 2002.
(Links to map resources)
|OS Grid Ref||Notes|
|Junction with River Ancholme||TF010989||Start of canal|
|South Kelsey bridge||TF042989|
|Moortown wharf||TF071992||End of the canal|