1819: Somerset Coal Owners Complain of Competition

From the Taunton Courier and Western Advertiser, 30th March 1927, relating to 1819.

On February 28th, 1819, “the Lessees and Proprietors of Coal Works in the County of Somerset, on the respective Lands of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, part of His Royal Highness's Duchy of Cornwall, the Earl of Warwick, and many others, addressed a petition to the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty's Treasury protesting against the 'Dean Collieries' being allowed to convey their coal on and across the Severn into the Stroud Canal to a place called Brimscombe Port, in Co. Gloucester, and thence by means of other Navigations into the interior of the Counties of Wilts and Berks without paying the Duty thereon, there being no Custom House at which to pay the same”.

The petitioners were thus placed in an “alarming situation”, for the proprietors of the Dean Collieries were thus “enabled to send their Coals on and across the Severn from Lydney to the opposite shore and Brimscombe Port, and by means of Canals communicating therewith into Wilts and Berks the Natural Markets of the Somerset Coal Owners”. The latter contended that the Severn opposite Lydney was “Open Sea for all the purposes of the Act of Parliament”, and that Forest of Dean Coal ought to pay Customs Duty after crossing it.

One would think that it would have been much more sensible for the Somerset Collieries to have amalgamated with the Dean Collieries and to have shared the natural markets of both.

[NOTE: This article is from 'Notes and Queries', a widely-used way of discussing and sharing research on local history in newspapers for many years before internet forum discussions took over.]