Manuscripts and Special Collections

Brigg Court of Lincolnshire Commissioners of Sewers, 1725-1940

The 'Commissioners of Sewers for the Limits of the Levels in the County of Lincoln, City of Lincoln and County of the said City and part of the County of Nottingham' had jurisdiction over drainage in parts of the Wapentakes of Manley, Corringham and Aslacoe in north Lincolnshire.

In 1875 they were responsible for the east bank of the River Trent from Gainsborough to the Humber, low-lying areas along the River Eau and the Bottesford Beck, and the south bank of the Humber from Trent Falls to the River Ancholme.


Map of areas drained by the River Trent and the River Ancholme

Printed map of the levels within the Wapentakes of Manley, Corringham and Aslacoe, 1875 [Br Y 4]


Commissioners of Sewers were empowered to hold courts which had oversight of waterworks maintenance, drainage schemes and banks in their area. Local people were obliged to pay taxes or assessments to pay for such schemes.

The earliest minute book in this collection dates back to 1725. It records Courts of Sewers held for the Wapentakes of Manley, Corringham and Aslacoe, plus the Wapentakes of Walshcroft, Bradley Haverstow and Yarborough. Courts for Manley, Corringham and Aslacoe only appear to have begun sitting in 1741. The court for Manley, Corringham and Aslacoe Wapentakes was normally held in Scotter until the 1830s, at the George Inn in Kirton in Lindsey from 1834 to 1859, and in Brigg (also known as Glamford Brigg) from the 1850s onwards. The Clerk to the Commissioners was based at Brigg from at least 1802 onwards.

In April 1940 the powers of the Court of Sewers were transferred to the River Trent Catchment Board. This was succeeded in 1951 by the Trent River Board, and in 1965 by the Trent River Authority.

At the present day, two Internal Drainage Boards based at Messingham and Scunthorpe continue the work of maintaining water levels in these areas.



The records of the Court of Sewers were transferred to the University Library by the Trent River Board in 1961 and numbered Br. A subsequent transfer was made in 1975 by the newly formed Severn Trent Water Authority. The records in this accrual have been given the reference Br 2.

Multi-level descriptions of the Brigg Court of Sewers records are available through the Manuscripts Online Catalogue.

The bulk of the records date from the mid-nineteenth century up to the transfer of the Court's powers in 1940. They include original Commissions of Sewers, bearing the sovereign's signature (1860-1904), minute books (1725-1940), accounts (1855-1940), maps and plans (1846-1940) and correspondence and miscellaneous papers (1762-1940).



Paper signed by 15 jurors, listing their presentments relating to sewer and drain defects

Jury Verdict, 1813 [Br P 23]



Next page:  Trent Navigation Company, 1780-1934


Manuscripts and Special Collections

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