Route record MYO2045 - Foss Navigation


Main monument record for the Foss Navigation. The Foss Navigation Company was formed in 1793. Under the 1793 Act of Parliament, the Company had "power and authority to purchase Lands, Tenements, and Hereditaments … and to make and maintain a navigable communication for Boats, Barges and other Vessels … from the Junction of the River Foss with the River Ouse … to Stillington Mill." In April 1794 work began, Castle Mills Lock was constructed, Wormald's Cut dug and the navigation was open to Monk Bridge by December. During 1795 work on cutting, and the building of locks, lock-keepers' cottages and bridges was carried out as far upstream as Strensall. Although surveyed by the distinguished engineer William Jessop, much of the actual work by the Company's Engineer, Mr Moon, was not satisfactory, and he was dismissed. This was as a result of a report by John Rennie, another famous engineers, but he would not stay to supervise the work himself. So a new engineer, Mr Scruton, superintended the construction of the reservoir near Yearsley and that of two locks and a bridge at Strensall. All this work was carried out in 1796 and 1797. Further funds were raised in 1801. There then followed an argument as to whether the route of the canalisation should approximately follow the river course between Strensall and Sheriff Hutton Bridge, or whether a canal be cut across country. The shorter, but more expensive, canal route was chosen, and as a result there was no money left to continue the navigation to Stillington Mill. Thus the navigation terminated in a basin half a mile west of Sheriff Hutton Bridge. This work was completed in April 1805 when the whole navigation was opened. The River Foss was improved for river navigation in 1804. Only cropmarks now remain of the wholly canalised section between the river and Sheriff Hales Bridge, which formed the uppermost stretch of the Foss Navigation.


Grid reference Centred SE 62521 56671 (3982m by 10866m)
Map sheet SE65NW
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire


Type and Period (2)

Full Description

NMR Information:

Cropmarks of the canal opened in 1804 which formed the uppermost stretch of the Foss Navigation, centred at SE 63956305 and running from the canal head at SE 63176437 to SE 64496179 where it joined the river course (1).

Most of the navigation was abandoned in 1859. (2)

1 Oblique aerial photograph reference number NMR SE 6463/20 (12097/17) 22-AUG-1990
2 The canals of Yorkshire and north east England, volume 2 by Charles Hadfield

Related event: part of the English Heritage/RCHME Vale of York project. It forms part of the National Mapping Programme (NMP) and was undertaken by the Aerial Survey
section in the York office. 1998-2000.

1973, The River Foss from Yearsley Bridge to York - its history and natural history (Bibliographic reference). SYO913.

1973, The River Foss From Yearsley Village to York. Its History and Natural History. (Bibliographic reference). SYO1210.

Sources/Archives (2)

  • --- Bibliographic reference: 1973. The River Foss From Yearsley Village to York. Its History and Natural History..
  • --- Bibliographic reference: 1973. The River Foss from Yearsley Bridge to York - its history and natural history.

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (26)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Record last edited

Nov 10 2020 4:11PM


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