In the Sixteenth century the people of Stamford submitted a petition to the crown asking permission to improve the navigation of the river Welland between Stamford and Market Deeping by creating a new cut to bypass the watermills. A 'Navigation Act' was signed by Queen Elizabeth I in 1571.
After a few false starts the canal construction was begun by Daniel Wigmore in 1664 at a cost of £5000. Its completion date is not exactly known but traffic was reported to pass up and down in 1673.
The canal was six and a half miles long and twelve locks completed the navigation. The canal started at Hudd's Mill, and there are still groundworks visible just to the east. The ten locks on the canal were turf sided with stone abutments. The other two locks on the River Welland in Deeping St James had stone chambers to withstand the faster flow of the river when in flood. Some excavation on the canal bed near Stamford revealed that blue clay puddling was used to line the canal.
Mid 18th-century warehouses are still in evidence near the Town Bridge, which was the upper limit of the navigation. The gas works of 1824 (now the Albert Road car park) was clearly situated to take deliveries of coal from barges. River traffic quickly succumbed to railway competition (the Leicester to Peterborough line opened in 1848), and the last vessel left the town in 1863.
http://www.alangodfreymaps.co.uk (Lincolnshire Sheet 151.05)