The Edyvean Canal

The Incline Plane of the Eddyvean Canal

"The Edyvean Canal from Porth to Mawgan Porth via St.Columb Major to carry mainly sand, seaweed and stone. Work started in 1773. It was never completed. At Lusty Glaze an inclined plane can be seen linking canal and sea. The canal was dug to Rialton at a height of 100 ft passing under the path from St. Columb Minor to Penrose. Parts are clearly visible. A section from Mawgan Porth to Whitewater was used for three years. Failed attempts were made to complete it in 1829."

Text of plaque over Lusty Glaze Beach

John Edyvean was a wealthy blind man of St.Austell [St.Columb?]. He was as an advocate of the canals that were being built all across the country in the 18th century and in 1777 he proposed a scheme for a lockless canal system covering the whole country. Before then however in 1773 he obtained an Act of Parliament for the construction of a semi-circular canal to run from Mawgan Porth to St Columb and back to the sea at St Columb Porth. Its purpose was provide an easier means of transporting the sand an seashell used to improve the soil condition of farmland. Two sections were completed but having spent all his own considerable fortune and most of his sister's money, Edyvean realised he was unlikely to obtain any real return on his investment, gave up and died soon afterwards.

The idea of a canal from Mawgan Porth to St Columb was revived some half a century later, when Richard Retallick, of Liskeard issued a prospectus, dated 3 March 1829, of an intended canal from St Columb Bridge to Mawgan Porth, and of other works to render the Porth a secure Harbour for vessels in the summer months. However this came to nothing.

Porth Section

Route of canal below St. Columb Minor

Remains of a canal bridge buried in the undergrowth

As well as the incline plane at Lusty Glaze, the route of the canal, highlighted in this photograph, can still be clearly seen running along the hillside below St. Columb Minor.

Buried in the undergrowth the remains of an original bridge can still be made out where the St.Columb Minor to Penrose footpath crosses the line of the canal.

Mawgan Porth Section

Route of canal from Mawgan Porth

A second section of the canal was built at the 200 foot level to the north of the Mawgan Porth river and over three miles of the route can be located from Trenance to Trevedras Farm.

Text of 1829 Fund Raising Prospectus



An intended Canal from St. Columb Bridge to Mawgan Porth,

And also of other Works to be done at the Porth, to render it a secure Harbour for Vessels in the Summer Months.

IN order to detail the advantages of the above Canal and Habour both to the Public in generally and also to those who may invest their money in this undertaking, it will be necessary to begin with an account of the Cost at which the Canal and Habour may be completed, as the same has been calculated by Mr. Retallick, of Liskeard, who had the chief management of the Canal at that place, and who has surveyed the Ground for the purpose: And, in the next place, to make an estimate of the quantity of Sand and Coal which it may be fairly presumed will be sold in St. Columb, and the different Parishes in its Vicinity.

With respect to the first of those particulars, Mr Retallick states that the Canal may be completed, in every respect, for the Sum of £6,150, and he has offered to do it himself for that sum,

 To the sum of £6,150 must be added the value of the Land necessary for the Canal, which is estimated at £800, and also the expense of the Act of Parliament, which may be taken at £500 more. These three sums together will make £7,450. which may fairly be considered as the utmost expense of the Canal.

With respect to the Harbour, a sum of about £300. will suffice, in the first instance to render it secure for the short time which Vessels, laden with coal, will lie there, after discharging their Cargoes.
The Interest of these several Sums, at £5 per Cent. will amount to £387 10s.

With reference to the advantages of the Canal, and in order to show those who may be desirous of taking shares in it that at least a fair return may be expected for the money laid out, the following particulars may be stated as the result of calculations made by persons acquainted with the subject.

 To begin with St. Columb. The Sand now used, by individuals of that Parish, has been estimated at about 9,000 Load per annum, which, after deducting incidental expenses, it is calculated will pay the proprietors a clear 1s. per Load, yielding a revenue of £450 per annum.

The Several Parishes of St. Wenn, Roche, and Mawgan, without taking St. Dennisinto the account, it is considered will take 3,000 Loads more, yielding a revenue of £150 per annum.

To these sums may be added £120 per annum, which it is thought, on a moderate estimate, will be the Profit on the Coals which may he conveyed on the Canal to supply the Town of St. Columb.

These three Sums will make £720 per year ; added to which, offers have been made by the Proprietors of Clay Works inSt. Stephens to bring their Clay for Shipment at Mawgan, and to return with Sand. And there can be but little doubt that a considerable Income, in addition to the above statement, will be derived from the Carriage of Lime, Timber, Slate, and other Articles which may be brought from St. Mawgan.
 The calculation of the Sand has been made on the quantity now used ; whereas it may be fairly presumed, that when obtained at the cheap rate of 1s. 3d. per Load, for which it can be sold at St. Columb Bridge, the quantity will considerably exceed the estimate. *

However, taking it merely at the forgoing estimate, the following will be the result.  
  £.  s.  d.
Interest of the money for completing the Canal and Harbour, at £5 per cent, 387 10 0
Annual Income £720. from which is to be deducted £100. per annum, for the Expenses of Management, leaving clear, per annum, 620  0  0

Which will be about. £8 per Cent. on the Capital invested in the undertaking, without estimating the
 Profit on the Carriage of Lime, Timber, Slate, Clay, and other Articles

It is intended that the Capital shall be raised by 310 Shares of £25 each. which shall be paid Such
Instalments as may be hereafter agreed on.

Dated St. Columb, March 3, 1829

*  The Price of a Load of Sand at St. Columb is at present 4s 6d.

JOHN LIDDELL PRINTER, ST. COLUMB.(An Apprentice wanted.)

Watching Brief

Route of canal below St. Columb Minor

In 2008 South West Water, working in the Porth area, replaced a sewage pipline which crossed the path of the canal. The Historic Environment Service recorded a section through this crossing point. Their findings confirmed that the canal had never been completed. Only cutting into the hillside and creation of a terraced way had been carried out.

See "Porth SWW Main Replacement, Newquay, Cornwall. October 2008. Archaeological Watching Brief" - Report No. 2008R124 Historic Environment Service (Projects) Cornwall County Council

January 2009