What follows is a summary of the legal documents (held by the Estates Department of the Canal and Rivers Trust) relating to the Complaint by Richard Hanbury Gurney which in turn refers to the following events (in italics) and documents. The documents in bold face are reproduced in full and can by read by clicking on the link. (They will open in a separate window). [The numbers in square brackets refer to the relevant page(s) in the Complaint document]
There is also a file of brief biographies of some the individuals mentioned in the various documents. I have included those who came up with results when Mr Google was consulted.
For brevity in this summary the groups of defendants are reduced to the first and last surnames of the group. Thus:
Heath/Yatman = John Benjamin Heath John Druce Ellen Yatman and William Hamilton Yatman
Wright/Jerningham = Anthony George Wright Biddulph and John Wright Dominic John Corrigan Henry Robinson Edmund William Jerningham Margaret Campbell Mary Campbell Clare Campbell and Henry Campbell and Henry Burton Robert Burton John Bartlett and William Eyke (deceased) Anthony John Wright Biddulph Vincent Eyre Thomas Barnewall William Blount Charles Weld Michael Ellison George Charlewood and Edward Edwards and John Wright and Edmund William Jerningham
Duckett/MacKinnon or Duckett/Mackinnon/Birkbeck = Sir George Duckett George Floyd Duckett and Isabella his Wife George Burrard and Isabella his Wife Sir Henry Pottinger Walter Warde and William Alexander McKinnon the Younger, occasionally with the addition of Henry and Lucy Elizabeth Birkbeck.
17 May 1824 The Hertford Union Canal was promoted by Sir George Duckett who succeeded in promoting an Act of Parliament that gained its Royal Assent on this day. The Act authorised Duckett to borrow up to £50,000 to fund construction, and to charge tolls for using the canal, initially one shilling (£0.05) per ton of goods carried.
November 1824 Sir George Duckett Baronet alleged himself to be solely entitled to the River Stort Navigation and applied to Richard Hanbury Gurney for an advance of £40,000 
17th November 1824 Sir George Duckett and his wife mortgaged the River Stort Navigation to Richard Gurney for £40,000 at 4% interest per annum 
16th November 1824 Indenture of Lease 
17th November 1824 Indenture of Release 
18th November 1824 Sir George Duckett and his wife mortgaged the River Stort Navigation to William Yatman for £5000 at 4½% interest per annum 
1830 With Francis Giles appointed as engineer, the Hertford Union Canal opened in 1830 and was for some years known as Duckett's or Duckett's Cut. It was not a commercial success, and within a year offers to waive the tolls were being made
22nd March 1832 A fiat in Bankruptcy was issued against Sir George Duckett and Sir Francis Bernard Morland, Baronet and Thomas Tyringham Bernard, Esquire, his partners in their business as Bankers. Moses Asher Goldsmid was duly appointed Official Assignee of their Estate. (Official Receiver) 
The following summary of his bankruptcy is taken from NA/B9/14
Sir George Duckett became bankrupt with the failure of Duckett, Morland & Co*(Bankers) formerly Duckett, Morland and Bernard on 4 May 1832. Duckett's private estate showed that he had assets of
5 River Dee Shares £460
12 Grand Union Canal Shares £228
10 Southwark Bridge Shares £40
25 Regents Canal Shares £400.
Roydon House with contents (excluding books and valuables) £5000
Down Hall Farm Roydon. £10,000
* The partners were Sir Francis Bernard Morland and Thomas Tyringham Bernard but neither of these gentlemen seemed to have had an interest in the Stort.
By the Stort Navigation with warehouses, wharfs, land etc averaging about £5000 p a and which by Act of Parliament passed 1762 is freed from all taxes, whatsoever and all conveyances relating to it are freed from stamp duty. If the property is divided into shares it will realise €150,000.
The new canal with 45 acres of land at Bethnal Green with works and engine. As the Government has advanced £20,000 on the security of this canal before it was commenced, and before some part of the land was purchased, it is considered not to be over-rated at £45,000.
(He had mortgage debts on his 1st Mortgage on the Stort to Richard Hanbury Gurney Esq. of interest at 4% payable half-yearly on 18th May and 18th November on £40,000 and his 2nd Mortgage on the Stort to the executors of Mr Mitchell of interest payable at 4½% payable at the same time on £5000. He also had the remainder of thje Exchequer Loan of £20,000 on the new Canal and works when there was about 22 acres of land where the interest at 4% was payable yearly on £12,140 from 5th Jan 1832. There were also debts to William Seymour, Surveyor of the Stort of £500
And taken from NA/ PWLB 2/11.Sir George Duckett in reference to his bankruptcy in 1832 wrote to the Loan Board pointing out that out of the £20,000 loaned for the Hertford Union Canal he had repaid £7,860 leaving £12,140 outstanding. He said that 'As his father made the Stort navigable at his own expense and as these two public works are and will be of great public utility and as he is debarred from any corresponding or future benefit could the interest on the outstanding part of the loan be deducted i.e. £1456 - 16 - 0. But the Treasury would not agree.
8th May 1834 Indenture of Release grounded on a Lease for a year executed between the Receivers, the Defendant Sir George Duckett, Anthony George Wright, John Wright and Edmund William Jerningham and Sir George Duckett and Francis Giles 
8th May 1834 Deed Poll assigning the Navigation to John Wright Edmund William Jerningham Sir George Duckett and Francis Giles as Joint Tenants [7-8]
8th May 1834 Indenture [8-16]
31st May 1836 Deed Poll executed by John Wright and Edmund William Jerningham 
January 1838 Isabella Duckett (Sir George’s daughter) married Sir George Burrard 
10th December 1842 Sale of land realised £1250 which was paid off the principal of Richard Gurney’s mortgage, leaving £38750 plus accrued interest (Stort Deed 182a) [18 ]
16th February 1842 Sale of land realised £100 which was paid off the principal of Richard Gurney’s mortgage, leaving £38650 plus accrued interest (Stort Deed 182a) 
23rd July 1844 Indenture regarding further security required by Richard Gurney also resulting in William Yatman’s mortgage being reduced to £1000 due (Stort Deed 184) 
October 1844 Dame Isabella Duckett dies 
5th April 1845 William Yatman dies (Will of 26th December 1844 proved in May 1845 and January 1848) 
June 1845 George Floyd Duckett married Isabella Smith 
18th June 1845 Indenture to protect annual payment of £200 to Isabella Duckett nee Smith 
25th October 1845 Deed Poll by Lewis Powell renouncing the trusts of the Indenture of the 8th May 1834 
25th April 1846 Indenture to protect annual payment of £100 to George Floyd Duckett and Isabella Burrard 
11th November 1846 £250 paid to Richard Gurney off the principal and interest paid up to this day leaving £38400 outstanding since which time some further payments had been made on account of the accruing interest but the whole of the sum of £38400 together with a considerable arrear of interest still remains due 
4th March 1847 Francis Giles dies 
……and the battle continues in the following events and documents
13th July 1849 Supplemental Bill of Complaint Gurney v Birkbeck
Amendment of List of Defendants  then contesting the right of the heirs of Henry Birkbeck to retain certain sums relating to the tolls.
20th February 1852 Report requiring payment of £40,887 15 6d by Heath/Yatman by 20th August 1852
20th August 1852 Heath/Yatman did not attend to pay £40,887 15 6d
17th December 1852 Foreclosure absolute; Heath/Yatman stand foreclosed (discharged 29th July 1853)
22nd March 1853 Report of subsequent interest and capital to November 1852, and requiring payment of £40333..9..2d by Wright/Jerningham on 22nd June 1853
3rd May 1853 Confirmation of Order Absolute of 22nd March 1853
22nd June 1853 Wright/Jerningham did not attend to pay £40,333 9 2d
29th July 1853 Order discharging 17.12.1852 foreclosure and requiring payment of £39,395 16 4d by Heath/Yatman on 29th August 1853. If they default, then Wright/Jerningham pay same on 29th September 1853. If they default, then Duckett/MacKinnon/Birkbeck pay same on 29th December 1853
29th August 1853 Heath/Yatman did not attend to pay £39,395 16 4d
29th Sept 1853 Wright/Jerningham did not attend to pay £39,395 16 4d
2nd November 1853 Order of foreclosure absolute against 1st and 2nd set of Mortgages. Heath/Yatman and Wright/Jerningham stand foreclosed
29th December 1853 Duckett/MacKinnon/Birkbeck did not attend to pay £39,395 16 4d
1st January 1854 Richard Hanbury Gurney dies
21st March 1854 Order of Review and Supplement. John Henry Gurney assumes the debt in place of Richard Henry Gurney deceased.
9th June 1854 Order for Foreclosure Absolute; Duckett/MacKinnon stand foreclosed
16th August 1854 Enrolment of order of 9th June (Document missing)
16th September 1854 Enrolment of order of 2nd November 1853 Trustees: Harry Birkbeck, William Birkbeck, Francis Hay Gurney, John Gurney and Henry Ford Barclay (Document missing)
This site was last updated 23/01/14