The Navigation Company crest

The Navigation Company crest was designed by Sir Joseph Banks, the patron of the navigation who also chose the motto, a quotation from Ovid, “Leve fit quod bene furtor onus,” which translates as, “The heavy burden, correctly carried, becomes light.” In this context Banks clearly meant that carriage would be by boat on the new navigation. His design can still be seen above the doorway of Navigation House in Sleaford.
Typical of the cargoes carried on the Navigation were; corn, wheat, barley and oats from Sleaford and; wine, perry, cider, tea, hops, rice, fruit, salt, malt, flour, oil, seeds, nails, and coal to Sleaford. In short, coal in, grain out, as reflected in the Company Crest.


A copy of the original sketch drawing by Sir Joseph Banks of the crest for the Sleaford Navigation Company.

The crest was made up of a number of distinct elements. The navigation gave the farmer a wider market for his corn which could now be transported cheaply to the new industrial towns along the waterway network and the figure of the miner demonstrates the importance of coal to the developing industries created by the new transport links. The navigation brought coal into Sleaford.

The scales indicate the importance to trade of the cargoes carried by the boats. The boat may be symbolic rather than an accurate representation of the craft operating on the Sleaford Navigation but the sacks clearly represent cargo. Locally grown corn was vital to the economy of Sleaford. The wellhead or pump is a reminder of the importance of drainage to the fens through which the navigation passes.