1) A shallow-bottomed boat for use on inland waterways.
The OED has references from c.1300 which identify one type of barge as a sea-going vessel with sails. These would be different from the barges on inland waterways which were flat-bottomed and used principally for freight. Selby Abbey had such a boat from the early fifteenth century, and entries in an abbey account roll indicate that it had a crew of two or three men and that it moved heavy loads over quite long distances, even along marshy waterways into Lincolnshire: 1411-2 Et in servicio duorum hominum cum Roberto Bird navigancium bargeam domini cum lapidibus de Selby usque Stalyngburgh xxd. In the 1440s there was a dispute between York and St Mary’s Abbey about fishgarths in the Ouse, and surviving documents contain additional information about this type of craft. It was used by the Mayor and others for several voyages down the river to Blacktoft, with stops at places such as Selby, Howden and Cawood: 1444-5 solutum pro ciphis, salo et clavibus emptis apud Ebor’ pro nave vocata le Barge. Other entries include: j rodir pro nave vocata le Barge
j panno conducto pro coopertura navis vocate le Barge . The rudder suggests how the boat was steered and the cloth canopy was a partial protection against the weather. In 1478 a new barge was ordered to be built in York, in response to the King’s Commission … for to seirch the Ryvers of Ouse, Wherff, Ayre, etc. and we have details of the timber required: The parcells of the stuff yevyn to the said barge filoweth [sic] … a greit tre to a botham tree and three other treis, and a half hundredth of clift burde. The earliest references are also in York: 1358 Petrus del Barge, mariner, York
1375-6 Thomas de Percy, habendo bargeam ... arraiatam
1414 volo quod Monasterium beatć Marić Ebor. habeat navem meam vocatam barge.