Some pictures, comments and observations...
For tying up the barge horses..?
Okay, this is what it was for..Taken from a website called Canal Junction...(I'm working on the latest picture you posted, will let you know what I find out, if anything.)'The towline, although only made of cotton, was quite destructive for it was constantly getting wet and covered in grit and ashes from the towpath. Pulled hawser tight between boat and animal its abrasiveness could quickly cause damage to anything it rubbed against- bridge brickwork, lock walls or wooden gates. Today the most significant evidence of centuries of horseboating are the marks left by thousands of horse lines scarred into the iron guards and rollers that were fixed to locks and bridges to protect the stonework. These guards and rollers were of course of benefit both ways for the wear and friction on the towline rubbing against a hard metal plate was far less than rubbing through a groove in brickwork. Even so a horse line would only last a couple of weeks before the middle was frayed and worn out and had to be replaced. This left lots of short ends suitable for tying-up ropes or fender making but, like horse fodder and stabling, new towlines were a constant necessary expense for the horse boat captain.'
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