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Coal workings at Dewley Pits, 650m south west of Black Callerton

A Scheduled Monument in Woolsington, Newcastle upon Tyne

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Latitude: 55.0157 / 55°0'56"N

Longitude: -1.7382 / 1°44'17"W

OS Eastings: 416839.640016

OS Northings: 569049.363757

OS Grid: NZ168690

Mapcode National: GBR JB9F.HT

Mapcode Global: WHC3H.86K6

Entry Name: Coal workings at Dewley Pits, 650m south west of Black Callerton

Scheduled Date: 14 January 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016194

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30923

County: Newcastle upon Tyne

Civil Parish: Woolsington

Built-Up Area: Newcastle upon Tyne

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Tyne and Wear

Church of England Parish: Whorlton St John

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument is situated to the south west of the hamlet of Black Callerton,
some 3.5km south of Ponteland, and includes the earthworks and other remains
of a number of late 18th century mine shafts, the earthwork remains of part of
an associated transport system and areas of ridge and furrow cultivation. The
monument lies within seven separate areas.
Documentary sources indicate that coal extraction had begun at the site by the
17th century. The surface remains of the monument include dispersed shaft
mounds which provide evidence for the transition from small, low investment,
dispersed collieries of the 18th century and earlier, to the capitally
intensive nucleated mines which emerged in the latter 18th century. The Dewley
Pits continued to be worked into the 19th century and were the workplace of
George Stephenson during the early part of his career.
The largest area of the monument is situated to the south of Broom Hall and
includes the earthwork remains of Lady Pit, which was mined in the later 18th
and early 19th centuries. It includes a large sub-circular shaft mound
measuring approximately 50m by 40m, and other features associated with the
operation of the shaft will survive as buried remains. To the west of the
shaft mound are the well-preserved remains of a waggon way embankment running
north-south, which is linked to Lady Pit by two short branch lines. Both the
shaft mound and the waggon way overlie an area of ridge and furrow
cultivation, which is included in the scheduling because its relationship
to the mining features illustrates the impact of the Dewley Pits on the
earlier rural landscape.
Approximately 260m south west of Lady Pit, in a separate area, is a further
shaft mound with an irregular-shaped shaft collar. The remains of a waggon way
which originally ran along the south side of the mound has been modified by
ploughing and is therefore not included in the scheduling.
To the east of Lady Pit, in four separate areas, are the earthwork remains
of four widely-spaced shaft mounds which are aligned north east-south west.
Map evidence indicates that at least three of these shafts were originally
linked by a waggon way which ran adjacent to each shaft. This waggon way has
been modified by ploughing along much of its length and is not included in the
scheduling, but its route is marked by a public footpath that follows its
course. The southernmost shaft mound, known as Engine Pit, is situated
immediately to the north of Stamfordham Road. It measures approximately 50m by
40m and has an irregular plan. Further to the north east, on the east side of
Andrew Plantation, is a large shaft mound and its associated spoil heap. Both
are irregular in plan and overlie the earthwork remains of earlier ridge and
furrow cultivation. A sample, 20m wide area, of the ridge and furrow on the
south west and south east sides of the shaft mound is included in the
scheduling in order to preserve the relationship between these features. Some
160m to the north east are the earthwork remains of the shaft mound and spoil
heap of the mine formerly known as Brass Pit, whilst 580m further north east,
on the east side of the hamlet of Black Callerton, are the remains of a
sub-circular shaft mound which is also included in the scheduling. The area
immediately surrounding each of these shafts will retain buried features,
including the post holes and timber supports for winding gear, which will
contribute towards an understanding of how the shafts were worked.
A further sub-circular shaft mound is visible approximately 350m to the north
east of Lady Pit and is included in the scheduling in a separate area. It
measures 40m by 30m and will also retain buried deposits associated with the
operation of the shaft.
The modern brick pumping house on the east side of Lady Pit, the electricity
poles and all fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath these features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Coal has been mined in England since Roman times, and between 8,000 and 10,000
coal industry sites of all dates up to the collieries of post-war
nationalisation are estimated to survive in England. Three hundred and four
coal industry sites, representing approximately 3% of the estimated national
archaeological resource for the industry have been identified as being of
national importance. This selection, compiled and assessed through a
comprehensive survey of the coal industry, is designed to represent the
industry's chronological depth, technological breadth and regional diversity.
Extensive coal workings are typical of the medieval and post-medieval coal
industry, although this style of exploitation continued into the early 20th
century in some marginal areas which were worked on a very small scale with
little capital investment. In its simplest form extensive workings took coal
directly from the outcrop, digging closely spaced shallow pits, shafts or
levels which did not connect underground. Once shallower deposits had been
exhausted, deeper shafts giving access to underground interconnecting
galleries were developed. The difficulties of underground haulage and the need
for ventilation encouraged the sinking of an extensive spread of shafts in the
area worked. The remains of extensive coal workings typically survive as
surface earthworks directly above underground workings. They may include a
range of prospecting and exploitation features, including areas of
outcropping, adits and shaft mounds (circular or sub-circular spoil heaps
normally with a directly associated depression marking the shaft location). In
addition, some sites retain associated features such as gin circles (the
circular track used by a horse powering simple winding or pumping machinery),
trackways and other structures like huts. Some later sites also retain
evidence of the use of steam power, typically in the form of engine beds or
small reservoirs. Extensive coal mines vary considerably in form, depending on
the underlying geology, their date, and how the workings were originally
organised. Sites can include several hundred shafts spread over an extensive
Coal occurs in significant deposits throughout large parts of England and this
has given rise to a variety of coalfields extending from the north of England
to the Kent coast. Each region has its own history of exploitation, and
characteristic sites range from the small, compact collieries of north
Somerset to the large, intensive units of the north east. A sample of the
better preserved sites, illustrating the regional, chronological and
technological range of extensive coal workings, together with rare individual
component features are considered to merit protection.

The coal mining remains at Dewley Pits survive well and represent a remarkable
and well defined concentration of late 18th and 19th century shaft mounds and
an associated transport system. Its earthwork remains, and buried deposits in
the area immediately surrounding each shaft, provide information for both the
historical and technological development of coal mining in this area and for
the operation of the individual shafts themselves. The Dewley Pits will
contribute towards an understanding of the transition from small scale, low
investment mining to the more capital intensive, nucleated mines that emerged
in the late 18th century and thus represents a rare example nationally from
this period of transition. Areas of ridge and furrow, the remains of earlier
agricultural activity, are included in the scheduling because their physical
relationship to the mining remains is illustrative of the impact of
industrialisation on the rural landscape in the post-medieval period.

Source: Historic England


Ayris, I, (1994)
Title: 1st Edition
Source Date: 1881

Title: First Edition
Source Date: 1881

Source: Historic England

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