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Coal mining remains 350m north west and 520m north of New Works village

A Scheduled Monument in Little Wenlock, Telford and Wrekin

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Latitude: 52.6763 / 52°40'34"N

Longitude: -2.5038 / 2°30'13"W

OS Eastings: 366035.164344

OS Northings: 308850.208161

OS Grid: SJ660088

Mapcode National: GBR BV.4J97

Mapcode Global: WH9D2.HZYN

Entry Name: Coal mining remains 350m north west and 520m north of New Works village

Scheduled Date: 15 June 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018461

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31753

County: Telford and Wrekin

Civil Parish: Little Wenlock

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Hadley Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield


The monument, which lies 350m north west and 520m north of New Works village,
includes the earthworks, buried remains and machinery of an area of coal and
ironstone mining which was intensively worked from at least the 14th century.
It lies within two separate areas of protection.

Coal seams run very close to the surface at the site, and were initially
worked from shallow surface workings. Coal was also extracted from shafts in
the medieval period and later; a vertical shaft to the coal seam was worked
out in all directions, giving a bell-shaped profile. Pillar-and-stall workings
(where large blocks of coal were left in place to support the roof of the
mine) were also used. Later mining worked the seams from deeper shafts, using
horse power and then steam engines for power winding and drainage. The north
eastern part of the site includes numerous shallow depressions, which
archaeological excavation by Lancaster University in 1993-4 has shown to be
opencut workings. These extend over a considerable area, and a sample area in
the central northern part of the site is included in the scheduling in order
to provide evidence of this type of working. Deeper cuts and shafts driven in
later years disturbed the spoil of earlier workings, creating a sequence of
complex earthworks which preserves evidence of early mining technology as
buried remains. This is particularly evident in an area of elevated spoil,
whose surface retains several small mounds up to 1m in height. The deeper
shafts typical of 18th and 19th century mining are visible as shaft mounds,
with collars of spoil surrounding a central depression. An engine bed from
this period survives, on which stood a steam engine for winding or pumping.
The engine bed and buried remains in the vicinity retain valuable
technological information about later coal mining on the site.

The central and southern parts of the monument are dominated by a large flat-
topped tip, and also include the remains of intensive small-scale coal mining,
with evidence of continued use over a long period. Numerous subcircular
hollows with associated mounds of spoil are visible in the south east, and
these are believed to be the surface expression of medieval mining remains.

The area around NGR SJ 6600 0885 includes very many depressions, with
spoil heaps and an area of subsidence believed to be the result of pillar-and-
stall workings, dating to the late medieval period. A windlass found near a
shaft at NGR SJ 6626 0885 is a typical component of simple winding mechanisms,
usually driven by horse power and typical of 18th century mining. A spoil heap
at NGR SJ 6595 0891 includes timbers, ironwork and a concrete platform dating
to the late 19th century. The north western part of the monument includes
further shaft mounds, and some shallow depressions thought to result from
trial excavations or prospecting to locate further coal deposits.

Much of the site is crossed by a network of broad tracks which are believed to
retain the buried remains of wooden tramways, used to transport the coal from
the mines. These remains will contribute to an understanding of 18th and 19th
century transport systems at coal mines.

All fence posts, modern walls, track surfaces and pylons 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 350m north west and 520m north of New Works village
survive well as an area worked intensively, on a small scale, over a period of
at least 500 years. The earthworks and buried remains of mining activities are
well-preserved and diverse. They will provide valuable information on
technology, such as methods of drainage and winding in the developing coal
industry, and will retain artefactual evidence of mining on the site.
Machinery remains, such as the engine bed and windlass, will further
contribute to an understanding of daily operations on this and other coal
mining sites. The loss of neighbouring coal mining landscapes in a recent
programme of opencasting, increases the value of this site as a representation
of the coal industry's development up to the 20th century.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Lancaster University Archaeological Unit, , Shortwood, (1994)
'Lancaster University Archaeological Unit' in Coal mines, and associated workings, (1994)
Ref 04503, Shropshire SMR, West of New Works Lane, (1993)
Report on survey and excavation, Lancaster University Archaeological Unit, West of New Works Lane: Shortwood, (1994)
Source Date: 1902
Title: Shortwood
Source Date: 1882

Source: Historic England

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