Ancient Monuments

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Brandy Bottom Colliery, part of Parkfield Colliery

A Scheduled Monument in Pucklechurch, South Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 51.4922 / 51°29'31"N

Longitude: -2.4596 / 2°27'34"W

OS Eastings: 368188.196885

OS Northings: 177127.362498

OS Grid: ST681771

Mapcode National: GBR JX.K805

Mapcode Global: VH88J.BR2G

Entry Name: Brandy Bottom Colliery, part of Parkfield Colliery

Scheduled Date: 22 January 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019400

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28872

County: South Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Pucklechurch

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Pucklechurch and Abson

Church of England Diocese: Bristol


The monument includes a 19th century steam powered colliery built on the site
of an earlier 18th century colliery. It lies at the foot of a west-facing
slope 2km east of the outskirts of Bristol in an area containing a number of
springs and wells within the Bristol coalfield.
Sunk in the early 1800s, Brandy Bottom Colliery was owned by Lord Radnor. In
the 1850s it was leased to the firm of Wethered, Cossham and Wethered, to
assist the adjacent Parkfield Colliery which lay about 1km to the north east,
in pumping and ventilation. Brandy Bottom then became known as Parkfield
Colliery South, with a depth of 225yds according to Handel Cossham's note
book. Brandy Bottom Colliery or Parkfield South was closed in 1936, and since
then has been derelict.
It is unclear as to when coal was first dug east of the River Severn, but
documentary evidence shows that it had been dug in Kingswood from at least
the reign of Edward I, and by the 13th century it occurs regularly as an item
in accounts. By 1679 the Kingswood area of Bristol had become such a typical
colliery district that the coal pits were recommended to visitors to the
neighbourhood as a sight worth viewing. One of the most important colliery
owners in the Bristol mining district during the later 19th century was Mr
Handel Cossham. Until his death in 1889 he was the controlling power in the
management of the Kingswood and Parkfield Collieries, and the property of his
company comprised in 1891, about 3000 acres of mineral freehold, with a daily
output from the collieries from 700 to 1000 tons of steam and house coal,
while employment was found, above and below ground, for on average 1500
The site forms a rough triangle bounded by a disused railway cutting, about 2m
deep, on the north west side. The railway served as a means of transporting
coal from the colliery, and a sample is included in the scheduling. On the
south side a spoil tip is included and marks the limit of the site on this
side, and on the north east side a shallow ditch, believed to be a field
drain, 0.5m deep and about 1m to 1.5m wide, defines its extent. At the north
end of the site, near the railway line, is an unroofed brick building, which
measures 3m by 2m, thought to be a weighbridge. Close to the weighbridge are
the two halves of a large spoked iron wheel, about 6m in diameter, thought to
be part of the headgear of a pit. This was imported from a coal mine in South
Wales, but is included in the scheduling as it is of the same type as that
used at Brandy Bottom, it relates to the technology of 19th century mines, and
contributes to an understanding of this monument. About 40m to the south west
of the weighbridge is a spoil tip approximately 60m long, 20m wide and 5m
high, at the south end of which is a group of buildings including a chimney,
engine house and workshop. These buildings are composed of brick and stone and
are also unroofed. The chimney is about 40m high, and largely of brick
although the lower 15m is of stone. The stonework of the other buildings stand
to about 5m high.
To the south west of these and included in the same complex of buildings is a
heapstead, beam engine house and boiler house. The heapstead stands to about
5m high, the first half in stone, the remainder in brick. The Cornish beam
engine house is thought to retain its internal engine settings.
About 20m to the south west of this complex is the shaft, a fan house and a
horizontal steam winding engine house, although nothing survives of the engine
settings. Steam driven fans were common on 19th century and early 20th century
collieries, although few standing examples now survive. The fan house at
Brandy Bottom is brick built and contains a complete circular fan housing.
Abutting the fan house, on its south side, is a second irregularly shaped
spoil tip measuring 160m east-west by about 70m north-south and 5m to 6m high.
Between the disused railway line and the main colliery buildings is a pond and
the ruins of South Parkfield Cottage which are included in the scheduling. A
building on the site of South Parkfield Cottage is shown on the 19th century
map, and is therefore thought to be contemporary with the colliery. The
function of the building is not known, but it was part of the colliery
landscape. The pond is about 10m wide at its widest point and is 20m long, it
appears to be a couple of metres deep and is marshy. At the north west end of
the pond is a brick built culvert, with a corresponding stone built one at the
other end. The pond is thought to have provided water for the steam driven
engines of the colliery.
A number of features are excluded from the scheduling: these are the tarmac
surface of the community forest path, sign posts and the metal post and wire
fencing around the site buildings.

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.
The term `nucleated' is used to describe coal mines that developed as a result
of increased capital investment in the 18th and 19th centuries. They are a
prominent type of field monument produced by coal mining and typically
consist of a range of features grouped around the shafts of a mine. The
simplest examples contain merely a shaft or adit with associated spoil heap.
Later examples are characterised by developed pit head arrangements that may
include remains of engine houses for pumping and/or winding from shafts,
boiler houses, fan houses for ventilating mine workings, offices, workshops,
pithead baths, and transport systems such as railways and canals. A number of
later nucleated mines also retain the remains of screens where the coal was
sized and graded. Coke ovens are frequently found on or near colliery sites.
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 nucleated coal mines, together with rare individual
component features are considered to merit protection.

The Brandy Bottom Colliery site contains the remains of a complete 19th
century steam powered colliery. Amongst the standing buildings are a single
storey twin cylinder horizontal steam winding engine house, a steam powered
fan house, a Cornish beam engine house and a stone and brick built boiler
chimney, with some of the buildings, for example the fanhouse, being rare
survivals nationally. As a group these features demonstrate the spatial
arrangement and workings of a late 19th century mine. It is very unusual for a
site of this period to survive in such a complete form, and the undisturbed
buried remains of engine bases, boiler settings and additional features will
be present and represent considerable potential for the study of the coal
mining industry in this area. The colliery is accessible to the public by
virtue of a footpath and cycle way which run through the site, and is one of
only a few sites remaining in this area which represent this once widespread
industry. The Parkfield Collieries were only one of the firms with interests
in the Bristol Coalfield, a coalfield which, in the late 19th century produced
over 500,000 tons of coal, and had a significant impact on the economy of the
Bristol area.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Gloucester, (1907), 236
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Gloucester, (1907), 237

Source: Historic England

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