Bathurst Main - Neil's Local History & Mining Site

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Bathurst Main

Collieries > A-B
Bathurst Main. SK 46/56 47306960
‘Batty's Main’.

Information from Abandonment plans of 1893.

Compiled by A.H. Stokes, H.M. Inspector of Mines. Derby. 28th January 1893.
Parish: Scarcliffe.
County: Derbyshire.
Mineral: Silkstone Coal & Fireclay.
Date of Abandonment: 15th December 1891.
Cause of Abandonment: Thickness of seam.
Owner: Lord Bathurst.

Leased to: William Arkwright, Sutton Scarsdale.
Section: Coal: 23 inches.
Section: Clay: 30 inches.

Near to the area now known as Carr Vale a small colliery was sunk during the late nineteenth century and affectionately known by locals as 'Batties Main', which was situated to the south of the later Lancashire, Derbyshire and East Coast Railway tunnel between Carr Vale and Scarcliffe, on Darwood Lane, Spittal Green, overlooking the village. Bathurst Main colliery mined coal on land belonging to Earl Bathurst or Lord Byron of Cirencester Park Gloucestershire who purchased the manors of Palterton and Scarcliffe in the middle of the eighteenth century from the Aspley family. It was on this original site that the clays were mined from a small footril. The colliery worked from two small seams of coal, the Wales and Highmain seams. Sometimes called the Upper Silkstone or Silkstone seams.

The colliery worked small scale here until around 1891 (According to. Geology of the Country Around Chesterfield, Matlock and Mansfield. Smith, Rhys and Eden. H.M.S.O.) When work from the early adits and the later shaft ceased officially. Unofficially however the colliery allegedly 'worked' during the miner’s strikes of the twentieth century culminating in production during the 1972 strike when coal was wound to the surface using an overturned motorcycle as a winding engine. You can appreciate the small scale of the coal mining operations when you realise that the Highmain seam is only twenty three inches thick and the Wales seam between eleven and sixteen inches thick as they run from Carr Vale to Palterton. It was Earl Bathurst along with other local landowners who sought to exploit mineral reserves on their estates but I think they may have been a little disappointed with the coal reserves here.

Near to the colliery site a borehole was drilled one hundred and forty feet into the measures below the Highmain coal seam and a water treatment plant was set up for Bolsover Council as the borehole yielded between four and eight thousand gallons of water per hour. The water was then treated with lime and pumped up to Bolsover to supply the area. It was possibly still in use during the 1960's.

According to later reports the colliery was in use as late as 1896 when the brickworks were to be sold at auction as a going concern. This raises the question were there two collieries in the vicinity? Were the two adits a later colliery and the single shaft an earlier colliery? The single shaft method of mining was outlawed in 1862 after the Hartley colliery disaster. Or could it be that both adits and the shaft formed one mine?

A lease was taken out for the mine in 1885 (31/12/1885) from Lord Byron for forty years at a cost of £100 this included the Clowne seam which lays at a depth of 497 feet from the surface and is around three feet nine inches thick and another seam which is eleven yards above it. (This second seam is only seven inches thick as the Swinton Pottery Coal). Not really a viable proposition one would think. The lease provided for 257 acres of coal. The mined coal was transported from the colliery to the brick works by fifty chains of haulage rope powered by a 14 horsepower horizontal haulage engine.

The Brick Yard.

The Byron brickworks or Bathurst Main may have been owned or assisted by the Sheepbridge company who worked the colliery at Glapwell or one of the sister companies of the Staveley company who worked with the Sheepbridge company on many local ventures and who worked the Ramcroft colliery nearby. The name 'Main' would suggest the Staveley company as many of its collieries were named 'Main'. Electricity generated at the Staveley companies Devonshire Works was fed to the New Byron Brick company works during 1927 as part of a fifty four point two mile system supplying local industry with power on a six thousand six hundred volt supply at thirty cycles per second. Bricks were manufactured from the clays of the mudstones, silty mudstones and siltstones that were found above the Wales coal seam.

The workings included twenty foot of silty mudstones and siltstone bands overlaying twenty five foot of mudstone and silty mudstone with ironstone bands and nodules. The works closed before the Second World War but re-opened during the war to supply the nations building needs. The clay holes were later filled in with refuse and the site landscaped. It is said that Byron Bricks were the countries hardest and most colliery companies purchased their bricks from here to use at their collieries, these bricks were marked with the name of the particular colliery or firm they were to be used at and so several variations of the same brick can be unearthed locally.

Staveley, Hardwick, Ramcroft, Glapwell, Sutton, Byron etc.

From The Derbyshire Times.

After the death of the owner a Charles Baker in 1890 the Bathurst Firestone and Brick Company, held under lease from Earl Bathurst and his Trustees under a lease taken out on the 31st. December 1895 for forty years at £100 per annum rent, since reduced to £50 was put up for auction. The Auction was held at the Angel Hotel Chesterfield on Saturday April 5th. 1890. The works were sold as a going concern and included a mine.

In 1893 the works were put up for auction again by Messer’s. Byron and Rangley on October 28th 1893 at 3:00 pm. Again at the Angel Hotel Chesterfield. Property includes a Newcastle kiln with production capabilities of 100,000 bricks per week with a new chimney. Two Galloway boilers and a well for water for the works that was thirty feet deep. An engine house, drying shed, tramway to footril and winding engine. Along with other portable plant. The works is capable of producing 120,000 bricks per week in total. The works is connected to the Doe Lea Branch line of the Midland Railway by sidings and access is made by a good road.

Again the works is put up for auction as a going concern and is again to be sold by auction at the Angel Hotel Chesterfield on February 1st. 1896. By agreement with Pearson and Sons contractors which runs out at the end of June next. Property includes kilns, drying sheds, two eight foot clay pans and fifteen inch rollers, pug mill, brick press, stone crusher, two Galloway boilers, two cottages and the works. The supply of clay is almost unlimited and is thick and of excellent quality. There is a high demand for bricks locally for workers cottages works and underground use with the extensive coalfield building programmes at Bolsover, Creswell, Shirebrook and Warsop.

It would appear then that during this period of short ownership a lot of investment was being made to the works culminating in the sale of the plant during the building boom of the local colliery and housing sites at Bolsover, Creswell, Shirebrook and Warsop for the Bolsover, Sheepbridge , Shirebrook and Staveley companies.

From the Derbyshire Times Saturday July the 20th 1889 p. 8: col 5.

A Child Decapitated Near Bolsover. A Colliery Proprietor Censured.

On Friday, the 12th instant an inquest was opened at Mr Baker's brickworks near Bolsover Mr C. G. Busby coroner respecting the death of Mary Tinsley aged two the was killed by three trolleys passing over a on the tramway at the Bathurst Main colliery Bolsover. The inquest was however adjourned until Monday when it was held in at the Anchor Inn at Bolsover. George Thomas Tinsley, Market Gardner identified the body is that of his daughter. The child had gone to stay at Mrs Redferns Bathurst Cottage. The trolley line ran past the house down to the brick yard and it was opposite the cottage where his daughter was killed. There was no fencing to keep people of the line. Mary Ann Radford and said about two o'clock the deceased went out of the house towards the tram line, her own child following her. A few minutes afterwards she heard the trolleys ascending and she ran and found the deceased body lying on the line decapitated. It was about 30 a 40 yards away from the house. The head was completely severed from the trunk. She at once obtained assistance, and had the body removed into the house. There was no fence on either side of the line. She had never complained of the dangerous state of the line. She had never heard anyone speak about a fence being put all to prevent people from getting onto the line.

George Bynot, engine driver at the colliery, said he drove the engine that lowered the wagons from the colliery to the brick yard. The engine was a stationary one, and was situated at the bottom of the incline. When in the engine shed he could not see the line but had a man who gave him signals when the line was clear. On the day named about 3 p.m. the signal to proceed was given. He never heard any jerk as the wagons came down. When near the cottages he always slackened speed. Three wagons when full, weigh about three and half tons. He had never had an accident there previously. He had never had any complaint with reference to a fence being placed on each side of the line.

Henry Smith, Palterton, said he was signal man at the colliery incline. He started the wagons by pushing them off and they follow them down as far as the cottages about 900 yards away. The wagons always stop there, in order that he might see whether the line was clear or not. If it was he waved his hands to the engine driver, who came to the window in the shed. On the day named at three o'clock he did not see the deceased on the line He could see the part of the line where the deceased was killed.

Thomas Redfern, brick maker said the place where the deceased lost her life was a very dangerous one, but he had never received any complaints about it. It was a very dangerous place for children. He could not keep his own children off. He then spoke to finding the body on the line. Captain Smith, said Mr A. H. Stokes had seen the place, but he did not complain to them about it.

A verdict of accidental death was returned, the jury adding the following rider; that they consider Mr Baker the owner of the tramway censurable for not having erected a sufficient fencing at the side of the said tramway, and recommended that such fence be forthwith erected and further that some better system be established with the engine house on the top of the said tramway so that the wagons descending the tramway might be brought direct to a standstill.









John Platts.  Clay Holes.


John Platts. Clay Holes.


John Platts. Clay Holes.


John Platts Freddie Wagstaff's Cabin







After the fire the building is inspected by Mr. Platts. Mr. Chapman and Mr. Vass.


(Glynn Waite).
neil@oldminer.co.uk
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