Coal mining remains 350m north west and 520m north of New Works village
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1018461
Date first listed: 15-Jun-2000
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Telford and Wrekin (Unitary Authority)
Parish: Little Wenlock
National Grid Reference: SJ 66035 08790, SJ 66275 09076
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
Reasons for Designation
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.
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
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.
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 31753
Legacy System: RSM
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)
Title: Source Date: 1902 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: 25"
Title: Shortwood Source Date: 1882 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: 25
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing