Nag's Head engine house, 230m north of Home Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Nag's Head engine house, 230m north of Home Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SJ 40852 06376

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. 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 Nag's Head engine house is one of a notable group of late 18th and early 19th century pumping engine houses within Pontesford, and the only one to survive without alteration. The interior of the building will retain buried deposits relating to the technology employed at the mine. It preserves internal fittings and technological information relating to the operation of late 18th century engines.


The monument is situated on the south west outskirts of the village of Pontesford. It includes the standing and buried remains of the Nag's Head engine house, which was originally part of the former Pontesford Colliery. The engine house is one of a group of early engine houses in the village and is thought to be the earliest, dating to the 1790s. The others have been converted to dwellings, and the Nag's Head engine house is the only one to survive unaltered.

The building survives to a height of around 10m. The engine house is of stone to first storey level, but the arched opening in the south west wall which accommodated the pivoting beam of the engine is of brick. A lean-to structure on the north west side, also of brick, has been interpreted as either a boiler house or blacksmith's workshop. The engine house retains internal details, including engine fittings and a condenser pit, which provide valuable technological information about the type of engine installed in the building.

It is understood that the machine was either a Newcomen atmospheric engine or a Boulton and Watt steam engine. The former was the earliest type of `steam' engine generally employed in mine drainage, but was not strictly steam powered. Steam was let into a closed cylinder attached by a piston to the engine beam, and was then condensed to create a partial vacuum, allowing atmospheric pressure to push the piston down into the cylinder and raise the beam end. Boulton and Watt developed a more efficient engine in which sufficient steam pressure was generated to raise the piston on its own, although atmospheric pressure still produced much of the engine's motion. The unaltered Nag's Head engine house and its internal fittings are therefore unusual survivals from a period of technological experimentation and advancement.

All fence posts, field walls and modern structures such as greenhouses 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. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Brown, I J, 'Journal 1976' in The Pontesford Mine Engine House near Shrewsbury, (1976), 22-24
Davies, T et al, 'Mining Remains in SW Shropshire' in Pontesford Colliery, , Vol. 18, (1993), 49-53
Notes from fieldwork, Instone, Eric , Pontesford Engine Houses, (1994)


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

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