Site of pumping engine at Muxton Bridge colliery


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018468

Date first listed: 16-Nov-1998


Ordnance survey map of Site of pumping engine at Muxton Bridge colliery
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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: Lilleshall and Donnington

National Grid Reference: SJ 72299 13319


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. 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 free-standing design of the pumping engine at Muxton Bridge colliery and the survival in situ of details such as holding bolts make it an unusual and informative site. The technological information included within the monument adds to the range of data available on steam engines, pumping and general approaches to coal mining in the late 19th century.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument lies within woodland near the village of Muxton. It includes the standing, buried and earthwork remains of a site which formerly housed a rotative beam pumping engine, used for draining coal workings at Muxton Bridge colliery.

Coal was mined in the area by the early 19th century, and small-scale workings may have taken place before that date. Muxton Bridge colliery, established around 1830, was a relatively early deep mine sited next to a canal to allow easy and cheap transport of coal. Little is known of its history until 1870, when a 26' Cornish type beam engine was installed to pump water from the mine. Between 1882 and 1902 a pair of horizontal winding engines were installed in a building which still survives but is not included in the scheduling. Inefficient management, however, led to the closure of the colliery in the early years of the 20th century.

The pumping engine was of an unusual free-standing design, rather than the more common arrangement of an engine enclosed in a purpose-built structure, and its remains include valuable technological information about the machine which was originally sited here. The remains include a 2.5m high section of the bob wall, a thick wall on which the pivoting iron beam of the engine was supported. Large bolts to hold the engine in place survive in situ.

Immediately east of this wall fragment, stone foundations with further bolts indicate the position of the cylinder in which steam was generated. Further remains 3.5m east of the bob wall include an engine bed also with holding bolts, a narrow flywheel pit of around 0.4m width and 2m depth, and further fixtures including a 0.6m length of iron pipe fixed in sockets. The shaft which the pumping engine drained lies immediately west of the bob wall, and is now capped and defined by a low brick wall. In addition to these well- preserved features, further features showing technological details will survive as buried remains.

Modern fences, path surfaces and the modern wall outlining the shaft are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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: 31760

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Pearce, A, Mining in Shropshire, (1995), 27-41
Horton and Biddle, Unknown (seen as photocopied extract only), (1987)

End of official listing