The old mining village of Brereton together with the hamlets of Etching Hill and Slitting Mill now form the outlying parts of the Urban District of Rugeley. (Gelling & Cole, p.; Mills, p.; Poulton-Smith, p.)
The only relic of the Stone-Ages recovered from the area of Brereton is a Neolithic flint scraper tool which was found during ploughing in a small field about 350 yards due west of Foley Farm (SK 050152), just outside the northern perimeter of Brereton Hayes Wood. (AHDS)
Bronze-Age to Anglo-Saxon Brereton (c.2,500B.C. - A.D.1066)
Aside from the single worked-stone tool mentioned above there is no archaeological evidence for any human activity in Brereton throughout the metallurgical periods (i.e. the Bronze- and Iron-Ages) and the succeeding Romano-British period, and although place-name etymology suggests an Anglo-Saxon genesis for the village, it was apparently too small to be considered for inclusion in the Domesday Book of A.D.1086.
Md wayside cross (site of)
ARMITAGE WITH HANDSACRE, LICHFIELD, STAFFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND
001 54 04 W 52 44 03 N
SK 0666 1523
Depositor ID: SK 01 NE 19 http://pastscape.english-heritage.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=304632
"By 1228 the overlordship of BRERETON seems to have been held by the Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield. (fn. 138) It descended with the manor of Rugeley until at least 1555. (fn. 139) A mesne lordship of Brereton was held c. 1228 by Sir Henry de Audley (fn. 140) whose son James surrendered part of it, the land at Red Moor, to the bishop in 1250. (fn. 141) James was still mesne lord in 1254, (fn. 142) but nothing further is known of this lordship. About 1228 Sir Henry de Audley granted his land in Brereton, except for Red Moor, to Adam de Mutton, (fn. 143) who gave 6 acres of this land soon afterwards to William de Mutton, probably his brother. (fn. 144) Sir Adam was dead before 1241, leaving a son Ralph, a minor, to succeed him, and Henry de Audley granted the custody of the lands in Brereton to Adam's widow Isabel. (fn. 145) Ralph himself was dead in 1241, (fn. 146) with an infant daughter Isabel as his heir, (fn. 147) and in 1254 his widow Agnes was claiming ? carucate in Brereton as her dower against Hugh de London who called upon James de Audley to warrant his title. (fn. 148) Ralph's daughter Isabel was married, apparently by 1257, to Philip de Chetwynd, (fn. 149) who was dead by 1284. (fn. 150) By 1290 she was the wife of Roger de Thornton. (fn. 151) Her son Philip de Chetwynd (II) succeeded her in 1291 (fn. 152) and in that year granted a life interest in the manor to Roger, (fn. 153) who was dead in 1297. (fn. 154) Philip made a settlement in 1307 of a messuage, a carucate, 40 acres of wood, and 40s. rent in Brereton, (fn. 155) and was dead by 1308 when his son Philip (III), a minor, had succeeded. (fn. 156) A protracted lawsuit then began concerning the dower of Isabel, widow of Philip (II). (fn. 157) The manor then descended with Reule in Bradley (fn. 158) until at least 1735. (fn. 159) John Viscount Chetwynd (d. 1767), was lord of Brereton in 1750, (fn. 160) and by 1780 the manor was held by his daughter Catherine, wife of John Talbot, (fn. 161) whose son John Talbot (Chetwynd-Talbot in 1786), created Viscount Ingestre and Earl Talbot in 1784, was lord in 1785. (fn. 162) His son Charles Chetwynd was holding the manor in 1800, (fn. 163) and although his right to the manor was questioned by the Marquess of Anglesey in 1818, (fn. 164) the estate remained in the family until the sale of the collieries in 1923 and of the rest of the property between then and 1951. (fn. 165)
From at least 1341 Brereton was within the leet of Cannock and Rugeley and was represented, with Rugeley, by five frankpledges at the twice-yearly view, but by 1463 Brereton presented separately by one frankpledge. (fn. 166) The lord of the manor was holding his own view of frankpledge in 1832 and 1837 along with a court baron. (fn. 167) Surveys of the manor between 1797 and 1837 show it as situated in the parishes of Rugeley, Longdon, and Armitage. (fn. 168) The respective boundaries of the manors of Brereton, Armitage, and Handsacre were in dispute by 1806. (fn. 169)." (VCHS, vol.V, pp.154-5)
LAND AT COLTON MILL (RUGELEY EASTERN BYPASS)
Site code: EBR00A. Two trenches excavated near Colton Mill revealed a length of mill race and associated features.
RUGELEY, CANNOCK CHASE, STAFFORDSHIRE, England
001 54 W 52 45 N
SK 06 17
MILL RACE, WATER CHANNEL, BANK (EARTHWORK)
Post Medieval, Post Medieval, Post Medieval
Marches Archaeology [assessment & evaluation reports]
Wainwright J/2000/Land at Colton Mill, Rugeley, Staffordshire: a report on an archaeological evaluation/Report No 145. Depositor ID: 1356344
A post medieval windmill.
LONGDON, LICHFIELD, STAFFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND
001 54 02 W 52 43 49 N
SK 067 148
WINDMILL 1540 - 1899, POST MEDIEVAL
Depositor ID: SK 01 SE 22 http://pastscape.english-heritage.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=499308
RUGELEY TOWN STATION
Site of railway station on the Cannock Mineral Railway, opened in 1859 and closed in 1965.
RUGELEY, CANNOCK CHASE, STAFFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND
001 56 05 W 52 45 17 N
SK 044 175
RAILWAY STATION - MODERN, 1859, 1965, POST MEDIEVAL
Depositor ID: SK 01 NW 28 http://pastscape.english-heritage.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=502359
Built as a cottage hospital in 1871 to designs by W A Bonney, it comprised a main block with wards, dispensary, administration and domestic accommodation. The laundry and mortuary were separate. A new ward wing was added between 1900-21.
BRERETON AND RAVENHILL, CANNOCK CHASE, STAFFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND
001 55 43 W 52 45 10 N
SK 048 173
COTTAGE HOSPITAL, DISPENSARY, EXTANT BUILDING, HOSPITAL LAUNDRY, MORTUARY, OPERATING THEATRE, WARD BLOCK
MODERN, 1871, 1900 - 1921, POST MEDIEVAL
Depositor ID: SK 01 NW 23 http://pastscape.english-heritage.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=1068080
The 1887 Ordnance Survey map of Staffordshire (1:10,560 scale) shows the locations of numerous mineworkings in the area of Chetwynd's Coppice and Brereton Hayes Wood to the west and south-west of Brereton village centre:
The Alder Carr Coppice Pit, later shortened to Coppice Pit and also known as Coppy or Big Pit, lay at the north-east end of Chetwynd's Coppice south of Coppice Lane, at the south-west end of Redbrook Lane from Ravenhill Village. This mine was sunk by the Brereton Colliery Company and was first recorded on an invoice for bricks (used to line the pit shaft) in April 1842. The two shafts, each 9 feet in diameter, were both sunk to a depth of 420 feet (c.128m) and were completed in 1843; the Downcast Shaft (No.1; SK 0459 1624) was also known as Big Pit, while the Upcast Shaft (No.2; SK 0458 1626) was known to the miners as Gabriel Shaft. The Coppice Colliery was to suffer the worst pit disaster in the history of the Brereton Coalfields on 6th February 1861 when an explosion caused by flooding at the bottom of Big Shaft resulted in the deaths of 5 men and 2 boys. Around 1882 the Coppy was the first pit on the Cannock Chase coalfields to employ electric lighting above ground to illuminate the pithead railyards, workshops, stables and offices, only extending electric lights to the shaft bottoms in the mid-1880's, by which time the Coppice Pit had broken into and incorporated the workings of the nearby Belfast Pit. Another satellite pit of the Coppy, the Flaxley Green Pit, lay about 1,000 yards to the south-west of the Coppice Pit just beside the Stile Cop Road. It had originally been sunk by the Pagets in the 1850's as a trial shaft for the Hayes and Hill Colliery but had been abandoned due to flooding. In 1902 these workings were acquired by the Brereton Colliery Co. who immediately set about widening and deepening the shaft and by 1903 an underground connection had been achieved between Coppy and the Flaxley Green Pit, but on 15th February 1908 the disastrous flooding of the Coppice Colliery, causing the deaths of 3 miners and 5 pit-ponies, was to result in the closure of all three of these mines within 17 months.
The Belfast Pit lay on the eastern edge of Chetwynd's Coppice just south-east of the Coppice Pit and just west of the south-western terminus of the Brereton Colliery tramway. There are 'Shafts' labelled on the 1887 OS map to the immediate south of the pithead buildings. Projected by the Brereton Colliery Company c.1841 after the Old Engine Pit had flooded, the Downcast or 'Engine' Shaft (No.1; SK 0474 1602) was completed c.1843 and attained a depth of 525 feet (c.160m), but the working depth of the mine was later reduced to 399 feet (c.121.6m), the Upcast or 'Back' Shaft attained the same depths; both pits weer 9 feet in diameter. In 1871 the village of Brereton was provided with its first piped water supply, pumped from the depths of the Belfast Pit into Saint Michael's Church and several of the wealthier houses, although the water was of dubious potability. By the 1880's the Belfast Pit had become a 'satellite' of the Coppice Colliery but remained in production until the latter closed down after disastrous flooding in 1908.
The Levels Pit housed some of the oldest coal workings on Cannock Chase and had at least ten shafts dotted about the south-eastern corner of Chetwynd's Coppice. There are three separate spots marked 'Old Shaft' on the 1887 OS map, arranged along the north-eastern face of the India Hills to the west of the colliery buildings, all of which were sunk sometime before 1821; a gravel pit extends the line of these old shafts towards the Belfast Colliery in the north. The Levels Pit was built on land leased from the First Earl Talbot by a partnership of four colliers named Benjamin Rowley, Robert Glover, Gilbert Brown and John Bishton who formed their partnership on 24th April 1791 and started sinking their first shaft in 1792, known as the Valley Pit (SK 0475 1580) it attained a final depth of 381 feet (c.116.1m) and continued in production operating under The Brereton Colliery Partnership until the 1840's.
The Old Engine Pit lay at the mouth of the Slade Valley leading south-westwards onto the upland plateau at Wandon. There are 'shafts' marked on the 1887 OS map to the immediate west of the pit buildings and an 'Old Pit' marked just to the east beside the Slade Stream which runs south-east towards The Springs Farm, where the same map depicts another two spots labelled 'Old Coal Shaft' in a large field to the south-west of the farm buildings. The Old Engine Pit was originally sunk in the 1790's, probably by the same partnership of four colliers who had started the Levels Pit, it's name referring to the fact that it was the first of the pits in the area to have employed a steam engine to pump-out water from its deep workings after the mine had flooded in 1840. The Downcast Shaft of the new pit sunk in the 1840's (No.5; SK 0491 1556) was originally 9 feet in diameter and reached a depth of 606 feet (c.184.7m), being widened to 12 feet in 1908; the Upcast Shaft (No.6; SK 0492 1557) was 9 feet in diameter and reached the same depth. The Old Engine Colliery ceased production in 1928 but the beam-engine was retained in service until 1950, keeping the water in the mine at safe levels calculated to prevent floods in the surrounding mines.
The Hayes Colliery was owned by the Paget family and lay at the northern end of Brereton Hayes Wood mainly to the south of the Colliery Road, opposite the mouth of the short valley named 'The Glen', at the top of which incline lay the Paget Family's Hill Pit. The OS map of 1887 places the main colliery buildings directly opposite the minor road leading north-westwards along 'The Glen', with a Gravel Pit a short distance from the colliery entrance along the Colliery Road to the east and the Holly Bush Public House a short distance along the road westwards, both on the opposite (north) side of the Colliery Road. The Hayes Colliery was opened in 1817 by the Marquis of Anglesey, prompted by the final exhaustion of his shallow mines in Beaudesert Park to the south-west. Four shafts were sunk at this colliery between 1817 and 1847, two to either side of the Slade Road; Ragged Jack's Pit (No.1; SK 0460 1544) and Garden Pit (No.2; SK 0459 1545) both 9 feet in diameter and thought to sink to a depth of 343 feet (c.104.5m) were situated to the north-west of the road, while Middle Pit (No.3; SK 0461 1540) and Water Pit (No.4; SK 0463 1538), collectively known as the Middle Pits, were 9 feet in diameter and sunk to a depth of 405 feet (c.123.4m) to the south-east of the road; Middle Shaft was widened to 12 feet diameter in the 1870's. The coals from this mine were originally carted by a steam-driven rope-haulage system up the slope to the Hill Pit and from there via horse-drawn waggon along the Paget's Plateway into Rugeley, but this circuitous route became superfluous after the advent of the railways into the area in 1859. The Hayes Pit remained in production until the Brick Kiln Colliery was rationalised in the 1870's, after which Hayes Pit shafts Nos.1 and 2 were capped but the two Middle Shafts were retained as service shafts for the Brick Kiln Pit until the mid-20th century.
The Hill Pit was built at the turn of the 19th century on land owned by the Paget family at the north western end of the short valley named 'The Glen' on the top of the escarpment to the north of the Colliery Road. The pit is marked as '(disused)' on the 1887 OS map, which also shows two separate spots marked 'Old Shaft' to the immediate west and south-west of the old colliery buildings; the map also shows the line of the Paget's Plateway as a minor road leading north-westwards towards the Flaxley Pit - indicating that the plateway itself had been dismantled and removed for scrap by this time. The Hill Pit consisted of three shafts, the Hill Downcast Shaft and Hill Upcast Shaft (No.1 & No.2; SK 0421 1553) were both 6 feet in diameter and sunk to a depth of 490 feet (c.149m), the Air Shaft (No.3; SK 0423 1547) was of similar dimension and depth. The mine-owners sank a test shaft some distance to the north-east in the 1850's, the Flaxley Green Trial Shaft, possibly to assist in ventilation of the mine, but this shaft was abandoned after problems with flooding only to be reopened as a satellite of the Coppice Pit in 1902. Work at the Hill Pit ceased in the 1850's as all production was concentrated on the nearby Hayes Colliery, also owned by the Paget Family.
The Brick Kiln Colliery lay at the north-western corner of Brereton Hayes Wood to the south of the Colliery Road, the turnoff being situated just west of the site of the Holly Bush Public House in a field formerly known as 'brick-kiln field'. The OS map of 1887 show no evidence of former mining activity in the immediate area of this pit in the form of old mine shafts but the trackways shown criss-crossing Brereton Hayes Wood were probably once employed as packhorse "coalways" for the distribution of coal excavated from the old bell-pits known to have been in this area. As the name of this pit implies, it was sited upon an old brickworks, the first Downcast Shaft known afterwards as the Brick Kiln Shaft (No.1; SK 0438 1519) was 9 feet in diameter and sunk in 1820 to a depth of 255 feet (c.77.7m) originally as an auxiliary ventilation shaft for the Hayes Colliery. By 1854, however, the Brick Kiln Shaft was operating as a totally separate concern from the Hayes Pit in conjunction with the Upcast or Ingestre Shaft (No.2; SK 0443 1516) which was also 9 feet in diameter but only 105 feet (c.32m) deep. By 1869 another 9-foot diameter shaft known as the Engine or Auxiliary Shaft (No.3; SK 0439 1511) had been sunk to a depth of 105 feet and Nos.1 and 2 Shafts extended to depths of 405 feet (c.123.4m) and 462 feet (c.140.8m) respectively. The Brick Kiln Colliery was not in production at this time and was serving merely as a service shaft for the Hayes Colliery, most of its manpower having been diverted either to sink and work the shafts of the short-lived Startley Pit nearby, or to assist in the major rebuilding of the Brick Kiln Pit which took place between 1872 and 1891 and included the widening of the Ingestre Shaft to 14 feet in diameter and 467 feet (c.142.3m) in depth in the 1980's, and the Brick Kiln Shaft itself being widened to a diameter of 15 feet and extended to a depth of 466 feet (c.142m), also the sinking of another 9-foot diameter Engine Shaft (No.4; SK 0439 1514) to an unknown depth to replace the old Auxiliary Shaft (No.3). The Brick Kiln Colliery continued in operation until 1920, when the Brereton Colliery was formed out of the Brick Kiln, Hayes and Old Engine Pits, and continued in this guise until final closure in 1947.
The OS map of 1887 labels the Startley Pit as an 'Old Shaft' to the north of Startley Lane on the north-eastern slopes of Startley Hill just east of Wandon Lodge. The same map shows the remains of the old tramway leading downhill almost due northwards through Brereton Hayes Wood to pass close beside the Brick Kiln Pit on the east, taking advantage of this collieries distribution network. The remains of this tramway may still seen in Brereton Hayes Wood. The two main shafts of the Startley Pit were both sunk c.1872 to a depth of 160 feet (c.51.2m), the Downcast Shaft (No.1; SK 0446 1454) was 12 feet in diameter, while the Upcast or Bye Shaft was only 7 feet in diameter. The Startley Pit was created in order to continue coal production while the nearby Brick Kiln Pit underwent major refurbishment, and it is thought that the mine on Startley Hill only remained in operation until the Brick Kiln Colliery resumed full production after 1876.
The Flaxley Green Pit sits apart from the other collieries in the Brereton area and lay just east of the Stile Cop Road, marked on the map of 1887 as 'Old Coal Pit' beside the OS benchmark of 491' 1" above OD, the modern Explorer map of the same area shows a 'Shaft (disused)' beside the Public Car Park at the 149 meter benchmark.¹ The Flaxley Pit was owned by the Paget family who also owned the Hill Pit on the top of the scarp to the south-east, both pits being linked by the Paget's Tramway which continued northwards and downhill to Rugeley, taking a somewhat roundabout route to the canal network but thereby keeping to land owned by the Paget family. The Flaxley Shaft (No.1; SK 0385 1583) was originally sunk in the 1850's as a trial shaft for the Hayes and Hill Colliery but was abandoned due to severe flooding without producing any coal. In 1902, however, the land and mining rights of the Flaxley Pit were acquired by the Brereton Colliery Co., who widened the shaft to 10 feet in diameter and sank down to 508 feet (c.154.8m), achieving an underground connection to the Coppice Pit in the north-east. This underground connection was to prove Flaxley's downfall, however, for on 15th February 1908 the disastrous flooding of the Coppice Colliery, which caused the deaths of 3 miners and 5 pit-ponies, also resulted in the flooding of the Flaxley and Belfast workings and the closure of all three mines within 17 months.
There is a difference between these two benchmark readings of 68.4cm or 2' 3" (149m = 488.8392' = 488' 10"; 491' 1" = 491.083' = 149.6840m), caused in part by the changing of the Ordnance Survey datum in 1912 from Victoria Dock in Liverpool to the harbour wall at Newlyn in Cornwall; this, however, would only have caused an error of 1' 4" (the difference between the Liverpool and Newlyn data), the other 11" must be attributed to the difference in the levels of sophistication of the instruments deployed and the quality of education of the men employed in the original survey of the 1840's when compared to those men and machines used in the last full survey of the UK completed in the 1950's.
Tramways and Railways
The Paget's Plateway was a horse-drawn iron-plate roadway built in the early-19th century which linked the Paget Family's mines, running north-west from the Hill Pit to the Flaxley Pit then northwards and downhill, running parallel with Somerset Avenue to the west and the Pear Tree Estate to the east, where its line is still followed by a public footpath. The tramway then continued to the south-east of the Sandy Lane all the way to the crossroads at the south-western edge of Rugeley town Centre, at which point coal from the Paget's mines was sold to the local populace from a wharf beside the plateway. From this point beside the modern Globe Island the plateway proceeded south-eastwards along the Horse Fair - much to the annoyance of the middle-class occupants of the houses along its route - then east alondg the Armitage Road to the wharfs situated on the Trent and Mersey Canal to the rear of the Mossley Public House. Coal from the Paget's Hayes Colliery was hauled by steam engine up the incline of The Glen before being loaded onto the horse-drawn wagons on the plateway at the Hill Pit.
Built in 1810 the Brereton Colliery Tramway or 'Ginnies' Tramway ran from the Brereton Levels Pit arrow-straight across the fields north-eastwards and downhill, passing to the north of Brereton Nursery and crossing the Rugeley Road just east of Saint Michael's Church where the line of the tramway has a decided northwards 'kink' before continuing on the east side of the road, passing south of Brereton Lodge and terminating at wharfs beside a basin of the Trent and Mersey Canal just to the west of Lea Hall, later named The Talbot Basin. The 'Ginnie Wagons' on the tramway were at first horse-drawn all the way from the Levels to the Canal, but the steep south-western section between the Pit and the Rugeley Road was converted to a steam-powered rope-haulage system shortly after the Paget's Plateway was dismantled; the entire tramway fell out of use in 1922.
The Brereton Colliery Railway served many of the Brereton pits, arriving from the north, branching off the Cannock Mineral Railway at Brereton Siding between the Sandy Lane road bridge and Rugeley Town Railway Station, just behind the new Sandy Lane Health Centre. From here, the branch line ran south, roughly following the 100m contour, passing between Redbrook Field to the west and Talbot's Row in Ravenhill on the east before throwing-off a minor branch southwards to service the Coppice Pit, whereupon the railway veered east to skirt the eastern side of Chetwynd's Coppice, passing to the east of the Belfast Pit where it crossed the line of the Brereton Colliery Tramway, thereafter passing the Brereton Colliery on the east before turning south-west at the Old Engine Pit and heading up the Slade valley, running to the immediate south of the road and passing just north of the Hayes Colliery, turning south just after the Holly Bush Public House to service the Brickkiln Pit in Brereton Hayes Wood. The railway was dismantled in the 1960's after the Brereton collieries were closed.
HOBS HILL, PARK FARM
Evaluation as part of the Rugeley Eastern Bypass A513-A51 Link followed earliergeophysical survey. Linear anomalies identified by the latter were proved to bemodern agricultural features.
HOBS HILL, PARK FARM, RUGELEY, CANNOCK CHASE, STAFFORDSHIRE, England
001 55 W 52 44 N
SK 05 16
Birmingham University Field Archaeology Unit LINEAR FEATURE Modern Evaluation 1996 - 1996
West Midlands archaeology 39/1996 69-70,
Birmingham University Field Archaeology Unit [archaeological evaluation reports]
MOULD C/ 1996/ AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL EVALUATION OF LAND AT HOBS HILL, PARK FARM, RUGLEY, STAFFORDSHIRE/ Report No 421
AIP Record Number C.41.1002, Depositor ID: 1116033
The Brereton Collieries 1791 - 1960 by Ken Edwards (CCMHS, 2005); Staffordshire Place-Names including The Black Country by Anthony Poulton-Smith (Countryside, Berkshire, 1995); Dictionary of English Place-Names by A.D. Mills (Oxford, 2nd Ed. 1998); The Landscape of Place-Names by Margaret Gelling & Ann Cole (Shaun Tyas, Stamford, 2000);