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Rainton Colliery

Houghton le Spring, Sunderland


North Pit



Entry Created:

3 Sept 2021

Last Updated:

5 Sept 2021




North Hetton Co. (1850s), Lady F. A. Vane Londonderry (1850s), Marquess of Londonderry (1890s)

Description (or HER record listing)

An unnamed pit is shown at this location of a plan of 1777 (NRO 578/321) served by a waggonway (HER 3196). It is shown as a pronounced shaft mound with two long blocks of buildings aligned north-south on the westhand side, probably forerunners of the later pit cottages. There is no indication of an engine house. The collieries at East Rainton were in the possession of Sir Henry Vane Tempest and were let to Robert Blakiston & Company on 9th March 1797 (NRO Bud 5/58). High Main Seam coal was sold under the name of "Old-Ducks" and was in great demand in London (NRO Bell 18, p. 404). The name may derive from Sir John Duck who lived in West Rainton in the late C17 {Mackenzie and Ross 1834, 367}. In June 1797, the workings of North Pit were viewed by Charles Dixon, John Smith, William Stobbart and John Buddle Junior who reported that they were "in a Regular and fair State for the entry of an Undertaker, except on the South Side of the Pit, where there is a Quantity of Water, and several falls come on" {NRO Bud 21, p. 15}. The pit is shown on a late eighteenth century plan of Rainton Colliery Grounds (NRO 3410 Wat 34/18) and on Greenwood's map of 1820. By 1804 the High Main Seam was completely worked out. In 1807 the Rainton Collieries were let again to focus on the Hutton Seam. Borings were made at North Pit in 1817 and 1821 {TWMTL 1996 and NRO Wat 2/27, p 118}. In 1825 the Marquis of Londonderry leased a timber-yard at North Pit to William Russell (DRO D/Lo/E 300-319}. In 1827 there were two engines at North Pit, but North Pit is not listed as working and so the engines may have been used for pumping not winding {DF/WF/28/1, p 479-520}.On the tithe map of 1834 {DRO EP/ER/27/2} North Pit is marked as "old colliery, gardens and waste" suggesting that it had been laid in or abandoned. There are cottages to the east. The pit is still shown on 1st edition Ordnance Survey map but the workings had been abandoned. In 2001 a trench was excavated across an eastern range of buildings associated with North Pit. A sandstone wall and a brick feature of uncertain function were recorded, along with a timber drain and a timber capped brick drain. North Pit Cottages were cleared and recorded. The original form of the building had been an open, roofed storage area, before being rebuilt in brick and being converted to residential use. Four fireplaces were inserted into the partition walls. The building was divided into two separate properties.

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Historic Environment Records

Durham/Northumberland: Keys to the Past

Tyne and Wear: Sitelines

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