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Benwell Manor, coal mines


54.975113, -1.665099



17th c


Entry Created:

4 Dec 2023

Last Updated:

4 Dec 2023




Description (or HER record listing)

NEHL - There was a large number of bell pits and deeper workings illustrated on a survey of the Manor of Benwell in 1637. By 1611, Benwell was one of the most important mining areas on Tyneside. By this year, there were 22 working pits in 7 different collieries which extended as deep as 192 ft, giving an impression it was more than just a pit. Within the next twenty years, an entire hierachy of viewers, hewers, bankmen and overmen developed into a recognisable colliery structure.

These pits were likely owned by the partnership of Newcastle Hostmen - Sir Peter Riddle, Thomas Surtees, Robert Shaftoe Snr & Jnr, William Hodgson, Henry Chapman and William Jennison. Richard Richardson also opened a number of pits at Stumplewood nr Benwell. One pit produced around 15,000 tons annually in these days, which only intensified by the 1660s with pits sprawing both the freehold and copyhold lands.

This site was a rectangular parcel of freehold land featuring around 5 separate pits in the 17th century. It is unlikely they all worked in conjunction, and were probably all small bell pits.

Source: Ownership, Technology and Patterns of Coalmining Activity in Northumberland between 1600 and 1850, Stephen James Telford, University of London

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