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"What the Papers Said"

"What the Papers Said"

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Publications & Research "What the Papers Said"

Shropshire, 1863

Shropshire, 1863

Wellington Journal - District News, 17th Jan. 1863

A short time since, as Messers. Gough and Evans, who work some coal and stone pits in the Daylip (Deerleap in the old writings) were searching for coal, they fell in with some old works and matters connected therewith which tend at least to certify some important conclusions. While engaged as above they met with a road way, about five feet wide, in hard rock, and which, in their opinion, must have been five feet high, though at present, owing to the heaving up of the bottom, is not much more than three feet six. In this road they discovered a railway; the rails, some of them three, others four yards long of oak in excellent condition. These were fastened by wooden pins to the sleepers on which they were firmly laid. The length of this primeval railway is about fifty yards; so far at least as it has been yet pursued. Still, owing to a fall in the roof which has blocked up further progress in that direction, there is clear evidence that this railway proceeds still further, and may, therefore, be yet further traced. On these rails they also found some carriages, such as were to run on these primitive rails. These carriages, it is the opinion of Messers. Gough and Evans, were used to convey coals out of the works in this way. The surface of the carriage is flat, about 4 feet wide, and something longer, and they have obviously been intended to convey either large coals or lumps, or smaller in wicker baskets; the latter being a tradition among colliers as to the mode anciently adopted in this matter.


These carriages had each four wooden wheels, about ten or twelve inches in diameter, and were about six inches wide. The circumference of the wheel being built very much in the manner that wheels of railway carriages of the present day are constructed. The axle trees are of iron; some of these, considering the time that they must have been buried, are in excellent preservation. Others are much corroded by rust. Under the body of the carriage these are square, but round in the wheel. Brass gudgeons are found underneath the floor of the waggon. On these are discovered the letters P.B., evidently formed by means of a punch.

An iron pot has been found, used, it is supposed, for grease. Several pipe bowls have been found, very small in the bowl and wide in the hole of the stalk. On the latter none have been found that bear any date though there are some having peculiar stamps on them.

The letters P.B., have suggested the idea that these carriages may have belonged to Phillip de Benthall, who it is known, granted to the monks of Buildwas abbey leave to dig for coals and carry them to the abbey. But, taking all the above into account, we think that the facts related disclose a more advanced state of knowledge than would be compatible with the earliest searchings after coals.





Submitted by Dr. I.J.Brown

Notes by Dr. I.J.Brown

In the May 16th edition a description of relics found in another mine near Broseley (operated by G & J Langford) was reported. The report above of relics at Gough and Evans Pit provides more information on similar items. The trucks at Gough and Evans pit were much larger (48in. x something longer, against 20in. x 30in.) with wooden wheels 10 to 12in. in diameter and 6in. wide. This report also provides and intersting insight into the construction of the wooden railway.

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