In September last an account was given in the "Journal" of a search being made by a syndicate of capitalists in the parish of Claverly for an extension of the thick coal of Staffordshire into Shropshire. The work has been carried on most expeditiously and successfully so far as the boring goes, but the issue has proved most disappointing to all concerned. After boring through ground which to the engineers appeared promising, to the unusual depth of 730 yards, the basement rock of the coal measures was reached. The spirorbus limestone and its accompanying sulphur coal which are considered to form a datum line in the younger coal measures, and several other thin seams were passed through, but none of any commercial value, and the work has now been abandoned and the plant removed.
The basement rock in this instance, as in others, is found to consist of Silurian limestone, and to be one of a series of anticlinals which occur at intervals from the Wrekin to the Bristol Channel. Now, although the coals may have been swept away from the crest of the anticlinal, it does not necessarily follow that coal may not be found on its flanks in anticlinals or hollows on either side. As, for instance, in the limestone anticlinal commencing at Lincoln Hill and running through the Stirchley and Madeley Wood coalfields. In the latter, coal has been wrought for 80 yards up its precipitous sides, and is continued from its basement till again brought up at the Hay, by a limestone ridge, commencing at the Dunge, near Broseley.
In these cases, as at Claverley, the older coal measures have been swept away and the younger ones have been formed on their ruins. The disappearance of the coals here and elsewhere is not due to a mere “wash-out”, as some would have it, but to a widespread devastation which may be traced for 16 miles to the west, and onwards to the south to the Dean Forest coalfield, which was only saved from destruction by the peculiarities of its formation.