The Broseley Local History Society


Incorporating the Wilkinson Society


Newsletter                                                            September 1999


Chairman:                                           Tony Mugridge

Secretary:                                           Frank Selkirk

Treasurer:                                           Steve Dewhirst

Curator:                                              David Lake

Membership Sec.:                               Diane Shinton, ‘Gestiana’, Woodlands Road,

                                                           Broseley, Shropshire, TF12 5PU.

                                                           01952 882765

Journal Editor                                      Neil Clarke

Newsletter Editor:                               Nick Coppin, 01952 884398


Meetings usually take place each month on the first Wednesday of the month at 7.30pm (unless announced otherwise). Indoor meetings will be held at the Broseley Social Club in the High Street unless announced otherwise. Car parking at the back.


Web Site:              Email:    or     


Programme for 1999/2000:

Wednesday 6th October:       AGM followed by Neil Clarke, “150 years of  Railways in East Shropshire.”

Wednesday 3rd November:   John Powell, “Products of the Coalbrookdale Co.”

Wednesday 1st December:    Annual Dinner; details to follow.

Wednesday 5th January:        More memories of Old Broseley.

Wednesday 2nd February:     Alison Sword, “New Light on John Wilkinson”

Wednesday 1st March:          Jim Cooper, “Researching the Lilleshall Company Collection”

Wednesday 5th April:            A Congenial Evening on Genealogy led by Paul Luter.

Wednesday 3rd May:            Tony Mugridge, “The History of the Brick and Tile Making Industries of Broseley.”

Wednesday 7th June:             The Annual Wilkinson Lecture; “John Wilkinson and the   Shropshire Canal” by Neil Clarke.



Please make sure you come to the Annual General Meeting before Neil Clarke’s talk on 6th October.   This is the opportunity to have your say regarding the programme of monthly meetings and events, to participate in deciding the make up of the Committee and to discuss anything else in which the Society is involved.

BLHS Walk on Wednesday 7th July led by Steve Dewhirst.

These notes provide details of some of the places of interest along the route of the walk.

Broseley Workhouse at  Harris’s Green

1601         Each parish to be responsible for its own paupers.

·     There was a levy for the poor rate.

·     The elderly and sick were to be maintained and work provided for the able bodied.

·     There were two overseers at Broseley in 1642.

1734         Licence to build cottages for the poor at Harris’s Green.

1770-1793 Poor rate fell by half – by 1793 between 30 and 40 people in Broseley were on relief. 

1816-1817 Post Napoleonic war - 1,250 of the parish’s 5,000 inhabitants (25%) received relief.  Only 300 households paid for relief and the rate doubled.

1834         Poor law revised:

·     All able bodied persons were to be given poor relief only within the workhouse

·     Conditions to be more miserable than the poorest independent labourer.

·     Union workhouses started to be erected.

·     Broseley was one of the twelve parishes which comprised the Madeley Union.  It was dissolved in 1930 with the abolition of the workhouse system.

1841         The workhouse had three inmates.

1870         A new Madeley Union workhouse was built above Ironbridge – later the Beeches Hospital.  When this was built Broseley and Benthall workhouses probably closed the inmates being transferred to the Beeches.

The Windmill & Malthouse

·     In 1776 there were two windmills in Broseley worked by Leonard Jennings.

·     In 1881 windmills stood at Syner’s Hill and Ferney Bank.

·     The windmill is shown in 1830 and  on the 1838 Tithe map along with a Malthouse in an area called, not unsurprisingly, Millfield.  It was run by Jeremiah Ashwood.  There were numerous Malthouses in Broseley and there are remains of two; one in Queen Street and the other in King Street.

Baptist Chapel

·     Built 1741-2 by Particular Baptists.  It was paid for by Isaac Wyke, a surgeon, who told neighbours that he was building a ‘house to cure mad people’

·     In the 1770’s there were over 150 worshipers.

·     There was a dispute in the chapel around 1881.  As a result of the split the Birch Meadow chapel was built. 

·     In 1803 there were 66 members. Between 1827 and 1878 the number of members dwindled from 39 to 17.  In 1851 a census recorded 96 adults as having worshipped at one service.

·     The chapel is constructed of brick and is said to have seated  around 300.

·     The schoolroom was constructed in 1949.

·     It is still used for worship, the Birch Meadow chapel having closed in 1927.

 The Deer Leap  Mines

·     They worked the lower and middle coal measures.  All the minerals are near to the surface.

·     Coal.             – Small poor quality coal waste can still be seen in the woods.

·     Ironstone.  – Small pieces of Pennystone can still be seen. Grey clay waste from Pennystone mining forms the waste heaps.

·     There are numerous shafts in the wood.  Some of these are believed to be from ancient bell pits.

·     There are no records of mining in the woods and all the mining pre dates 1887.

·     The mines were re-worked a number of times often for different minerals.

·     There were many pits in the fields around the woods and it is these that were worked during the later periods

·     The last working of a mine at the Deer Leap was 1891-1947.  It mined coal and was run by   Chas. Rd. Jones of Broseley Wood.  It was shown as standing in 1896?  The shaft of Deer Leap coal mine was recorded as being 48’ deep and 6’ diameter.  There was also an adit 2’ by 2’

The Deer Leap

·     A deer leap was built to allow deer to enter an enclosed park but not leave.

·     This was probably for Willey Park, a 400 acre deer park surrounded by pales, created in 1625 by John Weld.

The Lodge

·     This was the home of the “parker” (gamekeeper) who managed the stock in the park. He was also responsible for protection against poachers, as poaching deer and fish was a serious problem.

·     It is on the site of the hunting lodge.  Possibly originally for the 13th century Willey deer park, Forest of Shirlett or for Weld’s 17th century park

Pond Bay

Marked on the OS map is a pond bay by the Lodge.  This is on the Dean Brook which runs from the ponds by Benthall Hall to the Severn at Wrens Nest.  It was the wall of a dam which stored water which powered the waterwheels at Willey New Furnace.  The dam is breached in the centre and is overgrown.

Haybrook pottery

·     May date from 1624 or 1729.

·     Known as ’Mughouses’

·     Run by William Thursfield in 1805 when it had 3 kilns, smoke houses, warehouse.

·     1819 William Pierce – surviving partner was declared bankrupt.

·     After 1845 run jointly with Benthall Pottery.

·     Closed early 20th century

·     Demolished and the site opencast so little remains.


Benthall Pottery

·     Built 1772 by John Thursfield.

·     1815 making common earthenware.

·     Mid 19th century - red & yellow wares.

·     United with Haybrook in 1845 by Warren Tyler Jones and Edwin Bathurst making Rockingham and stone wares

·     Art pottery 1883.

·     Domestic terracotta’s, lamp and electrical fittings.

·     When it closed in 1982 it was making drainage pipes.


·     Mines around potteries worked for Coal, Ironstone and Fireclay

·     Bennet Brothers  -                                         Coal and Fireclay                         closed 1923

·     Benthall No’s 1 to 9            -                         Coal and Fireclay                         closed 1921

·     Benthall coal pit -                                           Coal                                                                                                  closed 1943

·     In 1880’s Benthall Pottery clay pit was owned by William Allen and worked by CR Jones.  It employed 3 men and worked 2 seams for fireclay.


·     The “Leo Farm” stands on the site, and it is believed that the stabling block adjacent to the road is the remaining building.

·     Thomas Jones held the licence in 1829. Robert Jones was the land­lord in 1835 and a John Jones is described as a retailer of beer in Benthall in 1850 although it is not certain if he was at the Leopard. Eliza Jones held the licence by 1859. Henry Cartwright was landlord by 1863 until at least 1875.

·     There was an application for a licence to Wenlock Corporation dated 18th October 1814 by Henry Barnett in respect of the “Lion, Parish of Barrow.” This, however, might have been a different house as neither the Ward nor the Civil Parish of Barrow existed at that time.

·     Pigot’s Directory for the same year refers to the “Spotted Leopard.”


Penns Meadow

·     Site of early mining.  Shown in 1621 as Mr Bentalle Coleworks.  A shaft still visible in the bottom  corner by Bridge Road.

·     Barratts Hill – “Cole Pitt & yards Shafte within Mr Welds Land” (See 1998 Journal)

Thanks to Steve for providing these notes; they will act as a useful reference for those who missed the walk and those who went but who failed to take comprehensive notes!


John Wilkinson’s New Willey Furnace Site.

During trenching for a new waterpipe on the Willey New Furnace site, three massive furnace waste blocks were discovered.   Each is roughly circular in plan with a diameter of about 1.5m but with a projecting lobe presumably corresponding to the position of the furnace tapping hole.   They are made up of slag, iron and broken firebrick.   Being too heavy for the JCB to actually lift, the blocks were pushed some 5m to their present position under the large tree by the site entrance.   They can be seen from the road; the site is of course, private property.   When John Wilkinson leased the site, the lease stipulated that on its expiry the land had to be left clear for the resumption of agricultural, use; very environmentally friendly for its day.   So these big blocks, not easy to take away, must have been deliberately buried.   They have now resurfaced as monumental evidence of the remarkable history of this Broseley site.

David Lake.

Broseley Local History Web Site

This can be found at and also at the new address of .


The site has now been up and running for around a year.  In that time we have had about 1,200 people looking at the site of which around one in five take time to look over the site.  Most find the site using Internet search engines such as Yahoo or from links to other sites.   The visitors come from all over the world including New Zealand, Australia and the USA.  We have had a number of e-mails from people who are either expatriates or whose ancestors came from Broseley.  These have included: Rosemary Turton who’s ancestors lived at Raddle Hall and also kept the Cape of Good Hope.   Nick Evans from Australia who was born in Broseley in 1967 and emigrated in 1977, Christopher Bunch who is related to the Wilkinson  (not the John) of Broseley and Allen Maden from Maple Shade, New Jersey who is descended from the Madens of Jackfield.


The site is slowly growing.  Currently it contains: a short general history of the town, photographs of Broseley and Jackfield, a history of the churches, a copy of the Town Walk produced by the Forum, copies of the newsletters and the current Journal and links to other Internet sites of interest.  In addition there is a small information section on the Town.


In the next year we hope to move the site to a new server and have a section for our members, which allows them to put any information they wish on the Internet.  This will hopefully help those who are researching their family history. 


If you have any ideas what you would like to see on the site please contact Steve Dewhirst on 883946.


Wilkinson and Trams.

We recently travelled on the new Metro between Wolverhampton and Birmingham.   I only mention it here because one of the stops was at Bradley, the subject of this year’s Wilkinson Lecture given by Ron Davies.   If you are interested in trams or railways, this is a fascinating ride of 20.4km from St George’s Square in Wolverhampton along the centre of the road, then along the road itself before joining the old GWR route to Birmingham Snow Hill station, picking up the mainline railway at The Hawthorns.   The trams are rapid; up to 75kph and sitting behind the driver you get a very good view.   At £2.40 return it is very good value.   Still in the Black Country; a contrast is provided at the Black Country Museum where a 3’6” gauge tram line gives a quite different ride!

Nick Coppin