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Tyne and Wear HER(13580): Stella, Grand Lease coal pits - Details

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Stella, Grand Lease coal pits




Coal Mining Site


Post Medieval


Documentary Evidence

Part of the Whickham Grand Lease. In 1603 Nicholas Tempest of Stella held a vend quota of 250T (tens of chaldrons exported) and that is likely to represent the output of the outcropping seams. This figure rose to 900T in 1605, a quantity impossible to extract just from Stella alone. By this time Sir Nicholas Tempest and his son Thomas were active all along the River Tyne, and had acquired a full share in the Grand Lease, possibly that formerly held by William Selby. By 1636 the output at Stella had been in excess of 650T, its peak. Later production declined. By the early 18th century the vend was around 200T and had disappeared by the 1720s. A view of Stella in 1712 gives a good indication of the stages of development of 17th century mining. The upper seam had been drained by an adit opening further down Blaydon Burn. A mill shaown on a plan of 1633 was used to raise water to allow the extraction of coal from the next seam. This mill survived until 1895 with different functions as Path Head Mill. A 350 yard long leat gave enough fall for a second mill, the Low Mill. For the Five Quarter seam, 14 yards lower again, Low Mill was paired with a Chain Mill. This must have been inadequate because Low Mill was converted into a bob gin (a beam engine working twin sets of pumps lifting water to the free drainage level). Bob gins are not documented before 1705. In 1712 the whole system was worn out and abandoned.




Eric Clavering and Alan Rounding, 1995, Early Tyneside Industrialism: The lower Derwent and Blaydon Burn Valleys 1550-1700, Archaeologia Aeliana, Series 5, Vol XXIII, pages 249-268

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