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Tyne and Wear HER(2562): Harraton Waggonway/Beamish Old Wagonway/John Hedworth - Details

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Harraton Waggonway/Beamish Old Wagonway/John Hedworth






Post Medieval


Documentary Evidence

The Hedworth family owned estates in Chester Deanery, Pelton, Ouston, Harraton and Fatfield. The finances of the family had dwindled in the 17th century. John Hedworth set about re-establishing their fortunes by setting up a waggonway to exploit coal reserves under parts of the estates not leased out. This entailed the construction of a waggonway from fairly shallow coal deposits (the Five Quarter and Main Seams) in Pelton and in Ouston. The new waggonway ran from coal pits a little to the west of Pelton (beyond Tyne and Wear) to a staith at Fatfield on the north bank of the River Wear. It was in operation before 1710. A later branch line, opened in 1740, ran from pits at Ouston Colliery. In 1768, the Beamish Way joined with the waggonway and further branches were constructed from Waldridge in 1779 and Leefield by 1787. At a later date, the system was linked to staiths on the River Tyne via a junction with the Ouston Waggonway. Shown on Gibson's map of 1787 and Hobson's map of 1839. Named the Harraton Waggonway on Bell's map of 1843. Beamish Old Waggonway ran from the junction of the Harraton Wagonway, (HER 3036), and a Tramway, (HER 3025), at Nova Scotia to a point north of Rickleton where it left the county. Out of use by 1858.




<< HER 2562 >> 1st edition Ordnance Survey Map, c.1855, 6 inch scale, Durham, 13; John Gibson, 1788, Plan of the Collieries on the rivers Tyne and Wear; William Colling Hobson, 1839, Map of the county palatine of Durham; John Thomas William Bell, 1843, Plan of part of the Tyne and Wear coal districts in the County of Durham; Alan Williams Archaeology, 2013, Waggonways to the South Bank of the River Tyne and to the River Wear; Turnbull, L, 2012, Railways Before George Stephenson (entry 72) p 66, 160, 171; NEIMME: Watson 33/18 Map of 1737; TWAS SANT/BEQ/9/1/3/47 Map of 1767 in the Brown Collection

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