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Tyne and Wear HER(3342): Chopwell Way - Details

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Chopwell Way






Post Medieval


Documentary Evidence

The first waggonway on the Chopwell estate was built in 1661 by Robert Clavering. From its opening, it must have ranked with Stella Grand Lease as one of the greatest collieries of the Tyne; some 50 years later both still constantly held quotas of 1400T in a series of Regulations. However, in the first decade of the 18th century it had entered a period of rapid decline. The original southern end of the Chopwell Way seems to have been at Leadgate and in 1710 it was known as the Leadgate Way, running past Greenside to staiths at Stella. As it largely ran parallel with the Stella Grand Lease Way it paid a Bishopric wayleave under the title of ‘the Moor Way’. By 1710 the principal workings were west of the Coalburns, near Greenside, and much further north than the original Leadgate terminal. Here the coal was of poor quality and eventually the way was redeveloped and new branches laid to Moorgate and Faws. Another branch to Chopwell village may also have been laid during this period of reorganisation and is still clear on the ground. In the second quarter of the 18th century upstream collieries such as Chopwell were deliberately run down and abandoned to lesser producers, such as Albert Silvertop. Probably because of this running down, the new Rise Moor Colliery on Hedley Fell was not joined to the Chopwell, but to the Crawcrook Way instead. The Chopwell Way is reputed to have marked another step forward in the evolution towards the public railway. It seems to have been the first, although not the only, Newcastle waggonway to carry anything other than coal or material for pits and way. The Chopwell Way transported unrefined lead, brought by the packhorse from upper Derwentdale to Leadgate, to the refinery at Blaydon – its by-product of silver making it profitable. This traffic existed before 1688 when a dispute over a right of way is recorded. A section of the wagonway, marked as Old on the 1st edition OS mapping, so out of use by 1856.




<< HER 3342 >> 1st edition Ordnance Survey Map, c.1855, 6 inch scale, Durham, 5 G. Bennett, E. Clavering & A. Rounding, 1990, A Fighting Trade - Rail Transport in Tyne Coal 1600-1800 Lancashire County Record Office -LRO DDTo E5 Public Records Office, Chancery Lane, London, 18th century 1094/4 Neasham, 1893, p 270 see A Fighting Trade, Vol 1 p58 Publications of the Surtees Society, 178 Newcastle University Library, NUL MSS Misc 10 Gateshead Library Local Studies, GPL G/CK/11/56 Public Records Office, Chancery Lane, London, 18th century 1094/4 Northumberland Records Office, M17 197C Gateshead Library Local Studies GPL G/EA 35/6 Gateshead Library Local Studies, GPL G/BP 3/165 Durham Records Office, D/St/B1 20/168-9 Raistrick, 1968, Quakers in Science and Industry, 168-72, 176-82 Public Records Office, Chancery Lane, London, E134/2WmM/Trin 15 Newcastle University Library, NUL Misc. MSS 10 94 Gateshead Library Local Studies, GPL G/CK/11/11 Newcastle University Library, NUL Misc 10 76 Northumberland Records Office, ZCE 10/2 Newcastle University Library, NUL Misc. 10 173 Leadgate Waggonway, 1710, Gateshead Library Local Studies, GPL CK/11/56 Chopwell Estate of John Clavering, 1721, Northumberland Records Office, 309/M 142 Dept. Pal. & Dip. Durham, 1793, The Chopwell Estate of Earl Cowper, DUPD, Gibson, 110 1826, Greenside Colliery and Waggonway, -Durham Records Office, NCB I/RS 770 Waggonways on South Bank of Tyne -Durham Records Office D/St/P17/2 Plan of the Collieries on the Rivers Tyne and Wear -Gateshead Library Local Studies,GPL CAB A1/10 W. Casson, 1801, Plan showing Collieries and Waggonways on the rivers Tyne and Wear -Gateshead Library Local Studies, GPL CAB A1/4 R. L Galloway, 1898, Annals of Coal Mining and the Coal Trade, Vol 1, pp 373-4 Waggonways and Railways of North-West Durham -Durham Records Office, D/CG 6/1435 1721, Chopwell Estate of John Clavering -Northumberland Records Office, 309/M 142 A. Williams, 2004, A Fighting Trade - Review and mapping of routes; unpublished document for Tyne & Wear Heritage Environment Record; 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 67) 155, 171; Simpson's map of 1721, NRO 309/M142; Fryer's map of 1793 (DUPD: Gibson 110)

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