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Tyne and Wear HER(5942): Birtley Fell Way II / Felling Way IV (Great Grindstone/Donni) - Details

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Birtley Fell Way II / Felling Way IV (Great Grindstone/Donni)






Post Medieval


Documentary Evidence

Another Birtley Fell Way is referred to in a deposition of 1749, laid about 15 years earlier by a Mr Donnison. He probably had the Carr Hill staiths at Felling. From the northern end of Birtley Fell, where Rudston’s Birtley Fell Way (Route 1) had turned east, Donnison’s way continued northward, along the flank of the ridge to the Great Grindstone Quarry at Windy Nook. This was crossed by an embankment, the “battery” of Battery Lane, near the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, now buried in landfill. At Windy Nook the way turned alongside what is now Coldwell Lane and continued through the later felling High Street. In about 1757, Donnison moved his Birtley workings south from North Side Farm to what is now known as North Side, where in 1757 he installed an engine. The new Birtley Colliery led to Fatfield Staith on the Wear, along a route used later by the iron-railed Pelton Waggonway. This was the first known way to link the Tyne and Wear. The Washington Way is reported to have joined Donnison’s line west of Wallace Village but no trace of such a branch has been found. Donnison died in 1759 and the line was administered by William Peareth. It became known as Peareth's Waggonway. The alternative name “Great Grindstone” suggests other heavy freight was transported on the waggonway probably quernstones from the area of Windy Nook and Springwell. Alan Williams has suggested a slightly different route for the waggonway at its southern end than Bennett.




<< HER 5942 >> G. Bennett, E. Clavering & A. Rounding, 1990, A Fighting Trade - Rail Transport in Tyne Coal, 1600-1800, vol 1, p153-154 J.T.W. Bell, 1843, The Great Northern Coalfield, 2nd series A. Williams, 2004, A Fighting Trade - Review and mapping of routes; unpublished document for Tyne & Wear Heritage Environment Record; Turnbull, L, 2012, Railways Before George Stephenson (entry 46) 87-88, 169; Alan Williams Archaeology, 2013, Waggonways to the South Bank of the River Tyne and to the River Wear; Watson 29/37; NRO Brown's Map of 1754 PSAN/BEQ//9/1/3/15; Archaeological Services Durham University, 2016, Land at Mount Lane Springwell Washington Tyne and Wear, Archaeological desk-based assessment and heritage statement report 4202; Archaeological Services Durham University, 2019, Springwell pipeline and reservoir, Washington, Tyne and Wear: Heritage Statement, report 5083

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