Tyne and Wear HER(5957): Winlaton or Brockwell Way - Details
Winlaton or Brockwell Way
In the 1630s the second largest colliery south of the Tyne was Blaydon, more usually called Winlaton. It had an output of 3000T. The land belonged to the Neville family and had been leased to various Newcastle merchants until the manor was sold in 1569 to four inter-related merchants. When the lease ended in 1581 they and their heirs worked the colliery for 50 years or more. Early claims that there was no waggonway in Winlaton in 1632 (Taylor 1852) appear to be unfounded. Evidence from a London Chancery case of 1650, over the estate of Sir Robert Hodgson (d.1643), refers to ‘wagons’ and confirms that there was indeed a waggonway in Winlaton before the Civil War. Records also show that replacement wagons were needed by 1633, implying they must have been in service for at least a year or two, and perhaps longer. The way was probably built by William Selby, son of Sir William Selby (d.1649), as part of a considerable refurbishment of the colliery in 1634. ,The colliery was not an easy one to work, with difficult geology and coal which deteriorated in quality that became unfit for the London market. Debts mounted for the Selbys with Sir William dying insolvent in 1649 and half the Selby share was mortgaged by 1651. The other merchant owners of the colliery fared no better and as the families concerned were so closely related, they all went down together. ,The exact route of this early waggonway is uncertain and the suggestion in A History of Blaydon that it led from Lands Colliery, south of Axwell Park, is incorrect as the colliery is first heard of in 1728. However, in the Horsecrofts area of Blaydon, a strip of land about one mile long from the Rose and Crown public house to Blaydon Staith, between the Blaydon Burn and the Blaydon to Winlaton road, was the site of the later Winlaton Way dating to the 1690s and is also likely to have been that of the 1630s waggonway. There may have been a branch south-west to Brockwell, but this is uncertain. Records from 1677 (ZBG 4/16) detailing the lease of the colliery show that the Winlaton Way was still operating.
<< HER 5957 >> G. Bennett, E. Clavering & A. Rounding, 1990, A Fighting Trade - Rail Transport in Tyne Coal 1600-1800 M.J.T. Lewis, 1970, Early Wooden Wagonways, p 93 T.J. Taylor, 1858, The Archaeology of the Coal Trade, p 33 A. Williams, 2004, A Fighting Trade - Review and mapping of routes; unpublished document for Tyne & Wear Heritage Environment Record; Alan Williams Archaeology, 2013, Waggonways to the South Bank of the River Tyne and to the River Wear;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 66) 155, 171