The Forest of Dean.

Bygone Days

Bygone Days

Churchway Coalmine.

Churchway Colliery had been going for almost a hundred years (it started in 1740) when the Bennett family acquired it in the early 1830s and raised coal from it for nearly 20 years. There were two worked seams - Rocky and the highly profitable Churchway High Delf Seam which was a welcome 4-½ feet thick and a mere 336 feet underground. Naturally there was excess water and eventually there were two steam engines, one a 20-inch and the other a 36inch, to cope with it. Later on, a 40-inch Cornish pumping engine was installed and this was used to pump out water.

Because a tremendous number of Forest of Dean mines were cross-connected by shafts and levels, which created a common water hazard in the mines generally, pumping was needed as a maintenance measure to prevent flooding in the Churchway & other nearby collieries.

Production rose in a four year period from 2,299 tons upto 12,756 tons in successfully raised in 1845 to be transported from the mine the Severn and Wye Railway's tramroad. Towards the end of its working life there were additional tramroad connections from Churchway Colliery along the Forest of Dean Railway's Churchway Branch but by the end of the 1860s coal production had ceased and the mine became purely a pumping station to extract floodwater.

Today all that can be seen are the remains of some coal tips amidst the Forest trees.

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