1840 MJ p 291 Castlerag Coal Pit, Parkend, the property of Mr Protheroe. On Thursday night a boy named Morgan was being wound up, but fell out of the back of the cart and was dashed to atoms.
1840 MJ p 329, 345, 353 Park End Colliery and Iron Works and New Fancy
Colliery the property of Edward Protheroe, to be sold by private contract.
1 The Park End Colliery comprising Park End Main, Park End Royal, Ivy Moorhead, Birches Well and Brookhall Ditches Pits, worked by 7 steam engines in six veins of coal of which nearly 5,000,000 tons remain unworked.
2 The Independent Level, a small detached Colliery in three veins.
3. The New Fancy Colliery with 3 pits and 30 acres of untouched coal.
1841 p 329 Park End and New Fancy Collieries for sale.
1841 p 375 Park End - R James received a compound fracture of the thigh and was otherwise severely wounded in one of the coal-pits of Edward Protheroe Esq. It is a singular circumstance, that six monthsí previously the same unfortunate fellow was injured while at work in the same pit, and had resumed his occupation, but a solitary week when the accident befell him.
1843 p 45 Freehold Coal Mines for sale. Park End , Royal; Park End Main; Brook Hill Ditches; Ivy Moor Head; White Ley & Birches Well. ditto p 237
1843 p 132 - Auction - to sell Mines listed on p 45 = 10 shafts or pits: Ivy Moor Deep Side, Catch Cab etc. 585 acres of unworked coal, 6 million tons of coal, 8 steam engines, 30 workmanís cottages etc etc.
1843 p 245 Park End Colliery for sale.
The date at which Parkend began working is, at present, uncertain.
The Royal shafts may have been put down in 1827 as a note records that
Protheroe opened Parkend & New Fancy in that year, but prior to this
Brookhall Ditches was being worked. Several gales in the area were
owned by Edward Protheroe who formed the Park End Coal Co. In 1820
they were advertising that coal would be available from January 1821 at
their wharf on the canal in Oxford. This suggests that the company
was already well established and shipping coal well away from the immediate
Forest area, taking advantage of the new transport facilities such as the
Thames & Severn canal. By 1831 Protheroe owned 32 coal pits in
the Forest and employed between 400 and 500 men.
The 1841 Coal Awards defined several collieries in the Parkend area as being held by Edward Protheroe. They formed his Parkend Colliery and consisted of the following gales; Catch Can, Independent Level and New Fancy. A survey of the coalfield conducted in March 1841 showed that at Parkend Pits Edward Protheroe Esq. & Co. had an atmospheric pumping engine working at 14 strokes a minute in a shaft 100 yards deep. Another shaft 160 yards deep was used for both pumping and winding with a 36 inch double power condensing engine whilst two more shafts at 180 yards deep had a 21 inch double power winding engine. Unfortunately the positions of the various shafts is not given so it is difficult to relate them to the various gales. The atmospheric engine may have been at Ivy Moor Head whilst the other shafts were probably Parkend Royal and Parkend Castlemain. The collieries at this time were producing 300 tons per day, 90,000 tons per year, of which only a small proportion was lime coal. The output was sent to the Parkend furnaces and over the Severn & Wye tramroad to Lydney. The outputs from Parkend between the years 1841 and 46 are given below:
1841 31,364 tons
1842 36,062 "
1843 32,800 "
1844 33,393 "
1845 57,266 "
1846 38,778 "
It must be noted that another source gives the output in 1845 as being 79,000 tons but this may be for Protheroes combined interests.
The ownership of Parkend and New Fancy changed prior to Protheroeís death in 1857 as by 1849 one third of the two gales was held by Mr. Trotter of Newnham, probably John Trotter, and one third by Mr. Nicholson of Lydney. In 1849 the remaining third was bought by Thomas & J. W. Sully. They issued a prospectus for the Park End Coal Company c1852-55 obviously hoping to raise capital. The prospectus stated that the company was to purchase the Parkend and New Fancy Collieries. It was said that on the property there were three pits in operation, namely the Royal Deep and Land Pits and the Brookhall Ditches Deep Pit. There were also two other pits also commenced. (Probably those at New Fancy.) It also read that ëa large demand for coal for export from Gloucester is expected to arise when the branch line of the Gloucester and Dean Forest Railway to the docks there, which is nearly completed shall be completed and the Forest is brought into direct communication with that portí. The expense of raising the coal and conveying it to Lydney along the Severn & Wye tramroad, either for the railway or the dock, was 7/1 per ton while the selling price there was 12/- per ton.
Thomas Sully was the founder of a company of shipowners, colliery agents and coal factors in Bridgewater with interests at Lydney. The company, trading as Messrs. Sully & Co. was founded in 1826 although prior to this his father had long been interested in the shipping trade and left his ships to Thomas, his eldest son. In June 1845 Thomas took his younger brother James Wood Sully into partnership and the firm began to trade as Thomas & J. W. Sully.
In 1858 Thomas & J. W. Sully took over the third share held by Nicholson and in 1860, following the retirement of Thomas Sully, J. W. Sully took over Trotterís interest. The firm now became Sully & Co. Their Forest interests remained known as the Park End Coal Company.
Later J. W. Sullyís sons, Thomas, John and Owen joined the business with Thomas becoming manager at Parkend. In 1876 J. W. transferred all his interests to his sons but retained the Park End Coal Co. Thomas remained as manager until his death in October 1877 at which point his brother John took over.
Also in 1877 a new pumping engine was installed at the Castle Main Pit and it began work in June. It was a Cornish engine, with a 72 inch cylinder and a nine foot six inch stroke, built by the Uskside Iron Co. of Newport. The new pump was to drain Parkend Royal Colliery, Standfast Colliery, Ivy Moor Head Pit, Birches Colliery and Castle Rag Pit, superceeding the pumping at these places and it would open a large tract of undeveloped coal in the Starkey and Rocky veins. At Ivy Moor Head an atmospheric engine was to be replaced which was believed to be one of the oldest in the Forest which worked on one and a half pounds of staem to the inch.
In December 1878 James Sully the Parkend Coal Company Ltd. was formed to acquire the collieries. The subscribers to the new company were James Sully and Richard Sully, both described as coal merchants from Bridgewater, Somerset, John Nicholls, also of Bridgewater, William Unwin of Oxford, John Bailey, Sydney Thomas of Parkend House, colliery manager and Thomas Thomas. The authorised capital was £80,000 in 1,000 £80 shares and under an agreement dated the 28 January 1879 James Sully was to get the sum of £40,000 for his interest. There also appear to have been a series of mortgages on the property, one for £5,000 was taken out in January 1871 from Messrs. George Sully, Thomas Ware and James Sully, a further £6,000 mortgage from Eustace Barham was taken out in December 1875 whilst in May 1878 one for £13,000 from John Trotter Thomas and others and one for £16,000 from the Gloucestershire Banking Co. were taken. How many, if any, of these were paid off before another was taken is unknown but it does appear that the new company may have started off heavily in debt. By 1879 the Smithís, or Lowery, seam that the colliery had been working was becoming exhausted and a large outlay was needed to sink the pits to the lower seams. This the banks were unwilling to support and J. W. Sully therefore decided to dispose of the collieries. In March 1880 notices were posted terminating all contracts and it was reported 'that some new arrangements concerning the proprietory are necessitated, involving at least a temporary cessation of operations.
The ownership of the collieries now becomes a little hazy. They were apparently sold in 1880, possibly to a Mr. James Shepherd although he may only have been a manager for Sullyís. Certainly it would appear that by November 1881 a Mr. Albert Leutner was owner as in that month he agreed to sell Parkend and other collieries to the United Parkend & New Fancy Collieries Co. Ltd. for the sum of £100,000. Nothing, however, came of this and the company was wound up in September 1882.
Another report states that a Mr. Jackson took over ownership in 1881, indeed it is recorded in the minutes of the Severn & Wye & Severn Bridge Railway Co. that the collieries were sold in June.
At around this period a new manager, Thomas Hedges Deakin, was installed. Born on 2 March 1850 and educated at Normal College, Swansea, he began work in a colliery at the age of 13. He gained a Certificate of Service as a Colliery Manager in 1872 and the Certificate of Competancy in 1876. He came to the Forest in 1877 when appointed General Manager at Trafalgar Colliery.
Whatever the management was the colliery closed in 1883 due to the heavy mortgages and in 1884 Deakin, together with Fanny Toomer and Susan Broadley, acquired the collieries. In later years Deakin was to recall that the collieries had closed in 1880 and that after having started and stopped again the bank, who were mortgagees, offered the collieries for sale. Mr. Robert Toomer suggested that he and Deakin should buy them which they did. In March 1885 Fanny Toomer withdrew from the partnership and in April Deakin and Broadley sold the collieries to the Parkend & New Fancy Collieries Co. Ltd. The capital of the new company was £20,000 in 400 £50 shares of which 125 fully paid up shares were to be allocated to Deakin and 175 to Broadley. The subscribers to the company were Deakin, Broadley, Henry Bythway a solicitor from Newport, Frank Step Hockaday, a Newport shipowner, William Cooper, colliery overman from Parkend, Margaret Harvey and John Logan. The sole agents for the collieries were to be Hockaday & Co. of Newport.
From about 1888 onwards coal from the Parkend gale was worked out through New Fancy as the shaft was closer to the coal being worked and therefore haulage costs were reduced. In December 1889 a Severn & Wye minute records that the company had acquired the deep gales underlying their property. The average output throughout the 1880s was 80,000 tons per year.
The company continued trading until in March 1892 the Parkend Deep Navigation Collieries Co. Ltd. bought up the company in exchange for 4,000 fully paid up £10 shares.
The Parkend Deep Navigation Collieries Co. Ltd. had been incorporated in October 1890 with an authorised capital of £100,000 in £10 shares. The subscribers were William Cooper, Parkend; William Esau Heard, Newport; John Witson, Cardiff; John Gething, Newport; William Thomas, Lydney; Arthur Graham, Parkend; and Percy Marfell of Lydney. The first 4,000 shares were allocated to the Parkend and New Fancy Collieries Co. Ltd. in consideration of their concern. A further 1,000 shares were issued to a John Griffiths of Willsbury for the purchase of the Rising Sun and Union Colliery from him. Up to 1904 only a further 739 shares were taken up as the number of members of the company was limited to fifty and it was not intended to invite the public to subscribe. Thomas Hedges Deakin was the Managing Director and Chairman of the company.
Deakin continued to serve in that post until his death in August 1935 after which he was suceeded by his son who in turn continued until 1942. Deakin had not lost touch with his Welsh roots as at the time of his death he had been associated with John Vipond & Co. as a Director for 48 years and as Chairman for over 30.
Parkend Colliery ceased to produce coal in 1929 but the Parkend Royal pit remained open to provide an emergency exit for New Fancy and Castlemain continued pumping for New Fancy until the latters closure in 1944. In February 1944 an advertisement was placed in local papers advising of the surrender of the gales and asking for applicants to take them over but there were no offers.
The generating station was alongside the Castlemain pumping engine at
Parkend and a pole route was constructed to bring the power to the colliery.
In 1942 raised a mortgage from Barclays Bank on a number of railway wagons
23 February 1855
Inquest at Yorkley touching the death of William Denning, killed by the breakage of a guide chain at the Park End Colliery.
Herbert Mackworth, on his oath, said: I am Government Inspector of Coal Mines. I have examined the top of the land pit, where the accident occured. I find that it worked by means of a flat rope carrying a sliding cross bar, through which two single link guide chains pass. The other pit is worked in a similar manner by one engine placed between the pits. The guide chains are not of the best make externally. The quality of the iron seems to be unequal; some of the iron has been very much crystallized, and I also detect some considerable flaws. These causes may not have been sufficient to have produced the accident, if it had not been for the manner in which the chains are stated to have broken at different times, and fallen down the pit. On considering the number of times these occurences have happened, and that the chains were very strained and otherwise injured by the fall, I certainly think that those chains ought to have been entirely removed and new ones substituted. An alteration should also be made in the mode of winding the shaft, to prevent the trams catching, and thereby breaking the chains. Considering the condition in which the chains were in, I think there was great neglect in not having the chains carefully examined over before every shift of men went up or down. I do not think that the shaking of the chain at the bottom by the deceased when not screwed down, could possibly have broken the chain, unless the chain had been in a very bad state. I think, therefore, the accident has entirely arisen from not providing proper materials, and from the want of ordinary care and attention to the safety of the men. Everything shows that this was almost entirely neglected both by Mr. Gething and by William Wintle. On looking at the guide chains at the other pit, I find at the top of the guide chains, in the part which has the greatest strain, there are no less than 14 new joining links in 10 yards. Another source to which this accident is attributable is the want of the ordinary precaution of giving the control of the bottom of the shaft into the hands of the hanger-on, who has to make all the signals, especially when men are going to ascend. Great neglect is also shown by there not being a wire, or other similar proper means for communicating between the bottom and the top of the pit. Another precaution, very common in collieries, which might at least have mitigated the results of the present occurence, is the providing a cover or bonnet for the men who ascend or descend the shafts. I must also comment strongly on the want of printed rules, without which collieries cannot be carried on safely. I cannot conceive it possible that the manager of these works, Mr. David Gething, can be ignorant of any one of these precautions. They were, in the main, resolved on by a meeting of the coal-mining interest of England in May last, in London. I think, consequently, that the blame in this case rests chiefly on the manager of the works.