New Fancy

The 1841 Coal Awards confirmed the possession of the New Fancy gale to Edward Protheroe, a local coal owner with extensive interests in the Parkend area.  The involvement of Protheroe at New Fancy probably goes back mutch further having acquired the interest from his uncle John Protheroe in 1812.
Early details of the gale are scarce.  In the Third Schedule to the 1841 Awards it is mentioned that in 1831 Edward Protheroe had been granted a license to erect a pumping and winding engine at New Fancy but it is likely that this was not done as in a list of coal works in March 1841 there is no mention of New Fancy.  The gale itself was certainly being worked by 1840, probably through the Parkend gale, as in that year Protheroe stated that he required a 'better, cheaper, outlet' for his New Fancy coals.  The cheaper outlet would come about by sinking a shaft on the New Fancy gale thus avoiding the wayleave charged by the Crown on all coal from one gale passing through the barrier into another.  The New Fancy gale award covered the coal in the Churchway High Delf, Rockey, Starkey, Park End High Delf, Little Delf and Smith Coal veins.
Work at New Fancy then commenced and by c1852 it would appear that there were two shafts in the process of sinking.  A prospectus for the Park End Coal Company, who intended purchasing the Park End and New Fancy Collieries, states that there were three pits in operation, namely the Royal Deep and Land pits on the Parkend gale and the Brookall Ditches Deep Pit on which was situated an atmospheric pumping engine.  There were also 'two others commenced', presumably those at New Fancy.  In 1855 a letter from John Trotter, Thomas Nicholson and Thomas and James Sully to the Crown over arrears of dead rent on both the New Fancy and Independent Level gales states that the former colliery was being opened 'with all possible vigour and will be so continued', the estimated expenditure being in excess of £20,000.
The shafts were completed in mid to late 1857 as at the first half-yearly meeting of the Forest of Dean Central Railway Company in February it was stated that the colliery 'was in a forward state and will when opened afford large traffic'.  The colliery was producing coal by 1860 when 250 tons a day were being sent over the Severn & Wye's Kidnalls Mill, or Moseley Green, branch of the tramroad.  A connection to this branch had been authorised and built in 1859.  It was to be another ten years before the colliery gained a railway connection in the form of a branch of the Forest of Dean Central which was authorised under a Crown license dated 6th April 1868.  The large traffic hoped for over this route diminished rapidly when the Mineral Loop was opened in 1872 and a connection was made to the colliery.  It is likely that the rails on the Central's connection had been removed by 1878.
By 1878 James Sully was the only remaining partner in the Park End Coal Company  and 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.  The concern was in difficulties by 1880 when in March 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.  At that time the company was said to still posess nine-hundred acres of coal in the Starkey seam in connection with New Fancy.  An attempt to sell off the collieries was made in 1881 when the United Parkend & New Fancy Collieries Co. Ltd. was formed in November but nothing came of this and the company was wound up in September the following year.
There is a report that the collieries were bought by a Mr. Jackson in 1881 who installed Thomas Hedges Deakin as manager.  The Severn & Wye board minutes record that in June the collieries were sold whilst in May a contract had been let to Mr. S. J. Thomas to sink a new shaft, or staple pit, underground from the Starkey seam to the Rocky and Churchway seams.  There were great hopes entertained for this as the future expectations of the colliery were depending on the outcome.
In 1883 the management of New Fancy were negotiating with the Great Western Railway, who worked the Forest of Dean Central, to be reconnected to their line at Howbeach as the rates via the Central to Lydney were 5d per ton cheaper.  This was undoubtedly a ploy to gain cheaper rates from the Severn & Wye in which the colliery company was sucessful.
  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.  New machinery was installed with the first compressed air coal cutters in the district and probably in the West of England being used.  The reason for their introduction was the high cost of coal production at New Fancy due to the thinness of the seams.  They averaged only 17 inches with the thickest being the Parkend High Delf at three feet.
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 and again asked if the S & W would give a concession on the coal rates as the colliery could be opened to the Central.
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.
In 1914 electric equipment was installed to power pumping plant, haulage engines and coal cutting machinery.  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
The output of New Fancy steadily declined until final closure in August 1944.  From 1940 it had averaged about 350 wagons per week.