The King & Castle

Have I at long last found that illustrious ancestor connected to royalty?  Sadly, no.  This is about a trip last week to the Severn Valley Railway (SVR).  The King & Castle is the public house forming part of Kidderminster station, the eastern terminus of the heritage railway that runs through the Severn valley from Bridgnorth, Shropshire.  Speed has to Continue reading “The King & Castle”

Following the Seam

bagworth os 1885
The coal mining village of Bagworth, Leicestershire.  Ordnance Survey 1885.  Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

The brothers Dennies, William, Joseph and second great grandfather Henry all lived at Bagworth, Leicestershire in 1851. They had moved from Moira, another mining village, but just when and why? William had children in various places including Thomas 1833 at Ibstock, but baptised November 1833 at Bagworth. Joseph’s first son William was baptised in January 1835 at Bagworth. Henry’s first child, George, was born December 1834 at Moira (Family Bible, and 1851 census). It seems likely that all three arrived at Bagworth in late 1833 to find work at the expanding Bagworth Colliery.

Bagworth Colliery opened in 1825, but the Leicester and Swannington Railway opened in 1832 and led to increased production.

bagworth cly chelmsford chron 31 Aug 1832
Chelmsford Chronicle 31 Aug 1832.  One of several articles from around the country.

In the Leicester Journal 20 Mar 1835, there is a report about the Billesdon Coplow Estate (nine miles the wrong side of Leicester), which refers to the mineral deposits in the Bagworth area.

[Coal] “continues several miles to the westward of the Bagworth Collieries … Hence the Bagworth Coal Mines have been opened by sinking upwards of 100 yards through the red marl into the carboniferous formation, and by the purse and perseverance of Lord Maynard, a vast mineral treasure has been developed, alike advantageous to himself and the surrounding community, as will be seen by perusal of the following section …”

This refers to a table showing the depths and thicknesses of the various strata at Bagworth. The most shallow coal seam is at about 109 yards below ground and 1 foot 3 inches thick. More important are seams 2 and 3 yards thick at about 149 and 162 yards below ground respectively.

Later in the report: “I have great doubts if the Noble Proprietor of the Bagworth Estate has yet penetrated his best coal beds”.

In later times Bagworth would become the most productive colliery in Europe. So why did the brothers Dennies leave?