Waggonways 1660-1698

Crawcrook Way 1663

A lawsuit in 1665 refers to a Deed made two years earlier in respect of coal from the Crawcrook colliery. In those days coal was sold by volume rather than weight. The classic measure of coal was the ten. It was the universal practice to define the ten in Deeds. In this case the ten was defined as 20 waggons, each waggon containing 15 bolls. A boll was originally the tub used for loading keel boats and during this period would have contained about 2.2 cwts (112kg) of coal. This language confirms that the coal was being transported from the Crawcrook colliery (thought to be located close to the later Emma Pit) to staithes on the river along a waggonway, because if wains had been used the ten would have been defined by reference to fothers or wainloads. BCR searched in vain for earlier references to this waggonway, but could not discount the possibility that it was a pre 1640 way.

In 1703 the way was diverted to staithes at Stella.

There were extensions to Risemoor and Mill Moss 1737/1743 and to Leadgate and Airey Hill in 1781.

The Way closed in 1781 and was relaid to Crawcrook colliery from Stella in 1787. It finally closed in 1820.

The nineteenth/twentieth century collieries (Emma Pit, Greenside, Stargate and Addison) were later served by the Crawcrook Greenside Stargate Railway which connected to the Carlisle Newcastle Railway.

Chopwell c1661

Lewis refers to this as the Clavering Stella Waggonway. He believed that it was first heard of in 1696 and long remained the property of the Clavering family. BCR date it to at least 1661 based on their interpretation of a later renewal lease.

BCR believes that in the 17th century Chopwell ranked as one of the great collieries of the Tyne, although it went into decline in the early 18th century. Near Chopwell there was a spur of the way to Leadgate and by 1710 lead was transferred from horse to rail at Leadgate and Chopwell. Lewis records that this was the only Tyneside waggonway to carry a regular traffic in any commodity apart from coal.

Hollinside 1692

The Hollinside Way ran from staithes in Swalwell to the Hollinside pits located in the close vicinity of Clockburn Lonnen in Whickham. The way was built by Alderman White in 1692 to serve the collieries at Hollinside. There was a spur, not shown on our map, up to a Colliery at the Whaggs (close to the present junction of Whaggs Lane and Broom Lane Whickham). The route of the Hollinside was identical to that of Western Way I (aka the Bucksnook Way) built in 1712.

Riding Field Way1684 – c 1745

Very little is known of the route of this waggonway except that it ran between the Riding Field (which is accessed from Hole Lane, the continuation of Clockburn Lonnen) and Dunston. The Riding Field pits were part of the Hollinside estate owned by the Hardings, but there was no wayleave to transport coal from these pits via the Hollinside Way. It was probably for that reason that this way was constructed.

Team Way 1670

This way (“The old Way”) served the Liddell’s colliery to the east of the family’s Ravensworth Castle, taking the coal to staithes on the Team at Dunston. Lewis was able to date the construction of the way with precision by examining a report of 1669 commissioned in connection with a marriage settlement. There was an extension southwards towards Kibblesworth in 1717, a possible short lived extension towards Urpeth in 1721 and extensions shown in red on our map to collieries east of the Team around Eighton built in the 1730s and 1760s

Bensham c1670

A way was built by William Ridell from the Rock Staith (situated in the vicinity of the Swing Bridge) to serve a colliery at the southern boundary of his Bensham estate in the vicinity of what is now Kell’s Lane, Low Fell. The route was diverted to serve other collieries in the area and to alternative staithes. A waggonway served this central area of Gateshead until the early 19th century.

Felling Way c1676

The first Felling Way was built by Robert Brandling in around 1676. A second way was built in 1693 by George Harrison and an extension sometimes known as the Carr Hill Way (shown coloured brown on our map) was built by John Wilkinson in c 1705.