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Broseley History - Calcutts Lane - Jackfield, Shropshire
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member SMacB
N 52° 37.438 W 002° 27.981
30U E 536123 N 5830575
Quick Description: An information board and map of Broseley & surrounding area indicating places of interest and a short history of of the area.
Location: West Midlands, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 6/15/2019 2:17:35 AM
Waymark Code: WM10R4E
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member greysman
Views: 0

Long Description:
An information board and map of Broseley & surrounding area indicating places of interest and a short history of of the area.

"Broseley originates in a Saxon clearance within the Royal Forests which covered most of the Ironbridge Gorge. The form of medieval Broseley survives around the church. Although no church was recorded in the Doomsday survey, the presence of ox-teams suggests quite an important agricultural settlement. Aided by the sale of land by Much Wenlock abbey with the dissolution of the monasteries, the coal and iron trade started to develop in the sixteenth century.

In the early seventeenth century Broseley comprised virtually two settlements. The centre was around the church at the eastern end of the modem town, where there were two small greens, a pond and a hail. The present day Church Street was faced with buildings for less than half its length and High Street was an open track up Cole Pitt Hill. Extending from the brow across to Broseley Wood there were scattered houses set in their own fields. The parish used to extend down to the riverside settlement of Jackfield with its early pottery works. Exposed timber framing can be found at the back of several buildings in these areas, where much structural timberwork has been hidden by later brick walling.

The Victorian houses and shops largely perpetuate established plans and forms, being given a Tudor style through pronounced gables, dormers and hoodmoulds. What is so memorable is the display, applied to both Victorian and earlier buildings, of the range of architectural ironwork and ceramics being produced locally. Cheaply or even freely available, these materials are used widely and with some ingenuity. Not only railings and fanlights are cast in iron but also gate caps, window lintels and graveslabs. Similarly the local mottled bricks and strawberry-coloured tiles are decorated with an endless variety of ornamental bricks, ridge tiles, finials and chimney pots. Decorative tiles designed for chancel floors and pub walls are to be found on the sides of buildings and in their porches and pathways. Even saggars, firebricks and slag, the waste products of local industry, were used for rough walling.

As the coalfield developed around the turn of the seventeenth century James Clifford provided plots for immigrant miners to build their own homes. This is particularly apparent in Broseley Wood where there developed a maze of cottages lining an irregular network of lanes and enclosed footpaths. Locally these are known as Jitties. In recent years the Jitties have been restored under a conservation programme. The overall effect is one of intricacy and slight confusion; a heritage that is both appealing and highly evocative of Broseley’s historical importance.

The impetus to early industry was the abundance of coal, clay, iron ore and limestone easily workable in one area.. Meanwhile the woods provided charcoal and the River Severn cheap transport. James Clifford, lord of the Manor of Broseley in the late sixteenth century, was one of the pioneering industrialists, operating mines and wooden railways. John Weld owned part of the Manor of Broseley in 1620 and operated a blast furnace at nearby Willey. The mines in Broseley and the adjoining parish of Benthall became of national importance in the seventeenth century. Wooden railways were built both to bring coal out of mines and to carry it down the sides of the Severn Gorge to the river. A document of 1605 refers to a line from Birch Leasows, Broseley to the Calcutts; this is only the second railway for which evidence survives in England. By the 1630s such lines were being built down many of the tributary valleys leading to the river. The major ironworks were all situated off the plateau on which Broseley was growing, beside tributaries of the River Severn. Waterwheels were used to operate the bellows before steam engines were installed. A new furnace was built at Willey in 1758 by the New Willey Company the most important partner in the company being John Wilkinson. Wilkinson was born in Cumbria into a family involved in the iron trades he had works at Brymbo near Wrexham and at Bradley in Staffordshire. He bought a house in Broseley and made most of his innovations in the manufacture and use of iron in Shropshire. After he discovered a better way of boring cylinder tubes there followed a long association with Boulton and Watt of Birmingham. The first Boulton and Watt steam engine to be sold from their works was installed at Willey to operate the bellows of the blast furnace. Wilkinson made the first iron boat which was launched on the river Severn at Wiley Wharf and is reputed to have made the first coal cutting machines . He was an astute businessman and gained good profits out of steam engines and government orders for cannon.

The Calcutts, Benthall and Coneybury furnaces all came into blast in the latter half of the eighteenth century. John Onions had gained control of the Coneybury furnace by 1800 and then took over the Broseley furnace built by John Guest ( who later founded what was to become GKN) in 1806 by the Coalport Road. Onions also built a large foundry just to the south of Church Street. There were also two furnaces on the banks of the Severn at Barnetts Leasow blown by a Watt engine. These were built by Jesson & Wright who were ironmasters from West Bromwich and supplied their forges a few miles further down the Severn at Wrens Nest. Calcutts and Benthall ironworks were used for Earl Dundonald’s experiments in combining coke and tar production; the process appears to have been more of a technical than an economic success.

Clay had always been found with coal and iron. Making clay pipes began, probably as a sideline to mining after Sir Walter Raleigh introduced tobacco into Britain at the end of the sixteenth century. There were hundreds of individual pipe makers in Broseley many of whom used their own stamps. In the nineteenth century pipemaking became concentrated in factories of which there were three:- at Bridge Bank, Benthall; Legge’s Hill and on King Street, where the former works of William Southorn & Co. survives substantially intact. This company had been established in 1823 and by 1890 the factory employed 90 people. The Southorn family still produce clay pipes and a display of their products along with original Coalport china can be seen at the Cumberland Hotel. "Will you take a Broseley?" became a familiar phrase to smokers in an era when a clay pipe of tobacco could be purchased across the bar of a tavern. The remaining pipe works is now open as a museum run by the Ironbridge Gorge Museum and open 7 days a week from March to October. Pipes are again (March 2000) being manufactured in Broseley by local enthusiast Rex Key- see his Broseley pipes web site (visit link) .

Pottery making remained a major industry well into the nineteenth century and became concentrated by the river in Jackfield. However there were several factories in Broseley. Remains of the Salopian Art Pottery survive at the site of the Benthall drainage pipe factory by the Much Wenlock road. Another factory was located across the road and further evidence of a pottery has been found at Benthall Old Vicarage. Many works were producing the type of yellow and brown slipped pottery with a pie crust edge, often found in local gardens."

SOURCE - (visit link)
Type of Historic Marker: Information board and map

Historical Marker Issuing Authority: Bridgnorth District Council

Related Website: [Web Link]

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