Simonfield to The Brook
So What Evidence Can We Find In Simonfield Today?
We have the 1992 Ordnance Survey (see below) highlighting some of the main features.
Parish Boundary post with Hallam Brook at its boundary with Mapperley Brook flowing under the Railway Bridge. The two Brooks joining at Brook Farm giving it its name.
To the West:
Soon we are warned about the dangers of former mining and its industrial past. With the stile warning of old colliery workings 20 yards ahead.
Here we find the remains of an early Bell Pit for extracting coal deposits near the Surface. (5 – 10yards deep). Most of the coal being just under the surface.
Prepared by miners the shafts were sunk down to the coal. The mining operations were then often left to children to bring it to the surface.
Fields would be left scarred with the remains of these workings.
Coal was moved from the early dated pits by horse and cart. Later using horse drawn Tramways.
Evidence of their routes still seen today with embankments and cuttings from the old tracks.
Simon Field Farm stood in the middle of this activity.
Farm memories of the Mortons chapel Anniversary parties are well remembered by elder members of the village. The Ufton family also well remembered working the farm. Once a magnificent 3 storey building.
The Arrival of Deeper Collieries
Next came the Fletchers of Stainsby House who mined the deeper seams.
Although coal was being sold locally at the pit head or at a land sale wharf. A considerable amount was taken to Derby by horse and cart on roads that could only be described as dirt tracks, impossible to use during the winter months.
So the Turnpike Act, which was received by Royal ascent on 19th April 1764 was welcomed by the local coal Masters.
John Barber represented the “Simonfield” District stating that very few coals would be brought from here to Nottingham, because of the distant. That it would be worth 7 shillings or 8 shillings to carry 40cwt of coal from Simonfield to Nottingham in the Summer time.
His uncle John Fletcher of Stainsby House was sinking 4 shafts in Simonfield and the price upon the bank will be about 2½d per hundred weight.
Here we see an advert from 1765 for the sinking proposed collieries.
In John Fletcher’s Will, he left his estate to his nephew John Barber. A man famed for his work building steam engines and inventor of the Gas Turbine Engine.
Using Simonfield for his experiments in improving colliery mine pumping engines.
On March 12th 1776 A Patent was taken out by him for machinery for draining mines.