A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 11, Telford. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1985.
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In 1086 there was woodland for fattening 400 swine, one of the largest tracts in the county. (fn. 1) In the 12th century the men of Madeley enjoyed pannage with other common rights, defined in 1190 and surrendered in 1234, in the Wrekin woods. (fn. 2) The manor lay in the royal forest of Mount Gilbert until 1301. (fn. 3) In 1283 Wenlock priory was allowed to inclose its wood of Madeley with a small dike and a low hedge (haia) and make a park there; Hay farm and the demesne park (fn. 4) may date from then. By 1322 the Hay was given over to pasture and tillage (fn. 5) and in 1379 the park had herbage worth 40d. a year but no underwood. (fn. 6)
The main wooded areas were in the west and south. Woodland survived along the boundaries with Buildwas (fn. 7) and Little Wenlock. (fn. 8) In 1232 trenches, or cleared strips marking the boundary with Little Wenlock, were renewed (fn. 9) through what was known by 1379 as Timber wood. Payment of pannage for 126 swine in Timber wood and 99 in the park in 1379 (fn. 10) may indicate that mature trees abounded over the high land west of the wooded slopes of Coalbrookdale and in the park. The former area may gradually have been converted to coppice (fn. 11) whose clearance for pasture and meadow was completed in the 18th century. (fn. 12) Pannage for 58 pigs in the lord's wood was paid in 1431, and for 94 pigs in 1449. (fn. 13) The southern edge of the parish long contained the main area of woodland, Madeley wood, sloping steeply down into the Severn Gorge (fn. 14) and used as common (fn. 15) as late as the end of the 17th century. (fn. 16) The lack of pannage there in 1379 may indicate that it was already largely coppiced. (fn. 17) Madeley woods were described as inclosed grounds in the 1650s, (fn. 18) and inclosure of woodland may have allowed commoning to persist.
Lessees of the manor in 1498 were forbidden to cut oak, ash, and crab; from the park and the outwoods they were allowed wood for repairs, but building timber could be taken only under the bailiff's supervision. (fn. 19) Coppice land, sometimes let, (fn. 20) was increasingly useful for local industry. Timber too was required. (fn. 21) In 1702 the manorial estate contained 3,369 trees (including 131 ashes) and 160 cords of wood, worth £1,548 or about 9 per cent of the value of the land. In 1705 Coalbrookdale timber and coppice wood worth £600 was sold to the lessees of the Madeley Wood coal mines. Madeley Wood (including Lloyds coppice) was apparently excluded from the valuation, and most coppice land remained with the manor, (fn. 22) or was reunited to it, (fn. 23) in the 18th century. About 1720 the vicar claimed tithe wood from coppices. (fn. 24) By 1785 twenty-one years' growth was worth £15 or £16 an acre; barked oak poles were sold for use in the coal pits and the young bark fetched £1 a ton more than old bark. Timber was taken from Lloyds coppice for the pits in the 1790s. (fn. 25)
Coppice management in Coalbrookdale was practised in the 1840s, though the woods were then partly used for recreation, (fn. 26) an increasingly important use of local woodland in the next century. By 1981 much regard was had to the woods in Coalbrookdale (fn. 27) and Lloyd's coppice and around Blists Hill as important parts of Telford's landscape; they were mostly derelict coppicewith-standards, with much dead elm. (fn. 28)
In 1086 the estate was rated at 4 hides, 3 of them geldable. Its value in 1066 had been £4; by 1086 it was worth only 50s. There were 2 ploughteams in demesne in 1086 and 4 held by 6 villeins and 4 bordars; there was room for 6 more. The bordars' share probably implies continued expansion of cultivation. (fn. 29) Open fields were extended into wooded margins: the 'new land' (so called in 1321) of Meriotesbache and that next to Botshawe (fn. 30) perhaps represented such additions to Mill field in the mid 13th century. (fn. 31) Later, however, arable farming contracted. In 1291 there were 5 carucates, each worth 18s. a year. (fn. 32) By the 1370s there were only 3; a third of the arable then lay fallow and common, each of the two sown parts being worth 30s. a year. (fn. 33)
The open fields lay around Madeley town. South-east and south lay Mill field by 1381. (fn. 34) Westwards lay West field by the later 16th century, (fn. 35) perhaps 'le Schanofeld' of 1381. (fn. 36) To the north a small area of open field was confined by Shooting Butts Lane and the demesne around the Court. (fn. 37) To the north-east what may have been a large area of open field was known by several names, perhaps as a result of reorganization and fragmentation: nearest to Madeley was Cradeley (in 1381) (fn. 38) or Little or Town (c. 1540) (fn. 39) field; further north-east was Downall field or Downfield (by the later 16th century), part of which, called the Hales, was pasture by the earlier 17th century; (fn. 40) further north still the name Old field (fn. 41) probably indicates a part of the open fields absorbed into the demesne as the arable shrank.
By the 1320s inhabitants of Coalbrookdale apparently held land in the fields of Madeley. There is, however, a hint that in 1322 Coalbrookdale had a field of its own perhaps lying south of the later Castle Green farm, for field land between the way from Coalbrookdale to Madeley and the highway over Marlehull was mentioned that year. (fn. 42) In the later 16th century holdings lay scattered in Mill, West, Little, and Downall fields, but in the mid or later 17th century the destruction of the open fields was evidently completed by consolidation of holdings. (fn. 43)
The medieval park and demesne were restocked with deer of the king's gift in the 1290s. (fn. 44) Besides deer closes the park and demesne included horse pasture, a rabbit warren, a dovecot, (fn. 45) fishponds, and an eyrie of swans. (fn. 46) There was another warren in sandy slopes near Strethill, a farm separated from the manor in 1540. (fn. 47) In the manor the lord's monopoly of free warren and sporting rights (fn. 48) was breached only in 1848. (fn. 49) The fishponds, damaged by the escheator c. 1260, included a nursery by 1498. They and the swans' eyrie were still valued as sources of food for the priory in 1498, (fn. 50) and the manor had perhaps long included the Bower weir, on the Benthall bank of the Severn. (fn. 51) The weir may have been identical with the fishery belonging to Much Wenlock manor in 1086 (fn. 52) and reserved to the priory when Benthall was subinfeudated. (fn. 53) In the early 16th century tenants of the Bower weir paid part of their rent to the priory in fish. The weir was destroyed c. 1534 (fn. 54) but evidently rebuilt in the later 16th century for by 1575 John Brooke owned one there and another at the Hay; (fn. 55) both probably disappeared in the 17th century. (fn. 56) Fishing the Severn and the stocking of private pools retained some economic importance in the 18th and 19th centuries, (fn. 57) but in the 20th century they were more significant for recreation. (fn. 58)
The imparking of part of the demesne and the contraction of woodland and arable suggest an increase in pastoral farming from the 13th century or earlier. In the 14th century Madeley park was one of two which were important in the wider pastoral economy of Wenlock priory's estates: the monks grew no grain for sale, they and their livestock consuming all the demesne corn and corn rents. In 1390 the park and meadows in Madeley barely sufficed to keep the priory's livestock. Sheep farming, significant for the priory's economy in the 13th century, (fn. 59) was long important in Madeley. In 1334 tenants in the new town were forbidden to wash diseased sheep in the Washbrook ford. (fn. 60) Personal (fn. 61) and place (fn. 62) names reinforce the sparse evidence. Lack of sheep was alleged as a cause of poverty in 1341. (fn. 63) Foreign sheep were pastured in the manor in the 14th (fn. 64) and 17th-18th centuries. (fn. 65) In the mid 17th century there were sheep walks on the demesne and a shepherd was employed. (fn. 66) Later flocks were few and small (averaging seven), kept by a few farmers and tradesmen, but in Coalbrookdale flocks of 82 (on Strethill farm) and 52 were recorded in 1673 and 1710. (fn. 67)
Animal husbandry was important in the later 17th century. In 1677 owners of swine and cattle were presented for nuisances in the highways and lanes and for trespasses, pound breach, and oppression of the commons. (fn. 68) In 1678 and 1690 stray sheep were rounded up in Coalbrookdale and Madeley Wood for the lord of Bourton hundred. (fn. 69) In fact, however, mixed farming was general: most farmers (fn. 70) who owned cattle also owned ploughs, muck, and grain, though cattlewere often their most valuable possessions. Corn crops included wheat, rye, hard corn (mixed wheat and rye), (fn. 71) barley, and oats; peas (probably sometimes with oats), (fn. 72) and vetches were also sown. Crops were probably rotated: in 1718-19 peas followed barley and barley followed peas and oats in different parts of the vicar's glebe. (fn. 73) Spring-sown crops, or lent tilling, (fn. 74) were less valuable than winter corn. (fn. 75) Farmers' herds, the largest recorded amounting to thirty, (fn. 76) averaged eleven. The vicar, without meadow or common but with tithe hay, (fn. 77) kept cattle. (fn. 78) Oxen and bullocks figured in the larger herds. Horses were plentiful but cattle too were evidently still used as draught animals. (fn. 79) Small herds (three to fourteen, averaging six) were kept by some tradesmen, (fn. 80) trowmen, (fn. 81) and widows; (fn. 82) occasionally a labourer or collier managed to keep a single cow. (fn. 83) The parish lay beyond the southern limit of the Cheshire cheese country (fn. 84) and little cheese seems to have been made commercially. Few cattle owners had more cheese than was needed for domestic consumption, and then only modest quantities. (fn. 85) A collier who died in 1711 owning £10 worth of butter and cheese, but no cattle, may have traded in dairy products. (fn. 86)
Apples were cropped (fn. 87) and bees kept. (fn. 88) All classes kept poultry (fn. 89) and pigs, though not in large numbers; one farmer had eleven pigs, (fn. 90) but three was an average number owned. Hemp and flax were widely grown; small crops or the residues of larger crops were dressed and worked into yarn and cloth at home, (fn. 91) but considerable quantities were occasionally grown: (fn. 92) 7 a. of flax were mentioned in 1718. (fn. 93) Hops were grown in the 17th century. (fn. 94) Such ancillary crops may have been more important than most surviving records suggest: Henry Bowdler (fl. 1650) kept his orchard and hopyard after making his holding over to his son-in-law. (fn. 95)
There seem to have been substantial tenants in the manor in the 13th century: one claimed a carucate in 1271. (fn. 96) As in its other manors Wenlock priory exacted 'terciary', a third of a deceased tenant's goods. (fn. 97) Heriot was still due from leaseholders in 1702. (fn. 98) In the 14th century servile tenants needed the lord's permission to marry, (fn. 99) and until at least 1380 a curia bondorum was held for tenants outside the new town. (fn. 100)
In the 1320s tenure was for life or lives, (fn. 101) and in the early 15th century a surrender fine called 'varneth' was still payable. (fn. 102) A buoyant demand for land brought in some £5 in fines from the Madeley tenants in 1321-2. (fn. 103) By 1341, however, tenants were scarce. (fn. 104) Copyholding largely gave way to leaseholding in the later Middle Ages. By 1540 Wenlock priory owned all the land in the manor except the vicar's glebe and a few burgages (fn. 105) with their gardens. (fn. 106) In the later 16th century over 70 per cent of the lord's rent came from leaseholders, barely a quarter from copyholders. (fn. 107)
In 1702 about a third in extent and value of the manor's 2,074 a. of agricultural land (fn. 108) was leased for lives or (in one case) a term of years. Each of the five leaseholders owed a small reserved rent, a couple of capons, and a few shillings in lieu of heriot. Four of the leaseholders were among the six largest tenants, who held over 100 a. each and altogether over two fifths of the agricultural acreage: the lessees of Hay farm and Upper House held 256 a. and 150 a., the other four large tenants an average of 113 a. each. The demesne around the Court (c. 540 a.) was about a quarter of the manor's agricultural acreage; it was perhaps then kept in hand, and the rest of the manor was probably let for economic rents. Eleven tenants holding between 25 a. and 100 a. (one leasing 47 a.) occupied another quarter, and nine tenants of under 25 a. (the smallest with only 4 a.) occupied almost a twentieth.
Hay farm seems to have remained the largest farm in the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1849, with 195 a., it was one of four of 150 a. or more; there were two of 100-149 a. and four with 50-99 a. The ten farms (fn. 109) probably accounted for some 70 per cent of the parish's agricultural land. (fn. 110) Of the ten largest farms in 1849 all but Strethill and Madeley Hall (fn. 111) were let. Not all the tenants were farmers. Lees farm was let to William Anstice, managing partner in the Madeley Wood Co., the Cottage farm to Charles Dyas, licensee of the Royal Oak. (fn. 112) Francis and John Yates, barge owners, coal merchants, and maltsters, held the Court farm in partnership with William Dyas, a butcher, maltster, and grocer, (fn. 113) who also held 22 a. nearby on his own account. (fn. 114) Some smaller mid 19th-century tenants probably had other occupations, as did Peter Hopley, charter master and joint tenant of 39 a. near Madeley Court. (fn. 115) Tenants who were not farmers evidently employed farmers or bailiffs. (fn. 116)
About 95 per cent of farm land in the parish was rented in 1891, only 77 per cent by 1938. (fn. 117) Hay farm was bought by a farmer in 1909. (fn. 118) Some farmers acquired more than one farm: H. P. Price of Castle Green farm bought Hill Top (later Grange) farm (112 a.) in 1948 and Roughpark farm (81 a.) in 1952. (fn. 119) Owner occupation tended to increase. Court farm was bought by the tenant. (fn. 120) Of three farms sold in 1926, the Cottage farm was bought by the tenants, Cuckoo Oak farm was resold to the tenant next year, and Springhill farm was bought by a Shifnal farmer whose widow sold it to the tenant in 1954. (fn. 121)
Few farms crossed the parish boundary, though in the west most of the former Furnace Bank farm was farmed with Greenbank farm in Little Dawley in 1849. (fn. 122) Not all farms were compact in 1849, particularly holdings under 50 a. The break-up of the manorial estate from 1705 had fixed even the larger farms. In 1702 and 1849 Hay farm included 20 a. of meadow near Madeley Court. In 1849 Madeley Hall's farm was the most dispersed, with 23 a. near the hall, 25 a. off Park Lane, and 65 a. near the eastern parish boundary. (fn. 123)
Mining and industry contributed to destroy some farms (fn. 124) and made inroads into others, like Lodge farm (109 a. in 1732 and probably larger earlier) where sand was dug for Coalbrookdale Co. castings. Some farms lost only peripheral land. (fn. 125) Most of the larger mid 19th-century farms survived more or less intact until the 1960s, (fn. 126) though Sunniside (otherwise Westminster or the Moors) (fn. 127) farm in Coalbrookdale eventually separated from Strethill farm. (fn. 128) There were more changes in the Park Lane area, and in the eastern part of the parish Madeley Hall's land formed Springhill farm c. 1880. (fn. 129) Small holdings also survived into the 20th century. (fn. 130) One at Hill's Lane, of 8 a. in 1926, formed the nucleus of a 51-a. farm by 1958; the farm, about a third of it rough grazing over old pitmounds and sand pits, was partly owner occupied but mostly rented from three or four owners. (fn. 131) By 1981 only two areas of agricultural land remained. That west of Coalbrookdale was outside Telford and unlikely to be affected by development, but that around Lees farm was planned for future housing; (fn. 132) it was mainly rough, and in places wet, pasture.
Sources: P.R.O., MAF 68/143, no. 15; /1340, no. 6; /3880, Salop. no. 264; /4945, no. 264.
By the mid 20th century farm buildings varied greatly. At Madeley Court, the Hay, and the Lodge 17th-century (and perhaps earlier) buildings remained in use alongside later ones. (fn. 133) Other farms, such as Hill Top and Springhill, had been built in modern times; (fn. 134) Edward Foster, later a leading Shropshire farmer (kt. 1950), had farmed at Hill Top before 1914. (fn. 135) Cuckoo Oak farm buildings provided ample accommodation for the land but had not been well maintained; (fn. 136) those at Castle Green farm were excellent. (fn. 137)
In 1801 wheat occupied 46 per cent of recorded cereal acreage, oats 31 per cent, and barley 23 per cent. Peas, potatoes, and turnips were grown. (fn. 138) Farming was mixed in 1849 but little more than one acre in three on the ten largest farms was meadow or pasture, though meadow predominated in the centre of the parish north and west of Madeley. In the later 19th and earlier 20th century the area of agricultural land averaged 1,700 a. Industrial decline may have increased it slightly. Farmers turned from arable to livestock, especially cattle; sheep maintained their position; pigs declined, (fn. 139) though there was some interest in intensive pig and poultry breeding in the mid 1930s. (fn. 140) Arable farming recovered in the mid 20th century just before the loss of almost all agricultural land.
Wenlock priory owned a mill in Madeley in 1291. (fn. 141) Perhaps a second one was given to the priory in 1363. (fn. 142) One mill mentioned in the 1370s was let for 10s. a year. (fn. 143) Mills and millers were mentioned in the 14th and 15th centuries (fn. 144) and in a survey of c. 1540. (fn. 145) A mill on the manorial estate was mentioned in 1593 (fn. 146) and one was repaired in 1649 or 1650. (fn. 147)
There were three mills near Madeley town: one near Madeley Court and, lower down the same stream, the Clock mill and Washbrook mill. (fn. 148) The Court mill, an early 17th-century brick building with stone dressings, a stone gable and adjoining stone wall, and heavy internal timber framing, (fn. 149) was ruinous in 1980. It had ceased working between the 1820s and 1847; (fn. 150) the wheel had gone by 1880 and the pool was covered by industrial spoil. (fn. 151) Between at least the 1440s and the 1540s the Cook or Coke family seem to have held one, or perhaps both, of the mills lower down the stream. (fn. 152) The upper one was probably the Clock mill held by Thomas Roberts in 1702 and bought from the manor by John Ashwood in 1705; in 1847 there was no mill but the pool survived (fn. 153) and the Madeley Wood Co. built a cement mill there beside the Shropshire Canal; it worked until c. 1914. (fn. 154) With what was later known as the Cottage farm, Washbrook mill was bought from the manor by Audley Bowdler in 1705; it remained with his heirs in 1847 but, probably soon after, was acquired by the Madeley Wood Co. It ceased working in the early 1900s, and its overshot wheel was broken up during the Second World War. (fn. 155)
There was a windmill north-east of Madeley Court by 1702; (fn. 156) the ruined brick tower, but none of the machinery, remained in 1981. (fn. 157) A supposed windmill on top of the Whales Back above Coalbrookdale was probably a folly or prospect tower. (fn. 158)
The Caldebrook was beginning to be used for industrial power by the early 16th century, and the bloomsmithy in existence by 1536 (fn. 159) probably stood where the Lower forge, Dale End, was later located. (fn. 160) By 1520 there was also a mill higher up Coalbrookdale. Tenanted by the Warhams in the 16th century, (fn. 161) it probably formed part of the property bought from the Crown by William Sprott in 1540 (fn. 162) and may have stood in the lower half of the dale; it was later sold and may have been the corn mill sold again in 1602. (fn. 163) In 1753 a pair of mills (perhaps the former Middle forge) occupied the future site of the Boring mill, built in 1780. (fn. 164) By or during the 18th century the Caldebrook's power was given wholly to industry and the stream was ponded in five places: at the Upper (Old) furnace, the Lower furnace, the Upper forge, the Boring mill, and the Lower forge. The New pool in Lightmoor dingle had probably been made c. 1698. (fn. 165)
Abraham Darby (III) provided a corn mill in Coalbrookdale for his workers, probably that worked in 1801 by the injection water from the nearby Resolution steam engine. The mill, probably rebuilt c. 1821, (fn. 166) evidently ceased working in the 1870s. (fn. 167)
Coal and ironstone.
Coalbrookdale, though giving its name to the east Shropshire coalfield, (fn. 168) is barren of productive measures. (fn. 169) Its beds of Silurian limestone and Wenlock shales (fn. 170) were recognized as the western boundary of the coalfield in Madeley parish. (fn. 171) Eastwards the whole parish overlies the Middle and Lower Coal Measures and workable seams of coal and ironstone were generally available. The most accessible outcroppings, and scene of the earliest mining, lay in Madeley Wood, the north-east side of the Severn Gorge, where the river has cut through the coal measures. The coal seams dip eastwards, and only in the 19th century, as the older mines were worked out, did mining operations shift to the deeper seams in the east of the parish. (fn. 172)
John Brooke, who owned the manor from c. 1572, seems to have been employing colliers in 1579. (fn. 176) The beginnings of large-scale mining in Madeley, like the great expansion of the east Shropshire coalfield generally, (fn. 177) probably coincided with the growth of the down-river coal trade in the late 16th century, when Madeley coals were among the first shipped to Worcester, (fn. 178) and with the development of local iron and steel works by Sir Basil Brooke, lord of the manor 1598-1646. (fn. 179)
Brooke worked four coal mines in Madeley though, perhaps as a result of his involvements elsewhere, (fn. 180) with insufficient capital (fn. 181) to deal with the serious drainage problems. (fn. 182) After 1645 the county committee's annual lettings discouraged tenants (the first of whom was Richard Foley) from investing in the mines. (fn. 183) In 1649, however, the committee let the manor to Edward Cludde of Orleton, a relative of the Brookes. He managed the mines closely, eliminating, for example, the frauds arising when bargemen worked also as colliers. He invested some £2,000 so that by 1651, when he bid for a 7-year lease, (fn. 184) the coal works were said to be in a better state than in Brooke's time: two mines had been saved and the whole coal works made safe for twenty years. The mines consisted of four 'insets' driven horizontally into the Madeley Wood hillside; each was worked by master grubbers (normally two partners) and their ground colliers. Two of the main ways were 1,000 yards long, the other two 700 and 500 yards; for half or more of those distances water had to be forced out by engines. The seams of coal varied in thickness from eighteen inches to a yard. (fn. 185)
In 1651, the year of his death, Cludde passed his tenancy of the manor to Francis Wolfe (I), formerly clerk of the works. Wolfe soon began to raise capital, doubtless to continue the works, (fn. 186) and his son Francis (II) was probably still running them in 1669. (fn. 187) Later the young Basil Brooke, lord of the manor, began to spend great sums of money 'in digging and winning coal'. (fn. 188) For over a century longer his successors as lords continued to be actively and directly involved-as owners, capitalists, or industrial entrepreneurs- in the exploitation of their mines, though from time to time areas of coal and ironstone were leased out. In the later 18th century the mines were concentrated in the hands of an industrial partnership which included the lord of the manor until 1794. (fn. 189)
The mid 17th-century method of working the Madeley Wood mines, from levels driven into the hill, remained largely unchanged in 1711. (fn. 190) By then, however, mining was being extended north of the Shifnal to Much Wenlock road. In 1650 a few insubstantial tenants had failed in their bid to lease the manor and its coal and iron works, (fn. 191) but by the early 1690s some of the capital involved in this northward expansion was evidently provided by parishioners, including farmers and men like Lawrence Wellington (I), (fn. 192) the Coalbrookdale forgemaster. (fn. 193) Others involved probably contributed mining skills. (fn. 194) A lease of some northern mines was granted to two Londoners in 1692; they were permitted to lay 1,500 yards of wooden rails from the Lane pit to the Severn. In 1706 all coal and ironstone north of the road was leased to William Phillips for 31 years with licence to prospect for new mines. Phillips was also allowed to make new waggonways and Severn wharves and to use existing railways to the south, specifically that from the pit in Lloyds dingle with its 'wind' and chain down to the Severn. (fn. 195)
In the early 18th century the lord of the manor was encouraging individual master miners to open up new pits in the older mining area, Madeley Wood, and the manorial bailiff John Ashwood was buying timber for their works. (fn. 196) In 1703, however, to assure the jointure of Basil Brooke's widow Winifred (fn. 197) and so permit the sale of manorial lands on behalf of his creditors and heirs, (fn. 198) a large 21-year mining leasehold was created, though with protection for existing interests. Its 600-700 a. centred on the vicar's New leasow, the nearest pits to which were the Lane pit, not included in the lease, and Holland's pit, perhaps the later (Craw) Stone, or Styches pit. Its tenants were evidently to receive the rent and royalties from the northern leasehold of 1692, and their own holding apparently included all coal and ironstone workings south of the road. They took John Ashwood as their clerk. If possible they were to employ Madeley colliers, three of whom were to be permitted to carry on their new workings in the Double and Flint coal. At the Lloyds in 1719 the lessees erected a steam pumping engine, the earliest known in Shropshire, (fn. 199) to reduce drainage costs.
The break-up of the manorial estate from 1705 (fn. 200) left the coal and iron works intact. The minerals 500 yards around Madeley Court were sold (fn. 201) but not exploited until 1840. (fn. 202) About 1721 the vicar established his right to royalties from mining under his glebe. (fn. 203)
The lease of 1703 ended in 1724, (fn. 204) Winifred Brooke having died. (fn. 205) The lords of the manor seem to have resumed the Madeley Wood mines. (fn. 206) In the 1730s J. U. Smitheman, lord of half the manor, worked them, buying large numbers of iron wheels for railway waggons from the Coalbrookdale Co. and installing a steam pumping engine there shortly before his death in 1744. (fn. 207) The mines north of the Shifnal to Much Wenlock road, comprising the Lane and Paddock pits, seem still to have been worked separately in 1741, a royalty being paid to Smitheman and John Giffard. (fn. 208)
Smitheman's son John eventually became active in the coal trade and, in 1756, principal founding partner in the Madeley Wood Co. The partners included several master colliers who held leases of pits and foot roads. The company held manorial coal and ironstone on lease and became an iron-making concern too. Its works were bought by Abraham Darby (III) in 1776 when he was buying up shares in the manor, (fn. 209) ultimately to engross its minerals. His capital, however, was insufficient (fn. 210) and the manor passed to Richard Reynolds in 1780 and 1781. (fn. 211) In the 1790s the Coalbrookdale Co. and the Reynoldses, concentrating mining operations in their own hands, equipped their pits with new, locally made winding engines; new pits were opened at Blists Hill and Rough Park. (fn. 212) When the Darby and Reynolds interests were finally disentangled in 1797 the Madeley Wood enterprises and coal mining were taken over by William Reynolds & Co., who had succeeded Richard Reynolds & Co. in 1794. (fn. 213) After William Reynolds's death in 1803 they passed under the Anstices' control. (fn. 214)
In the earlier 19th century, and evidently in the late 19th century, coal and ironstone mining was the most profitable activity of the Anstices' Madeley Wood Co. (fn. 215) Outside the Madeley Court area the company had the lease of all the coal and ironstone in the manor. Its successor the Madeley Wood Co. Ltd., formed in 1918 (fn. 216) and acquired from the Anstices by their managers the Cadmans in the 1920s, (fn. 217) bought the manorial mines in 1929 (fn. 218) and owned them until Nationalization in 1947. (fn. 219)
Though it reduced wages in 1821 (fn. 220) the Madeley Wood Co. was a reasonably good, even paternal, employer by 19th-century standards. (fn. 221) It eschewed tommy shops (fn. 222) and c. 1841 tried, within the limits set by subcontracting to charter masters, to eliminate infant labour from its mines. (fn. 223) Boys over six years old worked in the coal seams, though fewer were employed in the thicker ironstone seams. (fn. 224) Labour relations worsened in the 1900s when the Anstices brought professional managers in, and a strike c. 1912 contributed to the closure of all but three of the company's mines. (fn. 225)
At the beginning of the 19th century, as the older mines were becoming exhausted, mining operations began to shift east and north. (fn. 226) The Hills Lane, Meadow, Hales, Blists Hill, and Shaws pits had been sunk by the early 1840s. There were new sinkings at Halesfield c. 1870. (fn. 227)
The 19th-century sinkings were exhausted in their turn. For some years after 1912 the Meadow pit, and evidently the Shawfield pit (working 1917), were the only productive pits open in the parish; the Meadow pit ceased production in 1920. Woodside mine worked from 1927 to 1947 (fn. 228) but the life of Madeley's mining community was prolonged until 1967 as a result of the company's earlier extension of its mining interests east of the parish boundary. (fn. 229) The Madeley Wood pit in Kemberton, sunk in 1864 c. 1,200 yards northeast of Halesfield, was by 1934 one of only three significant collieries in Shropshire: it then produced c. 110,000 tons of coal a year, almost 17 per cent of the county's total. The colliery was re-equipped and reconstructed in the late 1930s (when the Halesfield shafts began to be used for its ventilation) and by the National Coal Board in the late 1940s and early 1950s. (fn. 230) The closure of the colliery in 1967 (fn. 231) marked the end of underground mining. In the 1960s, however, Duroclay Ltd. got coal on the former Castle Green farm as part of its opencast clay extraction there. (fn. 232)
Madeley Court mines were worked for some seventy years from 1840, when James Foster (fn. 233) began to exploit the coal and ironstone of his royalty, (fn. 234) letting it to charter masters. (fn. 235) Mining began on the southern edge of the royalty where there were several pits in 1849. (fn. 236) By 1881 the spoil heaps there had been planted with trees and other shafts had been sunk, perhaps in the early 1870s, to the north-east. (fn. 237) The Fosters' royalty did not coincide exactly with the circle defined in 1703 but had been adjusted to conform with their surface ownership: a segment south of Gypsy Lane had been exchanged (fn. 238) for an area north of Halesfield where F. Guest chartered two pits. (fn. 239)
All the spoil heaps south of the Court had been planted by 1901 (fn. 240) and mining in the Court royalty ended over the next few years. Production ceased in 1910 and 15 of the 17 pits were officially abandoned in 1911. Guest's pits, the subject of a drainage agreement in 1893, ceased production c. 1903 and were leased for Halesfield drainage to the Madeley Wood Co., which mined the Flint coal there briefly in 1916. (fn. 241)
Iron and steel.
Earliest evidence of iron making in the parish is the leasing of 'le Newhouse and Calbroke smithy' in 1536 to Hugh Morrall for 63 years. (fn. 242) Morrall also held an ironstone mine nearby. The water-powered (fn. 243) smithy, presumably a bloomery forge, stood near Dale End (fn. 244) and so can almost certainly be identified with the Lower forge, (fn. 245) where hearth plates dating from 1602 were found. (fn. 246) The contemporary existence of the Michell alias Smitheman family (fn. 247) indicates some turning of an established copyholding family to the new trade.
Early in the 17th century Sir Basil Brooke, lord of the manor 1598-1646, began to involve himself in iron making in the forest of Dean, where he became an overseer (1615-19), later a lessee (1628-35), of the Crown's ironworks. (fn. 248) About 1615 he acquired an interest in a steel cementation patent, and it seems to have been in Madeley that he made steel, importing Dean iron for the purpose. (fn. 249) His steel works, said to be in Madeley Wood in 1645 (fn. 250) but probably in the lower part of Coalbrookdale, (fn. 251) evidently operated until c. 1680 (fn. 252) and may have stimulated coal production in his nearby mines. (fn. 253) Brooke also made iron in Shropshire, (fn. 254) notably in Madeley where he built or rebuilt (fn. 255) a blast furnace at the head of Coalbrookdale, probably in 1638, the date on a monogrammed iron lintel over the tapping hearth of the Old, or Upper, furnace. (fn. 256)
Brooke's iron and steel works, like his coal mines, fell to the Parliamentarians in 1645 and were later let to Richard Foley and then to Edward Cludde. Cludde put them in order (fn. 257) and workmen from other parts of the country may have been brought to Madeley. (fn. 258) Francis Wolfe (I), Cludde's clerk of the coal and iron works, (fn. 259) acquired Cludde's tenancy of the manor in 1651. (fn. 260) His son Francis (II), who was supplying blooms to the Foleys in 1669, (fn. 261) was having to buy cordwood from as far away as Caus in 1680, (fn. 262) local coppices being apparently earmarked for other nearby furnaces. (fn. 263) By 1685 the furnace may have been taking ironstone from Lawley. (fn. 264)
Lawrence Wellington (I), of Coalbrookdale, was apparently operating the furnace in 1688 and supplying pig to Wytheford forge, but whether as a tenant or as manager for Basil Brooke is uncertain; he was certainly one of Brooke's creditors. Brooke's industrial operations incurred great losses and the manor was vested in trustees in 1695. Next year the ironworks in Coalbrookdale were let to Shadrach Fox of Malinslee: he immediately sublet to Wellington the Great and the Plate forges, with charcoal houses, a steelhouse, a smith's shop lately worked by Cornelius Hallen, and other buildings. (fn. 265) Fox probably made the New pool in Lightmoor dingle c. 1698 as a reserve for his Coalbrookdale furnace. (fn. 266)
After an explosion at the furnace Fox absconded c. 1705 (fn. 267) and his lease of the Coalbrookdale works was evidently acquired by Richard Corfield (d. by 1715) and Thomas Dorset. The furnace was still damaged when it was sublet in 1708 (fn. 268) to Abraham Darby (I), (fn. 269) a Bristol brass and iron founder and ironmonger. Besides being well acquainted with the properties of coke, (fn. 270) Darby was interested in smelting iron (for founding) without the use of charcoal (fn. 271) and so was probably undeterred by the difficulties of obtaining wood in the area. (fn. 272) He rebuilt the furnace and in 1709 introduced coke as a smelting fuel; (fn. 273) by c. 1713 he evidently regarded the results as satisfactory. (fn. 274)
Darby's innovation was not widely imitated, (fn. 275) nor did its full significance (fn. 276) begin to be appreciated, for forty years or more. It was his son Abraham (II) who then improved the technique to produce pig suitable for making wrought bar in the forges. (fn. 277) Meanwhile in 1715 the concern started by Abraham (I), the Coalbrookdale Co., (fn. 278) had become principal lessee (with an undertenant at the Lower forge) of the Coalbrookdale works, (fn. 279) which it continued to lease from the lords of the manor (fn. 280) until it bought them in 1845. (fn. 281) At first the mainstay of its business was a wide range of fine castings and hollow ware. (fn. 282) Nevertheless from 1718, when the Old forge was restored, it began to produce wrought iron in a small way and to take over the Coalbrookdale forges. (fn. 283)
Five forges are known to have used the Caldebrook's power at various times in the 17th and early 18th centuries; outside the dale, and probably at that period, there was a forge in Park Lane, but its approximate site (fn. 284) is all that is known of it. In 1696 Shadrach Fox had sublet the Great and Plate forges in the dale to Lawrence Wellington (I) (fn. 285) who was importing Dean pig 1696-1704. (fn. 286) In 1714 four Dale forges were listed, the small (fn. 287) Upper and Middle forges in addition to those mentioned in 1696. (fn. 288) A fifth, the Old forge near the Old furnace, was probably then disused. (fn. 289) Until his death in 1708 Wellington lived in White End (fn. 290) near the Great forge. In 1715 Fox's successors, the Corfields, assigned all their Coalbrookdale interests, including the five forges, to Darby. (fn. 291) He was a founder, not a forgemaster, (fn. 292) and that year he built his New or Lower furnace, (fn. 293) probably using the Upper forge pool. (fn. 294) The Upper forge is not known to have worked thereafter and eventually ceased to exist, perhaps in the 1740s, (fn. 295) its name being applied logically to the Great forge. (fn. 296) In 1718, the year after Darby's death, the Coalbrookdale Co. began to take an interest in the forges, and the Old forge was restored to working order. (fn. 297) Probably then (fn. 298) the Great forge (fn. 299) was sublet to Capt. Thomas Stanley, but the company took it back in 1720. (fn. 300) The Middle forge, perhaps located where the Boring mill was built in 1780, on the next pond above the Lower forge, (fn. 301) may have been converted to non-industrial use after 1722. (fn. 302) By 1708 the Plate or Lower forge had long been sublet to Cornelius Hallen; he may have made frying pans there. (fn. 303) The Hallens continued at the forge as the Coalbrookdale Co.'s undertenants, and as suppliers of the Coalbrookdale and other works, until the 1730s. (fn. 304)
From the 1730s to the 1790s the Coalbrookdale Co. expanded greatly, (fn. 305) capital and financial management being contributed by two Bristol mercantile families, the Goldneys (1718-c. 1770) and the Reynoldses (from c. 1780); policy and management of the works remained mostly with the Darbys. From the 1750s the company integrated its operations, acquiring mines and blast furnaces, including the Bedlam furnaces in Madeley Wood and mines and mineral rights belonging to Madeley manor. In Coalbrookdale three generations of Abraham Darby (I)'s descendants contributed notably to the development of the iron industry, and senior workmen like George and Thomas Cranage were also tackling outstanding technological problems. Two contributions in particular go far to explain the area's 20th-century claim to be the 'Birthplace of Industry'. The first of them was Abraham (II)'s successful use of coke c. 1750 to make pig suitable for conversion to malleable bar. The company exploited his discovery in its new ironworks at Horsehay, thereby freeing the Old furnace, Coalbrookdale, for its second great contribution to industrial development, the precise casting of steam-engine parts. The firm's success in that sphere led eventually to the visit of Richard Trevithick to Coalbrookdale and the manufacture of the first steam locomotive there in 1802.
Apart from those notable historic contributions the company's prestige and profits were increased by a vast range of manufactures including architectural ironwork and eventually large civil engineering projects like the Iron Bridge (1777- 80) and some of its successors at home and abroad. If the bridge was not in the forefront of design and had little influence on later bridge designs, it nevertheless greatly stimulated the use of iron and increased the company's fame. (fn. 306)
By 1790 the Coalbrookdale partners owned one of the largest iron-making concerns in the country. In 1797, however, the Darby and Reynolds interests were separated. The Darbys continued to trade as the Coalbrookdale Co., but in the early 19th century their Coalbrookdale works became less important than their operations elsewhere: the furnaces shut down in 1818 and closure of the works was considered in the 1820s. From the 1830s the manufacture of art castings stimulated recovery, and in 1851 the Coalbrookdale foundry was claimed as the world's biggest. After 1886 (fn. 307) the company once more had no ironworks outside Coalbrookdale. The Darbys had relinquished management in 1849, but during the chairmanship (1886-1925) of A. E. W. Darby, the last Darby connected with the firm, new foundries and workshops were built at Dale End (1901) and over the Lower furnace pool, filled in 1903. In 1930 new works, erected over the filled Upper forge pool, replaced the Upper Works erected around and over the Old furnace during the 19th century. By then the company was newly incorporated in Allied Ironfounders Ltd., itself absorbed into Glynwed Foundries Ltd. in 1969. Mainstays of production after 1945 were new types of fire grate and the 'Rayburn' cooker. In 1978 the works became Glynwed's automobile and engineering division. (fn. 308)
In the 19th century the Madeley Wood Co. and the Fosters made pig iron from coal and ironstone raised in the parish. The Madeley Wood Co. emerged in the early 19th century after William Reynolds's interests in Madeley Wood had passed to the Anstices. (fn. 309) From 1832 its blast furnaces, erected at Bedlam in 1757-8 by the earlier Madeley Wood Co., (fn. 310) were shifted eastwards with the company's mining operations to a canalside site on Blists Hill, where the company built three new blast furnaces in 1832, 1840, and 1844. (fn. 311) With limestone from Lincoln Hill and local coal and ores the company produced first class grey forge iron and melters. Its technology was old fashioned but its cold-blast pig was widely considered the best for hollow-ware manufacture, and the company survived the late 19th-century depression by concentrating on that manufacture. Profits, however, came from coalmining rather than iron making. Two of the furnaces were blown out shortly after 1908, the third in 1912 after a strike; (fn. 312) thereafter the company became simply colliery proprietors. (fn. 313)
In 1845-6 James Foster built three blast furnaces near the newly opened mines on his Madeley Court estate. They replaced his Wombridge furnaces, and Foster moved workmen and plant from Wombridge to create a modern ironworks. For most of their life only two of the three furnaces were in blast together. All the Madeley Court pig was sent to the Fosters' ironworks in Staffordshire and Worcestershire to be blended with other types for the manufacture of highquality bar. The ironworks ceased in 1902 (fn. 314) but in 1912 were taken over by Thomas Parker (d. 1915), an electrical engineer. (fn. 315) He and his son C. H. Parker established Court Works Ltd., a foundry firm which, seventy years later, had long specialized in iron castings for the electrical industry. (fn. 316)
Other metal and engineering trades.
Smiths are recorded in the parish in the 14th and 17th centuries. (fn. 317) By the late 17th century there were smiths, nailers, two platers (at least one of them perhaps making frying pans), (fn. 318) a pot founder, a brass founder, and a gunsmith. Some of those involved in the small metal trades were beginning to specialize in work for the mines and ironworks. Such occupations continued and multiplied in the 18th century. (fn. 319) Clockmakers were mentioned in the 18th century. (fn. 320)
Lead ore, brought by river, was smelted near Dale End in the mid 18th century and near the Lloyds and at Coalport in the late 18th and early 19th century. (fn. 321)
Many iron-using and engineering enterprises, one or two of them originating in the late 18th century, flourished in the 19th and 20th centuries; notable among them was the manufacture of chains. The foundries, forges, and engineering shops were small in comparison with the Coalbrookdale, Madeley Wood, and Madeley Court works. From the late 1960s, however, some large new factories, along with many smaller ones, were opened on new industrial estates for concerns in the engineering and metal trades.
At the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries William Horton and Benjamin Edge opened chain manufactories at Coalport. Edge, apparently a Norfolk Quaker, established his in William Reynolds's former rope factory, which his father may have managed. There was a good trade with local colliery firms, and Gilbert Gilpin of Dawley took over Horton's factory. About 1819, however, Gilpin established a new chain works at Aqueduct. His executors were running it in 1827, and in the early 1850s it survived as Charles Clayton's foundry, producing rollers, hurdles, and gates: later it seems to have been a nail factory. The Edges took Gilpin's Coalport works and were still making chains in Coalport in 1863. (fn. 322) By 1870 they had moved and had chain, wire rope, and engineering works at the canalside Madeley foundry and at Upton (in Shifnal). (fn. 323) The firm concentrated in Shifnal c. 1880 leaving chain making in Madeley to William Walton, (fn. 324) also a general smith. (fn. 325) Walton finished soon after 1905, (fn. 326) his works near the canal bridge being taken by G. J. Muirhead Ltd., bankrupt by 1910. (fn. 327)
The Waltons, established in the parish from 1773, were general smiths and engineers; by 1905 their engineering works in Church Hill, Ironbridge, was let to Beddoes & Green who ran it until c. 1912. Thomas Dorsett set up as ironfounder and implement maker in 1837, and c. 1905 his son was making agricultural implements in Park Street (fn. 328) where the family had a business as late as 1941. (fn. 329)
Several metal and light engineering firms came to the parish in the 1940s, converting vacant industrial and other buildings, though not always successfully. The Ironbridge Metal Co. opened works at Madeley Wood and Dale End in the 1940s to recover aluminium from aluminium foil, but in 1950 the unsuitability of the Madeley Wood works, a century-old malthouse, was partly responsible for an explosion which closed both works. (fn. 330) Coventry Tool & Gauge Co. Ltd. established a branch works in the barn and outbuildings of Upper House in 1941, (fn. 331) and the same year, moving from London, Chillcotts Ltd., sheet metal workers and manufacturers of gaskets, washers, silencers, etc., took part of the old china works at Coalport. Another part was later taken by the Coalport Metalware Co. Ltd., makers of fancy goods, formed in 1946 by partners from Birmingham. By 1963 there were half a dozen other firms in the metal finishing, pressing, welding, and steel fabrications trades; one of them used the old Madeley market buildings as the Arcade Press Works. (fn. 332)
Quarries and sandpits.
Stone was being mined and quarried by the mid 17th century, notably at Lincoln (perhaps once Limekiln) (fn. 333) Hill, the outcrop of Silurian limestone east of Coalbrookdale. (fn. 334) Three men were killed at the limekilns there in 1647, (fn. 335) and limeworks were mentioned in 1651 and 1694. (fn. 336) The hill was gradually hollowed out (fn. 337) by centuries of quarrying and by adit and shaft mining. By 1758 it was split by a 'vast pit' a quarter of a mile long and 52 yards wide, perhaps the result of a collapse. The view down into the chasm in 1801 revealed 'prodigious caverns' and 'stupendous' supporting pillars; on the hillside was a deep quarry with other pillared caverns and limekilns at the bottom. (fn. 338)
Some Lincoln Hill stone was evidently being sold to local ironworks in the early 19th century though not all the beds were rich in suitable fluxing stone; (fn. 339) for a century or more the ironworks had also drawn on sources across the river. (fn. 340) Stone seems, however, to have been got for agricultural dressing. (fn. 341) The Lincoln Hill workings were acquired by Richard Reynolds in 1795 and later passed to the Madeley Wood Co. (fn. 342) In the 1840s, however, the company assigned its interests in the limeworks and kilns, then scattered around the north-east and eastern flanks of the hill and at its southern tip, to Edward Smith of the Lloyds, an ale and porter merchant, maltster, and limeburner. Large-scale extraction had ceased by c. 1850 and the workings may have closed for a time in the later 19th century. By 1892 they were being run by the Madeley Wood Co. again but output was small, only three men being employed. John Hill took the mine in 1902 and worked it with one other man until 1907 when it finally closed. (fn. 343)
Building stone was being exported from the parish by 1588 when 80 tons were sent down river for Sir Edward Pytts's house at Kyre Park (Worcs.). (fn. 344) That may have been the Carboniferous sandstone, (fn. 345) evidence of whose working abounds near Bedlam and Jockey Bank. (fn. 346)
Before the brick-building of the late 18th and early 19th century local stone was widely used: the old and the new St. Michael's, (fn. 347) Madeley Court and its gatehouse, the Lodge, (fn. 348) and many cottages and roadside walls were evidently built of materials quarried nearby.
The Washbrook valley and part of the Court demesne overlie Upper Coal Measures siltstones (fn. 349) and there is evidence of quarrying on Hay farm (fn. 350) and the Court demesne. (fn. 351) 'Black Rock' (fn. 352) was apparently quarried in Lightmoor dingle in the early 1860s. (fn. 353)
Deposits of sand and gravel were worked, notably on Lodge farm (fn. 354) and near Hill's Lane coal pits. (fn. 355) The fine sand of Lodge farm (on land bought by Francis Darby in 1848) (fn. 356) was long used by the Coalbrookdale Co. for casting. (fn. 357) In 1849 there were sandholes near Strethill Farm (fn. 358) and old gravel pits near the Prince Street canal bridge and on Cuckoo Oak farm. (fn. 359)
Clay and ceramic industries.
Red and white clays occurring in the parish were used for making bricks and tiles on a considerable scale from the 18th century to the 20th. The red clays were found on the sloping surface of the Severn Gorge, spread over the denuded edges of the coal measures; the white clays were bedded between the coal seams. The purer white clays were suitable for refractory and pottery ware. Most of the 19thand 20th-century brickworks stood beside a clay mine, and the parish's last such mine (Blists Hill) closed in 1933. (fn. 360) Fine porcelain and some earthenware was made for 130 years after 1796, West Country clays being imported at first by water and later by rail. (fn. 361) The last clay manufacture in the parish, that of sanitary pipes, ceased in the 1950s but there was opencast mining of fireclay in the Woodside area until the mid 1960s. (fn. 362)
Before the late 18th century bricks were probably made in temporary clamps near a source of clay or a building site. Field names (fn. 363) perhaps indicate such burnings. In the late 18th century the coal and iron industries needed great quantities of bricks and there were kilns among the Madeley coalpits, at the Lloyds and Blists Hill. (fn. 364) In 1793 the Madeley coal works paid Joseph Dodd for building an oven to burn bricks for a new mine, (fn. 365) and Joseph Davies was making bricks regularly in the 1790s, probably wholly or mainly for the Madeley mines. (fn. 366) In July 1795 John Davis made 6,425 bricks for the Rough Park mines. Whether such brickmakers were the coal masters' employees or worked as contractors to the mines is uncertain, but the coal masters evidently provided enough of the demand to give them effective control of the brickmakers' prices and operations. (fn. 367)
The growth of Ironbridge and Coalport enlarged the brickmakers' market and the names Dodd and Davies occur among the independent brickmakers of the mid 19th century. (fn. 368) Other works were founded. In the 1790s William Reynolds started one at Coalport to make common bricks; it closed shortly after 1810. (fn. 369) In the early 19th century Roger Cock made white bricks near Bedlam (fn. 370) at a works later taken over by the Madeley Wood Co. (fn. 371)
Largest of the mid 19th-century works, to judge from the supply of bricks for St. Luke's, Ironbridge (1835-6), was the Woodlands, said to have been started in 1780, which supplied over 61 per cent of the 321,000 bricks needed; Roger Cock supplied another 17 per cent. (fn. 372) By 1849 there were eight brickworks in the parish. Three were run by ironmasters: James Foster had one near Windmill Farm, the Madeley Wood Co. others at Bedlam and Blists Hill. John Davies's works at Halesfield is probably to be identified with the Tweedale Patent Drain Tile & Brick Works in existence by 1843. Another Davies ran one of the two works at Madeley Hill in 1849 and 1874. The Woodlands works belonged to Samuel Smith & Co. in 1849 (fn. 373) but probably by 1870 it was operated by George Legge & Son. (fn. 374) In the 1870s Legges evidently also acquired the Madeley Hill works. (fn. 375)
Legges eventually became the only brick and tile makers in the parish. By the mid 1880s, however, the Madeley Wood Co. was advertising a wide range of Broseley bricks and tiles; the company's manufacture, previously divided between the white brick works at Bedlam and the red brick works at Blists Hill, was concentrated at Blists Hill in the 1880s. (fn. 376) Legges had other late 19th-century competitors in the parish, the shortlived Old Court Tile and Ceramic Art Works of W. J. Jeffrey & Son c. 1891 (fn. 377) and the Fosters' Madeley Court Co. with a works just north of the Halesfield colliery, (fn. 378) which was perhaps the 'clay works' at Madeley Court mentioned in 1880. (fn. 379) Neither of those existed in 1912 when Legges took over the Blists Hill Brickworks, (fn. 380) larger than their own Woodlands works; (fn. 381) they seem to have bought the Blists Hill works a few years later. (fn. 382) In 1915, when the Madeley Wood Co. negotiated a new lease of the manorial coal and ironstone, the beds of Broseley tile clay were left out, and George Legge & Son simultaneously took a large area of them. The Legge leasehold centred on the Blists Hill works either side of the canal, (fn. 383) and there the Legges concentrated their manufacture; the Madeley Hill brickworks had already closed (fn. 384) and the Woodlands may have closed then or soon after. (fn. 385)
Legges were liquidated in 1938 after a protracted dispute and litigation with Wenlock borough over the culverting of the Washbrook under Blists Hill pit mound; brick making ceased, though tile making continued. Sanitary pipes were made after the Second World War but another bankruptcy in 1956 closed the works finally. (fn. 386)
Mention was made of a Madeley potter in 1761, (fn. 387) but the earliest certainly known works in the parish (fn. 388) was the porcelain manufactory built at Coalport in 1795-6 for Edward Blakeway and John and Richard Rose; it stood between the road and the canal. (fn. 389) John Rose had worked at Caughley for Thomas Turner, probably from 1784 (beginning as an apprentice) until 1793 when he became Blakeway's partner in a pottery at Jackfield (in Broseley). Rose, Blakeway & Co. left the Jackfield works when they opened the Coalport works.
The firm prospered and in 1799 took over Turner's Caughley works. In 1803 it became bankrupt, but new owners immediately reconstituted it as John Rose & Co., keeping Rose as managing partner. In 1814 the company took over the adjacent porcelain works of Anstice, Horton & Rose, founded as an earthenware manufactory by Walter Bradley in 1796 and taken over in 1800 by William Reynolds, William Horton, and John Rose's brother Thomas. Rose, Blakeway & Co. probably demolished the Caughley works soon after to concentrate production at Coalport; it was then the county's only porcelain works.
During its 130 years (1796-1926) at Coalport the concern founded by John Rose, and connected with his family until 1875, (fn. 390) made a great range of richly decorated, flower-encrusted porcelains and plainer tea and table wares. (fn. 391) In the 19th and early 20th century four hundred or more workers seem to have been employed. (fn. 392) Difficult trading conditions and a strike in 1923 caused the sale of the business to Cauldon Potteries Ltd.; the works closed in 1926 and the business moved to Stoke-on-Trent, some of the artists and workers migrating with it. (fn. 393)
There may have been a small china decorating works in Madeley in the 1790s, (fn. 394) and c. 1826 T. M. Randall, a former apprentice of John Rose, established a small porcelain works at the lower end of Madeley, (fn. 395) perhaps near the junction of Hill's Lane and Prince Street. (fn. 396) There he succeeded in producing ware closely resembling old Sèvres. He also redecorated Sèvres ware and applied Sèvres decoration to ware made by others; his artists included his nephew John Randall. (fn. 397) T. M. Randall closed his works in 1840 (fn. 398) and moved to Shelton in the Potteries.
Other industries and industrial estates.
Sir Basil Brooke may have been making soap in Madeley for a short time in the 1630s. A mid 19th-century soap works at Aqueduct perhaps belonged to Charles Clayton. Candle making was important to the mines in the 17th century (fn. 400) and a candle factory worked in Madeley town in the early 20th century. (fn. 401)
Oil and natural gas have been prospected for, or encountered, at various times in the parish (fn. 402) but, unlike natural bitumen, never commercially exploited. Bitumen was extracted in some quantity from the Tar Tunnel at Coalport in the 1790s; some was sold but the rest was used by William Reynolds within his own concerns. Near the tunnel mouth it was boiled to make pitch. Small amounts were extracted for forty years after Reynolds's death in 1803. Tar works had been carried on by the Madeley Wood Co. at the time of its acquisition by Abraham Darby (III) in the 1770s. (fn. 403)
The Phoenix Chemical Works, Mawkins Lane, was established c. 1850 by Jesse Fisher, inventor of a commercial process for making carbon bisulphide, an ingredient of the firm's artificial manure. 'Fisher's stinkhouse' was continued by Rowland Fisher until c. 1879. (fn. 404)
The malthouse established by Abraham Darby (I) (fn. 405) was profitable to his descendants well into the 19th century, (fn. 406) and malting remained a significant local industry in the 19th century as public houses increased (fn. 407) and local brewing persisted; some pubs had malthouses. (fn. 408) There were usually about half a dozen malthouses (fn. 409) but in the 1920s and 1930s the industry ceased in the parish. (fn. 410)
Ropes were in demand by the collieries until the invention of improved chains, and in the 1790s William Reynolds, perhaps in partnership with William Horton, tenant of a rope walk there, had a hemp rope factory near the Coalport china works; in 1798 it became a chain works. (fn. 411) Rope making, however, continued at Coalport until the 1840s. (fn. 412) At some time there was a rope walk at the other end of the parish in Loamhole dingle. (fn. 413) Timber was also in local demand and there were timber merchants and timber yards in the parish in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries; one at Coalport from c. 1874 to c. 1930, was also a boat builder. (fn. 414)
Printing and publishing were established in Madeley by 1791 when John Edmunds, bookseller and printer, had premises in High Street. Edward Dyas, probably one of his employees, invented the composition of which printers' inking rollers were later made. (fn. 415) Edmunds's son Daniel had the business as late as 1817 (fn. 416) and it may later have been carried on by the Walter family. They printed for the Whigs in 1832, William Smith for the Tories. (fn. 417) Smith had a press at Ironbridge from c. 1807 to c. 1842, (fn. 418) and from the mid 19th century Joseph Slater's press at Ironbridge and John Randall's at Madeley produced newspapers, magazines, almanacks, and books. (fn. 419) Slater and Randall had successors until c. 1909 and c. 1917 respectively. (fn. 420)
In 1920 the Madeley Wood Co.'s pit heaps were taken over by the Madeley Wood Cold Blast Slag Co., run by Thomas Jones. (fn. 421) The company crushed the slag at a works in the Lloyds (fn. 422) and between the wars (fn. 423) sold it for road metal.
Labour surpluses and vacant buildings attracted several firms to the parish, notably from London and the Midlands, before and after the Second World War. (fn. 424) In 1927 part of the recently closed Coalport china works was occupied by Nuway Manufacturing Co. Ltd. of Birmingham, who made rubber-link matting from old car tyres. Production was suspended 1942-5 but grew thereafter, and c. 1979 an associated company was manufacturing steel supported staircases at Halesfield. (fn. 425) Merrythought Ltd., soft toy makers, (fn. 426) was founded in 1930 by a former employee of the Chad Valley Co. Ltd. and took over the old Severn foundry, Dale End. (fn. 427) Clifford Williams & Son Ltd., of Birmingham, joined by two other partners to become Pyjamas Ltd., took over the drill hall and assembly rooms, Ironbridge, in 1951 and 1953 respectively for garment making. In 1962 production was transferred to a new factory in Queen Street and it was expected that the 100-strong labour force would be doubled. (fn. 428) By c. 1979 the parent firm also had premises at Halesfield. (fn. 429)
In the early 1960s the district committee tried to promote industrial developments in the area around Cuckoo Oak, Queen Street, and Hill's Lane, and efforts were made to attract Birmingham industrialists. (fn. 430) The committee assisted the move of Pyjamas Ltd. in 1962 to a new factory in Queen Street for a larger labour force. (fn. 431) Nevertheless further industrial developments, with associated housing and road works, were halted in 1962 by the maturing of government plans to include Madeley in Dawley new town. (fn. 432)
By the late 1970s manufacturing industry, with the notable exception of Glynwed Foundries in Coalbrookdale, (fn. 433) was largely concentrated in areas east and north-east of the centre of Madeley: on Telford development corporation's industrial estates at Tweedale (with the old-established Court works as a northern outlier) and Halesfield, and in the adjacent Prince and Queen streets. (fn. 434) Coventry Tool & Gauge Ltd., however, remained on its original site until 1980, (fn. 435) one of two engineering firms in central Madeley. Tweedale was developed from 1966 as the new town's first industrial estate. Halesfield, its largest, was developed from 1967 mainly on former agricultural land but including the site of the Madeley Wood colliery in Kemberton; the area had been taken into Dawley U.D. in 1966 from Kemberton, Shifnal, and Sutton Maddock parishes. (fn. 436)
Markets and fairs.
In 1269 the prior of Wenlock was granted an annual fair on 20-22 September and a Tuesday market in Madeley; (fn. 437) the market stimulated the development of a new town. (fn. 438) By 1802 the fair was held on 20 October; it was mainly a pleasure fair by the 1880s, as was an Ironbridge fair on 29 May. (fn. 439)
Madeley market house was burnt in the 17th century and the market ceased. (fn. 440) After its revival by John Edmunds in 1763 (fn. 441) the market was held in the open at Cross Hill and in a wooden building near Upper House. Thereafter the market was moved, first to Madeley Wood and then, probably in the 1780s, to Ironbridge. (fn. 442) Residents of Madeley had no market nearer than Ironbridge or Dawley until 1869-70 when the lords of the manor agreed to the revival of a market there, (fn. 443) and a hall and arcade were built at the west end of High Street. (fn. 444) Market day was Saturday and trade was mainly in vegetables, meat, and hardware. (fn. 445) The market was not held after 1903 (fn. 446) until c. 1980, when Wrekin district council revived it on Saturdays in Russell Square. (fn. 447)
The opening of the Iron Bridge in 1780 led to the erection of impressive market buildings around a square on half an acre near the bridge end, (fn. 448) and a Friday market was established there by 1802. (fn. 449) The market building, of two floors and an attic storey, was originally over an open arcade (fn. 450) but by 1847 the arcade was filled with shops. East of Market Square stood a market hall (fn. 451) and a butter market whose open arcaded ground floor was also eventually filled by a shop; (fn. 452) farther east was the open potato market. (fn. 453) In 1927 covered and open markets occupied 2,000 sq. yd. each and a Saturday market had been added since 1888 (fn. 454) but was later discontinued. (fn. 455) In 1922 the lords of the manor sold the market rights with the hall and the old butter market to Mrs. A. J. Jarvis, whose heirs sold them to D. H. J. Pool in 1954. In 1961 Pool sold them to the borough of Wenlock (fn. 456) which bought Market Square about the same time. (fn. 457) The hall was demolished shortly afterwards. (fn. 458)