Coleorton Parish

Coleorton Parish in Leicestershire includes the villages of Coleorton, Coleorton Moor, Church Town
and Farm Town as well as parts of Peggs Green, Griffydam and Lount

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Coleorton Local History Books
by Samuel T Stewart (Trevor)

Trevor Stewart has written several books about Coleorton & surrounding areas. Some are available to download or purchase on the Griffydam History website >>

Availability and prices

  • A Social & industrial History Study Based Upon Staunton Harold, Lount, Dimminsdale and Heath End Plus The Ragdale & Chartley Castle Estates (445 pages, Price 20)
  • A Social & Industrial History Of Griffydam and Pegg's Green (300 pages, Price 12)
  • The Coleorton Sherwins 1739-1887 (56 pages, Price 8)
  • Coleorton Village history (As Seen Through The Eyes Of The Newspapers) (334 pages, Price 15)
  • Methodism and Social History in Coleorton and the Locality (152 pages, Price 10)
  • Coleorton Pottery 1835-1938 (93 pages, Price 10)
  • Fatalities in the Coal Mines of Coleorton and the Locality" (This is is in A5 format, 68 pages, Price 5)

Some are available for reference at Ashby Museum. Alternatively contact the if you would like the books posted to you. Postage about 3.00 each to addresses in the UK.

Details and Content

Not all books listed below are still available (see list above). Click on title for more info and content of the book.

>A Social & Industrial History of Griffydam and Peggs Green - book coverA Social & Industrial History of Griffydam and Peggs Green

Samuel T Stewart has written several books on local social and industrial history, listed on this web page, which mainly focus on Coleorton. However, some include a significant amount of historical information about the neighbouring villages of Griffydam, Peggs Green and Swannington. This book is an attempt to condense this fragmented information on Peggs Green and Griffydam only, into one book. The village boundaries have changed significantly over the last 200 years, so it can be very confusing when deciding which village certain historical items should be allocated to. There will no doubt be some discussion on this.

The book provides a platform of varied subjects with some historical background appended, which readers may wish to research further.

Newspapers have contributed greatly in recording local social history, and it is no different here. The author trusts that the selection of articles referring to areas of Griffydam and Peggs Green will provide a flavour of what life was like in the years covered, which contrasts greatly of course with present times (particularly with respect to punishment for crime).

At the beginning of the book, the author has included a series of old maps with supporting text to familiarise the reader with the area. It is interesting to note that neither Griffydam nor Peggs Green are mentioned on John Speed's or Bloome's maps of 1611 and 1681 even though other local villages and hamlets are included. This suggests that neither had developed into settlements considered to be of any importance by 1681. An extract from Bloome's map of 1681 is included.

People worked extremely hard physically and for long hours in the periods covered, particularly in the local coal mines where many lives were lost. A number of examples of those lives lost at Peggs Green and California collieries are recorded here in both newspaper articles and appended lists. Besides the "important" development of Peggs Green colliery in 1830, there were several smaller mines developed in the early 19th century by local consortiums under the manor of Peggs Green, and a series of tramroads were created on which horse drawn waggons were used to transport the coal.

Joseph Smart and son operated the brick works at Griffydam from c.1845 and he also sank his own pit shaft to get coal for these, the location of which is shown on the 1885 map. He was followed at the brick works by William Hoult c.1880.

Social life for the working class in those days centred on the local chapels, pubs and numerous local football teams in the area. At the end of the book is the author's own tribute to a famous footballer born in Peggs Green in 1901 - Joe Bradford.

A Social & industrial History Study Based Upon Staunton Harold, Lount, Dimminsdale and Heath End Plus The Ragdale & Chartley Castle Estates

Staunton Harold History group (now disbanded) did loads of research, but little was published by them. Some of the history and families overlap with areas of Coleorton, especially the Pottery.

People know about Staunton Harold and the Ferrers to a degree, and the snowdrops at Diminsdale, but this area at one time was one big industrial estate which included coal mining, Lime stone quarrying and smelting, Lead mining and smelting, Iron stone mining and smelting, pottery manufacture and much more. A network of tramways in several locations which is quite fascinating. We have also found quite a lot of research material on the old turnpike road in the area. At one time, this area would have been like the black hole of Calcutta with Staunton Harold Hall in the middle of it.

Coleorton Village History - as seen through the eyes of the Newspapers - book coverColeorton Village History - as seen through the eyes of the Newspapers

This 334 page book has been structured around 280 newspaper articles on Coleorton between 1776 and 1951, to which numerous supplementary articles, facts and photographs have been added by the author.


Part 1

This is specific to Coleorton village life and features a comprehensive and fascinating selection of old newspaper articles for the period 1776-1951, with supplementary information and photographs added by the author where appropriate. The following is a typical short example:

The following appeared under the deaths column in the Leicester Chronicle dated Jan 17th 1829 Lately at Coleorton, in this County, James Prestall, aged 94 years and ten months:
He was the oldest inhabitant of that place, and died in the same house he was born. He was the father of seventeen children and was esteemed by his neighbours as an honest, sober, and industrious man, from where he received many favours, particularly from the late Sir George Howland Beaumont and his Lady.

The newspaper articles, give a wonderful insight into the village happenings in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries and contain numerous names of Coleorton villagers which which may prove helpful to genealogists researching their ancestors.

Part 2

This part features newspaper articles dedicated to The Beaumonts and Coleorton Hall. Numerous supplementary articles with photographs are again featured such as - The Design & Construction of the present Coleorton Hall and its gardens etc., The contributions of architects George Dance & Robert Chaplin, Wordsworth's Winter Garden at Coleorton Hall, The Engraved Memorials, The visits of Constable & Haydon, A tribute to Montgomery Henderson, The lives of the Beaumont 11th and 12th Baronets etc.

Part 3

The author felt that as he had already published a book on Methodism in Coleorton and the local area, we owed it to the Baptists, who in fact, had a longer history in Swannington and Coleorton, to try and find out something about them also. Research material has been difficult to come by, but sufficient has been located to write an overview of the first 100 years of their history. Again this is supported by newspaper articles.

Development of coal mining in Coleorton - book coverThe Development of Coal Mining in Coleorton and the Local Area


  1. Romans to the Norman Conquest
  2. Section 2 - The development of Coleorton after the Domesday Survey.
    • Evolution Chart
    • Henry de Ferrers
    • Robert de Buci
    • Glossary of terms
    • The Beaumonts
    • 1842 Tithe Map of Coleorton
    • Old maps of the area
  3. Geology of the Leicestershire, Ashby District, and South Derbyshire Coalfields
    • Map showing the extent of the coalfield
    • Geological section through the coalfields
    • Introductory overview
    • Geology of the coalfields
    • Overview of the various coal seams
    • “Coleorton Boundary Fault” or “The Thringstone Fault”
    • Coleorton rock faults
  4. The development of coal mining in Coleorton and the surrounding area.
    • Overview
    • Coleorton “Lounge” Opencast Site
    • Huntingdon Beaumont
    • Huntingdon Beaumont boring rod development
    • Huntingdon Beaumont & Britain’s first railway
    • The coalfield in the 17th century
    • Advancement in mechanisation and steam power in the 17th & 18th centuries
    • “Fire-damp” (methane) and “Choke-damp” (carbon dioxide)
    • A synopsis of the ventilation methods in coal mines
    • John Wilkins, The Beaumont’s, George Sparrow and Stonier Sparrow
    • The purchase of the manor of Overton Saucy
    • James Burslem including details of the purchase of Overton Saucy
    • “Stall and Pillar” & “Longwall” mining techniques
    • The late 17th to late 18th centuries
    • Dimminsdale Limestone Quarries
    • The Boultbees
    • John Prior 1777 map
    • Paddock Colliery (Boultbee’s Mine)
    • Boultbee’s Coal Mine adjacent to Elverston’s Yard
    • A synopsis of the roadway network at that time
    • Proposed changes in the transportation of coal through the construction of the “Soar Navigation” & “The Charnwood Forest Canal”
    • A synopsis of the “Soar Navigation” and the “Charnwood Forest Canal” project
    • The “Charnwood Forest Canal” map
    • Continuation of Boultbees’ activities following the dispute with Sir George Beaumont
    • The decade after 1790
    • The period between 1800 and 1825
    • Local tramroads for the transportation of coal. Early 19th century
    • Hawking of coal by donkey pannier c.1850
    • The continuation of local coal mining becomes dependant on Sir George Beaumont
    • Coal mining in the area of “The Smoile” & “Worthington Rough”
    • Smoile Colliery and Lount Colliery
    • Heath End Colliery
    • Cloud Hill Tramway & its conversion to the Worthington /Ashby Midland Railway branch
    • Pistern Hill Colliery
    • The coming of the railway age, resulting in the re-surgence of existing coal mining in the local area & the development of a new coalfield
    • William Stenson and the “Leicester-Swannington Railway”
    • The Child Employment Commission 1842 (ref William Stenson)
    • The Coleorton Railway
    • Schematic diagram of canal, tramway and railway links to various collieries referred to in the text elsewhere
    • Information on mines which benefited as a result of the building of the “Leicester
    • Swannington” and “Coleorton Railways”
  5. A synopsis of the activity related to various 19th century mines in the locality of Peggs Green, Swannington, Coleorton and Sinope.
  6. Local 19th century mines
    • Peggs Green Colliery
    • Coleorton No.1. Colliery (California)
    • Joseph Smart & Son (Colliery & Brickworks)
    • Sinope (Swannington No.3.) Colliery
    • Coleorton No.3. Colliery (Bug & Wink)
  7. Pit Ponies
  8. The Struggle for Union Recognition and Survival 1842-1875
  9. The organisation of “The Leicestershire & South Derbyshire Miners’ Association” 1887 – 1914
  10. Coal mining activity adjacent to what eventually became the “Newbold Pipeworks” site
    • Staunton Colliery
    • Worthington Colliery
    • Newbold Colliery
    • Newbold Brickworks Co Ltd
  11. Cylinder Pit
  12. Lount Collieries 1920 - 1968
    • Lount Colliery 1920-1924
    • New Lount Colliery 1924 - 1968
  13. The” Oil Plant”
  14. The 1926 Miners’ Strike
  15. Shops in Newbold for the miners
    • Stewart’s Shop
    • Gertie’s cottage Shop
  16. Statistics
  17. Lists of fatalities in local coal mines
    • New Lount Colliery 1924-1968
    • Coleorton No.3 Colliery (Bug &Wink) 1875-1933
    • Coleorton No.2 Colliery 1855-1873 (Califat but also known as Alabama Pit or Windmill pit)
    • Coleorton No.1 Colliery (California) 1849-1873
    • Peggs Green Colliery 1830-1859
    • Staunton Colliery
    • Heath End Colliery

    Available to download at the Griffydam History website >>

    Addendum (on this website, not included on the book) - An important early record of coal mining in Coleorton including the contribution of the Sheldon family

Coleorton coalmining fatalitiesA record of some of the fatalities that occured in the Coal Mines of Coleorton and the Locality 1782-1957

This A5-format book is divided into two parts. The first part contains numerous coroner's reports on fatalities taken from newspapers of the day, and part two lists details of the 99 miners that were killed, and the collieries involved etc. The first part makes for interesting but somewhat emotional reading. This separate book is intended to compliment and expand on information included in my book entitled "A History of Coal Mining in Coleorton and the Local Area". It is intended to serve as a memorial to those brave men who worked in dangerous conditions to provide coal for the country's industries and for their fellow countrymen's domestic use. Available to download at the Griffydam History website >>

A History of Coleorton frontcover200A History of Coleorton & the Locality:
A Social and Historical Study around Coleorton
12th Century - c1960

The Stewart family lived in Stoney Lane for generations and Trevor himself lived there for several years. His book is full of interesting facts and photographs about Coleorton social and industrial heritage. He has laid out the book so that readers can take a walk around the locality and follow the sections.


  1. Introduction
  2. Coleorton Hospital & School, The Almshouses, St Mary’s Church, The Coleorton Beaumonts and Coleorton Hall, Viscount Beaumont’s Church of England School, St John’s Chapel.
  3. Paddock Coliery
  4. Thomas Boultbee Snr & Jnr of Coleorton
  5. Coleorton Fishpond & Bridge
  6. Coleorton Coliery (Bug & Wink)
  7. William Stenson - a native of Coleorton
  8. Coleorton Rovers Football Team
  9. Coleorton Toc H
  10. Prestons Lane
  11. The Beaumont Arms, Coleorton Wakes, The George Inn, The Blacksmiths Arms
  12. Kendrick’s Post Office & Shop
  13. Knighton’s Garage
  14. The area of Rotten Row
  15. Coleorton’s Vanished Industries:
    • Whetstone / Oil Stone Manufacturing
    • Spar (Bauble) manufacturing and petrifaction making
    • Hat making
  16. The history of Elverston’s Yard
  17. The Old Engine Inn - Elverston’s Yard
  18. Mains water comes to Stoney Lane. The wonder of flush toilets. The writer’s childhood memories of Stoney Lane.
  19. Charles Marson - The Coleorton Master Nailmaker
  20. The Woolrooms
  21. An underground air raid shelter in Stoney Lane
  22. Stoney Lane in the 1930s
  23. Bakewell’s Lane
  24. Coleorton School (Penny School)
  25. School Lane (Peggs Green) - Richards Bakery, Kidgers Abattoir, Peggs Green Tram Roads, Griffydam Senior School, Wesleyan Day School.
  26. Coleorton Railway Bridge in Aqueduct Lane
  27. Coleorton Railway
  28. New Lount Colliery Sports Ground in Gelsmoor
    • Football & cricket teams
    • The annual Ox Roasting
  29. Providence Chapel, Gelsmoor
  30. James Marson, The Gelsmoor nail maker
  31. Bread Oven, Aqueduct Road
  32. Bert Adcocks Ice Cream business
  33. Various maps of the area
  34. St John’s Cemetry audit
  35. St Mary’s Church Graveyard audit
  36. Coleorton Beaumonts family line chart
  37. Coleorton Beaumonts family burial records in St Mary’s Church

Coleorton Pottery Book frontcover200Coleorton Pottery 1835-1938

Coleorton Pottery was an important part of Coleorton’s social and industrial heritage. This 92-page book covers the complete history of the pottery over the 103 years it was in existence.


  1. Introduction
  2. Setting the pottery scene - including an extract from the publication “The Gentleman Gipsy - A Journey through Ashby & Lount” by William Gordon Stables.
  3. Location of Coleorton Pottery
  4. 1859 Geological survey of coal and clay seams
  5. Coal mining in the locality in the early 1800s
    Archaeological survey by the University of Leicester Archaeological Services
  6. Extract from Staunton Harold Estate Map c 1900
  7. 1903 O/S map of the Pottery
  8. 1923 O/S map of the Pottery
  9. 1884 O/S map of the Pottery and surrounding area inc the Midland Railway
  10. 1925 map showing part of the quarry and tramway
  11. Lount Pipe Works
  12. Photographs of the Worthington to Ashby-de-La-Zouch section of the Midland Railway under construction
  13. Pottery row.
    The writer’s ancestors’ involvement with Coleorton Pottery
  14. A history of Coleorton pottery 1835-1892 including:
    • General information
    • Initial proposals
    • 1841 Tithe Map
    • Extracts from the Beaumont / Proudman lease
    • Genealogy study of the Wilsons
    • The Wilson family gravestones
    • The “Will” of Thomas Wilson Junior
    • Coleorton Pottery annual dinner report 1879
    • A descriptive visit to Coleorton Pottery 1879 by Abraham H Cannon
  15. Coleorton Pottery sale by auction 1893
  16. Occupiers / lease holders 1893 to closure in 1938
  17. A complete chronological list of occupiers 1835-1938
  18. List of references in historical directories, newspapers etc.
  19. The main types of pottery wares manufactured at Coleorton Pottery up to early 1900s
  20. Bills & receipts for pottery supplied to Coleorton Hall
  21. Wilson Bros teapot retail price list
  22. Supplementary Lount / Staunton Harold social history

Available to download at the Griffydam History website >>


Methodism and Social History in Coleorton frontcover200Methodism and Social History in Coleorton and the Locality

The writing of this book was prompted by the closure of local Methodist Chapels over the last 80 years. These included the closure in more recent years, of the old and new Coleorton Primitive Methodist Chapels, and the Griffydam Wesleyan Methodist Chapel. The Providence Wesleyan Methodist Chapel at Gelsmoor and Lount Primitive Methodist Chapel had closed in the 1930's. The writer felt, that providing sufficient information was available on these local and once vitally important pillars of the community, it should be recorded for future generations.

Methodist Chapels, with which the area was richly served, contributed immensrly to village life, and there is no doubt, that in days gone by they were the hub of the local communities. In order to provide a complete picture, it has been necessary to include details of the formation of the Ashby-De-La-Zouch Wesleyan and Primitive Circuit, and the two head administrative Wesleyan and Primitive Chapels in Ashby.

    Section One
    -    The development of Wesleyan and Primitive Methodism in local areas.

    Section Two
    -    The Ashby-De-La-Zouch, Wesleyan and Primitive Methodist Circuits.

    Section Three
    -    The two head Administrative Chapels in the Ashby Primitive and Wesleyan Circuit.

    Section Four
    -    Ashby-De-La-Zouch Circuit Preachers Plans and other interesting documents and articles.

    Section Five
    Closed Primitive and Wesleyan Methodist Chapels
    -    Lount Primitive Methodist Chapel
    -    Coleorton Primitive Methodist Chapel (Old)
    -    Coleorton Primitive Methodist Chapel (New)
    -    Providence Chapel, Gelsmoor (Wesleyan Methodist)
    -    Griffydam Wesleyan Methodist Chapel

    Section Six
    -    A synopsis of the history of Griffydam and the locality.

    Section Seven
    -    Griffydam Wesleyan Methodist Chapel cemetery audit

    Section Eight
    -    Photographs and information on various closed local Methodist Chapels.

Sherwins of Coleorton front cover200The Coleorton Sherwins 1739-1887

This book is presented in the same A4 format as the author's other Coleorton history books and is in colour and black and white and includes 56 pages of facts, illustrations and photographs. It is somewhat specialised in that it is dedicated to an important old Coleorton family (The Sherwins of Coleorton) of whom the author is not aware of any local surviving ancestors. As the Sherwins also had business interests and owned significant amounts of land outside of Coleorton such as Swannington, Whitwick, Coalville, Broughton in Astley etc., details of which are included in the book, it may have interests for the wider local community.

The last Coleorton Sherwin who left the village in 1855 was William junior (b.1809 in Coleorton, d 1887 in Hampshire). He became a Solicitor, Magistrate, Attorney and J.P. The record of his memorable leaving presentation and testimonial held at the Beaumont Arms and his life story features later in the book. At the end of his life, William Sherwin junior had purchased, and was living with his wife Cecelia Frances, in a manor house on a 400 acre estate in Hampshire.

The name Sherwin and its variants is apparently an important part of the history of the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. We are told by historians that It derives from the elements "Schere" which translates as "to cut through" and "wind" which translates as the wind, and was a name given to a fast runner or a professional messenger. Over the years, many variations of the name were recorded, such as Sherwyn. The first recorded spelling of the family name, is shown to be that of Gilbert Scerewin, which dated c.1160 in ?The Danelaw Rolls of Lincoln? during the reign of King Henry ll. John Shirwyn was recorded in the Norwich Diocese Wills Register in 1479, and John Sherwyn was found in The Pipe Rolls of Suffolk in 1524. Locally, they were first found in Nottinghamshire where the Sherwins of Bramcote Hills held a seat, and were granted A Coat of Arms.

Several Coleorton Sherwin family members are recorded on opposing sides of the base plinth of the large marble memorial in St. Mary?s Coleorton Parish Church graveyard. This is shown in the photographs on the front cover. The author thinks it likely that the memorial was erected subsequent to William Sherwin senior?s death in 1854, by his son William Junior. It is the only marble memorial in the graveyard, and both the memorial and the inscriptions are in excellent condition. There is some evidence to suggest that prior to the memorial being erected, details of the Sherwins, were recorded on individual stone slabs alongside the path to the church, but these seem to have disappeared, presumably when work was done to the path in that area, as part of the installation of services to the church.

In St.Mary's Church, there is a memorial tablet in the area which separates the nave from the vestry. This is to William Sherwin senior of Coleorton (b.1768, d,1854), and is featured on the front cover of this book.

The Sherwins were held in high esteem in Coleorton and the wider area, and there is ample evidence that certain members had a close relationship with the Coleorton Hall Beaumonts and assisted them financially when they were experiencing difficulties in that respect. They were clearly a well educated and entrepreneurial family with certain members accruing a considerable amount of wealth. William Sherwin the elder Esq.,(b.1768, d.1854), his son William Junior (b.1809, d.1887) and William the elder's brother John (b.1771, d.1840) are the most interesting members of the family line, but that is probably because more information is available about them.