As part of the Eastwood Arts Festival an event took place on Sunday 31st July 2011 at the site of former Beauvale Priory. Guided tours around the site told the story of the dissolution of the Priory from different view points. The site was influential in the Reformation during the reign of Henry VIII when John Houghton and Robert Lawrence were hung, drawn and quartered for failing to take the “Oath of Supremacy” that acknowledged King Henry VIII as head of the church. John Houghton and Robert Lawrence were part of the Carthusian order of monks at the Beauvale Charterhouse which was established by Nicolas De Cantelupe in 1343.
Evidence exists that the Monks mined coal in the area during the 14th to 16th century. This is quite feasible as the site of the Priory is more on less on the exposed coalfield (i.e. where the coal lies shallow and just under the surface) However, it has sometimes been stated that the Monks at Newstead Abbey mined coal during a similar period. This would be impossible as Newstead lies on the older concealed coalfield of Nottinghamshire where the coal seams lie much deeper. Mining Technology pre 19th century would not have been advanced enough to mine deeper seams, outcropping and bell-pits probably being the norm for the time on the exposed coalfield.
Being a dog owner (we own a Parsons Russell Terrier) I do lots of walking. The health virtues of walking are often mentioned in the media but there is another aspect to it. With a little background research, a keen set of eyes and some imagination every walk becomes a history lesson. This morning a short hours walk included the site of several old pits that operated around Eastwood in the 1800′s, the former home of one half of the Eastwood coalowners (the Walker Family), the coach-drive that connected the home of the Walkers to the home of the other half of the Eastwood coalowners (the Barbers), a former industrial railway that connected the Barber-Walker pits, former pit houses and within shouting distance of the birthplace of a worldwide renown author (D H Lawrence).
Hoskins (the founder of Local History) once said that the best way to study Local History is to put a pair of boots on, get some old maps and walk about? A favourite saying of my Dad’s about the men at the pit was – “Some men at this pit travel the world and see nothing, a few others walk across a field and see everything”!
The MuBu Coalmining Project took place from April 2010 to the end of March 2012. The remit was two-fold - firstly to see how the once vast coalmining industry in the East Midlands was represented in the Heritage sector and secondly to bring aspects of social media to that representation. The Coal mining project was funded by Renaissance East Midlands (REM) and the Centre for Advanced Studies (CAS) at the University of Nottingham. The Bursary holder is Dr. David Amos who completed a PHD on the 1984-85 Miners Strike in the Nottinghamshire Coalfield. David is an ex miner, having worked in the deep mining coal industry at Annesley Colliery for 24 years.