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Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire
and Leicestershire


The Coal Seams

North Derbyshire And Nottinghamshire

Upper Coal Measures (above the Mansfield Marine Band)

  • Unnamed seam
  • Upper Thin
  • Lower Thin
  • Blyth (around 3 feet thick or 0.91m at Harworth)
  • High Main
  • Clowne or Yard (at Hucknall No1) (around 4 feet thick or 1.22m)
  • Upper Silkstone (near Bolsover)
  • Wales, (Langwith High Main) or Bagshaws or Stockwell (up to 3 feet or 0.91m.) There are around 14 marine bands in the coal measures.

Mansfield Marine Band

The Mansfield Marine Band is the recognised boundary that separates the Middle coal measures from the Upper coal measures. There are up to 80 different fossils to be found in this band.

Middle Coal Measures (from the Clay Cross Marine Band at the base, to the Mansfield Marine Band at the top): but the seams in descending order are

  • Swinton Pottery
  • Clowne or Shuttlewood, or Barlborough (around 3 feet or 0.91m)
  • Main Hard (at Shirebrook) (around 3 feet or 0.91m)
  • Main Bright or Bulwell Main or Foxearth (between 2 feet 9 inches and 3 feet 3 inches or 0.84m and 0.99m)
  • Two Foot
  • Middle Bright or Two Foot or Sough or Tinsley Thick or Tinsley Park (between 2 feet and 3 feet or 0.61m and 0.91m)
  • Abdy or Furnace
  • Winter
  • High Beamshaw or Tinsley Thin (around 3 feet or 0.91m) or Low Bright or (around 3 feet or 0.91m)
  • Abdy Floor
  • Brinsley or Brinsley Thin or Beamshaw (between 2 feet 3 inches and 4 feet or 0.69m and 1.22m)
  • Furnace
  • High Hazles or Hazel or Low Hazel
  • Kents Thin
  • Hucknall Common
  • Nuthall Main
  • Newcastle Main
  • Hills (Adams)
  • Romeley (C.E) or Yard
  • Browns Rock Coal (around Holmewood), (around 3 feet to 3 feet 6 inches or 0.91m to 1.07m)
  • Seam above St John’s or Kents Thick
  • 1st St John’s
  • Cinderhill Main Bassett (at Norbriggs) (around 3 feet or 0.91m) or 2nd St John’s or Yard
  • Markham Hazel or Catnob 2 Feet
  • 3rd St John’s (at Watnall)
  • Main Smut (thin coal) or Top Barnsley Rider
  • Hospital (thin coal)
  • Comb, Coombe or Coombes, or Top Soft (at Watnall) or Upper Soft or Soft (around 2 feet 9 inches or 0.84m)
  • Top Hard or Lings, Main Hard, Ripley Old Hard, Radford, Berristow, Bilborough, Old Hobney (at Sutton cum Duckmanton), Swanwick Hard, Staveley Main Hard, Portland Hard (or Adams), Shipley Hard, Heanor Hard or Rifler (between 4 and 7 feet or 1.22m and 2.13m)
  • Blidworth or Top Hard Floor
  • Warren House, part of the Top Hard
  • Dunsil (Dunsill, Dunsell, Dunshill, Duncil) Car or Quarry Coal (Grassmoor area), (between 2 feet 6 inches and 4 feet or 0.76m and 1.22m)
  • Top Hard/Dunsil or Barnsley Bed (of Yorkshire, up to 9 feet or 2.74m) or Staveley Portland
  • First Waterloo or Byron
  • Top Waterloo
  • Upper Waterloo, or Abbey (at High Park) or Hartington (around 4 feet or 1.22m) or Lidget or Oldgreaves at Ripley
  • Waterloo Marker
  • Markham, or Barcelona (at Blackwell A Winning)
  • Second Waterloo or Bottom Waterloo
  • Lower Waterloo
  • Peacock
  • Oldgreaves (at Shipley)
  • Windmill
  • Grassmoor or Deep (at Moorgreen) (between 2 feet  9 inches and 5 feet or 0.84m and 1.52m)
  • Low Waterloo (at Bevercotes) or Swallow Wood at (Harworth), (around 4 feet or 1.22m)
  • 3rd Waterloo or Top Haigh Moor (at Harworth) or Tunnel (at Brands)
  • 4th Waterloo or Low Haigh Moor
  • First Ell or Lidgett or Top Ell
  • Lidgate
  • Two Foot (at Grassmoor) or 1st Silkstone (at Alma) (around 3 feet or 0.91m)
  • Second Ell or Bottom Ell
  • Sutton
  • Squires
  • Joan or Tankersley Thin (at Blackwell A Winning) (around 2 feet or 0.61m).

Clay Cross Marine Band

This is the boundary where the Lower coal measures are separated from the Middle coal Measures. There are many fossils and up to 40 different ones are found in this band.

Lower Coal Measures (from Pot Clay Marine Band at the base, to the Clay Cross Marine Band at the top): but the seams in descending order are

  • Joan (thin coal)
  • Brown Rake or Howard (at Blackwell A Winning) (thin coal)
  • Clay Cross Soft or  Markham Deep Soft
  • Flockton Thick, or Chavery or Sitwell
  • Black Rake
  • Allwoods (at Staveley) or Ell (Adams) (around 3 feet or 0.91m)
  • Top Soft
  • False Ell
  • Minge
  • Roof Soft
  • Deep Soft or Flockton
  • Dunston
  • Handleywood
  • Eckington Deep Soft or Hollingwood (around 2 feet 6inches or 0.76m)
  • Deep Soft
  • Main Soft
  • Soft
  • Bottom or Lower Soft or Sitwell Thin or Flockton or Deep End (at Sutton cum Duckmanton) or Deep Bright (at Hucknall No2) (around 4 feet or 1.22m)
  • Floor Soft (thin coal)
  • Deep Hard Rider (thin coal)
  • Deep Hard or Main Hard
  • Hard
  • Bottom or Lower Hard
  • Denby Hard
  • Summercotes Hard
  • Potters
  • Deep or Birchwood Hard
  • Pothouse (at Albert) or Fenton (around 3 feet 6 inches or 1.07m)
  • First Piper or New Soft (at Moorgreen)
  • High Main (at West Hallam)
  • Townend (at Newbold)
  • New Main (at Clifton) (around 3 feet  3 inches or 0.99m)
  • Second Piper or Dogtooth (at Lodge)
  • Deep Hard/Piper
  • Town End Thin (at Newbold) or Pancake (around 2 feet 6 inches or 0.76m
  • the combined Pipers give the Parkgate (up to 6 feet  6 inches or 1.98m)
  • Hospital or Two Feet (at Denby)
  • Tupton or Low Main or Thorncliffe
  • Wheel
  • Wingerworth Park
  • Furnace
  • Dogtooth (at Coppice)
  • Old Morley Park
  • Upper Hartshay
  • Broadoak Coal (C.E.) or Low Tupton  (around 5 feet or 1.52m)
  • Splits to Tupton Roof
  • Cockleshell (thin coal) and Low Tupton)
  • Threequarter or Tupton Threequarters
  • Lees (at Clay Cross)
  • Cromwell (C.C.)
  • Silkstone (at Sutton cum Duckmanton)
  • Dogtooth (at Morley Park and West Hallam) (up to 2 feet 9 inches or 0.84m)
  • Silkstone split to Yard
  • Cannel, Kennel (at Clay Cross)
  • Little Clod (at Denby)
  • 2nd Silkstone  (at Alma)
  • Wallsend (at Alma)
  • Arley mine
  • Clod
  • Park Hall or Lower Clod (at Denby) (around 3 feet or 0.91m)
  • Blackshale Upper
  • Blackshale or Silkstone (up to 4 feet or 1.22m)
  • Yard/Blackshale (up to 9 feet or 2.74m)
  • Blackshale/Ashgate around 6 feet 6 inches (2m) (at Bilsthorpe)
  • Ashgate
  • Ashgate Thin
  • Brampton Thin or Brampton Moor (around 2 feet 6 inches or 0.76m)
  • Ashgate/Mickley
  • Mickley Thick
  • Mickley Thin
  • Walkers, or Upper Brampton
  • Brampton High
  • Upper Bed
  • Charlton Brook or Whinmoor (around 2 feet 9 inches or 0.84m)
  • Lower Brampton
  • Brampton Low or Walkers
  • Morley or Morley Muck
  • Kilburn (Kilburne, Kilbourne) or Better Bed, or Low Moor
  • Morley Park
  • Buckland Hollow
  • Hagg, Grenoside Sandstone coal
  • Stanton
  • Deep Main (at Riddings)
  • Low Moor
  • Low Moor Better or Ladywood coal (around 2 feet  9 inches or 0.84m)
  • Norton or Naughton (around 2 feet or 0.61m)
  • 40 Yards or Hard Bed.

Alton Marine Band

The seams in descending order are

  • Alton or Halifax Hard
  • Holten
  • Gannister coal
  • Upper or Top (around 2 feet  6 inches or 0.76m)
  • Smalley Upper and Lower
  • Holbrook 107 yards (98m) below Kilburn
  • Whitemoor 74 yards (67m) below Holbrook
  • Chatsworth 10 yards (9m) below Whitemoor
  • Belper Lawn, or Coking coal
  • Soft bed
  • Lower or Bottom (around 2 feet or 0.61m.

Pot Clay Marine Band

The seams in descending order are

  • Baslow or Ringinglow
  • Gritstone
  • Peacock
  • Beeley Moor (C.E.) or Chatsworth Old Park
  • Wigwell
  • Mountain or First coal (at Alderwasley) the lowest seam, below which is the Millstone Grit rock the recognised base of the coal seams.
Local variations of seam thickness and very often, different names for the same seam abounded as can be seen e.g.
  • Dunston or Handley Yard
  • Furnace for Low Main or Tupton
  • Potter’s for Deep Hard
  • Main Soft for Deep Soft
  • Main Hard for Deep Hard etc

Where as

  • Haigh Moor
  • Swallow Wood
  • Flockton
  • Halifax Soft
  • Halifax Hard
  • Clay Coal
  • Pot Clay
  • Thorncliffe
  • Warren House are Yorkshire names.

The Second Waterloo seam also has numerous names such as

  • Lower Waterloo
  • Bottom Waterloo
  • Swallow Wood
  • Peacock
  • Deep Coal
  • Grassmoor Coal
  • Oldgreaves or Windmill

The Top Hard is known by as many as 15 names viz

  • Barnsley Bed
  • Ripley Old Hard
  • Radford
  • Berristow
  • Bilborough
  • Old Hobney
  • Swanwick Hard
  • Staveley Main Hard
  • Portland Hard
  • Adams
  • Shipley Hard
  • Heanor Hard
  • Rifler
  • Blidworth
  • Warren House

Other seam names included:

  • Sough coal
  • Foxearth
  • Bownes
  • Hollingwood
  • Wigwell
  • Soft
  • Hard
  • Splint
  • Comb or Coombe and were generally localized names, as were many others of course.

Sometimes another seam was accessed through a fault such as at Greasley and Knitaker and Black-clough and worked unknowingly as the same.

North West Derbyshire

In the small isolated Coalfield in the North West of Derbyshire near Buxton the coal seams worked included

  • 18 inch (Red Ash)
  • Smithy or 16 inch (White Ash)
  • Mountain (or Kiln or Big or Yard or Roger)
  • Simmondley

Staffordshire Field

The Staffordshire field which borders Derbyshire has names such as

  • Half Yard
  • Four Feet
  • Thin Rider
  • Two Yard
  • Bare or Rider
  • Nine Feet or Ell
  • High Main
  • Smithy
  • Seven Feet or Thin
  • Deep Ryder or Trencher
  • Double or Double Thin
  • Bench or Top Bench
  • Stanhope
  • King or Woodhead
  • Sweet

South Derbyshire

The South Derbyshire Coalfield only extends about 10 miles south from Bretby with a maximum width of  7 miles, bordering the Leicestershire field, is separated from the North Derbyshire field by barren ground and although the coal seams are the same ones as in North Derbyshire the names are generally very different such as:

Overseal Marine Band

Seams in descending order are

  • Bournes or Ell
  • Upper Kilburn
  • Dicky
  • Dickie Gobbler
  • Cobler or Four Feet (at Granville)
  • Block
  • Jack Dennis
  • Watson
  • Four Foot
  • Snailhorn or Snailthorn (at Donisthorpe)
  • Yard
  • Two Foot
  • Upper Cannel
  • Little or 5 Feet, or 4 Feet (at Measham)
  • Little Kilburn or Cannel
  • Smiths or Smuts

Molyneux Marine Band

Seams in descending order are

  • Main Rider
  • 1st and 2nd or Little Rider
  • Main Over
  • MainOver
  • Upper Main
  • Nether Main or Nether (4’ 6”)
  • Stinker or Stinking
  • Smoile
  • Upper Lount
  • Middle Lount
  • Nether Lount
  • Roaster or Yard
  • Stanhope
  • Little Woodfield or Toad
  • Slate or Lower Main
  • Coal (at Bretby)
  • Potter
  • Woodfield Little
  • Woodfield or Chance
  • Stockings (at Newhall is Raffaree or Shiloh at Woodville)
  • Stockens
  • Stockingers
  • Linton
  • Low Main
  • 4 Feet (at Measham), Two Yard (at Granville) or Raffaree
  • Referee or Shiloh
  • Eureka or Bottom
  • Feet or Pot Clay
  • Joiceys, Joicy or Joices
  • Stanhope
  • Well or Stanhope (at Measham)
  • Threequarter
  • New Mine
  • Twelve Inch
  • Clod
  • Kilburn or Darcy or DArcy (at Stanton)
  • Darcy Kilburne
  • Bretby Kilburn
  • New (at Blackfordby)
  • Little Kilburn
  • Cannel
  • Anglesea
  • Seven Foot or Spire
  • Excelsior
  • Minge (3’ 6”)
  • Stone Smut Rider
  • Five Feet
  • Splent or Splint
  • New Main
  • High Main
  • Upper Main
  • Smoile
  • Upper Lount
  • Middle Lount
  • Nether Lount
  • Yard
  • Lower Main
  • Kilburn (Anglesea at old Brizlincote colliery)
  • Bottom Bench
  • Four Feet
  • Thin Rider
  • Two Yard
  • Ryder
  • Nine Fee
  • Thick Coal
  • Two Yard Ryder
  • Ell Ryder
  • Smithy
  • Lady
  • Thin
  • Seven Feet
  • Deep Ryder
  • Double Thin
  • Doubles
  • Top Bench
  • Bench
  • Stumpy
  • Stanhope
  • Black Ironstone
  • White Ironstone
  • White Fireclay
  • Blue Flats Ironstone, plus several unnamed seams.
  • Also mentioned Norton
  • Alton
  • Belper Lawn

Marine Band
Millstone Grit

- UK Seam Names -

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Pit Terminology - Glossary

Coal Fields