Church Gresley Newspaper Cuttings
Church Gresley
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Auction Notice, 26 February 1827
Pit Accident, 30 April 1847 
Auction Notice from the Derby Mercury, 7 February 1827, relating to land owned by Peter (III) PAYNE (1732-1813),
and later by his son Peter (IV) PAYNE (1778-1839), Collection of CB Payne

Derby Mercury, 7 May 1847
Kindly provided by Clyde Dissington, courtesy of The Magic Attic
On Thursday, the 30th ult., about half-past five o'clock in the morning, fourteen colliers, men and boys, got into the cage at the Church Pit, Church Gresley, to be let down to their usual employment.  Daniel Batch, the engine man, let them down, but when they had descended about forty yards, he heard one of the wheels crack, and immediately stopped the engine.  He ran to the pit mouth, and found the drum running fast, the spur wheel having broken, and fallen under the drum.  The cage was precipitated to the bottom of the pit, which is 270 yards deep ; the rope broke off the drum, and went doen the shaft, although longer than the depth of the pit.  It was between nine and ten o'clock before a rope could be attached to the pumping engine, and another cage let down, when the bodies of the dead and dying were drawn up.  A fearful scene presented itself.  It appeared, from the evidence of Francis Wood, a collier, who had previously descended, that the rope had fallen on the men in the cage, and that when it was got off from them, he and others took out Joseph Walters, dead ; John Large, nearly dead, and since deceased ; William Bagnall, dead ; William Chamberlayne, seriously hurt, since dead ; George Bakewell, who died that morning ; Edward Baker, dead, and another, whose name did not transpire, the inquest over whose remains will be held in Leicestershire.  The remaining men and boys, six in number, were so dreadfully injured, that it is doubtful if they will recover.  Five or six medical men attended, and every attention was paid to the poor sufferers.An inquest was held before Mr. Sale, coroner, on Wednesday last.  Joseph Dooley, the ground bailiff, and John Wilcockson, engineer at an adjoining colliery, were examined.  It appeared from their evidence that the spur wheel, which is in the drum shaft, and turned by the driving wheel was broken ; and that one tooth snapped off, which they supposed lodged between the cogs of the driving wheel, and thus prevented the cogs from fitting the recess of the spur wheel which they would otherwise have fallen into.  The consequence was the fracture of the wheel.  A ton weight of water had been drawn up about ten minutes before the accident.  It was the opinion of both witnesses, that the wheel was sound and fully competent for the purpose for which it was used.  No account could be given of the cause of the tooth breaking off the spur wheel ; it was found, and the metal exhibited no flaw, being quite clear and sound.  One of the colliers, John Eley, who was waiting to go down the pit, fortunately for himself thought there were too many in the cage, and did not go down.  He tried to persuade two or three to come out, but they paid no attention to thim.  Had there been a break to the driving wheel, the rapid progress of the poor men down the pit might have been checked, and their lives saved.  The jury after a patient investigation, returned a verdict to the effect, - "That the deceased met their deaths by the accidental breaking of the spur wheel."  The seven funerals took place at Gresley church, on Saturday afternoon.  The solemn service was performed in an impressive manner by the Rev. George Lloyd, M.A., curate, amidst a large concourse of spectators, who attended on the solemn occasion, there being not less than 1,000 present.  The gloom and sorrow of so large a number of persons in this quiet and retired village Church-yard, can more easily be imagined than described.  One of the other sufferers died on Saturday morning, making eight already dead.

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This transcript © 2001 Brett Payne