Clayton-le-Moors Coal Mining

A Major Influence on Grimshaw Family History

Coal mining apparently took place in and around Clayton-le-Moors as early as the 16th and 17th centuries. According to Tootle(p. 5), “The first recorded instances of coal being mined in Clayton-le-Moors and Altham was in 1641. John Grimshaw let the coal seam at Clayton to Henry Towneley and Nicholas Towneley, of Royle for 18 years.” This John Grimshaw is undoubtedly the one who isdescribed as having coal mining operations in Eccleshill.

Coal mining at Clayton-le-Moors became more extensive after the Grimshawshad been replaced by the Lomaxes in 1715; it was described by Rothwell2:

Towards the end of the 18th century the Lomax family of Clayton Hall was operating a number of shafts into the Arley seam, particularly in the Sparth and Brownsills districts of the township. These were continued by the family until about 1858 when James Lomax abandoned the workings, apparently as a result of increasing Government legislation. Minor reworking was undertaken by Edward Pilkington in the Holme and Moorside areas at end of the 19th century but by 1899 colliery operations in the town were extinct.

Three specific collieries were described in this reference – Hyndburn Bridge Colliery, Clayton Collieries and Moorside (probably should be Moorfield) collieries.

The map of Clayton-le-Moors in 1790 as published by Richard Trappes-Lomax3 shows clear evidence of coal mining, as shown on another webpage.

An important event associated with coal mining at Clayton-le-Moors was the Moorfield Pit Disaster on November 7, 1883 in which 68 men and boys were killed (one victim was age 10, three were 11, and three were 12) by a coal mine explosion. The victims included two Grimshaws (John, age 20, from Church and Thomas, age 26, of Clayton-le-Moors) who were killed and one (William, from Church) who was injured. More detail on the Moorfield Pit Disaster is given on another webpage.


1Tootle, Henry, 1998, The Moorfield Pit Disaster: Blackpool, Landy Publishing, 64 p.

2Rothwell, Michael, 1979, Industrial Heritage – A Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of Clayton-le-Moors: Hyndburn Local History Society, Printed by Caxton Printing, Accrington, 18 p.+

3Trappes-Lomax, Richard, 1926, A History of the Township and Manor of Clayton-le-Moors, County Lancaster: Chetham Society, Second Series, v. 85, 175 p.

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Webpage posted August 2000