Amble and District
     Local History



The Amble and District Mining Memorial

Acklington Broomhill Hauxley Longframlington
Newburgh Newton Radcliffe Shilbottle
Togston Whittle Other Collieries  


BENNISON Robert Jenkinson  1903
COWELL William   1857
PURVIS John  1884
RIDDELLThomas   1884


Robert Jenkinson Bennison 

Died 22 August 1903 

Engineer, aged 20 years, of Newton on the Moor.
Buried Alnwick Cemetery, 26 August.
   At the 1901 census, the Bennison family are living at Coal Burn, Hepscott. Father Joseph is a colliery under manager. Robert is an apprentice marine engineer, born in Guisborough, Yorkshire, lodging at North Shields.

Morpeth Herald, 29 August 1903
    “On Saturday night, while Mr Robert Bennison, engineer, son of Mr Jos. Bennison, manager of Newton Colliery, was engaged in attaching some fittings to a pump, which is fixed in the shaft in order to clear the mine, which is at present flooded, he was suddenly, by some cause yet to be explained, precipitated into the water, which is occupying the shaft to a depth of about 40 feet. His companion waited a considerable time to see if he would rise to the surface, but as he did not do so, he at once signalled to be brought to bank, where he related the sad occurrence. The body was searched for with grappling irons, but without success. On the search being resumed on Sunday morning, however, the body was eventually recovered, many risks being run by those engaged in the work. The deceased was only 20 years of age, and, being well known and respected, great sympathy is being shown for his bereaved parents.”


William Cowell

Died 6 February 1857

Aged 15 years, of Newton on the Moor.
 Buried St James’, Shilbottle, 9 February.
      Brother Michael would be killed at Togston Colliery, two years later.
At the 1851 census, William, born at Newton on the Moor, was living with his widowed mother, Ann, and two brothers, at Newton on the Moor.


 John Purvis

 Died 14 August 1884

Aged 31 years, of Newton on the Moor. Buried St James’, Shilbottle, 16 August.
“The above were killed (Purvis and Riddell) on two consecutive days by the falling in of the shaft of Newton Pit.”

   At the 1881 census, John, born at Eglingham, is one of 3 children, living with his parents, Francis, a miner, and Elizabeth, at Newton on the Moor.

Newcastle Courant, 22 August 1884
    “On Friday, Mr Geo. E. Watson, coroner for North Northumberland, held an inquest at the Cook and Baker, Newton-on-the-Moor, on the body of John Purvis, a miner, thirty years of age. According to the evidence adduced, there had been a breakage of timber in the shaft on Tuesday last, resulting in the death of one, Thos. Riddell, from asphyxia, through the blocking up of the shaft. On Thursday the deceased and another man went down the shaft to repair the damage, when a further breakage occurred, and the deceased was borne to the bottom of the shaft, a distance of about 17 fathoms. After some time he was got out seriously injured, and succumbed four hours later. – The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death.””


Thomas Riddell 

 Died 12 August 1884

Furnaceman, aged 67 years, of Newton on the Moor. Buried St James’, Shilbottle, 15 August.
“The above were killed (Purvis and Riddell) on two consecutive days by the falling in of the shaft of Newton Pit.”
  At the 1881 census, Thomas, born at Longhorsley, is a lime burner, living with his wife, Isabella, at Newton Kiln House, Newton on the Moor.
Shields Daily Gazette, 16 August, 1884
    “On Thursday, an inquest was held at the Cook and Baker Arms, Newton-on-the-Moor, before Mr Geo. E. Watson, coroner for North Northumberland, on the body of Thomas Riddell, 68 years of age, a furnaceman at Newton-on-the-Moor Colliery, who came by his death on Tuesday night last, through an accumulation of foul air in the shaft, caused by the giving way of a portion of timber of which the shaft was composed, and blocking it up. According to the evidence, the deceased, about six o’clock, on Tuesday evening, went down the shaft to the furnace used for ventilating the pit, and signalled from the bottom that all was right. The cage was drawn up, and a full tub of coals was sent down, but when about fourteen or fifteen fathoms down some of the timber gave way, blocking the shaft up. It was stated that the cage in going down had caught against one of the guides, which must have been defective, and the accident had resulted thereby. The timber which had composed the shaft was good and sufficient. The medical testimony went to show that death had resulted from asphyxia, caused by foul air. – A verdict in accordance with the evidence was returned.
On the arrival of the Coroner on Thursday, to hold an inquest on the body of the deceased, a man was brought out of the pit severely injured. He along with another had gone down to repair the damaged shaft, when again a portion of the timber gave way, and falling upon him knocked him down the shaft, a distance of some thirteen fathoms. He lies in a precarious condition. His companion managed to escape with a few slight injuries by holding on to the woodwork until rescued.”