Madeley (with Broseley, Benthall, Dawley and Barrow) 1791
Madeley, one hundred and forty-four miles from London, fifteen from Shrewsbury, and eight from Bridgenorth, was formerly a large market-town, but was destroyed by the civil wars, and the market discontinued, until the Friday before Michaelmas-day, 1763, when a private individual (Mr. John Edmunds) encouraged a few people to renew it, and advertised it. The market is now become more large, but the lord of the manor has removed it to the foot of the iron-bridge, two miles from the original market-place. – The old town has now only one hundred and one dwelling-houses in it, but Colebrook-dale and Madeley-wood, which are in the parish, are very large and populous, on account of their iron-founderies, they being the largest and most curious of any in the kingdom, and are carried on under a company of people called Quakers, of which Richard Reynolds, Esq. is the chief, he being lord of the manor, and owning the extensive coal-works in the said parish. The famous iron-bridge which crosses the river Severn from this parish to Benthal, in one arch of one hundred feet within, and is supposed to contain five hundred tons of iron, was cast at Colebrook-dale, and erected in the years 1779 and 1780. – In driving a foot-road pit in this parish in 1788, there gushed out a spring of native tar from several holes, one of which was as thick as a man’s thigh, and several hogsheads per day were caught for a long time, but it is now almost exhausted. There is a navigable canal nearly completed from Kettley iron-works, through several coal-works, and through this parish, to the river Severn, about eight or nine miles; but it is of no use but to the coal and iron masters. – The principal inn is the Tontine, situated at the foot of the iron-bridge.
The following is a list of the principal inhabitants:
Ferriday William, Esq.
Hill Thomas, Esq.
Reynolds Richard, Esq.
Bromwich – , Surgeon & Apothecary
Wright B. Surgeon and Apothecary
Baker John, Mercer, Draper, & Grocer
Edmunds John, Printer & Booksetter
Ford Rd. British-oil and Nail Maker
Goodwin William, Coal-master and Timber-merchant
Hatton Henry, Timber-merchant
Horton William, Timber-merchant
Miller Thomas, Mercer, Draper, and Grocer
Wright Benjamin, Mercer, Draper & Grocer
Broseley is parted from Madeley by the river Severn on the south-west, and is a very populous parish, coals and iron being its chief manufactories. The iron-founderys are carried on by William Banks and John Onions, Esqrs. of Benthall, where they another foundery. John Wilkinson, Esq. has also an iron-foundery in this parish, and Alexander Brodie, Esq. another. The Earl of Dundonald has likewise upwards of fifty stills here for extracting mineral tar from the pit-coals. Here is also a manufacture of glazed tobacco-pipes. – In 1711 a burning-spring was discovered here, the most remarkable indeed of which any particular description remains upon record. The following account of this spring was given by the Rev. Mr. Mason, Woodwarden professor at Cambridge, dated February 18, 1746. “The well for four or five feet deep is six or seven feet wide; within that is another less hole of like depth dug in the clay, in the bottom whereof is placed a cylindric earthen vessel, of about four or five inches diameter at the mouth, having the bottom taken off, and the sides will fixed in the clay rammed close about it. Within the pot is brown water, thick as puddle, continually forced up with a violent motion beyond that of boiling water, and a rumbling hollow noise, rising or falling by fits five or six inches; but there was no appearance of any vapour rising, which perhaps might have been visible, had not the sun shone so bright. Upon putting a candle down at the end of a stick, at about a quarter of a yard distance, it took fire, darting and flashing after a very violent manner for about half a yard high, much in the manner of spirits in a lamp, but with great agitation. It was said, that a tea-kettle has been made to boil in about nine minutes time, and that it had been left burning for forty-eight hours without any sensible diminution. It was extinguished by putting a wet mop upon it; which must be kept there for a little time, otherwise it would not go out. Upon removal of the mop there arises a sulphureous smoke lasting about a minute, and yet the water is cold to the touch.” In 1755, this well totally disappeared by the sinking of a coal-pit in its neighbourhood. – The cause of the inflammable property of such waters, is with great probability supposed to be their mixture with petroleum, which is one of the most inflammable substances in nature, and has the property of burning on the surface of water. – The principal inn in Broseley is the Lion. – The following is a list of the principal inhabitants.
Blakeway Edward, Esq.
Stephens John, Esq.
Wilkinson John, Esq.
Boden Daniel, Surgeon and Apothecary
Corbett John, Surgeon and Apothecary
Thursfield W. Surgeon and Apothecary
Wyke Abr. Surgeon and Apothecary
Baker Jeremiah, Mercer and Draper
Hartshorne William, Watchmaker
James John, Mercer and Draper
Prestwick Elias, Liquor-merchant
Benthall, the next adjoining parish west, had two large earthenware manufactories, one of which is carried on by Mr. John Bell, and the other by John Thursfield, a Quaker.
The parish of Dawley, which is situated north of Madeley, has tow large coal and iron works, one of which belongs to Messrs. Francis and John Humphrey, and the other to Isaac Hawkins Brown, Esq. of Bagsore, and Mr. Thomas Botfield, of this place. Here is also an iron-furnace and several forges, belonging to William Reynolds, Esq.
Barrow, which is one mile east of Broseley, has a large porcelain manufactory, which is carried on by Thomas Turner, Esq. under the name of the Shropshire Porcelain Manufactory.
Source: Universal British Directory 1791