Plants Hollow

One of the earliest records of Withymoor is the granting of a lease of land to Zachary Tyzack II of Amblecote, Paul Tyzack II of Kingswinford and Abraham Bigo II of Amblecote in 1666 by Henry Grey of Enville. A new glasshouse was built on the land.

The glass works seems to have closed, and disappeared, by about 1725. Around this time the 'Waste' of Withymoor was beginning to be settled by people mainly engaged in mining, possibly coal, but the siting of a glass works some years earlier may suggest that the clay was being mined and used by the glass industry. One 'settler' was James Plant , who leased a piece of land and started mining. James was born about 1712 and married Esther Leah (about the same age) on the 27th April 1743 at the parish church, St. Mary's Church, Kingswinford, Staffs. Kingswinford at this time was a very large parish stretching from Wombourne in the north, to the River Stour at Amblecote and Cradley in the south.

A map of about 1750 shows the location of James Plant's lease of land on Withymoor.

 

c 1900

This map shows that the mines were just in Amblecote, the boundary being marked by the Coalbourn brook. At this time there were people living in Plants Hollow, probable in the buildings to the left of the Plants Hollow label on the map. 39 year old Joseph Willis was living there in 1880, and worked as a pit sinker. He wed Letitia Forzer of Pensnett in 1864 at St. Michael's Church, Brierley Hill, and they had 10 children, five born in Plants Hollow.

The 1891 census shows 4 dwellings, no.1 (2 rooms) was occupied by 19 year old clay miner Samuel Homer (born in Quarry Bank), with wife Mary (20, Amblecote) and son Charles (5, Plants Hollow). Elijah Homer (52, Cradley) lived in no. 2 (2 rooms) with wife Elizabeth (42, Amblecote) and 4 children. Joseph Willis, now a clay miner, lived at no. 3 Plants Hollow (4 rooms), and his son, clay miner Andrew Willis (23) lived at no. 4 (4 rooms) with his wife Jemima (16).

By 1901 Samuel Homer had left and no.1 was occupied by Walter Grove (26), a clay miner, with his wife Phoebe (27) and two children. No.'s 2, 3 and 4 were occupied by the same families as before.

c 1930

In the 1930s the mine in Plants Hollow was owned by Messrs E. J. & J. Pearson who mined the world famous fire clay for their refractory brick works nearby. This photo was taken from the railway embankment, the bushes on the left of the photo mark the course of the Coalbourne Brook - the boundary of Amblecote parish. The stream flows towards the viewpoint, and flowed under the embankment in a culvert, which was made of railway sleepers . The original timber viaduct over the River Stour at Stamber Mill, (about a mile down the line), was built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel , so it is a certainty that the original, wooden, viaduct across this valley was also built by Brunel. The structure suffered damage due to mining subsidence, and at some point in time was in filled with rubble , and faced with lumps of slag about the size of footballs to form an embankment.

Plants Hollow disappeared in late 1964 or early 1965, when open cast mining took place over the whole of Withymoor.

Plants Hollow would have been on the right of the railway embankment.

Whilst Plants Hollow vanished in the 1960's, the developers did remember the history of the site and named a short cul-de-sac on the Lakeside development Plants Hollow. This street is off the eastern end of Gayfield Avenue.

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