The Heaths of Biddulph Grange

The Heath's of Biddulph Grange

Robert (I) HEATH

Robert (I) HEATH Esq 1779-1849 married Jane PLANT; of Sneyd House, Burslem
1792: Left school to work for Josiah WEDGEWOOD
1825: Purchases Birchenwood Colliery & Manager of Clough Hall Colliery
1833: His first Forge was built at Birchenwood to produce pig iron

One of x7 children was: Robert (Old Bob) HEATH 1816-1893

Robert (II) HEATH

Robert (II) HEATH (Old Bob) J.P D.L M.P 1816-1893 = Ann BEECH
1849: Became Manager of Clough Hall colliery upon death of his father
1854: Left Clough Hall to go into partnership with Frances STANIER, Silverdale
1857: Bought the lease on Childerplay colliery, Kyperseley Hall Estate
1857: Leases the mineral rights to Knypersley Hall
1871: Bought Biddulph Grange& Knypersley Hall & Greenway Bank Hall from James BATEMAN
1872: #1: owned 28 coal mines, 8 blast furnaces, 114 puddling & ball furnaces
1872: #2: 14 rolling mills & 33 heating furnaces - employing over 5000 people
1874-1881: M.P for Stoke on Trent
1885-86: High Sheriff for Staffordshire
1857: Magpie & Victoria Mine shafts sunk. (Knypersley Hall estate) Tunstall.

The present Goldendale Ironworks between Chatterley Road and the canal had been opened by Williamson Brothers by 1848, and there were then two furnaces in blast. The brothers also worked the nearby coal and ironstone mines at Ravenscliffe and Yeld Hill (see above). The Ravensdale Ironworks to the south had been opened by the early 1850's when it was owned by Joseph Bull; some ten years later, the owner was William Bates. By 1870 Bates had failed and the works had passed to his largest creditor, Robert Heath, whose firm was still operating there in 1908. The site is now largely obliterated by the slag heap of the Goldendale Ironworks. The Goldendale Iron Foundry on the opposite side of the road near Holly Wall was in operation in the 1870's.

From: 'Tunstall', A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 8 (1963), pp. 81-104.
URL: Date accessed: 03 November 2012.

St Lawrence's Church, Biddulph: Oak pulpit, organ chamber & floor in memorial of Robert HEATH in 1894. (in the HEATH chapel which was added in 1873)
Robert (II) Heath bought Biddulph Grange from James Bateman (1811-1897) and his sons in 1871. James Bateman had moved to Biddulph Grange about 1840 and using money inherited from his father's coal and steel business had built up a notable garden for the display of his extensive plant collection with the help of his friend, the painter, Edward William Cooke. The house was burned down in 1896 and rebuilt by the architect Thomas Bower.

Perhaps the most ruthless at acquiring the valley's assets was Robert (II) Heath who bought Biddulph Grange from James Bateman and his sons in 1871. By 1872 Robert Heath, living at the time at Biddulph Grange, had also acquired Greenway Bank and Knypersley Hall.

Victoria Colliery, known locally as The Bull or Black Bull after the name of the nearby village, the colliery was the last deep mine in the Biddulph area. The minerals under the Knypersley Hall Estate were leased by Robert (II) Heath from John Bateman in 1857. In 1887 Robert Heath had acquired among other collieries the Brown Lees Colliery where one shaft was deepened in about 1894 and an underground connection was made with the Biddulph Valley Colliery (Victoria) at the same time as the Salisbury pumping shaft was being sunk at Victoria. Thus the Victoria Colliery had for most of its working life three shafts - Victoria, Havelock and Salisbury. Robert (III) Heath also worked the Black Bull and Biddulph Valley Ironworks and also owned the complex which after Nationalisation in 1947 became Cowlishaw-Walker Ltd. After declining fortunes principally due to adverse geological conditions the colliery closed in 1982 with most of the men being transferred to the long life collieries in the area.

Robert (II) Heath of Biddulph Grange, Staffordshire esquire died on the 7th October 1893 at Harrogate. Probate was held at London on the 16th February 1894 to Robert (III) Heath, James Heath and Arthur Howard Heath ironmasters. Robert Heath left £320045 16s. 11d. Burial at St Lawrence's Biddulph.
Of x9 children; Robert (III) HEATH (Young Bob) 1851-1932 also Sir James HEATH 1852-1942

Robert (III) HEATH

Robert (III) (Young Bob) HEATH Esq. J.P D.L 1851-1932 = Laura FIELDER
C1904: Executor re Will of Sir Philip Lancaster BROCKLEHURST of Swythamley Park
1905: High Sheriff for Staffordshire
1919: Merged with Low Mop ironworks of Bradford to form Low Moor Co.
1925: although retired - invests heavily in BirchenwoodColliery, Staffs
1928: Declared Bankrupt - leaving over 6000 unemployed.
1932: Will, London; to Robert William Heath esquire. Effects £32762 1s. 2d.

His gravestone at St Lawrence church, Biddulph (within sight of Biddulph Hall).
Of x5 children: Robert William HEATH Esq. M.A J.P 1876-1954 of Greenway Bank Hall (contd)

To be continued in The Heaths of Biddulph Grange part two.