Research Contributor: Malcolm Peel (Granville Colliery Miner 1958-1979)
The name “Priorslee” is partly Latin and is a combination of the word prios, which means monk or priest and lee which is the Anglo-Saxon name for a clearing in the wood. The area of Priorslee was once owned by the Priors of Wombridge Priory.
A chapel was built at Priorslee in about 1150. It stood opposite the Lion Public House, and it measured 45ft by 24ft. The font from this chapel now stands outside the front door of the present Priorslee Church.
A new church was built at Mumpton Hill and was ready in 1836. The old chapel was demolished in 1838. The parish did not become independent until 1863 when it separated from Shifnal. The new church was dedicated to St Peter and completely restored in 1887.
A moat north of Priorslee, close to Watling Street, probably marks the site of a medieval farm.
Priorslee estate was originally owned by the Priory at Wombridge. The present hall, north east of the village, was rebuilt by Edward Jorden in about 1728. During the 19th century, it was taken over by the Lilleshall Company who used it as a residence for their managers and later it was the Company’s head office. The Telford Development Company bought it in 1968 and used it as their main offices.
Most of the houses in Priorslee were constructed for mine workers at the Lilleshall Company’s Lawn and Rickyard Pits. Stable Row was built in about 1820 and had large stables attached. Lodge Row was built in 1839. There were two public houses in Priorslee by 1856.
Priorslee was little affected by mining or industry until a few deep pits were sunk around the village and near Lower Woodhouse Farm in the 19th century. The company built four blast furnaces near the village in 1851. Part of the installation consisted of two beam engines known as “David & Sampson”. They were removed to Blists Hill open air museum after the furnaces closed in 1959.
The Lilleshall Company opened the Lawn Pit near Priorslee in about 1820. It became the deepest pit in the coalfield at 900 feet. It closed in 1906 and mining activities were then concentrated at the Woodhouse Pit. The Woodhouse Pit closed in 1940. Pumping water continued at the Lawn Pit until the late 1930s. This water was used at the Lilleshall Company’s Priorslee Furnaces and was delivered by way of an elaborate water channel system. The Rickyard Pit, situated on the opposite side of the village from the Lawn Pit, was in operation before 1846 and was closed by 1905.
Over the coming months this web site will be developed further to include more Priorslee heritage sites with information that has been kindly shared by local residents, groups, Shropshire Archives and Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust Archives.
- Gale, W.K.V. and Nicholls, C.R. (1979) The Lilleshall Company Limited: A History, 1764-1964
- James, G.M. (1982) Here be Dragons: A brief glimpse into the history of St Georges, Telford.
- Savage, B. (1991) Archaeological investigation by the Telford Historical Archaeological Society (Wrekin Historical Group)
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