The bundle contains papers relating to collieries on the estates of George Harry Grey (1765-1845), 6th Earl of Stamford, in Ashton under Lyne co. Lancs. Mining leases were held by John Kenworthy, and Messrs Lees & Jones, among others, and the collieries were superintended by Lord Stamford's mining agent. Lord Stamford received a quarterage, or royalty, for every ton of coal mined. In 1834 John Kenworthy applied for permission to cut through the Great Fault which ran through one of his pits. Concern was expressed at the risk of the workings' being flooded by water entering from Ashton town spring, and expert advice was sought from the mining engineer Francis Forster. Forster reported that there was no danger, provided that certain precautions were taken, and by cutting through the fault large new reserves of coal were opened up.
Lord Stamford's mining agent, Ellis Fletcher, died in 1834, and Francis Forster recommended that his own brother be appointed as superintendent. While George Forster initially gave satisfactory service, he was forced to resign in 1837 because of his repeated misconduct. The bundle contains correspondence between Lord Stamford, his agent Hugo Worthington, Ellis Fletcher, and Francis and George Forster. There is also a single letter from the engineer George Stephenson (EGR4/2/7/16/22).
For further information on the history of coal mining in Ashton under Lyne see Winifred M. Bowman, England in Ashton under Lyne (Altrincham: John Sherratt & Son, 1960), pp. 465-73.
[Ellis Fletcher had been mining agent from at least 1817: see his receipts for wages, EGR11/2/1/62, EGR11/2/2/88 and EGR11/2/4/54, among the estate papers from Dunham Massey Hall.]