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Former Coal Pens Near Canal Cottages

A Grade II Listed Building in Stonehouse, Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 51.74 / 51°44'23"N

Longitude: -2.2723 / 2°16'20"W

OS Eastings: 381296

OS Northings: 204620

OS Grid: SO812046

Mapcode National: GBR 0L5.VQG

Mapcode Global: VH94X.KJLH

Entry Name: Former Coal Pens Near Canal Cottages

Listing Date: 7 February 2002

Last Amended: 21 June 2011

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1389341

English Heritage Legacy ID: 487983

Location: Stonehouse, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL10

County: Gloucestershire

District: Stroud

Civil Parish: Stonehouse

Built-Up Area: Stroud

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Stonehouse St Cyr

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester

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Coal pens on the the south side of the Stroudwater Navigation. Built in 1864 for the Marling family who were prominent local mill owners.


MATERIALS: the walls are built of limestone.

PLAN: a series of walled enclosures with curved corners to allow easy access for carts.

DESCRIPTION: the enclosure walls are built mostly of coursed and dressed limestone and some ashlar with stone copings. There are two shutes which have stone sills in the canal-facing (north) elevation. These formerly had timber boards which were hinged at the bottom to facilitate the unloading of coal by wheelbarrow along planks from barges to the pen. Set at an angle, to the left (east) of these openings, is a gateway with chamfered jambs and a late-C19 wrought-iron gate.


The Stroudwater Navigation, built in 1775-9, was designed to link the River Severn at Framilode to Stroud, allowing coal to be brought from Shropshire, Staffordshire and the Forest of Dean to the textile mills of the Stroud valleys. The Thames and Severn Canal, constructed in 1783-9, was designed to run eastwards from Stroud, eventually linking the River Severn to the River Thames at Inglesham, near Lechlade. The Cotswold Canals, as they are also known, were generally successful, though the Thames and Severn in particular suffered serious technical failings which compromised its profitability; despite this, both canals continued in use well into the C20.

Shipments of coal and other materials were carried on the Stroudwater Navigation to supply the textile mills of the Stroud Valley. The coal pens at Ryeford were built in 1864 for the Marling family, owners of Ebley and Stanley Mills (Grade II* and Grade I respectively). They were built to a high standard and were used for the storage and handling of coal that had been brought to the site by barge and was subsequently transported by road to their mills. The limestone used to construct the walls of the pens came from the Marling's own quarry on Selsey Common. Brick examples of similar pens do survive in the West Midlands, but they lack the distinctive appearance of the Ryeford coal pens and do not have the direct historical associations and context of these examples.

Reasons for Listing

The coal pens at Ryeford are designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Rarity: a substantially complete set of enclosure walls to rare, surviving examples of pens for the storage and handling of coal on the Stroudwater Canal
* Historic interest: in view of their relationship to the historically-important Stroud Valley, an industrial area which includes some early and architecturally-distinguished textile mills
* Group value: they form a strong group of canal-related structures, including the Grade II listed Ryeford Bridge

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