CORPSHILL or Corporal Pit. Whitehaven, Cumberland, 5th. August, 1737.

The Colliery was the property of Sir James Lowther and an explosion of gas claimed twenty-two lives.

The following, all listed as colliers, were buried 6th August 1737 at St. Nicholas:

  • James Page.
  • Thomas Westray.
  • John Salkeld.
  • David Gordon.
  • John Harrison.
  • Johnathan Smith.
  • William McMullen.
  • Robert Benn.
  • Andrew Warlock.
  • John White.
  • James Copeland.
  • Richard Troutbeck.
  • George Dixon.
  • Abraham Watson.
  • Elizabeth Moor.
  • Arthur Graham buried on the 7th.

Buried at Holy Trinity, 6th August were the following colliers:

  • Timothy Robinson.
  • John Ridley.
  • William Gamel.
  • John Dixon.
  • William McMullen.
  • John Gordon.

These probably the victims of the disaster.

In a pay bill dated August 1737 the following entry was made:

5th. Friday. Firedamp killed 33 at 4 o’clock in ye M

There was also an item of £8 -3s.-10d. for “searching for and taking up the dead and three horses, mending thirlings, etc. after the Great Fire Damp.”  Sir James immediately ordered £100 to be distributed to the families of the twenty-two victims.


The Annals of Coal Mining. Galloway,  Vol. 1, p. 348.
Fletchers Archaeology ut. sup. p.286.
Great Pit Disasters Great Britain. 1700 to the present day. Helen and Baron Duckham.

Information supplied by Ian Winstanley and the Coal Mining History Resource Centre.

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