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Cross Hands Quarry

By David Pollard

The history and remains of the freestone quarries in Old Sodbury parish are less well defined than at Tormarton. The Old Sodbury Tithe Map & Apportionment of circa 1840 mentions quarries on Upper Down and in North Field, also some pasture land named Shaft Croft but gives no clue as to who was actually working these quarries.

In February 1853 it was reported that the dressings of the windows, doors, arches &c of Earl Ducie's new mansion at Tortworth Court, Glos are of stone from the three quarries at Crosshands and the Farleigh Down quarries near Bath.

Of these three quarries, Cross Hands Quarry, also recorded on maps as Eyles' Quarry and Turner's Quarry, was an underground one. Directories and the census returns indicate that Thomas Eyles worked the quarry from before 1851 up to circa 1868 when his wife or widow described herself as a Stone Mason (Cutter). From 1870 Thomas's sons, James and Joseph worked the quarry. James was the active partner but was retired by 1891, in which year William J Collins of Old Sodbury is recorded as a Freestone Quarry Master. He worked it up to 1895 or 6, and was followed by James Mills a Chipping Sodbury builder who worked it up to 1900, after which it disappears from the record. To complicate the above orderly succession of quarry masters, there is a surviving letter dated February 1881 from the HM Inspector of Mines addressed to Jos Turner at Tormarton Quarries, Chipping Sodbury! Further research is needed to resolve this conundrum.

On the ground there are the usual tumps and hollows, earlier OS maps record a now lost shaft. It was still possible to get underground in 1988; the quarry is heavily gobbed up (almost to the ceiling) with waste stone retained behind high neat drystone walls flanking a very narrow haul road. The haul road ruts are about 3 feet gauge and there are small (about 6 inch square) chog holes in the ceiling, showing that a small crane was used here. Since 1988 the access has been obscured by sheep carcasses, old washing machines etc.

Quarry masters and quarrymen:

Thomas Eyles of Old Sodbury, born c1793 at Old Sodbury:
1851Freestone Quarry Master Employing 5 men
1861Freestone Quarryman
Ann Eyles of Old Sodbury, wife of Thomas:
1868Stone Mason (Cutter) Old Sodbury - Slaters Directory
James Eyles, son of Thomas, born c1816 at Old Sodbury:
1851Stone Cutter - Little Sodbury
1861Stone Cutter
1870Eyles James & Joseph Stone Cutters - Kellys Directory
1871Quarryman 3 men 1 Boy
1881Freestone Quarryman employing 3 men
1889Eyles James & Joseph Quarrymasters &c - Kellys Directory
1891Retired Quarry Master
Joseph Eyles, son of Thomas, born c 1833 at Old Sodbury:
Richard Eyles, son of Thomas, born c1825 at Old Sodbury:
George Turner of Horse Street, Chipping Sodbury, born c1793 at Chipping Sodbury:
1841Stone Quarryman
1851Freestone Mason
Charles Turner, son of George, born c1833 at Chipping Sodbury:
1851Freestone Mason
Joseph Turner, son of George, born c1826 at Chipping Sodbury:
1851Freestone Mason - Horse Street, Chipping Sodbury
1871Stone Quarry Man
1881Stone Mason
William J Collins of Dodington Lane, Old Sodbury born c1845 at Old Sodbury:
1881Hard & Freestone Mason
1891Freestone Quarry Master

Lists of Men Employed:

Lists of Mines under the Metalliferous Mines Regulations Acts
YearNo of Men 
 below groundabove ground 
189522J Collins, Old Sodbury
18992-James Mills, Builder, Chipping Sodbury
190011James Mills, Builder, Chipping Sodbury
1901  not listed
1902  not listed
1903  not listed

Mineral Statistics:

188570 tons

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