. . . . . . . . Hough Mill open 2-5pm Sundays to end of September . . . . . . . . . .

Dynasty Overview

The owners / managers / mining engineers at the Califat Coal Mine were part of a coal mining dynasty, a network of family and business relationships that spanned:

  • 150 years
  • 400 people
  • 16 mining engineers
  • 12 coal merchants
  • 8 counties – Derbyshire, Hertfordshire, Lancashire Leicestershire, Middlesex, Nottinghamshire, Shropshire and Sussex
  • 4 main families – Benjamin Walker, William Willis Bailey, George Lewis and Thomas Henry Gray, plus countless others featuring less prominently.

See the Talks Page for details of the “A Coal Mining Dynasty” talk offered to community organisations.

A Coal Mining Dynasty talk - the Walker, Bailey, Lewis family relationship


Benjamin Walker

Benjamin Walker and William Worswick owned the Coleorton Colliery Company whose No 2 mine was the Califat.   Benjamin gave his occupation as Farmer and Coal Master.  Benjamin’s family continued the coal business in various ways:

  • Son, Joseph Walker became a coal merchant
  • Son, William Walker took over the colliery businesses
  • Daughter, Hannah Walker married her cousin a coal higgler
  • Daughter Caroline Elizabeth Walker married farmer John Richardson and their son John Walker Richardson became manager at Whitwick Colliery.

In 1839 William Walker married Emma Bailey the daughter of Captain William Willis Bailey and Mary Johana Ibbetson.  The families had known each other a long time (William Willis Bailey had been a witness at the 1812 marriage of William’s father Benjamin Walker).

When Benjamin died in 1861 his mining interests passed to his son William.  It was around this time that William moved to Nottinghamshire to supervise the opening of the new Walker-Worswick mine at Annesley.


A Coal Mining Dynasty talk - descendants of Thomas and Sarah Walker
A Coal Mining Dynasty talk - Benjamin Walker and his family


William Willis Bailey

William Willis Bayley was born in Madeley, Shropshire in 1758.  How he became a mining engineer at Coleorton is not known.   Along the way he changed the spelling of his surname to Bailey.  He became Captain of the Coleorton Volunteer Militia, which was formed in the early 1800’s when Britain feared an invasion by Napoleon’s French army.

William Willis Bailey was 48 when he married 19 year old Mary Joanna Ibbetson in 1806.  He died in 1818 leaving Mary Joanna with five children aged 3-11 years including a son also William Willis Bailey.

Mary Joanna needed a father for her five children, so married her late husband’s nephew a third William Willis Bailey.  They had a son, named Julius Caesar Ibbetson Bailey after her father.  Julius became a mining engineer like the three William Willis Baileys.

Mary Joanna’s three daughters all married within the coal industry.

  • Jane Bailey, born 1809, married Thomas Stubbs a Northampton coal merchant in 1837.
  • Harriet Bailey, born 1811, married Richard Smith Lewis, who became a coal merchant in Northampton,  in 1833.
  • Emma Bailey, born 1815, married William Walker the mining engineer in 1839.  When William and family moved to Nottinghamshire to supervise the new mine at Annesley, he needed a replacement for Coleorton Colliery.  Who better than his wife’s half brother Julius Caesar Ibbetson Bailey?
A Coal Mining Dynasty talk - William Willis Bailey born 1791 marriage 1819 - children
A Coal Mining Dynasty talk - William Willis Bailey born 1791 marriage 1819
A Coal Mining Dynasty talk - William Willis Bailey born 1758 marriage 1806
A Coal Mining Dynasty talk - William Willis Bailey born Madeley, Shropshire 1758
Grant of probate of William Willis Bailey 1848 - a mining engineer who carried out work in Swannington


George Lewis

Richard Smith Lewis and Harriet Bailey had four children:

  • Daughter, Frances Lewis born 1836
  • Son, Richard George Bailey Lewis, born 1837.  He usually used the name George Lewis.  He became a mining engineer.  In 1861 his uncle Julius Caesar Ibbetson Bailey became the mining engineer/manager for the Coleorton Colliery.  However he lived at Abram, Lancashire and only visited the colliery periodically.  He needed a man on the spot, who better than his nephew George Lewis?
  • Son, Henry Lewis, born 1839.  Henry also became a mining engineer.  Amongst other roles in Nottinghamshire he was manager at both Annesley and Linby collieries.
  • Daughter, Mary Joanne Bailey Lewis, born 1842.  Mary married William Gray in 1870.  He was a colliery manager in Swannington in 1861 and a colliery agent in Nottinghamshire in 1871 and 1881.

Richard George Bailey Lewis was the on site manager at the Coleorton Colliery company at the time of the two fatal incidents in 1863.  He acted on behalf of his uncle Julius Caesar Ibbetson Bailey who had been appointed by William Walker and William Worswick.  George Lewis married his cousin (and William Walker’s daughter) Emily Walker in 1866.  They had five children:

  • Daughter, Emily Harriet Lewis, born 1868
  • Son, George Alfred Lewis, born 1869.  George Alfred was a mining engineer who became Lieut Colonel of the 5th Sherwood Foresters during WW1.  He was chairman of Whitwick Colliery for more than 20 years until nationalisation in 1947, as well as being a director of Wollaton Colliery.
  • Daughter, Mary Lewis, born 1871.  Mary married Richard Hutton Frith Hepplewhite in 1902.  Richard was a mining engineer and manager / agent at Bestwood Colliery 1911-1926.
  • Daughter, Ethel Isabel Lewis, born 1873.
  • Son, Percy William Lewis, born 1874.  Percy William became a mining engineer and part of the Lewis and Lewis mining consultancy in Derby.
A Coal Mining Dynasty talk - the Walker, Bailey, Lewis family relationship
A Coal Mining Dynasty talk - family of Richard George Bailey Lewis


Thomas Henry Gray

Mary Joanne Bailey Lewis married William Gray in 1870.  His brother was Thomas Henry Gray 1827-1914.   Thomas Henry was a colliery manager / agent living in Station Row in 1861 and 1871.  Possibly the manager of the Swannington No 2 mine (Sinope) or No 3 (Clink).  Thereafter he moved to Linby Colliery.  Amongst his Swannington born children were:

  • Thomas Edward Gray born 1855.  Became a coal merchant in Stevenage (1891), Enfield (1901) and Barnet (1911).  He married Mary Isabella Nall of the Lancashire carrier family whose brother later became Sir Joseph Nall and a director of Linby Colliery.
  • William Arthur Gray born 1861.  Coal merchant in Finchley, Middlesex, 1891, 1901, 1911.
  • John Wesley Gray, born 1863.  Commercial clerk at colliery.  Married Josephine Nall of the Lancashire carrier family.
  • Alfred James Gray, born 1865. Commercial clerk at colliery.  Later a builders’ merchant, then coal merchant in Finchley.
  • George Frederick Gray, born 1867.  Coal traveller at Ipswich, Suffolk, 1891, 1901, 1911.
  • Charles Wesley Gray, born 1870.  Colliery commercial manager Hucknall Torkard 1901.  Colliery commercial manager Linby and Papplewick collieries.  Married Harriett Machin whose father and brother were at times directors of Linby Colliery.
A Coal Mining Dynasty talk - brothers Thomas Henry Gray and William Gray