Whilst the present day Hazel Slade began as a mining community, there is evidence of settlers in Saxon times well before the deep mines were sunk. Furthermore, there has been a hamlet here since Elizabethan times. The village gets its name from “Hazel trees in a moist dell, associated with hunting of deer” and in the past has been known as Hazleslade upon Cannockwood – a most appropriate name.
Much of the prosperity of the village is due to the Paget family who came here in the early 1500’s to Beaudesert Hall and eventually owned all the land locally and therefore took all the royalties from all the mined minerals – he eventually became one of the richest men in the country and held the title “Marquis of Anglesey”
Coal has been mined in the village since at least 1625 when the seams of “Sea Coal” as they were called were outcropped around the village, It was easy therefore to take the coal, first by pickings off the immediate surface and then by digging into the sub soil. Eventually by the early 1700’s they took the coal through “Jackie Pits” – It is stated by County Records that there were over 2000 such pits in this immediate vicinity. Many signs of the shafts can still be seen today.
Coal was of course an important ingredient in the making of Iron ore, which was at that time also mined locally – Hazel Slade therefore helped to fuel, albeit in a small way, the early Industrial Revolution. The area did however always lack good communications and it was not until 1777 when the Trent & Mersey Canal came to Rugeley (3 miles away) that the coal could be marketed successfully.
By 1851 Hazel Slade records show that there were only four miners’ houses together with several other small dwellings. These belonged to a Nailer and his wife, three Gamekeepers and a Woodsman and his family. A thriving Horse Racing stable had however been built around 1740 along Rugeley Road, initially under the control of the Ingamthorp Family & then in 1830 by Thomas Carr and then under his son in law William Saunders who in 1851 employed 11 stable hands.
At the turn of the century the stables were handed over to the famed Tom Coulthwaite who trained 3 Grand National winners & even today we still have successful Race Horse Trainers closeby.
The coming of the local large deep collieries known as Hazel Slade Colliery (1818), Park Colliery (1800) and finally Cannock Wood Colliery (1862) generated miners, their families, houses, shops & churches and “the Slade” as locals know it, was formed.