Ancient Monuments

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Lime kilns

A Scheduled Monument in Holy Island, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.6689 / 55°40'7"N

Longitude: -1.7817 / 1°46'54"W

OS Eastings: 413826.114871

OS Northings: 641727.105496

OS Grid: NU138417

Mapcode National: GBR J20W.1P

Mapcode Global: WHC05.LSR1

Entry Name: Lime kilns

Scheduled Date: 21 June 1973

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006434

English Heritage Legacy ID: ND 555

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Holy Island

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Holy Island St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


Lime kilns, 180m east of Lindisfarne Castle.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 1 June 2016. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes the remains of a row of lime kilns of post-medieval date, situated on the south east tip of Holy Island just beyond Lindisfarne Castle. The battery of kilns is contained within a square structure built of randomly coursed sandstone masonry blocks and measuring approximately 21m by 20m. The structure contains six kiln pots and a tunnel running through the structure, which allows access to internal draw arches. The tunnel has five external entries, each with round-headed segmental arches. An earthen ramp on the north side provides access to the top of the kiln.

The lime kilns were constructed in 1860 by a Dundee merchant named William Nicholl and quarrying and slaking occurring until 1900. Originally the lime was quarried from the north of the island and brought to the kilns via a railway, parts of which survive outside of the scheduled area.

The monument lies within the Lindisfarne Castle Grade II registered park and garden.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Limestone or chalk has been the basic ingredient for lime mortar from Roman times. Since the medieval period, lime has also been used as agricultural fertiliser and, since the early 19th century, widely used in a variety of other industries: as a flux in blast furnaces, in the production of gas and oil, and in the chemical, pharmaceutical and food industries. The lime industry is defined as the processes of preparing and producing lime by burning and slaking. The basic raw material for producing lime is limestone or chalk: when burnt at high temperature (roasted or calcined), these rocks release carbon dioxide, leaving `quicklime' which, by chemical reaction when mixed with water (`slaking'), can be turned into a stable powder - lime. Lime burning sites varied in scale from individual small lime kilns adjacent to a quarry, to large-scale works designed to operate commercially for an extended market and often associated with long distance water or rail transport. The form of kilns used for lime burning evolved throughout the history of the industry, from small intermittent clamp and flare kilns, to large continuously fired draw kilns that could satisfy increased demand from urban development, industrial growth and agricultural improvement. Small-scale rural lime production continued in the later 19th and 20th centuries, but this period of the industry is mainly characterised by large-scale production and the transfer of technologies from the cement and other industries. The demand for mortars grew steadily during the 19th and 20th centuries. The successful production of mortars made with artificial cement represented an economic challenge to lime production and gradually replaced the use of lime mortars in major construction and engineering projects. From a highly selective sample made at national level, around 200 lime industry sites have been defined as being of national importance. These have been defined to represent the industry's chronological depth, technological breadth and regional diversity.

The lime kilns east of Lindisfarne Castle are in an excellent state of preservation and are preserved as an upstanding and largely intact structure. The significance of the monument is increased by the partial earthwork remains of a wagonway outside of the scheduled area linking the kilns to Nessend quarry. This provides insight into an extend sequence of the industrial process use to create lime.

Source: Historic England


PastScape Monument No:- 7848

Source: Historic England

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