Ancient Monuments

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Red lead mill, lead smelt mill, and corn mill to the east of Nether Loads Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Holymoorside and Walton, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.2206 / 53°13'14"N

Longitude: -1.5135 / 1°30'48"W

OS Eastings: 432577.736678

OS Northings: 369398.185545

OS Grid: SK325693

Mapcode National: GBR 69B.24X

Mapcode Global: WHCD9.Q9GT

Entry Name: Red lead mill, lead smelt mill, and corn mill to the east of Nether Loads Farm

Scheduled Date: 5 September 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009708

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24981

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Holymoorside and Walton

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Brampton St Thomas

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument originated as a lead smelt mill in the 16th century, but was
converted into a red lead mill in the 17th century. This in turn was converted
into a corn mill in the 19th century. The remains comprise features from all
three functions.
The north west end of the monument consists of a pond (now dry) retained by a
small dam. To the south east of this, a standing building orientated north
east-south west and measuring 7m x 4m (now used as an agricultural store)
represents the south west end of the red lead mill and corn mill. This
building is included in the scheduling. Fragments of the remainder of the mill
building are visible to the north east, including remains of the north wall
built into the current field boundary wall. Immediately to the south of the
building, a circular earthwork forms the remains of a crushing circle for
grinding the red lead. The remainder of the field from here eastwards contains
slight earthworks, one of which is thought to represent the tail-race of the
mill, and slag deposits are exposed in the stream bank.
A smelt mill at Loads is first recorded in 1581. A red lead mill had been
added by 1634, and by 1677 the smelt mill had been converted into a second red
lead mill. Both these mills remained in use until after 1799, but had been
converted into corn mills by the mid-19th century.
The scheduling excludes a wooden hut overlying part of the mill building site,
but includes the ground beneath this. It includes non-modern walling at the
north east end of the mill building, but excludes other modern field walls,
fences and hedges, although the ground beneath these features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Approximately 10,000 lead industry sites are estimated to survive in England,
spanning nearly three millennia of mining history from the later Bronze Age
(c.1000 BC) until the present day, though before the Roman period it is likely
to have been on a small scale. Two hundred and fifty one lead industry sites,
representing approximately 2.5% of the estimated national archaeological
resource for the industry, have been identified as being of national
importance. This selection of nationally important monuments, compiled and
assessed through a comprehensive survey of the lead industry, is designed to
represent the industry's chronological depth, technological breadth and
regional diversity.
Red lead is an oxide of lead, which was used as a pigment (red lead mixed with
oil formed the standard red paint until the 20th century), and as an
ingredient in pottery glazes and in flint glass making. It was produced from
metallic lead in a red lead oven (a furnace with fireplaces along both sides,
a hearth in the centre, and a chimney over the loading door). The lead was
first oxidised to form a litharge, then ground to a powder, then re-oxidised
to form red lead. Red lead was known from the Roman period onwards, though
documented red lead mills are of 16th to 20th century date. No remains of red
lead ovens have yet been discovered. The field remains on known mill sites
consist of water and/or animal power features (for the powered grinding) and
traces of the mill buildings. Red lead mills are important as the main source
of raw materials for the paint industry, and are an unusual aspect of British
metallurgy. They are thought to have been moderately common in and near most
lead mining fields, and in some urban areas. Sites with surviving field
evidence are very rare, and all sites with surviving field features or good
stratigraphic evidence are considered to merit protection.

The Nether Loads mill is a rare example of a red lead mill with surviving
field remains, and where good below-ground preservation can be expected. It
retains a good diversity of features including the only known red lead mill
building left standing above ground. It is also well documented historically.
It is considered to be the best known surviving example of a red lead mill
complex in England, and is therefore fundamental to the archaeological study
of red lead production technology in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Crossley, D, Kiernan, D, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in The Lead-Smelting Mills of Derbyshire, (1992), 32-33
Crossley, D, Kiernan, D, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in The Lead-Smelting Mills of Derbyshire, (1992), 32-33

Source: Historic England

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