Ancient Monuments

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Remains of Nether Ratchwood and Rantor lead mines, 200m west of Old Lane

A Scheduled Monument in Middleton, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.0909 / 53°5'27"N

Longitude: -1.5775 / 1°34'39"W

OS Eastings: 428390.166942

OS Northings: 354934.512295

OS Grid: SK283549

Mapcode National: GBR 59G.9YS

Mapcode Global: WHCDV.QKZT

Entry Name: Remains of Nether Ratchwood and Rantor lead mines, 200m west of Old Lane

Scheduled Date: 5 September 1996

Last Amended: 9 July 2019

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009712

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24986

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Middleton

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Wirksworth St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument includes the remains of two adjacent lead mines, Ratchwood mine
to the west and Rantor mine to the east, each containing a group of structures
and earthwork features produced by mining and ore processing. The west side of
Ratchwood mine is marked by several ruined buildings, together with a large
circular stone walled ore storage bay measuring 10m in diameter.
To the east of these there is a flat area of ground containing at least two
capped shafts and the earthworks of a gin circle. The east side of the mine is
formed by a group of tips of mine spoil and ore dressing waste, fanning out to
the east, and including a terraced ore dressing area. The area between the two
mines contains a well preserved stone lined shaft capped with concrete
sleepers, a tip of ore dressing waste, and scattered mining related
earthworks. The remains of Rantor mine are smaller and confined within a
triangular walled enclosure. They include a ruined building (a miners' coe) on
the west side, two shafts, and tips of mine spoil and ore dressing waste. The
mines are known as Ratchwood and Rantor on 1st edition OS, but as Nether
Ratchwood and Orchard Shafts in earlier documentary sources. They were sunk in
the 1740s and remained active until the 1860s.

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.
Nucleated lead mines are a prominent type of field monument produced by lead
mining. They consist of a range of features grouped around the adits and/or
shafts of a mine. The simplest examples contain merely a shaft or adit with
associated spoil tip, but more complex and (in general) later examples may
include remains of engine houses for pumping and/or winding from shafts,
housing, lodging shops and offices, powder houses for storing gunpowder, power
transmission features such as wheel pits, dams and leats. The majority of
nucleated lead mines also included ore works, where the mixture of ore and
waste rock extracted from the ground was separated ('dressed') to form a
smeltable concentrate. The range of processes used can be summarised as:
picking out of clean lumps of ore and waste; breaking down of lumps to smaller
sizes (either by manual hammering or mechanical crushing); sorting of broken
material by size; separation of gravel-sized material by shaking on a sieve in
a tub of water ('jigging'); and separation of finer material by washing away
the lighter waste in a current of water ('buddling'). The field remains of ore
works vary widely and include the remains of crushing devices, separating
structures and tanks, tips of distinctive waste from the various processes,
together with associated water supply and power installations, such as wheel
pits and, more rarely, steam engine houses.
The majority of nucleated lead mines with ore works are of 18th to 20th
century date, earlier mining being normally by rake or hush and including
scattered ore dressing features (a 'hush' is a gully or ravine partly
excavated by use of a controlled torrent of water to reveal or exploit a vein
of mineral ore). Nucleated lead mines often illustrate the great advances in
industrial technology associated with the period known as the Industrial
Revolution and, sometimes, also inform an understanding of the great changes
in social conditions which accompanied it. Because of the greatly increased
scale of working associated with nucleated mining such features can be a major
component of many upland landscapes. It is estimated that several thousand
sites exist, the majority being small mines of limited importance, although
the important early remains of many larger mines have often been greatly
modified or destroyed by continued working or by modern reworking. A sample of
the better preserved sites, illustrating the regional, chronological and
technological range of the class, is considered to merit protection.

The mines at Ratchwood and Rantor are well preserved examples of early
nucleated mines with ore works. They serve to illustrate the change in surface
form associated with the spread of mining from exposed veins to those capped
by sterile shale, and show a good diversity of features for mines of this date
and type. The stone storage bay is a rare feature. The history of the monument
is well documented.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Flindall, R, 'Bulletin of the Peak District Mines Historical Society' in An Historical Account of Middlepeak Mine and ... Ratchwood Title, , Vol. Vol 8, (1982), 201-239

Source: Historic England

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