Ancient Monuments

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Myers Head lead mine

A Scheduled Monument in Patterdale, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.5057 / 54°30'20"N

Longitude: -2.9031 / 2°54'11"W

OS Eastings: 341618.387557

OS Northings: 512641.45034

OS Grid: NY416126

Mapcode National: GBR 8J5B.8L

Mapcode Global: WH821.C0TP

Entry Name: Myers Head lead mine

Scheduled Date: 24 October 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015652

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27749

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Patterdale

Traditional County: Westmorland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Patterdale St Patrick

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes the remains of Myers Head lead mine, a 19th century mine
located approximately 800m south east of Hartsop at the confluence of
Hayeswater Gill and Pasture Beck. The complex includes a mine shaft, two adits
- that is horizontal tunnels driven into the hillside for access to the
mineral vein - a wheelpit, the buried remains of a tailrace, a series of well
preserved stone pillars which supported the launder used to carry water to
power the wheel, spoil heaps, dressing waste, leats, and the site of a gin
circle or horse-powered capstan for raising ore from the shaft.
The shaft, now largely infilled, is situated on the west side of Pasture Beck
opposite its junction with Hayeswater Gill. A 30 feet diameter waterwheel was
set up by the side of the gill to work a Cornish pump for raising floodwater
out of the mine and the lower courses of two support pillars for the driving
rods for the pumps stand either side of Pasture Beck whilst the wheelpit
survives well with walls still standing to a height of 3.5m. Approaching the
wheelpit from the north are a series of 11 well preserved stone-built
supports which carried a launder along which water ran from Hayeswater Gill to
power the wheel; a short length of earthwork and rock-cut channel indicates
the course of a leat from the gill to the upper launder support. Survey bt the
Royal Commission of Historical Monuments for England in 1966 found a stone-
lined and stone-capped tail race running underground; this took water from the
waterwheel into Pasture Beck 37m downstream of its confluence with Hayeswater
gill. To either side of the shaft are spoil heaps and dressing waste together
with a stone spread which marks the site of a gin circle. There is also an
earthwork marking the course of a leat which ran for c.100m from Pasture Beck
in the direction of the shaft. Approximately 150m south east of the shaft, on
the eastern side of Pasture Beck, are two adits with a spoil heap close by,
and in the same area are several old pits, now filled up, which are thought to
mark the site of pre-19th century workings of ore beneath the beck.
About 1870 the Patterdale Mining Company commenced sinking the mine shaft from
which galena, some zinc and a little chalcopyrite, the principle ore of
copper, was extracted. The vein was porous, however, and the pump had
considerable difficulty keeping the water in check. In the late 1870s the
shaft was flooded after miners unexpectedly broke into a large cavity in the
vein and the mine was subsequently abandoned after less than 10 years in
All field boundaries are excluded from the scheduling but the
ground beneath them 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.
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 flat rod systems, transport systems such as
railways and inclines, and water power and water supply features such as
wheel pits, dams and leats. The majority of nucleated lead mines also included
ore works where the ore, once extracted, was processed.
The majority of nucleated lead mines are of 18th to 20th century date, earlier
mining being normally by rake or hush (a gully or ravine partly excavated by
use of a controlled torrent of water to reveal or exploit a vein of mineral
ore). They 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 upland
landscapes. It is estimated that at least 10,000 sites, exist the majority
being small mines of limited importance, although the important early remains
at many larger mines have been greatly modified or destroyed by continued
working or modern reworking. A sample of the better preserved sites,
illustrating the regional, chronological and technological range of the class,
is considered to merit protection.

Myers Head lead mine is a well preserved small 19th century lead mine. It
contains a variety of integral components including a shaft, adits, dressing
waste, spoil heaps, a tail race, a gin circle and leats, but in particular it
retains exceptionally well preserved launder supports and a wheelpit.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Shaw, W T, Mining in the Lake Counties, (1975), 98-100

Source: Historic England

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