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Pike Law lead hushes and mines

A Scheduled Monument in Newbiggin, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.6779 / 54°40'40"N

Longitude: -2.1512 / 2°9'4"W

OS Eastings: 390347.410109

OS Northings: 531438.37416

OS Grid: NY903314

Mapcode National: GBR FGFB.2W

Mapcode Global: WHB3P.XPS6

Entry Name: Pike Law lead hushes and mines

Scheduled Date: 16 May 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015835

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29018

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Newbiggin

Traditional County: Durham

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham

Church of England Parish: Middleton-in-Teesdale

Church of England Diocese: Durham


The monument lies between Wester and Flushiemere Becks and is bisected by the
road between Newbiggin in Teesdale and Westgate in Weardale. It includes the
earthwork remains of a highly complex area of lead mining that was effectively
exhausted before 1852. These remains include large opencuts and hushes, with
associated dams and leats; numerous small ore processing areas; as well as
shafts, levels and the standing remains of small miners' huts. All mining and
ore processing waste is also included in the scheduling. The monument forms a
core area of a wider lead mining landscape and does not include the hushes and
shafts associated with Westerhead Vein and a series of coal outcrops that lie
to the north west. Remains of the later Flushiemere barytes mine survive to
the south east. These are poorly preserved and are also not included within
the scheduling. The area between the top of Broadley Hill and the two enclosed
fields to the west of Flushiemere barytes mine is crossed by more than six
lead veins running east-west and north east to south west. Three veins,
Leonard's, Flask and Pike Law Old Vein, are marked at the surface by large
hushes. The Broadley Hill Veins, further to the north, were worked via shafts
and levels driven from the side of Leonard's Hush. Worked from antiquity and
well established by 1753 when the lease was taken over by the London Lead
Company, the area only produced 1725 tons between 1852 and 1891 when all work
finally ceased. The monument includes three main hushes running east-west on
the east side of the road. These are, north to south, Leonard's, Pike Law and
Flask Hush. Each forms a gully 30m-50m wide at the surface and up to c.10m
deep, and are fed by a number of smaller side gullies, mostly from the north.
These side gullies are in turn fed by a number of leats (purpose built water
courses), many originating from reservoirs formed by earthwork dams up to 2m
high. Further earthwork dams and water courses are found in the bottoms of the
gullies. The whole system is fed by longer leats and natural streams flowing
from the higher ground to the north. As these features are quite dispersed
they are not included within the scheduling. The hushes retain exposed
sections of abandoned working faces, spoil heaps of mining waste (with the
inverted `V' cross-section indicative of barrow tipping - very different to
the flat topped heaps more typical of 19th century mines which normally used
tramways), and ore processing areas marked by dumps of processing wastes. At
the east end of the hushes, towards the foot of the slope, there is a wide
area covered by material washed down from the gullies, and at least four
levels are driven under the hushes.
On the west side of the road lie the West End Hushes. These are visually very
spectacular, forming deep opencuts over 10m deep where the Pike Law and
Broadley Hill Veins converge. At their south west end there is a broad area of
washed out material which covers more than 0.5ha and is up to 2.5m deep where
it is cut by Wester Beck. To the south of West End Hushes there are a series
of shallow prospecting hushes running down the hillside, forming rounded and
grassed over gullies up to 1m deep.
To the north of the hushes, on both sides of the road, there are a number of
shaft mounds typically 15m-20m in diameter and 1m high. To the west of the
road these follow the course of New Streak Vein. To the east they are above
the Broadley Hill Veins. Some of these shafts show evidence of cog and rung
gins, where a horse walked around the shaft to operate winding gear raising
ore from the workings, which are thought to have been typical of 17th century
Dispersed across the site there are a number of structural remains. These
include the ruins of two stone built coes (miners' huts) measuring c.3m by 4m
and standing to 1.5m and 0.5m high respectively; a stone flagged area 4m
square and revetted on two sides by walling up to 0.6m high; and a partly
buried stone lined pit 0.5m wide and over 0.2m deep. The land either side of
all of the hushes contain numerous bare patches of ground, typically 1m by 2m
in diameter, covered in ore processing waste with earthworks up to 0.5m high.
These are considered to be the remains of small, ore processing areas where
the ore was crushed and sorted by hand. A network of mining related paths and
trackways can also be traced across the whole area.
The modern fences, wooden electricity pylons, and the road surface are
excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath these features is

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.
A hush is a gully or ravine excavated at least in part by use of a controlled
torrent of water, to reveal or exploit a vein of lead or other mineral ore.
Dams and leats to supply the water are normally associated, and some examples
show tips of waste from manual ore processing beside the hush itself. Shaft
and adit mineworkings sometimes occur in spatial association, though their
working will not have been contemporary with that of the hush. There is
documentary evidence for hushing from the Roman period on the continent, and
from the 16th century in England; however a high proportion of surviving
hushes are believed to be of 17th to 18th century date, the technique dying
out by the mid 19th century.
Hushes are a dramatic and very visible component of the lead mining industry.
They are common in the Pennines from Yorkshire northwards, and in parts of
Wales, but are rare in other lead mining areas. A sample of the better
preserved isolated examples and those which form part of more extensive lead
mining complexes, will merit protection.

Pike Law is one of the best preserved pre-19th century lead mining landscapes
known in the northern Pennines. It retains a wide range of well preserved
features including: visually impressive hushes with exposed working faces; an
intricate water management system with an extensive network of dams and leats;
well preserved manual ore processing areas and barrow tipped spoil heaps;
structural remains of small buildings and other features; and a range of shaft
forms, some with evidence of early horse gins. The monument therefore makes a
significant contribution towards the understanding of pre-19th century lead

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Raistrick, A, Jennings, B, A History of Lead Mining in the Pennines, (1983), 152
Dunham, K C, 'Tyne to Stainmore' in Geology of the Northern Pennine Orefield, , Vol. Vol 1, (1990), 243-245

Source: Historic England

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