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Lead mines and smeltmills at Moulds Side west of Langthwaite

A Scheduled Monument in Arkengarthdale, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.422 / 54°25'19"N

Longitude: -2.0245 / 2°1'28"W

OS Eastings: 398506.103493

OS Northings: 502949.961127

OS Grid: NY985029

Mapcode National: GBR GK99.HM

Mapcode Global: WHB53.W33V

Entry Name: Lead mines and smeltmills at Moulds Side west of Langthwaite

Scheduled Date: 8 December 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015854

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28902

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Arkengarthdale

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire


The monument lies within Arkengarthdale and occupies an extensive area at
Moulds Side near Langthwaite. It includes three areas. Lead mining remains
form the principal industrial feature within the Dale though chert and coal
were exploited at a later date.
The monument includes examples of 17th to early 19th century lead mining
hushes including Stodart Hush, 40m wide with 40m high cliffs on either side,
and Hungry Hushes. From 1181/2 anyone who paid a royalty to the Crown could
search for lead in the wastes and the earliest reference to lead mining in the
Dale is recorded in an Inquisition Post Mortem of 1285. Until 1628 the area
had been part of the Lordship of Middleham. The sale of Crown land by
Charles I led to the granting of the manor to the Citizens of London. These
rights were in turn sold to the Bathurst family in the later 17th century.
Joseph Harker is the earliest recorded hush operator who worked from 1782 to
1785 when he was joined by Joseph Stodart, with Stodart and Edmund Anderson
working jointly from 1789. In the latter year Stodart applied for permission
from the mineral Lords to begin Stodart Hush.
Tips of spoil and manual ore dressing waste, representing the earliest phase
of processing, lie beside many of the hushes. The hushes also contain numerous
ancilliary features including miners' huts and bridges. Dams, with earthen
banks and well built internal drystone revetments, together with feeder leats
to supply water for hushing, are numerous with fine examples visible at Sun
and Moralees Dams. The association of shaft-based mining features is
particularly striking with prominent shaft mounds, up to 4m high by 30m
diameter, leading westward from Stodart, Adam Bird's and Turf Moor Hushes
where they form distinctive rakes following the line of the vein. The areas
between the shaft mounds are linked by extensive areas of spoil and dressing
waste. Adits are also numerous and formed the principal mining technique of
the later mines. A good example of a small adit-based nucleated mine is
situated in the north west part of the site at Danby Lead Level. The
scheduling includes the major part of the surface workings on Moulds Side as
well as the Danby Lead Level site and the Turf Moor Hush. The remains of ore
dressing floors, to the north and south of the core area, are poorly preserved
due to extensive later reworking and are therefore not included in the
Early smelting occurred in bales (primative wind blown hearths) on Moulds
Side, however the earliest recorded smelting of ore at Moulds Side took place
at the Lords smelt mill near Fore Gill Gate 1.5km to the SSE. This was built
about 1740 and included a stamp mill, ore and slag hearths and a peat store.
As output rose a new mill was built near the head of Turf Moor Hush and
included dams, stamp mill, stores, smithy and ore hearths. The remains at
these sites survive in poor condition and they are not included in the
scheduling. The monument does include the later Octagon and CB ore hearth
smeltmills situated in the north west part of the site. Built in 1803, Octagon
mill (so named because of its unique shape in plan) measured 32.61m by 21.34m
internally and was built on a terrace cut into the hillslope. It employed six
ore hearths with a 10.97m diameter overshot waterwheel providing power for the
blowing apparatus. Fumes from the smeltmill were carried 700m along a 10m wide
double arched flue to a chimney on Moulds Side. The chimney now stands to its
base height and most of the flue arches have collapsed, though access tunnels
located along its length, used to clean and maintain the flues, do survive. A
well preserved section of the flue survives beneath the modern road to the
south. The working life of the mill was shortlived. Despite demolition of the
main structure of the mill, stratigraphy containing important process residues
will survive. An original roofed building survives to the south of the mill.
The building is currently in use and is not included within the scheduling,
though the ground beneath is included.
In 1822 a new mill was built close by following a property dispute over the
Octagon mill. The New or CB (Charles Bathurst) Smelt Mill employed six ore
hearths and used a 160m double arched flue to connect with the Octagon flue
and chimney on Moulds Side. The mill buildings were surviving largely intact
until the late 1940s, though today only the north wall, standing
approximately 4m high, survives to any great height. The presence of extensive
wall tumble, however, suggests that internal features and archaeological
deposits will remain. The new mill site also includes the remains of the
wheelpit and condenser, as well as an area of slag tip situated 20m to the
east. Sometime after 1854 a new higher chimney was built on Moulds Side
giving a total flue length of 1.47km. The flue also connected with the old
chimney via a 136m detour. The Octagon and CB smeltmills and the entire flue
and chimney system, including access tunnels, are included within the
The core area of mining remains also includes the remains of extensive chert
mining activities dating from 1922 to the early 1950s, particularly in the
vicinity of Underedge Level. This area includes the remains of ruined
buildings, including a smithy with intact hearth, revetted adit entrances and
numerous wall stubs exposed beneath spoil tips, indicating that archaeological
deposits will survive here. The lead mining features in this area are
difficult to distinguish from the later chert mining and the reuse of earlier
lead related features is highly likely. The chert mining remains, including
the double-acting incline to the north of Underedge Level, are included within
the scheduling.
A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these are all boundary
walls, modern fences, telegraph/electricity poles and road surfaces; the
ground beneath all 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.
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.

The lead mining remains at Moulds Side includes a rich multi-period mining
landscape with excellent examples of hush, opencut, shaft and adit based
mining features with a wide range of components. It also includes the
remains of two early 19th century ore hearth smeltmills and an extensive flue
The monument includes a number of hushes including Stodart Hush, considered to
be one of the finest examples in the North Pennines. The hushes are thought to
be largely 17th and 18th century in date and are supported by a complex water
management system which includes extensive leats and well built dams.
Prominent shaft mounds form impressive rakes on and around Moulds Side with
excellent examples following the line of veins from the upslope end of the
hushes. The Turf Moor Hush is a good example of this. The horizontal
stratigraphic relationship of hushes and rakes clearly demonstrates the
relationship between the location of the shafts and hushes and the deposits of
In common with most developed lead mines of the 18th and 19th centuries,
mining at Moulds Side became increasingly based on long adits driven for deep
drainage and access. The Danby Lead Level, situated to the north west of
Moulds Side, is a good example of these characteristic adit mines.
Ore hearth smelt mills were introduced in the 16th century and continued to
develop until the late 19th century. They were the normal type of lead smelter
until the 18th century, when they were partly replaced by the reverberatory
smeltmill. The ore hearth itself consisted of a low open hearth, in which lead
ore was mixed with fuel. An air blast was supplied by bellows, normally
operated by a waterwheel; more sophisticated arrangements were used at some
19th century sites. Early sites were typically small and simple buildings with
one or two hearths, whereas late 18th and 19th century smeltmills were often
large complexes containing several ore and slag hearths, furnaces, and
somtimes complex flues, condensers and chimneys for recovering lead from the
fumes given off by the various hearths and furnaces.
Built in 1803 and worked until 1822, Octagon mill will retain buried
archaeological deposits providing a `unique opportunity to study the
development of ore hearth technology at the beginning of the 19th century'. In
addition, the mill area contains the only intact section of the extensive
double arched flue system and an undisturbed slag tip.
The remains of the nearby CB smeltmill, condenser and flue, will include
important undisturbed stratigraphic deposits.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Clough, R T , The Lead Smelting Mills of the Yorkshire Dales, (1962)
Gill, M C, 'British Mining No.45' in Yorkshire Smelting Mills. Part 1: The Northern Dales, (1992)
Tyson, L O, 'British Mining' in The Arkengarthdale Mines, (1995)

Source: Historic England

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