Ancient Monuments

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Perry's Dam

A Scheduled Monument in Alston Moor, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.768 / 54°46'4"N

Longitude: -2.3354 / 2°20'7"W

OS Eastings: 378518.181276

OS Northings: 541501.027382

OS Grid: NY785415

Mapcode National: GBR DF49.6L

Mapcode Global: WH923.3F54

Entry Name: Perry's Dam

Scheduled Date: 3 July 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015859

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28907

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Alston Moor

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Alston Moor

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of Perry's Dam which
lies near the watershed between the Nent Burn and Ash Gill, 2km south of
Nenthead village.
The Veille Montagne Zinc Company held the lease for the Nenthead lead mines
between 1896 and 1937, and between 1903 and 1915 introduced a system of
hydraulic compressors to power drilling machinery. Perry's Dam was an integral
part of the water management system employed at this time. Water from the dam
was fed via a 0.3m diameter high pressure pipeway to Bogg Shaft, 450m to the
north. The pipe was then fed 120m down the shaft to Caplecleugh Low Level and
then upwards to the Caplecleugh High Level. Holes in the pipeway allowed air
to be carried with the water for ventillation. Water was also used to drive a
Pelton Wheel for the compressor house at Middlecleugh mine, the subject of a
separate scheduling. A pipeway was also built to supply the Smallcleugh mine
but no compressors were installed.
The dam itself consists of a substantial earthen bank, 600m long by 4m high by
up to 25m wide, with an edge-laid drystone revetment on the internal side. A
section of high pressure pipe and pipeway survive at the north west corner and
together with a sample of the pond floor, is included in the scheduling.
All modern fenceposts are excluded from the scheduling, although 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.

Perry's Dam is an important survival of the formerly extensive water
management system of the Nenthead lead mining area. It contributes towards the
understanding of the development of the mines in the early 20th century, when
drilling became based on compressors powered by an integrated high pressure
water system.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Critchley, M F, 'Bulletin of the Peak District Mines Historical Society' in The History and Workings of the Nenthead Mines, Cumbria, , Vol. Vol 9, (1984), 24-25

Source: Historic England

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