Ancient Monuments

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Gorseydale lead mines, 300m north and 650m north west of Moor Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Bonsall, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.1313 / 53°7'52"N

Longitude: -1.6247 / 1°37'29"W

OS Eastings: 425204.7516

OS Northings: 359417.8987

OS Grid: SK252594

Mapcode National: GBR 58T.Q1P

Mapcode Global: WHCDN.0KL9

Entry Name: Gorseydale lead mines, 300m north and 650m north west of Moor Farm

Scheduled Date: 23 June 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016291

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30942

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Bonsall

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Bonsall St James Apostle

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument lies approximately 0.5km south east of the village of Winster and
occupies land to the south of Bonsall Lane, and east of Bonsallmoor Lane. It
includes the ruins, earthworks and buried remains of the Gorseydale lead mines
within two areas.

Mining was taking place at Gorseydale by at least 1745, when the Hangworm Mine
was operating, but mining of an earlier date is also indicated by the
primitive character of the workings. The area was mined intensively: around
50 individual mines were sunk in an area of about a square kilometre, some
with distinctive names such as Dirty Face and Have Nothing Grove. The
Gorseydale mines are notable for the early attempts made to sink shafts to
deeper levels by exploring and developing new technologies of excavation,
ventilation and drainage. References to a Gorseydale mine called Catchwind
Grove in 1789 suggest that a funnel-like structure had been erected over a
shaft to direct wind downwards for ventilation: at Hangworm Mine a small shaft
sloping into the main shaft has been interpreted as a ventilator, requiring a
fire basket in the small shaft and an enclosing structure over it to create a
draught. These shafts will retain surface remains which contribute to the
understanding of the industry, including collapsed structures used for storage
or to aid ventilation, and gin circles, horse powered rotating mechanisms for
winding and pumping.

The southern area of remains lies at the top of sloping ground, and has been
intensively worked. It includes many shafts of varied size and type, with
associated earthworks and ruined structures throughout the area. Some of these
shafts form alignments following lead bearing veins. A particularly large and
well preserved shaft, about 2m in diameter, in the north east corner of this
area is believed to be part of the well known Hangworm Mine, which has
extensive underground workings. This shaft is stone lined and has a large gin
circle. It has been capped and has an access grille and concrete surround.
Elsewhere in the area, many shafts have well defined shaft mounds formed by
upcast, to a height of about 2m. Several have ruined coes (small storage
buildings) of roughly square plan surrounding the shaft opening and spoil tips
are visible throughout the area. Concentrated in the east of the area and
extending into a small field at the south east corner are shallower workings.
These are visible as numerous small pits and hillocks on a roughly north-south
alignment. Their worn appearance and relatively simple form, and the absence
of structures or gin circles suggest that these workings belong to an earlier
phase of mining than the larger shafts.

The northern area of remains lies immediately south of Bonsall Lane at the
foot of a slope rising away from the two roads. It includes an area of
well preserved remains including numerous shafts with shaft mounds and has
been intensively worked. Some of these are stone lined, and one partly
collapsed shaft in the east retains a gin circle of 9m-10m diameter. In the
south east, close to the field wall which forms the eastern boundary of these
remains, is a shaft whose mound is C-shaped rather than enclosing the shaft
completely, it lies close to a trackway, indicating that ore may have been
loaded directly from the shaft onto a cart and transported down the slope to
ore processing areas.

In the area immediately south of Bonsall Lane lies a set of stone built
compartments called bouse teams, where ore was stored prior to processing. At
least four bouse teams are seen, standing to a height of about 0.4m and facing
west. These are extremely unusual survivals in Derbyshire. Their presence and
location next to a relatively flat piece of ground with low earthworks,
indicates that this area served as a dressing floor, where the ore would be
processed to separate as much lead as possible from the raw material brought
up from the mine. Dressing waste and other features will survive as buried
features in this area.

All fence posts, electricity poles and the access grille with concrete
surround are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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.

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.

The Gorseydale monument represents a remarkable survival of the lead mining
remains which were once central to the Derbyshire economy and characteristic
of the industry as a whole. Their archaeological importance lies primarily in
their technological content: the monument incorporates a range of features
which will allow detailed interpretation of mining technology above and below
ground. They will preserve much valuable information about the development of
mining technology at a critical transitional period. Comparisons between the
workings of different dates on the monument will allow technological analysis
and a better understanding of the history of lead mining nationally.

Coes and other structural remains will retain evidence for the operation of
shafts and activities that took place around the shaft head. This will
contribute to an understanding of the history of Gorseydale mines and that of
the Derbyshire lead industry in general. The monument is therefore especially
valuable as an illustration of technical development, containing information
on shaft construction, power technology and transport within the mine complex.
In addition, Gorseydale mines were the setting for the highly influential
geological studies of Pilkington and Whitehurst in the late 18th century. In
particular, Hangworm Mine was used as an illustration of geological formation

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Rieuwerts, J , Gorseydale Mines, (1987)

Source: Historic England

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