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Hudgill lead mine bingsteads, 200m north east of Hudgill Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Alston Moor, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.8108 / 54°48'38"N

Longitude: -2.387 / 2°23'13"W

OS Eastings: 375221.906579

OS Northings: 546278.309713

OS Grid: NY752462

Mapcode National: GBR CDST.08

Mapcode Global: WH91W.9BKV

Entry Name: Hudgill lead mine bingsteads, 200m north east of Hudgill Farm

Scheduled Date: 29 January 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017449

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29020

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 lies on the north side of the B6294, half way between the River
Nent and the A689 Alston to Nenthead road. It includes the standing structures
of a set of lead ore storage bays built by the owners of the mineral rights to
Alston Moor. It also includes a walled courtyard and a pair of small
The estates of the Earl of Derwentwater were forfeited to the Crown for his
part in the 1715 Jacobite Rebellion. In 1735, these estates, which included
the mineral rights around Alston, were assigned to the Greenwich Hospital. The
Hospital's Commissioners leased mines to various companies which
in turn paid a proportion of all ore raised as a rent. This duty ore was
collected at bingsteads, where it was weighed and bagged before being
transported to the smeltmill. It is thought that the Hudgill bingsteads were
built around 1817 by Greenwich Hospital, mainly to store the large quantities
of duty ore being produced from Hudgill Mine. The Hospital also had bingsteads
at Alston and Nenthead. In 1833 the Hudgill Mill Company was formed to smelt
the large quantities of ore being produced by the mine. This company leased
Greenwich Hospital's Langley Smeltmill in Northumberland, and also started
buying and smelting the Hospital's duty ore. It is believed that use of the
Hudgill bingsteads passed to this new company at this time.
The monument includes a set of six storage bays built against and revetting
the road embankment. Each one is approximately 5m by 4.5m deep with a 1m wide
chute, set centrally in the 4.5m high rear wall, which terminates about 2m
above the floor level. The north western three bays are complete with a stone
slab roof that extends from the rear wall down to about 2m at the open north
east ends of the bays. The side walls of the south eastern three bays survive
to around 1m below eaves level. The rear wall of the storage bays forms one
side of a stone walled courtyard measuring approximately 16m square. Just over
half of this enclosure, the south western half, which includes the storage
bays and a further 4.5m beyond their side walls, is paved with large stone
slabs. The remainder of the courtyard (beyond a raised stone curb) is grassed.
In the east corner of this grassed area is a single storey building,
approximately 3m square, with a gabled, single pitched roof retaining most of
its slates. With a single doorway and window on the south west side, it is
interpreted as a tool store. Central, and extending beyond the north west wall
of the courtyard, is a single storey building, approximately 3m by 4m with a
gabled roof which is also nearly complete with slates. This has an opening in
the north west gabled wall allowing access to the roof space, and a single
door and window in the north east wall next to the only gateway into the
enclosure. This building, with obvious control over access into the bingstead
compound, is interpreted as the count house (office). Between the rear wall of
the storage bays (which extend about 1m above the ground surface to the south
west) and the road, the partially grassed-over stone slabs that cover the
chutes into the bays can be identified.
The modern roadside fencing is excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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.

Ore produced by metal mines had to be processed or `washed' to remove some of
the waste minerals and to concentrate the ore to about 60-70% purity for lead,
60% for tin and 5-15% for copper before it could be smelted. This processed
ore was often stored in special areas called bingsteads ( a bing was the
standard unit of weight for processed ore, being approximately 8cwt or just
over 400kg) where it was weighed and bagged before transportation to the
smeltmill. Leases given to mining partnerships and companies normally
specified a fixed royalty based on the amount of processed ore produced, and
this typically amounted to a duty of between a fifth and a tenth. Large
mineral rights owners sometimes built their own royalty bingsteads to store
the duty ore until there was a sufficient quantity to transport to the
smeltmill. Two main types of bingsteads have been identified nationally; those
associated with individual ore works; and those sited on their own next to
transport links, collecting ore from a number of ore works, normally for the
mineral rights owner. Bingsteads are an uncommon, but characteristic component
of the non-ferrous metal mining industries, which demonstrate the increasing
organisation of the industries from the 18th century onwards. Examples
integral to ore works of national importance will merit protection, whilst
those examples of bingsteads sited away from oreworks which display the
highest level of preservation nationally, or which demonstrate a distinctive
regional variation, should also be protected.
The Hudgill bingsteads are well preserved, retaining the complete original
layout of a royalty bingstead complex with ore chutes, storage bays,
count house and working area. It is one of the best preserved bingstead
complexes known in northern England and is also associated with the richest
mine known to have been worked in the Alston area.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Raistrick, A, Jennings, B, A History of Lead Mining in the Pennines, (1983), 226&248
Sopwith, T, Account of the Mining District of Alston Moor, Weardale, (1984), 122-124
Dunham, K C, 'Tyne to Stainmore' in Geology of the Northern Pennine Orefield, , Vol. Vol 1, (1990), 138-139
Flush, D, (1996)
Forbes, I, (1996)

Source: Historic England

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