Ancient Monuments

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Emley Day Holes, 200m east of Churchill Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Denby Dale, Kirklees

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Latitude: 53.6084 / 53°36'30"N

Longitude: -1.6292 / 1°37'45"W

OS Eastings: 424630.612205

OS Northings: 412494.676756

OS Grid: SE246124

Mapcode National: GBR KV2Q.26

Mapcode Global: WHCB9.YKCK

Entry Name: Emley Day Holes, 200m east of Churchill Farm

Scheduled Date: 24 February 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017656

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30961

County: Kirklees

Civil Parish: Denby Dale

Built-Up Area: Emley

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Emley St Michael the Archangel

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument is situated on and around the Dearne valley escarpment, a steep
natural scarp immediately south of the village of Emley. It includes the
earthworks and buried remains of the Emley Day Holes.
The day holes take the form of earthworks of various sizes and forms, and are
believed to represent the remains of medieval coal mining, whose features and
relationships will provide valuable evidence of mining technology and
organisation in this early period.
Coal was mined here on a small scale in the Middle Ages; it was not popular as
a domestic fuel, but was used for purposes such as iron forging. Where
topography allowed, it was mined from outcrops, and this was the case at
Emley. The steeply sloping scarp, which faces south west, has a number of
small indentations with shallow platforms immediately below, particularly at
the eastern and western edges of the site. The most substantial of these is an
artificial platform of 1m height and 20m width, on an eastern dip in the
scarp. These features resulted from outcropping or adit mining (mining by
tunnelling into the hillside). Handcut workings driven into outcropping coal
on the escarpment produced spoil, building up small platforms which
subsequently made a level surface for convenient access to the workings. A
similar platform is seen near narrow opencut workings in the south west part
of the site. Further earthworks, predominantly in the west, include
spoilheaps, and low parallel banks which are believed to represent the site of
buried structural remains.
Modern field boundaries and electricity pylons are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Coal has been mined in England since Roman times, and between 8,000 and 10,000
coal industry sites of all dates up to the collieries of post-war
nationalisation are estimated to survive in England. Three hundred and four
coal industry sites, representing approximately 3% of the estimated national
archaeological resource for the industry have been identified as being of
national importance. This selection, compiled and assessed through a
comprehensive survey of the coal industry, is designed to represent the
industry's chronological depth, technological breadth and regional diversity.
Extensive coal workings are typical of the medieval and post-medieval coal
industry, although this style of exploitation continued into the early 20th
century in some marginal areas which were worked on a very small scale with
little capital investment. In its simplest form extensive workings took coal
directly from the outcrop, digging closely spaced shallow pits, shafts or
levels which did not connect underground. Once shallower deposits had been
exhausted, deeper shafts giving access to underground interconnecting
galleries were developed. The difficulties of underground haulage and the need
for ventilation encouraged the sinking of an extensive spread of shafts in the
area worked. The remains of extensive coal workings typically survive as
surface earthworks directly above underground workings. They may include a
range of prospecting and exploitation features, including areas of
outcropping, adits and shaft mounds (circular or sub-circular spoil heaps
normally with a directly associated depression marking the shaft location). In
addition, some sites retain associated features such as gin circles (the
circular track used by a horse powering simple winding or pumping machinery),
trackways and other structures like huts. Some later sites also retain
evidence of the use of steam power, typically in the form of engine beds or
small reservoirs. Extensive coal mines vary considerably in form, depending on
the underlying geology, their date, and how the workings were originally
organised. Sites can include several hundred shafts spread over an extensive
Coal occurs in significant deposits throughout large parts of England and this
has given rise to a variety of coalfields extending from the north of England
to the Kent coast. Each region has its own history of exploitation, and
characteristic sites range from the small, compact collieries of north
Somerset to the large, intensive units of the north east. A sample of the
better preserved sites, illustrating the regional, chronological and
technological range of extensive coal workings, together with rare individual
component features are considered to merit protection.

The survival of medieval coal workings is extremely rare, and at Emley Day
Holes the significance of coal mining remains is enhanced by its context
within a medieval park. The archaeological remains of the mines may be used
together with documentary evidence to gain information about the
administration of the mines, their technological development, and the uses of
the coal extracted from them. The day holes therefore present an opportunity
to study not only the rare remains of medieval coal mining and the technology
of the early industry, but also the relationship between the developing
industry and other industrial, agricultural and social components of the
medieval landscape.

Source: Historic England


WYAS card - mentions dayholes, Moorhouse, Medieval Park - Emley Park, (1985)
WYorks SMR 4607: mentions dayholes, Moorhouse, Elmley Park [sic], (1992)

Source: Historic England

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