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Nucleated coal mine and coke oven on Fountains Fell

A Scheduled Monument in Halton Gill, North Yorkshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.1411 / 54°8'27"N

Longitude: -2.2063 / 2°12'22"W

OS Eastings: 386620.221955

OS Northings: 471715.550413

OS Grid: SD866717

Mapcode National: GBR FN1K.49

Mapcode Global: WHB6D.25NP

Entry Name: Nucleated coal mine and coke oven on Fountains Fell

Scheduled Date: 25 February 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017715

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29531

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Halton Gill

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Details

The monument includes the standing remains of a beehive coke oven and part of
the surrounding mine shafts and shaft mounds from early coal extraction,
located on exposed moorland on Fountains Fell.
The coke oven is a square stone built structure of roughly coursed sandstone
rubble. It measures approximately 4m square and stands 2m high on the south
side. Inside, the oven consists of a hemispherical dome 2.2m in diameter and
1.3m to the apex, although the top of the dome has subsided. It is this shape
from which the name beehive derives. The entrance to the oven is formed by an
arched opening in the south side.
The coal used in the coke oven was extracted from the immediate area. Remains
of this activity are preserved in the shafts themselves and mounds surrounding
the top of each shaft. Some of the shafts are open and the stone built lining
can be seen. The shaft mounds were formed by excavated spoil and will retain
evidence of pit top features such as winding gear and gin circles. Evidence of
initial sorting and working of the coal may also be present at the shaft tops.
The shafts and shaft mounds extend over a wide area, although only a sample of
the core of the complex is included in the scheduling.
A complex of trackways survives throughout the monument. The trackways
connected the shafts to the coke oven and provided access to the mine.
The colliery was founded around 1807 by Lord Ribblesdale primarily to provide
fuel for processing calamine as part of the zinc industry, at nearby Malham.
After 1815 coke was also used for smelting lead at Malham Moor. The colliery
developed slowly but by 1810 was far enough advanced to justify the
construction of a track for moving both coal and materials. The maximum
output was achieved in 1812 and after that date production slowly declined. It
is not known exactly how long the oven and colliery remained in use, although
in 1830 some work was still being undertaken.
The stone wall, gates stiles and fencing are excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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.
The term `nucleated' is used to describe coal mines that developed as a result
of increased capital investment in the 18th and 19th centuries. They are a
prominent type of field monument produced by coal mining and typically
consist of a range of features grouped around the shafts of a mine. The
simplest examples contain merely a shaft or adit with associated spoil heap.
Later examples are characterised by developed pit head arrangements that may
include remains of engine houses for pumping and/or winding from shafts,
boiler houses, fan houses for ventilating mine workings, offices, workshops,
pithead baths, and transport systems such as railways and canals. A number of
later nucleated mines also retain the remains of screens where the coal was
sized and graded. Coke ovens are frequently found on or near colliery sites.
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 nucleated coal mines, together with rare individual
component features are considered to merit protection.

The major secondary product produced from coal at the colliery was coke. This
was formed by heating coal in the absence of air. Initially this took place in
open heaps and from the 18th century onwards in purpose built structures.
Early coke ovens used a range of stalls, hearth-like structures and ovens. By
the 19th century these developed into a standardised form known as the beehive
oven after its distinctive shape.
The coal workings on Fountains Fell preserve important evidence of the coal
extraction processes, and shaft top features will survive. The coke oven is
well preserved and is one of the earliest surviving examples of the beehive
form; most are post-1840 in date. The oven retains important information about
early coking technology. Taken together the oven and the wider colliery
offer important evidence about the development of the industry.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Maude, K, Fountains Fell Coke Oven, (1991)
Raistrick, A, Mines and Miners on Malham Moor, (1983)
Cranstone, D, 'Journal of Historic Mining Society' in Early Coke Ovens: A Note, , Vol. VOL 23/2, (1989), 121-122

Source: Historic England

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