Ancient Monuments

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Mount Pleasant lead mines, immediately south of Wensley

A Scheduled Monument in South Darley, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.1437 / 53°8'37"N

Longitude: -1.6087 / 1°36'31"W

OS Eastings: 426267.033726

OS Northings: 360802.60758

OS Grid: SK262608

Mapcode National: GBR 58N.VFP

Mapcode Global: WHCDN.875S

Entry Name: Mount Pleasant lead mines, immediately south of Wensley

Scheduled Date: 15 June 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017756

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30943

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: South Darley

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: South Darley St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The Mount Pleasant lead mines lie immediately south of Wensley village, on the
south side of a small valley. The monument includes the earthwork and buried
remains of the Mount Pleasant mines. Other features, such as a sough (drainage
tunnel) and trackways used for internal and onward transport, add additional
interest and offer evidence of technological and organisational structures.
This combination of high-quality features is found in close association with
medieval or post-medieval agricultural remains which extend over the area, and
thus illustrates not only the development of the lead industry in Derbyshire,
but also its relationship to local agricultural systems. A sample of these
remains is included in the monument.
The southern part of the site includes numerous well preserved shaft mounds
and two large rakes: these are linear extraction features which follow the
line of a lead-bearing vein. The two rakes run roughly north-south and reach a
depth of 2.5m, with associated spoilheaps on each side. Both opencut and shaft
forms are present, and the rakes are overlain in places by later spoil
and a trackway. Field evidence suggests that veins were worked over a lengthy
period and by differing methods. In addition to the two large rakes, a number
of shallower opencut workings are seen in the vicinity.
East of the rakes, a series of cultivation terraces or lynchets are visible.
These earthworks are in places overlain by mining-related earthworks, and are
cut by a number of shafts on a different alignment to the large rakes.
This direct association between industrial and agricultural remains is
extremely unusual, and provides evidence of earlier land use on the site.
Further information on the relationship between the two types of earthwork
will be preserved as buried features.
One of the mining earthworks in this area is thought to be a gin circle, where
horses were used to power a simple winding mechanism serving the neighbouring
shaft. Between the two large rakes, a further arrangement of terraces is
visible. These are shallower and narrower than the lynchets, and are believed
to represent the sites of dressing floors.
A grassed-over trackway runs east-west through the site, overlying the lower
parts of the eastern rake. North of the trackway, the eastern part of the site
is again dominated by lynchets, with industrial features to the west.
The north west corner of the monument includes very substantial earthworks in
a stepped arrangement, forming large infilled dams or ponds where late stages
of ore processing were carried out. This function is consistent with the
position of the earthworks, low on the slope in relation to other mining
features. Since ore processing required large quantities of water, it is usual
to find that early stages took place on high ground, allowing precious water
resources to be reused in later processes downslope. The ponds take the form
of successive raised platforms, the highest at the west and lowest at the
east. Each is embanked to a maximum height of 2.5m, with a raised lip at the
edge. A grassed-over trackway running east-west from the easternmost of these
earthworks would have been used by carts to load and transport processed ore
to a smelting site.
North of the ponds, the land drops steeply away to a stream at the foot of the
slope. Low on this slope is the Basrobin Sough, a drainage channel begun by
1767. The mines had made use of natural cave systems for their drainage, but
supplementary drainage was evidently necessary by this time.
In addition to the earthwork remains, it is believed that buried remains will
survive, and will include further dressing areas and deposits which will
provide information on the efficiency of processing techniques.
The Mount Pleasant mines are very close to the Northern Dale mines, which lie
only a few hundred metres to the east and are the subject of a separate
Modern field walls 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.
Lead rakes are linear mining features along the outcrop of a lead vein
resulting from the extraction of relatively shallow ore. They can be broadly
divided between: rakes consisting of continuous rock-cut clefts; rakes
consisting of lines of interconnecting or closely-spaced shafts with
associated spoil tips and other features; and rakes whose surface features
were predominantly produced by reprocessing of earlier waste tips (normally in
the 19th century). In addition, some sites contain associated features such as
coes (miners' huts), gin circles (the circular track used by a horse operating
simple winding or pumping machinery), and small-scale ore-dressing areas and
structures, often marked by tips of dressing waste.
The majority of rake workings are believed to be of 16th-18th century date,
but earlier examples are likely to exist, and mining by rock-cut cleft has
again become common in the 20th century. Rakes are the main field monuments
produced by the earlier and technologically simpler phases of lead mining.
They are very common in Derbyshire, where they illustrate the character of
mining dominated by regionally distinctive Mining Laws, and moderately common
in the Pennine and Mendip orefields; they are rare in other lead mining areas.
A sample of the better preserved examples from each region, illustrating the
typological range, will merit protection.

The archaeological features of the Mount Pleasant mines constitute an
unusually complete assemblage of mining and ore processing remains, in
association with equally well-preserved agricultural features. They
demonstrate the responses of the local lead mining industry to technological
challenges such as problems of drainage and ventilation. The Basrobin Sough,
and its relationship with natural cave systems, are noteworthy in this
respect. Large rakes, shafts and other extraction features provide evidence
for successive methods of extraction, whilst embanked dressing areas, which
survive in good condition, will contain deposits showing the effectiveness of
dressing techniques. Buried remains, such as further dressing floors, will
also contribute to an understanding of the mines. The survival of lynchets,
found here in close association with mining remains, presents a rare
opportunity to study the spatial and chronological relationship between these
two land uses. The Basrobin Sough, in addition to its archaeological
importance, is noteworthy for its place in the history of geology. Its section
was included in seminal geological publications by Tissington and Whitehurst
in 1778.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Rieuwerts, J H (ed), History and Gazetteer of the Lead Mine Soughs of Derbyshire, (1987), 80
Letter about scheduling proposals, Startin, W, Mount Pleasant Mines, (1990)
Proposals for scheduling, Peak Park Archaeologist, South Darley, (1989)
Ref: DR 12711, Mount Pleasant mine and Basrobin sough,
Suggestions on scheduling, Startin, W, (1990)

Source: Historic England

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