Ancient Monuments

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Middleton Park shaft mounds

A Scheduled Monument in Middleton Park, Leeds

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Latitude: 53.7569 / 53°45'24"N

Longitude: -1.5414 / 1°32'28"W

OS Eastings: 430336.57

OS Northings: 429042.3034

OS Grid: SE303290

Mapcode National: GBR KTP0.30

Mapcode Global: WHC9L.9T8S

Entry Name: Middleton Park shaft mounds

Scheduled Date: 24 February 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017758

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30963

County: Leeds

Electoral Ward/Division: Middleton Park

Built-Up Area: Leeds

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Middleton

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of colliery workings,
including shaft mounds and waggonways, and lies within two separate areas in
Middleton Park, an area of woodland approximately 1.5km south east of Beeston.
The area was mined for coal from at least the 18th century, a period for which
mining activity in the area is well-documented. Documentary evidence also
indicates that the remains of medieval monastic coal working will be preserved
as buried features beneath later features.
The mining remains are concentrated around two broad paths, which are believed
to overlie the 18th century waggonways associated with the colliery. The
remains include a large number of shaft mounds and spoil heaps, whose
concentrations provide evidence that the area was intensively worked. Some
shafts have collapsed and are visible as large depressions of approximately 1m
depth; others retain their characteristic shape, with a collar of spoil
surrounding a central depression. In addition, some of the mounds include
earthwork evidence of pit top features associated with haulage and drainage
from the shafts. It is thought that these earthworks will include
technological information on staging and winding arrangements at the shaft
top, which will add to the understanding of organisation and technological
development in the coal mining industry.
The surfaces of footpaths and trackways 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

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 remains of coal mining earthworks at Middleton Park will include valuable
technological evidence of 18th century mining operations, and are thought to
retain details of shaft-top arrangements from this period which are rarely
preserved. In addition, it is thought that information on medieval coal mining
will be preserved beneath later remains. Such information is particularly rare
nationally, and will add to the evidence of developing technology and
organisation during this period. Documentation of mining activity survives
from the medieval period and from the 18th century, providing an opportunity
for an unusually complete and detailed study of the industry. The remains of
waggonways will provide evidence for the transport system and organisation of
coal mining.
The site is in a country park, and the mining remains are highly accessible,
giving them a valuable educational role.

Source: Historic England

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