Ancient Monuments

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William Gill 19th century colliery on Stonesdale Moor

A Scheduled Monument in Muker, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.4429 / 54°26'34"N

Longitude: -2.1317 / 2°7'54"W

OS Eastings: 391555.872537

OS Northings: 505281.08342

OS Grid: NY915052

Mapcode National: GBR FKK2.94

Mapcode Global: WHB4W.7L5D

Entry Name: William Gill 19th century colliery on Stonesdale Moor

Scheduled Date: 29 April 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018368

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29548

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Muker

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire


The monument includes the mine shaft, standing ruins, spoil heaps and buried
remains of the 19th century colliery located on open moorland next to William
Gill on the east of Stonesdale Moor.
The core of the colliery is centred around the shaft, which is still open. The
upper part of the shaft is stone lined. Horse power was used for pumping and
winding in the shaft. The machinery used for this was called a gin and remains
of it survive adjacent to the shaft head. The remains includes the gin circle,
a circular track 8m in diameter which a horse followed around a central winder
and pump. At opposite sides of the circle are two substantial stone supports
3m high which supported the superstructure for the gin and the winding and
pumping equipment. To the north east and south west of the shaft are the
remains of two coal stores. The remains of the coke oven stand to the north
of the shaft head on a lower terrace. To the north east and north west of the
shaft head are long spoil tips of both mining and coking waste.
The colliey dates to the 19th century and was part of a wider exploitation of
coal in this area of the Dales. As early as 1384 coal from the Tan Hill area
was supplying Richmond 30km to the east and by 1682 coking was in operation in
the area. It was in the 18th and 19th century that coal production reached its
high point with coke being produced from numerous primitive beehive ovens for
use in the burgeoning lead industry.

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 had developed into a standardised form known as the
beehive oven after its distinctive shape.
The colliery at William Gill preserves important evidence of the coal
extraction processes and coke processing. Although small collieries of this
type were common in the area during the 19th century very few survive today.
Thus the William Gill colliery offers impotant scope for the study of small
upland collieries in the Yorkshire Dales.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
White, R, Yorkshire Dales, (1997), 93-95

Source: Historic England

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