Ancient Monuments

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Coal mining remains at The Conery, 500m south of Coleorton Hall

A Scheduled Monument in Coleorton, Leicestershire

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Latitude: 52.7476 / 52°44'51"N

Longitude: -1.4225 / 1°25'21"W

OS Eastings: 439077.963635

OS Northings: 316823.448863

OS Grid: SK390168

Mapcode National: GBR 6H2.M6B

Mapcode Global: WHDHT.36WF

Entry Name: Coal mining remains at The Conery, 500m south of Coleorton Hall

Scheduled Date: 19 March 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018464

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31756

County: Leicestershire

Civil Parish: Coleorton

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Coleorton St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Leicester


The monument lies on steeply sloping land approximately 1km south west of
Coleorton village, and includes the earthworks and buried remains of an area
of coal mining. In the north and particularly the north west of the site,
shallow earthworks and hummocks are visible which represent the remains of
outcropping. This simplest method of coal extraction, where coal is cut from
surface outcrops, was the first method used in the Coleorton area, and its
earthworks will therefore preserve information about early medieval coal
mining technology such as working faces and details of tools used.
Shallow shaft mounds and spoil tips in the northern part of the site are the
surface remains of closely spaced pits which were worked during the medieval
period. A vertical shaft was sunk to the coal seam and then extended in all
directions until the roof was in danger of collapse, at which point the pit
was abandoned and another started very close by to maximise coal extraction.
The remains of these pits will retain buried features relating to their
operation and activities which took place around the shaft head. The absence
of later types of working suggests that The Conery area was not mined beyond
the medieval period.
All fenceposts 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 coal mining remains at The Conery survive well and represent a rare
survival nationally of medieval outcropping and pitting, in particular the
preservation of working faces. These earthwork and buried remains will
contribute valuable information on early mining techniques employed in the
Coleorton area. In addition, the relationship of the coal mining remains to
medieval ridge and furrow in the southern part of the site is a valuable
indication of the impact of coal mining activities on the land use of the
surrounding area.

Source: Historic England


Survey of mining earthworks, LMARS (Leicester City Unit), (1990)

Source: Historic England

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