Ancient Monuments

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Wagbeach adit portal, 630m and 640m south of Hogstow Mill

A Scheduled Monument in Minsterley, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.6167 / 52°37'0"N

Longitude: -2.94 / 2°56'23"W

OS Eastings: 336456.9279

OS Northings: 302519.5927

OS Grid: SJ364025

Mapcode National: GBR B8.8BVJ

Mapcode Global: WH8C3.TH69

Entry Name: Wagbeach adit portal, 630m and 640m south of Hogstow Mill

Scheduled Date: 16 November 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018469

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31761

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Minsterley

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Minsterley

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument lies in the hamlet of The Waterwheel, around 1km west of
Snailbeach. It includes the standing and buried remains of the Wagbeach
drainage adit and associated remains including a waterwheel pit, iron water
tank and water channels, within two areas of protection.
The adit, or covered drainage channel, whose entrance is included in the
western area of protection, was constructed in the 1790s to serve the nearby
lead mine at Snailbeach. Its course towards Snailbeach can be traced by the
mounds of spoil created when ventilation shafts were cut during its
construction. These shaft mounds are not included in the scheduling. The adit
housed a flatrod system, an arrangement of staggered rods which allowed the
transmission of power, in this case provided by a waterwheel at the adit
entrance, to drive a drainage mechanism in the mine itself, from which water
then flowed down through the adit and into Minsterley Brook. The flatrod
drainage system was replaced in 1858 by a steam engine located at the mine,
and the Wagbeach water system was subsequently adapted to drive a barytes
grinding mill which processed minerals mined at Snailbeach until its closure
in 1926. The barytes mill has since been demolished.
The entrance or portal of the adit is visible in the westernmost part of the
site as a brick and stone arch around 1m wide and 1.5m high. Water still
drains from it through a stone-lined channel into the brook. Those remains of
the flatrod system which survive in the adit will provide valuable evidence of
the technology employed at the site.
The eastern part of the monument includes features associated with the
waterwheel which initially drove the flatrods, and later the barytes mill.
Remains in this area include a stone wall which survives to a height of 3m and
carries a leat or water channel from which a penstock, in this case an iron
water tank with sluice levers, is filled, by means of a thick connecting pipe.
The penstock, a rectangular tank supported by two iron legs and the pipe tying
it to the wall, acted as a small reservoir, allowing water to be released at
will to assist the turning of the waterwheel to its north, or to feed other
industrial processes within the mill. The water from the leat which is not
caught in the penstock runs on into a curving channel, around 0.4m wide and
35m long, which carries it north and north west to discharge into the stream.
Modern fences, gates and walls, sheds, a footbridge, track surfaces and
concrete settings are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath all these features 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.
Nucleated lead mines are a prominent type of field monument produced by lead
mining. They consist of a range of features grouped around the adits/and or
shafts of a mine. The simplest examples contain merely a shaft or adit with
associated spoil tip, but more complex and (in general) later examples may
include remains of engine houses for pumping and/or winding from shafts,
housing, lodging shops and offices, powder houses for storing gunpowder, power
transmission features such as flat rod systems, transport systems such as
railways and inclines, and water power and water supply features such as
wheel pits, dams and leats. The majority of nucleated lead mines also included
ore works where the ore, once extracted, was processed.
The majority of nucleated lead mines are of 18th to 20th century date, earlier
mining being normally by rake or hush (a gully or ravine partly excavated by
use of a controlled torrent of water to reveal or exploit a vein of mineral
ore). They often illustrate the great advances in industrial technology
associated with the period known as the Industrial Revolution and, sometimes,
also inform an understanding of the great changes in social conditions which
accompanied it. Because of the greatly increased scale of working associated
with nucleated mining such features can be a major component of upland
landscapes. It is estimated that at least 10,000 sites, exist the majority
being small mines of limited importance, although the important early remains
at many larger mines have been greatly modified or destroyed by continued
working or modern reworking. A sample of the better preserved sites,
illustrating the regional, chronological and technological range of the class,
is considered to merit protection.

The Wagbeach adit portal and associated remains include information about an
important period in the development of water power technology and its
application to mining. The adit will retain information about the late 18th
century flatrod pumping system. The remains associated with the waterwheel
will increase our understanding of water management and the provision of power
at an important centre of the Shropshire lead mining industry. They will also
illustrate the adaptation of the waterwheel system in response to the growing
dominance of steam technology in the 19th century.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Lancaster University Archaeological Unit, , Snailbeach Lead Mine; Stage 2 Study, (1990), 57
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Shropshire, (1968), 322-24
Brown, I J, 'Snailbeach Lead Mine' in Snailbeach Lead Mine..., , Vol. 17, (1993), 18
Notes on Wagbeach adit, Guthrie, J MPPA, (1997)
Wagbeach Level air shafts, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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