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Lead mines 600m and 980m south west of Oddo House Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Gratton, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.1414 / 53°8'29"N

Longitude: -1.6866 / 1°41'11"W

OS Eastings: 421061.351627

OS Northings: 360518.856592

OS Grid: SK210605

Mapcode National: GBR 58R.0FH

Mapcode Global: WHCDM.294K

Entry Name: Lead mines 600m and 980m south west of Oddo House Farm

Scheduled Date: 13 January 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019045

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29975

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Gratton

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Elton All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument includes the earthwork, buried, standing and rock cut remains of
Rath Rake, Cowlica Rake, Dunnington, Hardbeat, Hardwork and Gatcliffe lead
mines. The monument is situated immediately east of Gratton Dale to the south
west of Elton village and is defined by two areas of protection. The lead
mining operations were carried out in ore bodies contained within Monsal Dale
and Bee Low Limestones.
It is unclear when the mines were first worked but Roman brooches and pins,
found in surface workings at Cowlica Rake and Hardbeat mines in the mid-19th
century, suggest very early origins. Later surface workings took place from
the 17th century with underground workings recorded in the early 19th century.
Dunnington mines is documented from at least 1641 when it is recorded that the
mines were in possession of Thomas Staley and Partners. The vein was described
as a pipe-work, a term used to describe a vertical or near vertical vein, but
was at least 30 yards wide. The width of the pipe caused disputes about the
most suitable method of extraction and about the most appropriate way of
dividing the vein between mining groups. The depths of several shafts sunk on,
or very close to the southern end of Dunnington Hall Vein were recorded in
1666 as being 5 to 12 fathoms in depth. Many of the disputes ended at the
Court of the Duchy of Lancaster, who held the mining rights in Elton, and as a
result were documented.
The mines would have been worked under the jurisdiction of the Barmote Courts,
the legal administrative unit governing Derbyshire lead mining. The Derbyshire
system of mining was largely based on local mining customs and consisted of
individual groups of miners or small mining companies working from shafts sunk
along the vein.
The monument includes a concentration of surface remains which is probably
unique in the ore field. They survive as a series of earthwork, buried,
standing and rock cut features which include bell pits (a shallow shaft
widened at the base to form a bell shaped excavation), open cuts (veins worked
open to daylight), ruined coes (stone built shelters or sheds), buddling dams
(a large earth dam into which was placed the dirt and sludge resulting from
buddling operations (ore washing)), rakes (extraction and ore processing
features which follow the line of a lead bearing vein), hillocks (mounds of
waste rock which either contain insufficient quantities of ore to warrant
extraction or waste from ore crushing activity), an adit (horizontal passage
leading into a mine), a sough (a level driven primarily for the purpose of
drainage), shafts and other ore extraction and processing features.
Dunnington Mines are centred at national grid reference SK20876040 and are
extensive, characterised by a concentration of open cut shafts, some of which
are contained within ruined coes. The shafts were sunk into a flat work (ore
lying between horizontal bedding planes), which may explain the rather random
arrangement and apparent isolation of some shafts. An adit in the south west
of the area provides an entrance into the flat working. At grid reference
SK21176036 is a large buddle dam which measures approximately 65m long, 45m
wide and stands to a height of up to 9m. Erosion scars on the sides of the dam
show it to be constructed of a mixture of stone, clay and sludge from the ore
washing process.
The second area of protection is centred at grid reference SK21196062 and
encompasses the remains of Rath Rake, Cowlica Rake, Hardbeat, Hardwork and
Gatcliffe lead mines. Rath Rake runs east to west across the northern end of
this area and is marked by a line of hillocks which follow the line of the
vein. In the mid-17th century an agreement was made to sink two engine pits
into Rath Rake and although one pit was sunk no engine was installed because
water could not be drained away. As a result a sough was driven from Gratton
Dale to an intersection with Rath Rake, a task which was carried out between
1655 and 1665. The sough was continued west along the rake for a further 800
feet (244m). Only those remains which fall inside the area of protection are
included in the scheduling.
Centred at grid reference SK21166064 are three large opencast workings two of
which exploited a near surface flat work. The third hollow is more rounded and
is probably the result of both exploitation of the flat work and the removal
of discarded waste for buddling in the 19th century. Cowlica Rake, which is
marked by a line of hillocks, crosses the third hollow and it was from here,
and the adjacent Hardbeat mine, that Roman brooches were recovered.
Running across the south western end of the area of protection, and aligned
north west to south east, is a closely spaced cluster of bell pits. The
exploitation of this area was so intense that in places the spoil from later
shafts has partly obliterated the spoil from earlier ones. A descent of at
least one of the bell pits has revealed that working extended for a short
distance all around the shaft foot.
Also included in the easternmost area of protection is a concentration of at
least nine buddle dams of varying size and construction. Such a concentration
indicates the intensity of the workings in this area particularly during the
early 19th century. The retaining embankments of some of the buddle dams
appear to have been formed almost entirely of silt and sludge from the ore
washing process whilst others contain small rock fragments. Most of the dams
are sub-rectangular in plan and survive to a height of up to 2.5m. Two dams
centred at grid reference SK21186054 are unusual in as much as they are very
narrow but measure approximately 55m in length. Associated with the dams are a
variety of buddles and water channels which would have served as water
management features supplying the buddles.
A small ruinous building located at grid reference SK21266046 is physically
associated with a number of hillocks and other mining remains. The physical
relationship and the close proximity of the building to the buddle dams
indicates its involvement in at least the 19th century operations. On the
first edition Ordnance Survey map the building is marked as Hungerhill Farm
and even today the access track is still known as Hungerhill Lane. In the very
early 19th century a silver deposit was reputedly discovered in the vicinity
of Hungerhill Farm.
All modern field boundary walls, fences, track surfaces and electricity pylons
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.
The ore works were an essential part of a lead mining site, where the mixture
of ore and waste rock extracted from the ground were separated (`dressed') to
form a smeltable concentrate. The range of processes used can be summarised
as: picking out of clean lumps of ore and waste; breaking down of lumps to
smaller size (either by manual hammering or by mechanical crushing); sorting
of broken material by size; separation of gravel sized material by shaking on
a sieve in a tub of water (`jigging'); and separation of finer material by
washing away the lighter waste in a current of water (`buddling').
The field remains of ore works include the remains of crushing devices,
separating structures and tanks, tips of distinctive waste from the various
processes, together with associated water supply and power installations, such
as wheel pits and, more rarely, steam engine houses.
Simple ore dressing devices had been developed by the 16th century, but the
large majority of separate ore works sites date from the 18th and 19th
centuries, during which period the technology used evolved rapidly.
Ore works represent an essential stage in the production of metallic lead, an
industry in which Britain was a world leader in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Sites are common in all lead mining areas and a sample of the best preserved
sites (covering the regional, chronological, and typological variety of the
class) will merit protection.

The remains of Rath Rake, Cowlica Rake, Dunnington, Hardbeat, Hardwork and
Gatcliffe lead mines 600m and 980m south west of Oddo House Farm are
particularly well preserved and include a diverse range of components relating
to the mining of the lead deposits, over an extended period of time. The
standing, earthwork, buried and rock cut remains retain important
archaeological and ecological deposits. These provide evidence for both the
historical and technological development of what was once a far more
extensive, multi-period mining landscape. Bell pitting is unusual in lead
working areas and this concentration of workings is the last major area both
in Derbyshire and nationally. The early origins of the mining activity and the
good stratigraphic preservation of the remains offers a rare opportunity to
investigate the chronological range of lead working in the area. The flat
works, bell pits, shafts, hillocks and other extraction features provide
evidence for methods of extraction whilst other processing areas will contain
deposits showing the effectiveness of these techniques. The mining remains
also provide an insight into the Derbyshire Barmote Court system of mining and
the constraints this imposed on the miners of the area.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Rieuwerts, J, Mines within the lead mining liberties of Elton, Middleton by Ye, (1999), 1-30

Source: Historic England

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