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Haltcliffe copper smelter and associated leat immediately east of High Wath Ford

A Scheduled Monument in Caldbeck, Cumbria

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.7062 / 54°42'22"N

Longitude: -3.0078 / 3°0'28"W

OS Eastings: 335155.867964

OS Northings: 535045.628122

OS Grid: NY351350

Mapcode National: GBR 7GF0.LQ

Mapcode Global: WH80T.RZW0

Entry Name: Haltcliffe copper smelter and associated leat immediately east of High Wath Ford

Scheduled Date: 25 June 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019957

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34956

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Caldbeck

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Caldbeck St Mungo

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle

Details

The monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of Haltcliffe 19th
century copper smelter and an associated leat east of High Wath Ford. It is
located on the southern side of Carrock Beck and includes a leat, wheelpit,
slag debris, spoil heaps, dressing waste and the buried remains of the
smelting house. The precise dates when the smelter was built and when it
ceased working are unknown; it is known to have been in use in 1866, however,
it was not shown on maps of 1900 which suggest that it had been demolished by
this date. Recent analysis of minerals found here indicate that the smelter
served both the nearby Carrock End and Carrock Fell mines.
A leat, which provided water power for the reprocessing of slags, survives as
a narrow channel commencing a short distance downstream of High Wath Ford.
This leat runs east for approximately 150m before terminating immediately
above the narrow flood plain of Carrock Beck. At this point a gorse-filled
hollow is considered to represent a wheelpit which housed the waterwheel used
to power machinery at the smelter. On the beck's flood plain there are
numerous features including traces of a short section of cobbled road or
floor, areas of slag debris from the smelting process, and remains of a stone
wall dividing two large areas of slag. A number of mounds and hollows at the
southern edge of the flood plain represent a combination of spoil heaps and
dumps of brick and slate from demolished buildings. Examination of the slag
debris reveals that two of the areas of debris are heavily mineralised whilst
two other areas show little, if any, mineralisation, indicating that varied
smelting processes have taken place here.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Copper was extracted in Britain intermittently from the Early Bronze Age
(about 2000 BC) until the early 20th century, after when the industry was
confined to by-product production and small scale reworkings of mines and
dumps. There is very limited evidence for copper mining before the 15th and
16th centuries, and most known sites are of later date, principally of the
industry's 18th and 19th century peak after it had been revitalised by
developments in smelting technology. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, as
perhaps it had also been in prehistory, British production was important on a
European scale.
The smelting of copper to produce pure metal was a complex process involving
prolonged and repeated roasting (heating without melting) before the roasted
ore was broken up and melted to form a matte (a solid mass of copper and iron
sulphides). This was followed by further roastings and remelting to refine the
metal. Due to the multiple processes, the consumption of fuel was great, and
smelting has typically been located close to fuel sources rather than to the
mines. The use of the reverbatory furnace was developed in the late 17th
century and dominated copper smelting from that date. Early reverbatory
furnaces consisted simply of a barn-like building containing the furnaces,
with chimneys projecting from the outer wall. The late 18th and 19th century
smelt mills were often larger complexes containing several smelting furnaces
and roasting furnaces for preparing the ore, together with systems of flues,
condensors and chimneys for pollution control and the recovery of sulphur.
During English Heritage's national evaluation of the copper industry, 130
sites were assessed. This is a highly select sample of the numbers of sites
that historically existed in England; although there are no national
estimates, for the south west alone an estimate has been made of over 10,000
sites. It is considered that protection by scheduling is appropriate for less
than 50, with alternative means of protection or management being considered
more appropriate for the other nationally important sites.

Despite demolition of all buildings, the site of Haltcliffe copper smelter and
its associated leat, wheelpit, slag debris, spoil heaps and dressing waste
survives reasonably well. The monument is a rare example of a 19th century
copper smelter in north west England, and together with buried remains of the
smelting house and associated features it also retains abundant copper
processing residues which contain significant technological information.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
Savage,K., Some Notes on the Haltcliffe Smelter,

Source: Historic England

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