Ancient Monuments

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Site of bole 1400m west of Harewood Grange

A Scheduled Monument in Beeley, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.2095 / 53°12'34"N

Longitude: -1.5561 / 1°33'21"W

OS Eastings: 429744.956429

OS Northings: 368141.053452

OS Grid: SK297681

Mapcode National: GBR 57Y.WYR

Mapcode Global: WHCD9.2L9C

Entry Name: Site of bole 1400m west of Harewood Grange

Scheduled Date: 9 May 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020297

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31289

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Beeley

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Beeley St Anne

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument includes the remains of a lead smelting or bole site standing in
open moorland.

The lead smelting site, often referred to as a bole, stands on the edge of a
minor escarpment facing to the south west. It comprises an earthen platform
approximately 7m by 5.5m which is sub-circular in plan. There is a small mound
of burnt stones on its north western side. Close to the platform is a line of
gritstone blocks, some of which are heat reddened at one end and an earthen
embankment, about 5m long, stands 11m to the east. The ground around these
features also contains traces of slag, burnt stone and other waste products
from lead ore processing. The siting of the bole is ideal, catching the
prevailing wind and standing in a very exposed position on the edge of a minor
escarpment at one of the highest points on these moorlands. The size of the
workings indicate that they are later medieval, possibly dating from between
the 13th and 16th centuries.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The East Moors in Derbyshire includes all the gritstone moors east of the
River Derwent. It covers an area of 105 sq km, of which around 63% is open
moorland and 37% is enclosed. As a result of recent and on-going
archaeological survey, the East Moors area is becoming one of the best
recorded upland areas in England. On the enclosed land the archaeological
remains are fragmentary, but survive sufficiently well to show that early
human activity extended beyond the confines of the open moors.
On the open moors there is significant and well-articulated evidence over
extensive areas for human exploitation of the gritstone uplands from the
Neolithic to the post-medieval periods. Bronze Age activity accounts for the
most intensive use of the moorlands. Evidence for it includes some of the
largest and best preserved field systems and cairnfields in northern England
as well as settlement sites, numerous burial monuments, stone circles and
other ceremonial remains which, together, provide a detailed insight into life
in the Bronze Age. Also of importance is the well preserved and often visible
relationship between the remains of earlier and later periods since this
provides an insight into successive changes in land use through time.
A large number of the prehistoric sites on the moors, because of their rarity
in a national context, excellent state of preservation and inter-connections,
will be identified as nationally important.

Medieval lead smelters include a range of features known from field or
documentary evidence. The most common type is the bole or bolehill, a
windblown smelting fire located on an exposed hilltop or crest. This
consisted of a rectangular or circular stone structure, open on one side,
within which a large fire was constructed using large blocks of wood at the
base and smaller wood interleaved with ore above. Boles used the wind to
provide draught and normally faced south-west. The molten lead was run out by
channels on the upwind side into a casting pit or area. The slag produced by
the bole retained considerable quantities of lead. Some of this could be
extracted by crushing and washing the slag and the remainder could be
recovered by resmelting in a smaller enclosed hearth (the slag hearth or
`blackwork oven') using charcoal fuel and an artificial air blast. The
resulting black glassy slag is distinct from the grey or yellow slag produced
by the bole itself.

The bole and associated features were in use from at least the 12th to the
late-16th centuries as the main lead smelting technology, differing markedly
from the smelting technology of other metals. Boles are found on exposed
sites in and around the Pennine lead mining fields. The majority are known
from place-name evidence only and sites containing slag, contaminated ground
or earthwork features are very rare. All sites with informative slag, intact
tips or visible structural or earthwork features are considered to merit

The remains of the lead bole site 1400m west of Harewood Grange survives well
and provides a valuable insight into the later reuse of the moorlands for
early industrial processes. Surviving medieval lead boles like this are rare

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 109
Step4 report, English Heritage, Harland Edge Boles, Beeley,

Source: Historic England

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