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Craven and Murgatroyd lime works 400m north east of Langcliffe Mill

A Scheduled Monument in Langcliffe, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.0923 / 54°5'32"N

Longitude: -2.2694 / 2°16'9"W

OS Eastings: 382474.718968

OS Northings: 466301.027589

OS Grid: SD824663

Mapcode National: GBR DPL3.GS

Mapcode Global: WHB6K.3DLM

Entry Name: Craven and Murgatroyd lime works 400m north east of Langcliffe Mill

Scheduled Date: 11 June 1985

Last Amended: 23 April 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020888

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35473

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Langcliffe

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Langcliffe St John the Evangelist

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument includes extensive buried, earthwork and standing remains of the 19th and 20th century industrial lime extraction and production complex at Langcliffe 2.5km north of Settle and on the western flank of the Yorkshire Dales. The monument lies between the Settle-Carlisle railway line and the natural outcrop called Stainforth Scar. It includes remains of two separately operated but immediately adjacent limeworks: the Murgatroyd works and the Craven Lime Company works. The former occupied the northern part of the Monument. Its remains include a quarry on the flank of Stainforth Scar and a triple draw kiln complex adjacent to the railway line. The Craven Lime Company occupied the remainder of the monument which includes the area of large quarry workings cut deep into lower slopes of Stainforth Scar and the whole of the lower western area adjacent to the railway line where kilns, a rail depot, further processing and ancillary functions were located.

The monument is located on the western part of the Yoredale Series of Carboniferous Limestone. There has been widespread extraction and processing of limestone in the area since medieval times when it was used for improving soil, for the manufacture of mortar and plaster and as a building material. Lime workings expanded in the late 18th century in the western Dales. There is no evidence of lime working at the site prior to the establishment of the Murgatroyd and Craven works, both of which opened in 1872. The former works were established by Thomas Murgatroyd and was operated by the North Ribblesdale Limestone and Limeworks Company, which employed draw kiln technology to create lime to use `for fluxing purposes'. Murgatroyd went bankrupt in 1887 and the lease was taken over by the Craven Lime Company. The Murgatroyd operations were out of use by 1892.

The Craven Lime Company on the other hand was a far more successful operation. It was established by the partnership of John Clark, Michael Wilson and Charles H Charlesworth who had been operating large-scale lime works at Meal Bank, Ingleton 22km to the north west since the 1860s. There had been an increasing demand for lime and following the success of the Meal Bank operations Clark and Wilson set about establishing a site for another large-scale lime works. Langcliffe appears to have been chosen because of the availability of accessible limestone on Stainforth Scar and its proximity to the projected Settle to Carlisle railway, which would allow efficient distribution of processed lime and the importation of raw materials.

The first kiln built by Clark and Wilson was the new style horizontal ring kiln known as a Hoffmann kiln, which they had employed to good effect at their Meal Bank works. This design had revolutionised lime processing by enabling large-scale, continuous production. At Langcliffe they were to build a larger version which incorporated some of the modifications and refinements which had been developed over the intervening years. Work on the kiln commenced in 1872 and by 1873 it was producing lime that was being sent to Bradford on the newly constructed Settle-Carlisle railway. A photograph dated 1880 clearly shows that by then the depot was fully operational. Between 1900 and 1907 a pair of Spencer kilns of a design patented by William Spencer in 1900 were built on the eastern side of the railway sidings. These vertical kilns operated in tandem with the Hoffmann kiln. The quarry stopped working during the General Strike in 1926 although the Hoffmann kiln remained lit. Five years later in 1931 the Hoffmann kiln ceased production, the Spencer kilns having been decommissioned in 1927. The quarry was reopened in 1937 and the Hoffmann kiln operated for a short while again between 1938 and 1939. During World War II the Hoffmann kiln was used as a store for chemicals associated with explosives. In 1939 the assets of the Craven Lime Company were taken over by Settle Limes Ltd. who continued to work the quarry for a while but subsequently ceased operations, using the quarry floor as a stocking ground for stone quarried from another of the company's quarries at Helwith Bridge. Between 1967 and 1990 the quarry was used by the district council as a refuse tip. This ultimately covered much of the south eastern part of the quarry floor. There is a reasonable amount of documentary evidence for the lime works. These include maps of 1892 and 1907 and photographs showing the works at a variety of times between 1880 and 1938.

The core of the first phase of lime works was the Hoffmann kiln, which still survives virtually intact. It is a stone built structure, a narrow rectangle in plan with semicircular short ends. The outer face slopes steeply inwards and is pierced by regularly spaced entrances. A vaulted tunnel extends in a ring around the inside of the walls and the central area contains a long narrow vaulted space known as a smoke chamber. To work the kiln, limestone was brought through the entrances and stacked in the tunnel, with coal tipped between the stacks from feeder holes through the top of the kiln. The mixture was then burned with the draught entering via the entrances and the rate and intensity of burn being controlled by a series of dampers within the smoke chamber operated from the top of the kiln. The resultant fume was subsequently vented through a chimney which stood on the centre of the kiln. The kiln's chambers were fired sequentially with two fires slowly advancing around the circuit formed by the vaulted tunnel, each fire burning 2-3 stacks every few days depending on the weather conditions and the quality of the lime. The kiln measures 128m in length, is 29m wide and stands 4.5m high. Internally the tunnel takes the form of a barrel vault 5.3m wide and a maximum of 2.6m high. There are a total of 22 entrances into the tunnel. Several of these are blocked by bricks which initially date from the wartime use of the kiln for storage of chemicals. On top of the kiln are remains of its operating systems. These include remains of a tramway, which conveyed coal around the perimeter of the kiln top to the coal feed holes over the tunnel below. There is a central platform over the smoke chamber where there are manholes for access and also a line of iron rods set into concrete blocks which are the tops of the dampers. These were used to control airflow within the kiln. Around the outer perimeter of the kiln top there are remains of the stone curtain wall, which supported a roof that covered the coal feeding surface. In the approximate centre of the kiln top there is a large mound of brick rubble, which is the remains of the chimney. Records indicate that it was 68m high and 8 sq m at its base. It collapsed in 1951, apparently whilst the demolition crew were making tea nearby. The coal was raised onto the top of the kiln by means of a hoist located at its southern end. The hoist operated as a water balance system fed from a tank located at the northern end of the kiln. The stone foundations for the hoist mechanism still survive. The limestone was loaded into the kiln from a tramway that ran on a platform 2m wide and encircled the kiln. Some decayed wooden sleepers still survive on this platform. On the western and eastern sides of the kiln there are stone lined channels 2.5m and 4m wide respectively. These were railway docks at the same level of the rail depot to the south where burnt lime was unloaded from the kiln and onto the rail wagons.

The limestone used in the kiln was extracted from the lower slopes of Stainforth Scar to the east of the kiln. Explosives were used to bring down stone from the quarry face and reduce it to a manageable size. The explosives were stored in at least two magazines, depicted on a map of 1882. One of these survives as a ruined structure on the southern edge of the quarry floor. The other was located to the north of the works but is no longer clearly identifiable. The 1907 map shows that the full length of the face was being worked in a series of steps or shelves. The workings were served by a network of tramways on the quarry floor, which ferried material to be crushed, graded or loaded directly into the kiln. The tramway network led to the crusher, both the Hoffmann and Spencer kilns and the depot. There were at least four weighing machines on the tramways en route from the quarry. Most of the tramways are now buried beneath the refuse tip or obscured by later landscaping. One surviving length of tramway is located at the northern part of the quarry floor. It extends from the north eastern corner of the kiln to the base of an inclined plane. It was roofed over to form a tunnel, when the spoil tips from quarry waste threatened to engulf it and it survives intact. Some of the stone extracted was unsuitable for use in the kiln and this material was sent to a crusher for use as road-stone. The tramway system reached the Hoffmann kiln at three points along its eastern side, one at each end and one in the middle. At the middle point there are the ruins of a building thought to be a crushing plant. A number of internal fittings associated with the operation of the plant survive. A further crushing plant has been identified to the south east of the kiln. In the northern part of the quarry 60m east of the kiln there are the remains of the embankment for a steep inclined plane which extends for 65m to access workings located higher up the quarry face. At the top of this incline are the remains of a stone building, which housed the winding gear, the ruined internal features of which still survive. This part of the operation dates to after 1907. The spoil from the quarries was dumped in useable space throughout the works. Spoil from workings at the north east of the quarry was taken north on a tramway and tipped into the disused quarries associated with the Murgatroyd works. The need to build a dedicated spoil tramway and to cover the surviving tramway at the north of the quarry is testament to the lack of available space for spoil. The development of the quarries and spoil heaps can be seen by a comparison of the maps and photographs, which range from 1882 to 1938 in date.

The second kiln operation was the construction of a pair of Spencer kilns located at the south west of the quarry immediately to the east of the depot. These were built at the bottom of a steep slope in order to take advantage of the benefits of the topography. The kilns were composed of two vertical metal cylinders tapering at the top to form chimneys. Their operation involved stone being loaded in at the top with a burning zone in the centre fired with fuel fed from the middle level gantry and the burnt lime being extracted at the bottom. At the Craven works the steel work of the kilns themselves no longer survive (being sold for scrap during the Second World War), however there are photographs showing them in operation. These photographs show gantries extending from the adjacent slope to the top and middle levels of the kiln allowing access for loading stone and fuel. Buttresses which supported these gantries still survive as do the two kiln bases.

The stone for the Spencer kilns came mostly from an extension of the quarrying to the south east of the main workings. The 1907 map shows a tramway network linking the quarry with the vertical kilns and spoil tips. The main route of this ran through a deep V-shaped cutting, the line of which still survives. A further tramway runs up from the depot area at the base and curves round to the top of the slope. This was for transporting coal to be used as a fuel in the kiln. In the south western part of the monument there is a level area, which was the location of the rail depot. The map of 1907 shows a complex of rail sidings, which served the whole of the Craven Lime Company works. Coal was brought into the site by rail and processed lime and stone was taken out. None of the rail lines survive and the area has been resurfaced. On the south eastern side of the depot, below the vertical kilns there are the ruins of two rectangular buildings. These are the remains of a checkpoint and weighing machine, which monitored and controlled incoming and outgoing wagons.

The 1907 map shows a number of buildings in the area which were associated with the wider operations of the works, two of which had a rail line running through them. Some of these buildings still survive as roofed structures, and have been interpreted as the former office, canteen, storage sheds and workshops. The surviving buildings have however been considerably altered and part of one is in domestic occupation. Other buildings in the depot area post-date the lime works. Elsewhere within the works are the ruins of a range of other structures whose function is currently unknown. At the base of the inclined plane at the north of the works there is a timber built shooting range which may date to World War II.

The Murgatroyd works lay to the north of the Craven works. The boundary between the two operations appears to have been the line of the parish boundary, which still survives as a dry stone wall in the southern part and a fence in the northern part of the monument. These works used the draw type of kiln to burn lime. These simple kilns were top loaded with a mixture of limestone and fuel with the burnt resultant lime extracted from the bottom. The Murgatroyd works operated a triple draw kiln in the south west area of their operation located immediately next to the railway line in order to benefit from a siding, which brought coal in and took lime away. This kiln included three separate kiln bowls orientated north to south all within a single structure. It is built on the edge of a natural rock outcrop in such a fashion that the bases of the northern and middle kilns are formed by the rock. The entire southern kiln and the superstructure of the whole, are constructed of large limestone blocks. The whole structure is supported by buttresses on the western and southern faces. The entrances to the bottom of the northern and middle kiln are formed by tunnels driven through the rock. The bottom of each kiln is brick built with an arched recess and a hole from which the burnt lime was removed. The lime was taken out and loaded directly onto wagons on the siding which was at the same level as the kiln base. On the top of the structure the three circular kiln openings are clearly visible. They measure 5m across and the whole structure is 12.35m high. The quarry providing limestone for this kiln is located on the lower slopes of Stainforth Scar some 150m to the north east. It is oval in shape and measures approximately 150m by 70m. The limestone extracted was brought on a tramway to the charging ramp at the top of the kiln. Because the charging ramp lay above the level of the railway siding where the coal was brought in, an inclined plane was built to convey the fuel to the required level. This survives as a wide embankment 120m in length. At the top of this incline are the ruins of a winding house, which hauled trucks up the incline. To the south of the winding house is a level area where there were tramway sidings for moving fuel and limestone towards the charging ramp. In this area, just to the east of the kiln top the stone was sorted and waste was tipped nearby. There are earthworks to the north of the kiln, which are thought to be part of the clearance spoil from the charging process.

A number of features are excluded from the monument. These are 1 Craven Cottage, the other standing and roofed buildings in the former rail depot, the surface of the former rail depot and all fences, signs and gates. The ground beneath all these features is, however, included.

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

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 09/05/2012

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Limestone or chalk has been the basic ingredient for lime mortar from at least Roman times. Since the medieval period, lime has also been used as agricultural fertiliser and, since the early 19th century, widely used in a variety of other industries: as a flux in blast furnaces, in the production of gas and oil, and in the chemical, pharmaceutical and food industries. The lime industry is defined as the processes of preparing and producing lime by burning and slaking. The basic raw material for producing lime is limestone or chalk: when burnt at high temperature (roasted or calcined), these rocks release carbon dioxide, leaving `quicklime' which, by chemical reaction when mixed with water (`slaking'), can be turned into a stable powder - lime. Lime burning sites varied in scale from individual small lime kilns adjacent to a quarry, to large-scale works designed to operate commercially for an extended market and often associated with long distance water or rail transport. Lime burning as an industry displays well-developed regional characteristics, borne out by the regional styles of East Anglia, West Gloucestershire or Derbyshire. The form of kilns used for lime burning evolved throughout the history of the industry, from small intermittent clamp and flare kilns, to large continuously fired draw kilns that could satisfy increased demand from urban development, industrial growth and agricultural improvement. Small-scale rural lime production continued in the later 19th and 20th centuries, but this period of the industry is mainly characterised by large-scale production and the transfer of technologies from the cement and other industries. The demand for mortars grew steadily during the 19th and 20th centuries. The successful production of mortars made with artificial cement represented an economic challenge to lime production and gradually replaced the use of lime mortars in major construction and engineering projects. From a highly selective sample made at national level, around 200 lime industry sites have been defined as being of national importance. These have been defined to represent the industry's chronological depth, technological breadth and regional diversity.

The complex of lime works at Langcliffe survives extremely well. The Hoffmann kiln is particularly well-preserved and demonstrates clearly the method of its working. The monument also includes surviving remains of two other kiln types as well as quarries, transport infrastructure and a wide range of associated features. Many of the surviving ruins contain a range of internal fittings, which give an insight into the detail of their operation. The monument also benefits from good records particularly photographs and oral accounts, which give a clear picture of the workings in action. Taken as a whole the Murgatroyd and Craven lime works preserve important and impressive remains of all three main kiln types of the 19th and 20th centuries along with extensive and well-preserved remains of the wider lime works and make a major contribution to the understanding of the development of the technology and of the industry as a whole.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
LUAU, , Langcliffe Quarry North Yorkshire, (1997)
LUAU, , Langcliffe Quarry North Yorkshire, (1997)
LUAU, , Langcliffe Quarry North Yorkshire, (1997)
LUAU, , Langcliffe Quarry North Yorkshire, (1997)
Trueman, M R G , The Langcliffe Quarry Limeworks Settle, (1989)
Trueman, M R G , The Langcliffe Quarry Limeworks Settle, (1989)
White R, (2002)

Source: Historic England

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