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Lime kiln and associated quarry 75m south of High Scarth Barn

A Scheduled Monument in Scosthrop, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.0347 / 54°2'4"N

Longitude: -2.1707 / 2°10'14"W

OS Eastings: 388914.994734

OS Northings: 459870.726626

OS Grid: SD889598

Mapcode National: GBR FP8S.VF

Mapcode Global: WHB6S.MVJ9

Entry Name: Lime kiln and associated quarry 75m south of High Scarth Barn

Scheduled Date: 28 January 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020891

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35476

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Scosthrop

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Kirkby-in-Malhamdale St Michael the Archangel

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument includes standing and earthwork remains of a 19th century
draw type lime kiln and associated quarries. It is located on a south
facing aspect on the southern flank of Warber Hill on the southern part of
the Yorkshire Dales massif.
The monument lies on the southern part of the Yoredale Series of
Carboniferous Limestone. There has been widespread extraction and
processing of lime in the Yorkshire Dales since medieval times when it was
used for improving soil, the manufacture of mortar and plaster and as a
building material. There was an increased demand for lime when it was used
to improve the soil in intake land and reclaimed moorland during the
enclosures of the late 18th and 19th centuries. The landscape is littered
with remains of simple lime kilns built to meet what was primarily a very
local demand. The 19th century saw a great demand for lime to use in the
new and technologically improved industries of the industrial revolution
as well the boom in the building trade. Consequently large scale
commercial kilns were built.
Little is known of the history of the Warber Hill lime kiln. It is not
depicted on the first edition Ordnance Survey map of 1854, and based on
comparisons with other similar kilns elsewhere it has been dated to the
late 19th century. The size of the kiln indicates that it operated on a
commercial basis rather than just to provide lime for immediate local use.
Its operation appears to have been short lived as the quarries are
relatively small. The size of the kiln and the quality of its construction
indicate that some expense was made in its construction. It is likely that
the kiln was an attempt to produce large commercial scale quantities of
lime using the draw method but was unable to compete with the more
efficient and technologically advanced production systems being employed
elsewhere, most notably at Langcliffe 8km to the west.
Although there were variations in style, size and detail all draw kilns
operated on the same principles. There was a stone or brick built
superstructure, which contained a circular or near-circular bowl which
gave way at the base to an arched opening at the front of the structure.
The operation of the kiln involved placing successive layers of pieces of
limestone and fuel, normally coal, into the top of the kiln bowl which
were then ignited from below. The resultant burnt lime was then extracted
through a draw hole at the back of the arch at the bottom of the kiln. By
loading the kiln from above it was possible to maintain a number of
successive burns although the kiln would have to periodically cease
production for maintenance.
The Warber Hill kiln was built against an exposed limestone scarp possibly
in a pre-existing quarry as the supporting walls on either side of the
kiln are built directly on bedrock. The rear of the kiln is built against
bedrock and the front is free standing. The front of the kiln comprises a
vertical, random coursed, rough hewn limestone face with a large draw arch
in the centre. The kiln face measures 6.5m across and is 6.45m high. The
draw arch is 3.13m high and 3.25m wide, extends north into the body of the
kiln for 6.1m and was large enough to take a cart. The face of the arch is
edged with rusticated stone blocks. At the rear of the arch there is a
loading bench above which the draw hole is still visible, through which
the lime was extracted. There are significant amounts of calcified
deposits extruding from the draw hole. Above the loading bench there is
the exposed brick of the kiln bowl projecting, unusually, into the draw
arch. On each side of the kiln face there are retaining walls which rise
to the same height as the kiln. These served to support both the kiln and
the ground to the rear. On the top of the kiln the opening to the kiln
bowl is visible although it is now completely filled in with rubble. It is
circular in shape and measures 2m in diameter. To the rear of the kiln top
there is a level area some 12m deep and 23m wide leading to an arc shaped
quarry face. This area is covered with grass and it is not currently
possible to determine where the kiln structure ends and bedrock begins.
This level area would have been used for sorting and breaking limestone
into suitable sizes and for stacking fuel prior to charging the kiln bowl.
The quarry face is a maximum of 5.6m high.
Above the quarry face, on the level ground to the north there is an area
of open cast limestone workings. There are at least nine separately
identifiable quarry pits extending over an area 65m by 20m. The largest of
these workings is 10 sq m and 2.4m deep. At the front of the kiln there is
a hollow way 30m long and 2m wide which gave access to the kiln arch.

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

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
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 lime kiln and associated quarry 75m south of High Scarth Barn survives
extremely well. A wealth of internal features is clearly visible and the
working method of the kiln can be clearly understood. In addition to the
quality of its survival the kiln is an unusual example of a large scale
draw kiln which represents an attempt at large commercial production.
Taken as a whole the kiln offers important information about both draw
kiln technology and the development of the lime industry.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Johnson, D, Yorkshire Dales Limekiln Survey, (2002)
Johnson, D, Yorkshire Dales Limekiln Survey, (2002)
White, R, Yorkshire Dales, (1997), 91-92
Williams, R, Limekilns and Limeburning, (1989)

Source: Historic England

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