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Northern part of Rimington lead mines, part of a medieval open field system and three limestone clamp kilns 120m south east of Hollins

A Scheduled Monument in Rimington, Lancashire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.9016 / 53°54'5"N

Longitude: -2.285 / 2°17'6"W

OS Eastings: 381370.47113

OS Northings: 445084.969654

OS Grid: SD813450

Mapcode National: GBR DRHB.34

Mapcode Global: WH96C.W629

Entry Name: Northern part of Rimington lead mines, part of a medieval open field system and three limestone clamp kilns 120m south east of Hollins

Scheduled Date: 11 August 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020975

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34996

County: Lancashire

Civil Parish: Rimington

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lancashire

Church of England Parish: Gisburn St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Blackburn

Details

The monument includes earthworks and buried remains of the northern part
of Rimington lead mines together with part of a medieval open field system
and three limestone clamp kilns. It is located on the crest of a ridge
120m south east of Hollins and consists of the remains of shafts, spoil
heaps, an ore-processing area, a possible buddle where ore was separated,
and a rake or prospecting trench. The mine workings are of two periods
with later better-preserved features overlying some earlier, more subtle
mining features. The mine workings also overlay part of a medieval open
field system comprising ridge and furrow cultivation. The clamp kilns lie
in a small limestone quarry in the monument's south west corner.

The earliest date when mining began at Rimington is unknown. Documentary
sources first mention mining here in the later 16th century when William
Pudsey is reputed to have obtained and perhaps coined silver from the
mine. In 1656 the ore was tested by an assayer and it was reported that
there were 26 pounds of silver to the ton. Some mining may have been
undertaken during the 1660's but shortly after this time the Pudsey family
sold the mine to pay off debts. No further documentary evidence for mining
is known until the mines were leased twice in the 18th century. In 1822 a
20 year lease was agreed between the lessor George Lane-Fox and John
Tomkinson and Henry Hayes and it appears that they undertook intensive
lead mining until a dramatic fall in the price of lead during the 1830's.
The 1851 census shows that only four miners were employed at Rimington and
that barytes rather than lead was being mined. An Ordnance Survey (OS)
map dated 1853 shows that this early mining area, known then as Skeleron
Old Mines, was out of use at this time. By 1876 Messrs Baynes and Colville
had taken the mine and were mining small amounts of lead, barytes and
zinc. In 1880 the York and Lancaster Mining Company took over and barytes
mining increased dramatically for the next five years. An OS map dated
1892 shows that the late 19th century mining activity was undertaken to
the south of the early mining area. This southern area was again exploited
periodically when small scale 20th century mining for barytes was
undertaken shortly after the end of the First World War and again in 1933.
In the early 1950's some barytes was produced, possibly from reworking
existing spoil tips rather than undertaking new mining operations.

The mining related features in the northern part of Rimington mines follow
the lines of two veins which enter the area from the south east and SSE
and converge beneath the largest shaft at SD81374508. The remains are
described from north to south and include, at SD81344512, a small circular
hollow which was either a shaft or prospecting pit to the west of a larger
oval shaft with a spoil tip on its northern side. A short distance to the
south is another shaft with spoil tips on its north and south west sides.
Just south of this, at SD81374508, is the largest feature on the site. It
consists of a circular shaft 2m in diameter around which is a circular
flat area interpreted as a cog and rung gin circle which suggests a date
of either the 17th or 18th century. This gin circle powered the winding
mechanism for raising and lowering men and raising ore up the shaft.
Around the shaft and gin circle is a carefully graded spoil tip which
appears to have been revetted and has an entrance on its south east side.
The whole feature is well constructed and it appears on the 1853 OS map.
To the south east are two small shaft hollows each with low rings of spoil
adjacent. Another feature appearing on the 1853 OS map lies at SD81394506
and consists of a 2m deep shaft with a sharply defined ring of spoil and
an entrance on the west. It overlies an earlier feature consisting of a
slight platform and hummocks which is interpreted as an ore processing
area, also known as a spalling floor. About 35m to the west are two slight
hollows with faint rims of spoil interpreted as shaft hollows or
prospecting pits. At SD81404506 there is a shaft hollow about 4m across
with spoil on the west and north sides which is shown on the 1892 OS map.
A short distance to the south east is a circular platform which may be the
site of a buddle. This was a device for separating pulverised veinstone
into its various minerals. The fine veinstone was shovelled onto the
centre where water, fed from a pipe, and a paddle system, agitated the
mixture and gradually distributed it across the floor leaving the heavier
ore particles near the centre and washing the waste to the edges. To the
south east of this circular platform is a small shallow quarry whilst to
the south are the remains of another possible shaft hollow. At SD81394503
there is a 17m long prospecting trench which reflects `rake' working along
the vein which here either outcropped or was just below the ground
surface. A rake, also known as a hush, is a gully or ravine partly
excavated by use of a controlled torrent of water to reveal or exploit a
vein of mineral ore.

The medieval open field system has two different alignments of ridge and
furrow separated by a furlong boundary. The ridge and furrow to the west
is aligned approximately north-south and measures 2.5m to 3.5m ridge to
ridge, whilst that to the east is aligned north east-south west and
measures approximately 3m ridge to ridge.

The limestone clamp kilns lie in a quarry centred at SD81354504. One is at
the centre of the quarry while the others are in the south east and south
west corners. All are sub-circular, turf-covered, stone-lined, banked
hollows about 4m in diameter. Typically small amounts of limestone was
burned using wood, coal or coke as a fuel. The resultant quicklime had
many uses including spreading on lime-deficient land to encourage plant
growth, as an ingredient in building mortar, concrete or cement, or mixing
with water to whitewash the walls or ceilings of buildings.

All modern field boundaries and gateposts are excluded from the scheduling
although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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.

Medieval open field systems provided a communal system of agriculture
based on large, unenclosed open arable fields. These fields were
subdivided into strips allocated to individual tenants. Cultivation of
these strips with heavy ploughs produced long, wide ridges, and where it
survives the resultant `ridge and furrow' is the most obvious physical
indication of the open field system. Individual strips were laid out in
groups known as furlongs defined by terminal headlands at the plough
turning points and lateral grass banks. Furlongs were in turn grouped
into large open fields. Well-preserved ridge and furrow, especially in its
original context adjacent to village earthworks, is both an important
source of information about medieval agrarian life and a distinctive
contribution to the historic landscape. It is usually now covered by
hedges or walls of subsequent field enclosure.

Limestone or chalk has been the basic ingredient for lime mortar from at
least Roman times. Since the medieval period, lime has has also been used
as an 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. 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. The form of kiln used for lime
burning evolved throughout the history of the industry, from small clamp
and flare kilns, to large continuously fired draw kilns. 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 northern part of Rimington lead mines, part of a medieval open field
system and three limestone clamp kilns 120m south east of Hollins survive
well. The mines are a rare example in north west England of a site
displaying evidence of lead mining from the late 16th to the mid-19th
centuries. They contain a range of features associated with mining during
this period, including a range of differing technological innovations for
mining the mineral vein such as evidence for raking or hushing, surface
prospecting and the sinking of shafts. In addition, evidence for 17th/18th
century winding methods and evidence for small-scale ore processing at
Rimington is attested by the survival of features interpreted as a cog and
rung gin circle, a buddle and a spalling floor.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
Survey Report, Lancaster University Archaeological Unit, Rimington Lead Mines, Lancashire, (1998)
Survey Report, Lancaster University Archaeological Unit, Rimington Lead Mines, Lancashire, (1998)
Survey Report, Lancaster University Archaeological Unit, Rimington Lead Mines, Lancashire, (1998)

Source: Historic England

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