Ancient Monuments

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Townhead lime kilns and associated features including part of a tramway on Rusby Hill and Ladslack Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Hartside, Eden

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Latitude: 54.704 / 54°42'14"N

Longitude: -2.5485 / 2°32'54"W

OS Eastings: 364754.677

OS Northings: 534471.7063

OS Grid: NY647344

Mapcode National: GBR BGN1.2J

Mapcode Global: WH92C.T1M4

Entry Name: Townhead lime kilns and associated features including part of a tramway on Rusby Hill and Ladslack Hill

Scheduled Date: 3 September 2004

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021108

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35011

County: Eden

Electoral Ward/Division: Hartside

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Ousby St Luke

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes Townhead lime kilns and associated features
including approximately 700m of the lower part of a tramway down which
limestone was transported from quarries high on Ladslack Hill. The kiln
and adjacent associated features are located a short distance above the
north bank of Arndale Beck while the tramway runs from the kiln uphill
across the south eastern slopes of Rusby Hill and onto Ladslack Hill.

The lime kilns are of mid to late 19th century construction and consist of
a massive limestone double kiln up to 8m high built from a combination of
mixed limestone rubble, boulders and dressed stone. Each kiln has three
draw holes or eyes set within unusual and elaborate pointed draw arches.
Limestone and fuel was added via a single firebrick-lined oval-shaped
charge hole measuring 7m long by 2m wide. A huge limestone buttress flanks
the eastern side of the kiln and is thought to have supported a crane or
hoist for transferring limestone from the end of the tramway into the
charge hole. To the rear of the kilns there is a large sub-circular flat
area thought to be a storage point for stone and fuel awaiting burning.
Adjacent to a track a short distance to the west of the kilns is a
horseshoe-shaped enclosure about 10m in diameter which is thought to have
been used to store burned lime awaiting transportation. A tramway down
which limestone was transported from the quarries to the kilns runs
steeply uphill and the part included in the scheduling runs from the kilns
for approximately 700m to NY65203484. The rails remain in situ although
largely grass-covered. In places the tramway runs as a low grass-covered
stone and earth embankment up to 4m wide whilst in other places it runs as
a hillside terrace or a shallow cutting up to 1m deep. The kilns are all
draw hole type kilns which were used to burn limestone. Typically the
limestone was tipped into the kilns from above via the charge hole then
burned using wood, coal or coke as a fuel. The resultant quicklime, also
known as birdlime or slaked lime, was then shovelled out from the draw
hole at the bottom of the kiln. Lime has many uses including spreading on
lime deficient soils to encourage plant growth, the whitewashing of walls
and ceilings of buildings, and concrete and cement production.

All fences and fenceposts are excluded from the scheduling although the
ground beneath these features is included.

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.

Townhead lime kilns and associated features including part of a tramway on
Rusby Hill and Ladslack Hill survive well. The kilns themselves are a very
distinctive, elaborate and impressive construction thought to be unique in
the region. Together with the tramway and other associated features the
monument is assessed as being clearly of national importance.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Townhead lime kiln, (1996)

Source: Historic England

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