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Thorswood Mines

A Scheduled Monument in Stanton, Staffordshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.0206 / 53°1'14"N

Longitude: -1.8348 / 1°50'5"W

OS Eastings: 411175.217336

OS Northings: 347043.626874

OS Grid: SK111470

Mapcode National: GBR 377.QWP

Mapcode Global: WHCF3.SBGP

Entry Name: Thorswood Mines

Scheduled Date: 22 March 2013

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1412506

County: Staffordshire

Civil Parish: Stanton

Traditional County: Staffordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Staffordshire

Church of England Parish: Ellastone St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield

Summary

Thorswood lead, copper and zinc mines, dating from at least the mid-C17.

Source: Historic England

Details

Thorswood lead mines are situated within the Peak District, just over the county boundary between Derbyshire and Staffordshire and lie within the Thorswood Nature Reserve, North Staffordshire. The site is located on an area of high ground at the southern end of the Pennines. The monument includes post-medieval lead mining remains dating from at least the mid-late C17. Extensive and large hillocks occupy a discrete area on a complex vein and/or pipe ore deposit. The mine was worked from the surface to considerable depth, for lead, copper and zinc.

The monument survives as a series of well-preserved earthworks, rock-cut features and buried deposits; the earthworks survive up to a height of c3m. The surface remains are evident within Thorswood Plantation, on open pasture to the east and similar to the north-west. A number of shafts are identifiable; at least four and possibly five to the east of the plantation are associated with gin circles ( a circular feature representing a horse operated winding apparatus) which are terraced into the slope and survive as clear circular earthworks immediately adjacent to large shafts. These particular shafts and associated hillocks to their downslope sides, stand as discreet features with little in the way of surface remains to link them or to indicate ore processing in this part of the mine complex. Section drawings published by Robey and Porter (1971) imply that the shafts were linked by underground levels and stope workings (the extraction of pockets and bellies of richer ore).

The plantation is enclosed by a dry stone wall which is still clearly evident on the western side but is fragmentary in parts on the eastern side; here small stretches survive as earthworks and others as disjointed stretches of standing fabric. Within the walled enclosure are a number of easily identifiable shafts including two particularly deep shafts which are capped but remain accessible, although the underground workings have not been subjected to archaeological investigation. Towards the northern end of the plantation the shafts are interlinked by low earthworks which appear to represent leats (water channels) and ponds suggesting an ore processing area. This may explain why a wall, potentially a belland yard wall (stone walls built around areas of working to prevent cattle from straying and eating grass contaminated by lead), surrounds this part of the complex, in order to prevent stock straying on to contaminated ground.

Beyond the belland yard wall to the north the mining remains appear less dispersed this is particularly noticeable around SK1113447304 where groups of shafts and rows of hillocks are concentrated on the north facing slopes, in a relatively small area where the mineralisation may have outcropped at surface. The earthworks here survive up to 2m in height.

Extent of Scheduling
The area of protection aims to encompass the well-preserved earthworks, rock-cut features and buried deposits relating to the lead, copper and zinc mining on the site. Further mining remains lie outside the area of protection but the main concentrations of surface remains are encompassed. Within the area all modern field boundaries and signage are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath these is included. A currently scheduled Bronze Age bowl barrow (NHLE 1010712) lies within the area of protection but has been retained as a discrete scheduled monument.

The area of protection begins at the south western corner of Thorswood Plantation (at grid reference SK1102246942). From here the line follows the post and wire fence to the north; the modern fence marks the fragmented line of the belland yard wall. Where the fence meets a dry stone wall the line of the scheduling runs to the west to meet another field boundary aligned north to south. The line then follows this boundary north for 178m and then north-east to grid reference SK110047369, here the line turns south for 78m before turning east for 47m. At this point the line turns to the south-west cutting across the field to meet with the northern boundary of Thorswood Plantation, which it continues to follow to the east until it meets the parish boundary between Wootton and Stanton. From here the line follows the field boundaries around the south-east and south sides of the field and around the southern edge of Thorswood Plantation to meet with the eastern edge of the area of protection.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Thorswood Mines, well-documented from the late C17, are scheduled for the following principal reasons:
* Rarity: the mines retain an exceptional number of gin circles within a relatively small area;
* Survival: a well-preserved site retaining good examples of both common and rare features;
* Diversity: Thorswood retains a diverse range of features representing the complete extraction process. Such a range has the potential to enhance our knowledge and understanding of the full process flow of the industry, the methods used, the chronological depth of the site and the place it held in the wider economic and social landscape;
* Documentary Evidence: a detailed documentary record of the history, productivity and ownership of the site is provided by the Earl of Shrewsbury;
* Potential: the diverse range of components represented at Thorswood have the potential to explain the development of the mine working and its chronological range, as well as contribute to the understanding of the historical and technological development of lead mining in the Peak District ore field.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Barnatt, J, Smith, K, The Peak District, (2004)
Porter, L, Robey, J, The Copper and Lead minesaround the Manifold Valley, (2000), 196-218
Willies, L, Parker, H, Peak District Mining and Quarrying, (2004)
Barnatt, J, 'Mining History' in Excavation and Conservation at How Grove, Dirtlow Rake, Castleton, Derbyshire, (2002)
Barnatt, J, Bevan, B , 'Antiquity 76 pp.50-56' in Gardoms Edge: A Landscape Through Time, (2002)
Barnatt, J, 'Mining History' in High Rake Mine, Little Hucklow Derbyshire excavation and conservation at an important C19 mine., (2011)
Other
Chitty, G, Monuments Protection Programme: The Lead Industry Step 4, 1995,
Cranstone, D, MPP The Lead Industry Step 1 Report, (1992)
John Barnatt, Lathkill Dale National Nature Reserve Archaeological Survey, 2005,
Moscrop, Derek, Thorswood Nature reserve, North Staffordshire:archaeological desk-based assessment and survey, 2003, 2003,

Source: Historic England

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