Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Black Rakes, Welshmans Venture and Bondog Hole Mines, and Merry Tom and Thumper Sitch Levels

A Scheduled Monument in Middleton, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.1024 / 53°6'8"N

Longitude: -1.6053 / 1°36'19"W

OS Eastings: 426519.876169

OS Northings: 356204.62083

OS Grid: SK265562

Mapcode National: GBR 597.GY5

Mapcode Global: WHCDV.98SZ

Entry Name: Black Rakes, Welshmans Venture and Bondog Hole Mines, and Merry Tom and Thumper Sitch Levels

Scheduled Date: 22 March 2013

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1412515

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Middleton

Built-Up Area: Middleton

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Middleton-by-Wirksworth Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Derby


A series of multi-phased lead mining remains dating from at least the mid-C16 to the mid-C19.

Source: Historic England


The designated area includes the earthwork, buried and standing remains of a series of lead mines on Middleton Moor and steeply sloping land immediately to the north. The most visible surface remains are likely to represent multiple phases of mining activity but with the majority dating from the late C17 to late C18. The mining earthworks stand to varying heights but survive up to 2m in many places and with sections of standing structures to a similar height.

Middleton Moor is a tract of upland lying to the west and North West of Middleton village at the south margin of the Carboniferous limestone plateau, immediately south of the southern boundary of the Peak District National Park. The moor lies at c350m Ordnance Datum at the southern edge of the area but drops steeply to the north to c220m. This limestone scarp forms part of the southern end of the Pennine spine of England and towards the southern limit of the White Peak lead mining area.

The designated area includes a large number of small mines on many small veins which lie within the Liberty of Middleton by Wirksworth (the district within which the miners worked, governed by a set of laws and customs). Middleton Moor was an important mining field, here the evidence for mining has survived because the hillocks are largely of limestone rather than gangue material (waste minerals which accompany metallic ores in a deposit) so later reworking to remove remaining small amounts of lead ore or fluorspar, as happens on many similar sites, has not eradicated earlier evidence here.

There are a large number of shafts with associated hillocks, small dressing floors and ruined coes. Some shafts occur in clusters and are unusually close together. One particular example of a small mine complex is located at SK2659656293 and comprises a mound-top dressing floor (where the metallic ore was separated from the limestone and associated clay and dirt) with a small drawing shaft upslope, a coe (a stone built shed, shelter or store) with an attached circular wall that is believed to contain a blocked climbing shaft to one side, and a stone-lined buddle (a basic feature used for separating small sized ore from adherent dirt by a means of a stream of water) down slope. Elsewhere there are two ponds that may be associated with water storage or ore dressing.

On the upper parts of the slope in the area known as Black Rakes the mines become larger with large flat topped hillocks and dressing floors which generally survive up to a height of 2m. There are several engine/climbing shafts, ruined coes and an arched level or high level sough (a level driven primarily for the purposes of drainage). One hillock has a walled gin circle (a circular feature representing a horse operated winding apparatus) on an embanked hillock and several others have flat areas large enough to have contained further examples. Another hillock (SK 2682056113) lies within a small belland yard (stone walls built around areas of working to prevent cattle from straying and eating grass contaminated by lead) with a walled dressing floor, coe and shafts. At Welshmans Venture Mine (SK 2637455863) there is a well-preserved large coe, an engine shaft and the overgrown site of a gin.

Doghole rake runs almost east to west across the northern flank of Middleton Moor, beginning on the west side of Middleton Village and terminating on the east side of the former Hoptonwood Quarry. Bondog Hole Mine occupies a central section of the rake which falls within the designated area. Here there is a ruinous terraced and walled belland yard and dressing floor, with room for the documented gin circle and a ruined powder house (or simply a coe), all on top of a large hillock. The rake workings survive as earthworks but further east are the low standing remains of a further two coes.

On the slopes of the Via Gellia below the main complex, some workings continue and include two levels with coes at Merry Tom (SK2636656414) and two levels at Thumper Sitch (SK 2632956359), the upper one with a coe. At all these there are underground workings including wooden rails at Merry Tom.

The scheduled area is defined by two areas of protection; that to the north, the larger of the two areas (Area of Protection 01), includes the mine complexes at Black Rakes, Welshmans Venture Mine, and Merry Tom and Thumper Sitch Levels and all their associated features. That to the south (Area of Protection 02) defines the remains of Bondog Hole Mine and includes the associated belland yard, powder house, site of the gin and two coes.

Area of Protection 01
From the northwest corner of the area of protection the line follows the southern edge of the Via Gellia for c207m before turning to the south cutting across to the southern edge of New Road. It follows the line of the road for c430m before turning south to follow a field boundary wall turning to the west with the boundary and continuing on this line until the top edge of Hopton Quarry. At the south-west corner of this area of protection, the line turns to the north following the upper edge of the quarry for the most part, before cutting across New Road and continuing until it meets the north-west corner of the area of protection.

Area of Protection 02
The area of protection around Bondog Hole Mine follows a field boundary at the eastern end starting at SK2685455953. From here the line follows the boundary for c60m before turning to the west for c257m running along the southern edge of the mining earthworks. The line then curves north around the western edge of the belland yard, powder house or coe, and the site of the gin circle. The northern edge, again follows the line of the mine workings until it rejoins the north-east corner of the area of protection. With the exception of the eastern side of the boundary, this area of protection includes a 2m buffer zone around the mining remains which was considered necessary for the support and preservation of the monument.

All modern post and wire fences, road surfaces and signage are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath all these features is included.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Black Rakes, Welshmans Venture Mine, Bondog Hole Mine and Merry Tom and Thumper Sitch Levels, dating from at least the mid-C16 to the mid-C19, are scheduled for the following principal reasons:
* Survival: it is an exceptionally well-preserved site displaying a diversity of earlier surviving features, which are more often than not destroyed during later phases of mining activity;
* Diversity: the site 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 industry, the methods used, the chronological depth of the site and the place it held in the wider economic and social landscape;
* Documentary Evidence: the historical context of mining on Black Rakes, Welshmans Venture Mine, Bondog Hole Mine and Merry Tom and Thumper Sitch Levels is provided by court records with more specific details presented by the C17 list of mines and the shares held in them by Sir Philip Gell and Francis Gell;
* Group Value: the clustering of mine complexes at Black Rakes, Welshmans Venture Mine, Bondog Hole Mine and Merry Tom and Thumper Sitch Levels adds group value and enhances the national importance of this site. The sum of the whole is even more significant than the individual components and provides an example of what was once a far more extensive, multi-period and regionally distinct mining landscape;
* Potential: the diverse range of components represented has 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 Derbyshire.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Barnatt, J, Penny, R, The Lead Legacy. The prospects for the Peak Districts Mining Heritage, (2004)
Barnatt, J, Smith, K, The Peak District Landscapes Through Time, (2004)
Rieuwerts, JH, Lead Mining In Derbyshire: History, Development and Drainage 4: The Area South of the Via Gellia, (2012), 7-21
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), 50-56
Barnatt, J, 'Mining History' in High Rake Mine, Little Hucklow Derbyshire excavation and conservation at an important C19 mine, , Vol. Vol 18 No. 1+2, (2011)
John Barnatt, Lathkill Dale National Nature Reserve Archaeological Survey, 2005,

Source: Historic England

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