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St Cuthbert's and Chewton lead mines and Fair Lady Well

A Scheduled Monument in Priddy, Mendip

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Latitude: 51.2524 / 51°15'8"N

Longitude: -2.6525 / 2°39'8"W

OS Eastings: 354559.8378

OS Northings: 150563.3031

OS Grid: ST545505

Mapcode National: GBR MN.17T2

Mapcode Global: VH89K.ZS38

Entry Name: St Cuthbert's and Chewton lead mines and Fair Lady Well

Scheduled Date: 2 December 2014

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1421084

County: Mendip

Civil Parish: Priddy

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


The standing, earthwork and buried remains of two lead mining sites: St Cuthbert’s and Chewton, which are considered to have Roman and medieval origins respectively. At the western boundary between the two mines is a well which was first recorded in the medieval period.

Source: Historic England



The standing, earthwork and buried remains of two lead mining sites: St Cuthbert’s and Chewton, which are considered to have Roman and medieval origins respectively. Their visible remains appear to date largely from the mid- to late C19 and early C20, but features associated with earlier workings are considered to survive as buried deposits. Chewton Minery in the northern half of the site is located within a valley orientated north to south, while St Cuthbert’s immediately to the south is situated on a slight west-facing slope. At the western boundary between the two mines is Fair Lady Well which was first recorded in the medieval period.


At the northernmost part of the site is Waldegrave Pool which was created in the 1850s to provide a water supply for processing slag. It has a large earthen dam along its south side, and at its west end is a leat which is visible as a shallow ditch running along the western boundary of the site. It supplied two small reservoirs with water; both have been cut into the hillslope and are defined by low earthen banks. To the south of Waldegrave Pool, a little further down the valley, are a series of mounds and scarps of waste material and the earthworks of one of three dressing floors at the mine which are depicted on the 1886 OS map. These features are probably associated with the later C19 re-working of earlier spoil tips. Towards the central part of the Chewton mines site are a series of earthworks which mark the location of the mine buildings. A late-C19 photograph shows a group of stone buildings, including the furnace, a boiler house and other structures, some of which are roofless, and two chimneys. Although these buildings have collapsed, their foundations are likely to survive as buried features. Running north-westwards, and upslope of this area, is a stone-lined flue, some 130m in length, which has largely collapsed. A second flue runs south-westwards for approximately 148m. It takes the form of an earthwork, suggesting that it survives largely intact. Opposite the mine buildings is a rectangular pond which has an earthen dam along its south-west side and a low bank to its north-east edge. There are two further dressing floors, and their linear arrangement of buddles are shown on the 1886 OS map. They are situated alongside areas of re-worked spoil. To the south-east is Mineries Pool which was created in mid-C19 by the construction of dam to provide water for re-processing waste material. Running north-east to south-west through the central part of the mine is the raised embankment of a former tramway which is first depicted on the 1903 OS map.

The tramway continues on a south-east alignment, terminating in the central area of the St Cuthbert’s site where its furnaces and processing buildings were situated. A photograph from 1908 depicts a large concentration of roofed buildings, together with three chimneys, surrounded by substantial dumps of re-worked spoil. Although this area is overgrown, lengths of stone-lined flues and the fragmentary ruins of one of the buildings are visible; elsewhere earthworks mark the location of the other buildings, including the furnaces. To the north-east and south-west of these remains, and depicted on the 1886 OS map, are two large dressing floors comprising rows of buddles and settling tanks. Although no longer clearly visible on the surface, they are considered to survive as buried features. Elsewhere across the site there are large tailings and debris probably associated with the mid-C19 to early-C20 re-working of old mine waste, including an area of C19 open-cast mining, and the buried remains of further shorter sections of tramways which connected the various processing areas. Although obscured by later operations, evidence for earlier mining and ore processing, including possible Roman and medieval workings, are likely to survive beneath the ground surface in some parts of the site.

A well of medieval date, if not earlier, which consists of an oval-shaped chamber that remains waterfilled. There are rubble stone blocks within and around the area of the pool which would suggest that it may have originally been stone lined.

A number of modern features are excluded from the scheduling:
The steel entrance pipe and concrete shaft at St Cuthbert’s Swallet;
The sluice, its mechanism and earth dam immediately north-west of St Cuthbert’s Swallet;
The concrete and earth dam at the Upper Dam north-west of St Cuthbert’s Swallet;
The gabions along the west side of Mineries Pool;
The blockwork dam to the west of Mineries Pool;
The ductile pipe which carries the stream from Fair Lady Well over Plantation Swallet;
All fence posts and interpretation boards;
the ground beneath all these features, however, is included.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

St Cuthbert and Chewton Mineries, mid-C19 lead sites with earlier origins, and the medieval well known as Fair Lady Well, are scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Survival: a well-preserved site which retains evidence for the processes involved and technological development of re-processing mine waste during the C19 as well as buried deposits associated with earlier mining activities;
* Diversity: the site retains a range of mining-related features such as washing floors, the remains of furnaces, flues and other structures, and related water management and transport systems which will add to our knowledge of the activities that took place here;
* Documentary: both the mines and the well are well documented, providing an insight into their historical development;
* Potential: the range of surface remains and buried archaeological deposits will contribute to our understanding of the historical and technological development of lead mining on the Mendips.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
J W Gough, , The Mines of Mendip, (1967)
Fair Lady Well, NW of Hunters Lodge Inn, Priddy, Somerset Historic Environment Record 23961 , accessed . from
Mendip Hills: An Archaeological Survey of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, 1992, P Ellis, accessed . from
Priddy Mineries. A Walk Through History, accessed from
The Holy Wells of Somerset, accessed . from
English Heritage Monuments Protection Programme, The Lead Industry Step 4 Report, 1995,
Somerset County Council & English Heritage, The Aggregate Landscape of Somerset: Predicting the Archaeological Resource. Archaeological Aerial Survey in the Central Mendips, 2008,

Source: Historic England

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