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Authority English Heritage
Other Ref SM Cat. No. 373
Date assigned Thursday, September 5, 1996
Date last amended


REASONS FOR DESIGNATION 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. Red lead is an oxide of lead, which was used as a pigment (red lead mixed with oil formed the standard red paint until the 20th century), and as an ingredient in pottery glazes and in flint glass making. It was produced from metallic lead in a red lead oven (a furnace with fireplaces along both sides, a hearth in the centre, and a chimney over the loading door). The lead was first oxidised to form a litharge, then ground to a powder, then re-oxidised to form red lead. Red lead was known from the Roman period onwards, though documented red lead mills are of 16th to 20th century date. No remains of red lead ovens have yet been discovered. The field remains on known mill sites consist of water and/or animal power features (for the powered grinding) and traces of the mill buildings. Red lead mills are important as the main source of raw materials for the paint industry, and are an unusual aspect of British metallurgy. They are thought to have been moderately common in and near most lead mining fields, and in some urban areas. Sites with surviving field evidence are very rare, and all sites with surviving field features or good stratigraphic evidence are considered to merit protection. The Nether Loads mill is a rare example of a red lead mill with surviving field remains, and where good below-ground preservation can be expected. It retains a good diversity of features including the only known red lead mill building left standing above ground. It is also well documented historically. It is considered to be the best known surviving example of a red lead mill complex in England, and is therefore fundamental to the archaeological study of red lead production technology in the 17th and 18th centuries. DETAILS The monument originated as a lead smelt mill in the 16th century, but was converted into a red lead mill in the 17th century. This in turn was converted into a corn mill in the 19th century. The remains comprise features from all three functions. The north west end of the monument consists of a pond (now dry) retained by a small dam. To the south east of this, a standing building orientated north east-south west and measuring 7m x 4m (now used as an agricultural store) represents the south west end of the red lead mill and corn mill. This building is included in the scheduling. Fragments of the remainder of the mill building are visible to the north east, including remains of the north wall built into the current field boundary wall. Immediately to the south of the building, a circular earthwork forms the remains of a crushing circle for grinding the red lead. The remainder of the field from here eastwards contains slight earthworks, one of which is thought to represent the tail-race of the mill, and slag deposits are exposed in the stream bank. A smelt mill at Loads is first recorded in 1581. A red lead mill had been added by 1634, and by 1677 the smelt mill had been converted into a second red lead mill. Both these mills remained in use until after 1799, but had been converted into corn mills by the mid-19th century. The scheduling excludes a wooden hut overlying part of the mill building site, but includes the ground beneath this. It includes non-modern walling at the north east end of the mill building, but excludes other modern field walls, fences and hedges, although the ground beneath these features is included. SELECTED SOURCES Article Reference - Author: Crossley, D, and Kiernan, D - Title: The Lead-Smelting Mills of Derbyshire - Date: 1992 - Journal Title: Derbyshire Archaeological Journal - Volume: Vol CXII - Page References: 32-33 - Type: DESC TEXT Article Reference - Author: Crossley, D, and Kiernan, D - Title: The Lead-Smelting Mills of Derbyshire - Date: 1992 - Journal Title: Derbyshire Archaeological Journal - Volume: CXII - Page References: 32-33 - Type: DESC TEXT

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Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1996. Scheduling Notification: Red lead mill, lead smelt mill, and corn mill to the east of Nether Loads Farm. List entry no. 1009708. SM Cat. No. 373.



Grid reference Centred SK 3257 6939 (165m by 46m)
Map sheet SK36NW

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Record last edited

Sep 6 2013 4:50PM

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