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. The ore works were an essential part of a lead mining site, where the mixture of ore and waste rock extracted from the ground were separated (`dressed') to form a smeltable concentrate. The range of processes used can be summarised as: picking out of clean lumps of ore and waste; breaking down of lumps to smaller size (either by manual hammering or by mechanical crushing); sorting of broken material by size; separation of gravel sized material by shaking on a sieve in a tub of water (`jigging'); and separation of finer material by washing away the lighter waste in a current of water (`buddling'). The field remains of ore works include the remains of crushing devices, separating structures and tanks, tips of distinctive waste from the various processes, together with associated water supply and power installations, such as wheel pits and, more rarely, steam engine houses. Simple ore dressing devices had been developed by the 16th century, but the large majority of separate ore works sites date from the 18th and 19th centuries, during which period the technology used evolved rapidly. Ore works represent an essential stage in the production of metallic lead, an industry in which Britain was a world leader in the 18th and 19th centuries. Sites are common in all lead mining areas and a sample of the best preserved sites (covering the regional, chronological, and typological variety of the class) will merit protection.
The remains of Rath Rake, Cowlica Rake, Dunnington, Hardbeat, Hardwork and Gatcliffe lead mines 600m and 980m south west of Oddo House Farm are particularly well preserved and include a diverse range of components relating to the mining of the lead deposits, over an extended period of time. The standing, earthwork, buried and rock cut remains retain important archaeological and ecological deposits. These provide evidence for both the historical and technological development of what was once a far more extensive, multi-period mining landscape. Bell pitting is unusual in lead working areas and this concentration of workings is the last major area both in Derbyshire and nationally. The early origins of the mining activity and the good stratigraphic preservation of the remains offers a rare opportunity to investigate the chronological range of lead working in the area. The flat works, bell pits, shafts, hillocks and other extraction features provide evidence for methods of extraction whilst other processing areas will contain deposits showing the effectiveness of these techniques. The mining remains also provide an insight into the Derbyshire Barmote Court system of mining and the constraints this imposed on the miners of the area.
The monument includes the earthwork, buried, standing and rock cut remains of Rath Rake, Cowlica Rake, Dunnington, Hardbeat, Hardwork and Gatcliffe lead mines. The monument is situated immediately east of Gratton Dale to the south west of Elton village and is defined by two areas of protection. The lead mining operations were carried out in ore bodies contained within Monsal Dale and Bee Low Limestones. It is unclear when the mines were first worked but Roman brooches and pins, found in surface workings at Cowlica Rake and Hardbeat mines in the mid-19th century, suggest very early origins. Later surface workings took place from the 17th century with underground workings recorded in the early 19th century. Dunnington mines is documented from at least 1641 when it is recorded that the mines were in possession of Thomas Staley and Partners. The vein was described as a pipe-work, a term used to describe a vertical or near vertical vein, but was at least 30 yards wide. The width of the pipe caused disputes about the most suitable method of extraction and about the most appropriate way of dividing the vein between mining groups. The depths of several shafts sunk on, or very close to the southern end of Dunnington Hall Vein were recorded in 1666 as being 5 to 12 fathoms in depth. Many of the disputes ended at the Court of the Duchy of Lancaster, who held the mining rights in Elton, and as a result were documented. The mines would have been worked under the jurisdiction of the Barmote Courts, the legal administrative unit governing Derbyshire lead mining. The Derbyshire system of mining was largely based on local mining customs and consisted of individual groups of miners or small mining companies working from shafts sunk along the vein. The monument includes a concentration of surface remains which is probably unique in the ore field. They survive as a series of earthwork, buried, standing and rock cut features which include bell pits (a shallow shaft widened at the base to form a bell shaped excavation), open cuts (veins worked open to daylight), ruined coes (stone built shelters or sheds), buddling dams (a large earth dam into which was placed the dirt and sludge resulting from buddling operations (ore washing)), rakes (extraction and ore processing features which follow the line of a lead bearing vein), hillocks (mounds of waste rock which either contain insufficient quantities of ore to warrant extraction or waste from ore crushing activity), an adit (horizontal passage leading into a mine), a sough (a level driven primarily for the purpose of drainage), shafts and other ore extraction and processing features. Dunnington Mines are centred at national grid reference SK20876040 and are extensive, characterised by a concentration of open cut shafts, some of which are contained within ruined coes. The shafts were sunk into a flat work (ore lying between horizontal bedding planes), which may explain the rather random arrangement and apparent isolation of some shafts. An adit in the south west of the area provides an entrance into the flat working. At grid reference SK21176036 is a large buddle dam which measures approximately 65m long, 45m wide and stands to a height of up to 9m. Erosion scars on the sides of the dam show it to be constructed of a mixture of stone, clay and sludge from the ore washing process. The second area of protection is centred at grid reference SK21196062 and encompasses the remains of Rath Rake, Cowlica Rake, Hardbeat, Hardwork and Gatcliffe lead mines. Rath Rake runs east to west across the northern end of this area and is marked by a line of hillocks which follow the line of the vein. In the mid-17th century an agreement was made to sink two engine pits into Rath Rake and although one pit was sunk no engine was installed because water could not be drained away. As a result a sough was driven from Gratton Dale to an intersection with Rath Rake, a task which was carried out between 1655 and 1665. The sough was continued west along the rake for a further 800 feet (244m). Only those remains which fall inside the area of protection are included in the scheduling. Centred at grid reference SK21166064 are three large opencast workings two of which exploited a near surface flat work. The third hollow is more rounded and is probably the result of both exploitation of the flat work and the removal of discarded waste for buddling in the 19th century. Cowlica Rake, which is marked by a line of hillocks, crosses the third hollow and it was from here, and the adjacent Hardbeat mine, that Roman brooches were recovered. Running across the south western end of the area of protection, and aligned north west to south east, is a closely spaced cluster of bell pits. The exploitation of this area was so intense that in places the spoil from later shafts has partly obliterated the spoil from earlier ones. A descent of at least one of the bell pits has revealed that working extended for a short distance all around the shaft foot. Also included in the easternmost area of protection is a concentration of at least nine buddle dams of varying size and construction. Such a concentration indicates the intensity of the workings in this area particularly during the early 19th century. The retaining embankments of some of the buddle dams appear to have been formed almost entirely of silt and sludge from the ore washing process whilst others contain small rock fragments. Most of the dams are sub-rectangular in plan and survive to a height of up to 2.5m. Two dams centred at grid reference SK21186054 are unusual in as much as they are very narrow but measure approximately 55m in length. Associated with the dams are a variety of buddles and water channels which would have served as water management features supplying the buddles. A small ruinous building located at grid reference SK21266046 is physically associated with a number of hillocks and other mining remains. The physical relationship and the close proximity of the building to the buddle dams indicates its involvement in at least the 19th century operations. On the first edition Ordnance Survey map the building is marked as Hungerhill Farm and even today the access track is still known as Hungerhill Lane. In the very early 19th century a silver deposit was reputedly discovered in the vicinity of Hungerhill Farm. All modern field boundary walls, fences, track surfaces and electricity pylons are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them is included.
Book Reference - Author: Rieuwerts, J - Title: Mines within the lead mining liberties of Elton, Middleton by Ye - Date: 1999 - Page References: 1-30 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: Commissioned by Peak Park