Scheduled Monument: SITE OF BOLE 1400M WEST OF HAREWOOD GRANGE (1020297)

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Authority English Heritage
Other Ref SM Cat. No. 509
Date assigned Wednesday, May 9, 2001
Date last amended


REASONS FOR DESIGNATION The East Moors in Derbyshire includes all the gritstone moors east of the River Derwent. It covers an area of 105 sq km, of which around 63% is open moorland and 37% is enclosed. As a result of recent and on-going archaeological survey, the East Moors area is becoming one of the best recorded upland areas in England. On the enclosed land the archaeological remains are fragmentary, but survive sufficiently well to show that early human activity extended beyond the confines of the open moors. On the open moors there is significant and well-articulated evidence over extensive areas for human exploitation of the gritstone uplands from the Neolithic to the post-medieval periods. Bronze Age activity accounts for the most intensive use of the moorlands. Evidence for it includes some of the largest and best preserved field systems and cairnfields in northern England as well as settlement sites, numerous burial monuments, stone circles and other ceremonial remains which, together, provide a detailed insight into life in the Bronze Age. Also of importance is the well preserved and often visible relationship between the remains of earlier and later periods since this provides an insight into successive changes in land use through time. A large number of the prehistoric sites on the moors, because of their rarity in a national context, excellent state of preservation and inter-connections, will be identified as nationally important. Medieval lead smelters include a range of features known from field or documentary evidence. The most common type is the bole or bolehill, a windblown smelting fire located on an exposed hilltop or crest. This consisted of a rectangular or circular stone structure, open on one side, within which a large fire was constructed using large blocks of wood at the base and smaller wood interleaved with ore above. Boles used the wind to provide draught and normally faced south-west. The molten lead was run out by channels on the upwind side into a casting pit or area. The slag produced by the bole retained considerable quantities of lead. Some of this could be extracted by crushing and washing the slag and the remainder could be recovered by resmelting in a smaller enclosed hearth (the slag hearth or `blackwork oven') using charcoal fuel and an artificial air blast. The resulting black glassy slag is distinct from the grey or yellow slag produced by the bole itself. The bole and associated features were in use from at least the 12th to the late-16th centuries as the main lead smelting technology, differing markedly from the smelting technology of other metals. Boles are found on exposed sites in and around the Pennine lead mining fields. The majority are known from place-name evidence only and sites containing slag, contaminated ground or earthwork features are very rare. All sites with informative slag, intact tips or visible structural or earthwork features are considered to merit protection. The remains of the lead bole site 1400m west of Harewood Grange survives well and provides a valuable insight into the later reuse of the moorlands for early industrial processes. Surviving medieval lead boles like this are rare nationally. DETAILS The monument includes the remains of a lead smelting or bole site standing in open moorland. The lead smelting site, often referred to as a bole, stands on the edge of a minor escarpment facing to the south west. It comprises an earthen platform approximately 7m by 5.5m which is sub-circular in plan. There is a small mound of burnt stones on its north western side. Close to the platform is a line of gritstone blocks, some of which are heat reddened at one end and an earthen embankment, about 5m long, stands 11m to the east. The ground around these features also contains traces of slag, burnt stone and other waste products from lead ore processing. The siting of the bole is ideal, catching the prevailing wind and standing in a very exposed position on the edge of a minor escarpment at one of the highest points on these moorlands. The size of the workings indicate that they are later medieval, possibly dating from between the 13th and 16th centuries. SELECTED SOURCES Book Reference - Author: Barnatt, J. W. - Title: Chatsworth Moorlands Archaeological Survey 1997-8 - Date: 1998 - Page References: 109 - Type: PLAN: SKETCH - Description: unpublished survey report Book Reference - Author: English Heritage - Title: Harland Edge Boles, Beeley - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: Step4 report

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Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: English Heritage. 2001. Scheduling Notification: Site of bole 1400m west of Harewood Grange. List entry no. 1020297. SM Cat. No. 509.



Grid reference Centred SK 2976 6815 (39m by 24m)
Map sheet SK26NE

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Record last edited

Aug 30 2013 4:41PM

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