Skip to main content


Please read our .

Authority English Heritage
Other Ref SM Cat. No. 545
Date assigned Friday, March 22, 2013
Date last amended


SUMMARY OF MONUMENT Lees and Dove Rakes, Booth Lee Pipes and Sterndale Sough are lead mines worked from the C17 and C18. REASONS FOR DESIGNATION The site of Lees and Dove Rakes, Booth Lee Pipes and Sterndale Sough, lead extraction sites of the C17 and C18, and probably earlier, is scheduled for the following principal reasons: * Survival and Diversity: it is a well-preserved site displaying chronological depth and illustrating process and technological change through its diversity of features, the surviving earthworks of which have a defining presence in the landscape; * Documentary Evidence: Documentary sources provide significant evidence of C18 and earlier work on the rakes and at Booth Lee Pipes; * Rarity: The site illustrates the distinctive Derbyshire mining tradition, reflected in the range and character of surviving features, and contains a rare example of an outcropping flatwork of the C17; * Group Value: Lees and Dove Rakes sit within an area of well-preserved mining remains. The west end of Lees Rake is contiguous with the scheduling of Maury Mine, while Putwell Hill Rake and the remains of structures of the C19 and early C20 Monsaldale Mine survive approximately 1km to the south, illustrating the extent, intensity and longevity of exploitation of this regionally distinct mining landscape; * Potential: this diverse range of surface remains and buried archaeological deposits contain the potential to make a substantial contribution to our understanding of the extraction of the mineral, its on-site processing and, more broadly, to the historical and technological development of lead mining in Derbyshire. HISTORY Lead mining in Derbyshire may have begun as early as the Late Bronze Age indicated by the discovery of lead artefacts at Mam Tor and Gardoms Edge, but no archaeological evidence for mining, ore processing or smelting has been recorded (Barnatt, Bevan and Edmonds 2002). In the Roman period written sources provide evidence for a national industry, while inscriptions on lead 'pigs' (ingots of smelted metal) and their distribution indicate production in Derbyshire, the Mendips, South Shropshire, and the Yorkshire Pennines. Again, the mines themselves are elusive and remain so into the Medieval period. 'Lead works' mentioned in the Domesday Survey may refer to mining or smelting, but there is documentary evidence of mining at, for example, the Nestus Mines, Matlock Bath and Tideslow Rake. At Tideswell there are also many Bole Hills (a primitive smelting furnace) with vestiges of slag remaining where lead was smelted. Two other pieces of evidence dating from the medieval period are of fundamental importance: the earliest written laws of lead mining from the Ashbourne Inquisition of 1288, and the carving of a medieval miner in Wirksworth church (moved from Bonsal Church in the C19), which is probably even earlier. In the Middle Ages a royalty of a thirteenth of all ore mined (known as a 'lot') was paid to the Crown and a tenth (or 'tithe') was claimed by the church. The Peak was a free mining area with wide and unusual privileges and the 'free' miners were allowed to work by very liberal laws which enabled them to search for lead ore in the 'liberties'; anywhere but churchyards, gardens, orchards and highways. The miners had right of access, water and space to both mine and dump their waste without regard to the land users or owners wishes. To control mining, mineral courts were set up with a Steward and Barmaster, representing the Duchies, including Devonshire, Rutland, and Lancaster, and other landowners as lords of their own liberties, as well as a Grand Jury of 24 men (12 since 1851-52) appointed for six months to control each of the different areas. The laws grew in complexity through time and were not fully listed until the mid-C17 when Thomas Manlove, a Barmoot Steward, wrote them down 'in metre'. The mining laws were formalised in 1851-52. The court still sits today, made up of men who have a wide knowledge of the miners and mining field. Documentary sources dating to the C12 and C14 provide evidence of 11 and possibly 12 mining sites of one or more workings in Derbyshire. Work would have started as opencasts (veins which were worked from the surface to a depth of c30-40 feet) and would eventually have gone further underground. In reality there were probably many more mines for which no documentation survives. The evidence for mining during the C15 and C16 comes primarily from the written versions of the laws and customs between 1288 and 1525, and from an increasing number of specific mines for which we have documentary evidence, often in the form of court case records. As knowledge of ore deposits increased many more mines were worked and in excess of 100 are individually documented, although many groups of miners could be at work along a single vein. Evidence in contemporary documents of technological development includes the underground use of gunpowder to break rock (1660s), drainage using horse-powered pumps (c1579-1581) and long drainage soughs (1627 onwards). Extensive archaeological evidence shows that firesetting using coal was commonly practiced in the C16 and C17, with its use overlapping with gunpowder from the 1660s to early 1700s. The C17 witnessed rapid expansion in both geological knowledge and technical advance. As a consequence of improvements in smelting technology during the last quarter of the C16 the old underground workings and surface hillocks of many large mines were extensively reworked. The use of gunpowder blasting for rock breakage from the late-C17 made working mines to a greater depth easier, but these required more efficient ventilation, gained by sinking shafts at regular intervals. The driving of soughs to dewater mines was crucial and these became common. The depth of workings and shafts increased through the C18 from up to 700ft to in excess of 900ft in some cases. The first Newcomen engine was installed between 1716 and 1719 and a 40ft diameter water wheel was recorded in 1747. Haulage was also transformed in the C18; baskets and sleds were gradually superseded at larger mines by the introduction of small, plain wheeled wagons running along wooden rails. Iron railed tramways became relatively common in the C19. Haulage to the surface continued to use traditional stows, although horse gins were also in use in most medium to large mines. In the C19 profitable sources of ore became scarce and increased competition from other orefields led to a decline in the importance of, and production at, the Peak District mines. A series of expensive ventures using steam engines to enable work at depth were launched but most were not economically sustainable. As with all previous centuries, small scale underground production by miner-farmers and other part-time workers, and low-paid reworking of hillocks for residual lead ore, continued. With the exception of Millclose Mine at Darley Bridge, worked until 1939, little profitable mining was carried out from the 1880s onwards. From the early C20 to the present, lead mining sites have been extensively reworked for minerals originally discarded by the lead miners. Those of economic worth are primarily fluorspar, barites and calcite, while lead ore is still a valuable by-product. The Booth Lee Pipes are known to have been worked in the 1670s, and although Lees and Dove Rakes are first documented in the early C18, mining here may have had significantly earlier origins. Work continued into the C19 but by 1880 it had ceased. Hillocks of both Lees and Dove Rakes, within limited areas, have subsequently been reworked for secondary minerals. DETAILS The scheduled area contains the earthwork, buried, standing and rock-cut remains of Lees and Dove Rakes (although the west end of Lees Rake lies within the scheduled area of Maury Mine). The area is linear, but irregular in shape, and runs for approximately 2km from west to east along and across the hillside above Millers Dale. The evidence for lead mining here survives as a series of earthworks, buried and standing remains which include shafts and shaft mounds, waste hillocks, an opencut (vein worked open to daylight), belland yard walls (walls built around contaminated land to keep out stock), a meerstone (a marker stone), a bouse team (ore storage bin), dressing pits and possible coe (a hut for storage or shelter) and a dew pond for washing ore. Lees Rake travels east from where it leaves the scheduled area of Maury Mine, following the 330m contour to the south of Millers Dale before turning slightly north-east at SK15386 72704, eventually dropping down the east slope of the hillside to the River Wye. The much shorter Doves Rake runs from south-west to north-east towards Lees Rake, a distance of about 495 metres. The west end of Lees Rake runs between roughly parallel field boundaries for the length of two fields (essentially forming two belland yards), the vein marked by an irregular line of closely spaced circular hollows with hillocks to either side, the latter forming a wider band in the east field than the west. Shaft mounds can be identified irregularly spaced along the vein. This pattern continues into the next field, which also contains a circular belland yard, immediately to the south-east of which is a walled dew pond with a substantial retaining wall to the north-west; the pond was probably used for washing ore. This is shown on the tithe map of 1848, while the belland yard wall is not, and is presumably a later construction. The area between the dew pond and a second, slightly larger, belland yard to the east, appears to have been largely reworked either for lead ore or for secondary minerals, or for both. Other features associated with the belland yards include a meerstone, a bouse team approached by a barrow run, dressing pits or ponds, and a possible coe. To the east of this the linear pattern of circular depressions and shaft mounds continues along the vein, with a section of opencut to the west of the brow of the hill, continuing over the brow and down the slope to the river as intermittent shallow cuts, or linear depressions, and a series of shafts. Just east of the centre of the scheduled area is a small ruined belland yard with possible dressing pits, and to the east of this a square yard containing possible ponds or dressing pits and buddle dams (buddling is the process of separating lead ore from other matter). To the north of the east end of Lees Rake, by the River Wye, is the run-in tail of Sterndale Sough, beside which is a coe and flat-topped hillock. To the south, on the brow of the hill, are a group of hillocks representing a rare outcropping flatwork of the C17 (a flatwork is a horizontal lead working close to the ground surface) with an access roadway, a gin circle and a belland yard wall. Set into the steep north slope of the hill to the west of Sterndale Sough are two entrances to underground workings at Booth Lee Pipes. The west end of Dove Rake is enclosed by roughly parallel walls and appears as a narrow spur projecting south-west from the field containing the dew pond and larger belland yard associated with Lees Rake. The hillocks and hollows in this linear section have been extensively reworked, and this spur is not included within the scheduled area. To the east of the linear section two short lines of hollows run downhill towards Lees Rake, that to the east with five closely spaced shaft hillocks. From where these lines branch, the main vein continues in a roughly straight line east, marked by a row of hollows within a band of hillocks. From about the point where these end, a leat runs eastwards, following the contours of the hillside. There is also a hollow at the site of the entrance to a high-level sough into the vein and nearby ventilation shaft mounds. EXTENT OF SCHEDULING The scheduled area is linear, beginning to the west at Maury Mine, south of Priestcliffe Lees. From here it runs for approximately 2km, west to east, initially along the crest of the hill travelling down and across the north facing slope south of Millers Dale. Its shape is irregular, broadening in the centre of the site to accommodate the full spread of features. The scheduled area starts to the east of Maury Mine, at SK1470172793, at a bend in the track that travels north-east from Bull Tor Lane. For a distance of about 692 metres it is contained within the boundaries of two long narrow fields, essentially belland yards. To the east of the second field the south line of the scheduling continues to follow the field boundary as it curves around towards Bull Tor Lane, taking in about 35 metres of the east end of the spur, which it crosses to join the field boundary to the south. The line follows this boundary for a distance of about 170 metres before turning north at SK1564672583 then curving round to the east, following the line of the old wall for about 261 metres. The line leaves the wall to travel north-east, turning east-north-east at the south-west corner of the next field, traversing that field to its north-east corner, where it continues east following the north boundary of the neighbouring field before turning south to follow its east boundary. This is the west line of the spur to the south of the main vein, taking in the outcropping flatwork of the C17. At the south-east corner of the field the line turns east, following a short section of wall for about 36 metres before turning south, then curving south-east to run parallel with the field boundary about 35 metres to the south. At the east end of this field at SK1651472486, the line turns to follow the boundary to the north-east, towards the old railway line and river, a distance of about 137 metres. It then turns north-west, travelling across the hillside for about 90 metres before turning east. After about 54 metres at SK1644772654, it scoops around to the north-west, continuing up to the field boundary to the north, where it travels east, following the field boundary and continuing down to the river. At this point the scheduling is about 54 metres wide. The north boundary travels west from the embankment for about 51 metres before turning north and travelling about 75 metres, then west and south again, creating a rectangle about 75x200 metres, taking in Booth Lee Pipes and Sterndale Sough. The point where the line turns west is at SK1631972887, from where the line continues across the hillside above Litton Mill for about 680 metres, turning south-west at SK1564772809 to run up hill for about 73 metres, turning west again to follow the field boundary to the north of the belland yard, continuing west across the a north/south field boundary to meet the next field boundary, where it turns south. After about 46 metres it meets the north field boundary of the long narrow fields that form belland yard around the west end of Lees Rake. All modern structures, fence and gate posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included. SELECTED SOURCES Book Reference - Author: Barnatt, J and Smith, K - Title: The Peak District - Date: 2004 Unpublished Title Reference - Author: Cranstone, D - Title: MPP The Lead Industry Step 1 Report - Date: 1992 Book Reference - Author: Barnatt, J. and Penny, R. - Title: The Lead Legacy. The prospects for the Peak District's Mining Heritage. - Date: 2004 Article Reference - Author: Barnatt, J., Bevan, B. and Edmonds, M. - Title: Gardoms Edge: a landscape through time - Date: 2002 - Journal Title: Antiquity 76 pp.50-56 Book Reference - Author: Willies, L and Parker, H. - Title: Peak District Mining and Quarrying - Date: 2004 Book Reference - Author: Rieuwerts, J. H - Title: Lead Mining in Derbyshire: History, Development and Drainage in 4 vols - Date: 2007 Article Reference - Author: Barnatt, J and Heathcote, C - Title: The Maury and Burfoot Mines, Taddington and Brushfield, Derbyshire. M - Date: 2003 - Journal Title: Minin g History

External Links (0)

Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: English Heritage. 2013. Scheduling Notification: Lees and Dove Rakes, Booth Lee Pipes and Sterndale Sough. List entry no. 1412889. SM Cat. No. 545.



Grid reference Centred SK 1564 7274 (1913m by 515m)
Map sheet SK17SE

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Record last edited

Aug 21 2013 2:36PM

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.