Scheduled Monument: COALPITHOLE RAKE (1412937)

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Authority English Heritage
Other Ref SM Cat. No. 549
Date assigned Thursday, March 21, 2013
Date last amended


SUMMARY OF MONUMENT Coalpithole Rake, near Chapel-en-le Frith in Derbyshire is an extremely well-preserved example of a linear sequence of lead mine workings exemplifying the lead mining and ore processing techniques developed from the medieval period to the late C19 in the Derbyshire orefield. REASONS FOR DESIGNATION Coalpithole Rake is scheduled for the following principal reasons: * Survival: Coalpithole Rake is an exceptionally well-preserved site displaying a diversity of surviving features, many of which have been destroyed by later phases of mining activity on similar sites in Derbyshire; * Diversity: the site retains a diverse range of features representing the extraction and ore processing stages of lead mining in Derbyshire. Such features have the potential to enhance our knowledge and understanding of the county’s nationally significant lead mining industry, of the chronological depth of the site in question and of the place it held in the wider economic and social landscape; * Documentary Evidence: the historical context of mining at Coalpithole Rake is provided by Barmote Court records, with more specific details relating to the establishment and operation of the Peak Forest Mining Company; * Group Value: the group value of the many different features contained within the site enhances its national significance. The sum of the whole transcends the significance of individual components and provides an example of what was once a far more extensive, multi-period and regionally distinctive mining landscape; * Potential: the diverse range of features represented at Coalpithole Rake have the potential to explain the development and chronological range of the mine working at the site, as well as to contribute to the understanding of 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 as indicated by the discovery of lead artefacts at Mam Tor and Gardoms Edge, but no archaeological evidence for mining, ore processing or smelting at this time has been recorded (Barnatt, Bevan and Edmonds 2002). In the Roman period, the presence of a major national lead industry is attested both by classical references and by numerous finds of lead 'pigs' (ingots of smelted metal). The distribution and inscriptions of the pigs indicate production in the Mendips, South Shropshire, Derbyshire and the Yorkshire Pennines. The mines themselves are elusive as later mines have cut through the earlier shallow workings (Barnatt and Smith 2004, p49) and the range of mining and ore processing features on Roman sites cannot yet be specified. Medieval mining is almost equally elusive in the archaeological record. 'Lead works' were mentioned in the Domesday Survey but it is not clear if this meant mining or smelting. There is documentary evidence of mining at for example the Nestus mines, Matlock Bath and Tideslow Rake at Tideslow and there are also many Bole Hills (a primitive smelting furnace) in the area with vestiges of slag remains where lead was smelted. Two major 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 Bonsall church in 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. During the C12 and C14 documentary sources provide evidence of 11 and possibly 12 mining sites of one or more workings in Derbyshire; work would have started as opencast (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 miners progressively improved their practical understanding of the nature and location of ore-bearing beds from the Middle Ages onwards, but by the mid-C18 mine agents and overseers rather than miners had acquired enhanced scientific geological knowledge. The evidence for mining during the C15 and C16 comes primarily from the written versions of the laws and customs existing between 1288 and 1525 and from an increasing number of specific mines for which we have documentary record, often in the form of court case records. Once the nature of wide and deep horizontal deposits was understood by the mid-C16, meers (a linear measurement along a vein irrespective of its width or depth) were measured in squares rather than the usual linear measurement along the vein. As knowledge of ore deposits increased many more mines were worked; in excess of a hundred are individually named in documents but many groups of miners could be at work along a single vein. During the C15 and C16 technological development moved apace with the first evidence of drainage using horse-powered pumps (c1579-1581) and a long drainage adit all appearing in contemporary documentation. The C17 witnessed rapid expansion in both geological knowledge and technical advancement. Improvements in smelting technology during the last quarter of the C16 allowed smaller size ore to be smelted in the new ore-hearth furnaces. As a consequence many large mines had their old underground workings and surface hillocks extensively reworked. The breaking of rock underground using gunpowder (from the 1660s) 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 (1627 onwards) to dewater mines was crucial and these became common. Technological advancement continued in the C18. At the beginning of the C18, shafts and workings were at a depth of 700ft, but by the end of the century some shafts were in excess of 900ft deep. 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 (a wooden windlass used for winding materials and water) although horse gins were also in use in most medium to large mines. Longer, deep level soughs and deeper mine workings demanded improved methods of ventilation. In the C19 profitable sources of ore became scarce and increased competition from other ore fields 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 mostly failed to produce viable ore over sustained periods. 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 apace. With the exception of Millclose Mine at Darley Bridge, which 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. It is not known with certainty when Coalpithole Rake was first worked. The first documented reference to mining activity at Coalpithole dates to 1705, although it is thought that mining along the outcrop of such a substantial rake must have occurred much earlier. This early working of the rake took place at its eastern end on Gautries Hill. The full length of the vein was ‘freed’ (made available for lawful exploitation) by 1760, although between then and 1796, the modest output from the workings declined steadily, despite the installation of a Newcomen engine and water wheels to raise water from the workings. In 1858. a consortium of Sheffield businessmen formed The Peak Forest Mining Company to further develop and extend the mining operations at a greater depth, further to the west below the shale deposits which overlay the lead vein. Ten shafts, some the reworking of earlier excavations, were developed between 1858 and 1878. These are documented as shafts nos 1 to 10, running east to west, in the C19 documentation of the mine sites (Heathcote, 2007). An engine designed for both pumping and winding was installed on the site of the former Newcomen engine at no.8 shaft, and a further engine, formerly located at Brightside Mine near Hassop was installed at the westernmost end of the workings at no.10 shaft in 1870. Although early outputs were again initially modest, production increased to reach a peak in 1869-70. Thereafter, production declined, and the mine closed in 1880. Photographs taken of the No.8 shaft site in 1926 show the remains of the pumping and winding engines, boiler house chimney and boilers still in-situ. Parts of Coalpithole Rake were surveyed by the Peak District National Park Authority, cataloguing the identified archaeological features, and a general assessment was made during the Lead Legacy survey. No invasive archaeological investigations have taken place along the length of the rake. DETAILS The area of protection includes the earthwork, buried, standing and rock-cut remains of Coalpithole Rake, an extensive lead mining complex dating from at least the early C18. The site is located within the Liberties of Peak Forest and Chapel-en-le-Frith (the district within which the miners worked, governed by a set of laws and customs), in the northernmost sector of the Derbyshire ore field. It lies 4 km to the east of Chapel-en-le- Frith, close to where the Carboniferous limestone landscape of the White Peak and the gritstone landscape of the Dark Peak meet. The area of protection is centred on SK10046 81065. It is linear in shape and extends from south-east to north-west for approximately 1.5 km from the western side of the Perryfoot Road at SK1064280876 to the site of no.10 shaft to the north-east of Rushup Farm at SK0916581343. The workings are continuous along the line of the vein, and include intermediate concentrations of activity at the two Coalpithole Mine sites associated with shafts nos. 8 and 10 to the north-west side of the Sparrowpit to Castleton road (henceforth referred to as ‘the road’). The mining of the site developed incrementally along a rake vein; the earthwork, buried and standing remains represent the surviving elements of this activity. Numerous shafts, including two lined engines shafts (shafts nos. 8 and 10 sunk to facilitate mechanised pumping and winding operations), belland yard walls (substantial drystone walls erected around dressing floors to prevent livestock grazing on contaminated ground), a long open cut (a vein worked open to daylight), gin circles (remains of horse-powered winding apparatus) dressing floors (primary ore processing areas) water storage and settling ponds, extensive hillocks (mounds of spoil produced by excavation and dressing and crushing processes) and lengths of trackway, are represented. The site also includes vestiges of late C19 horizontal steam engine and boiler houses and associated structures which are believed to survive as low upstanding ruins. Coalpithole Rake is expressed as a cluster of shafts on the east side of Perrydale, centred at SK1060380915 where there is thought also to be a flat-topped dressing floor and the remains of a horse-gin platform. The rake extends upwards on Gautries Hill in a north-easterly direction from the area around the former mine manager’s house in Perrydale, initially as a substantial open cut into the hillside, and thereafter with both shafts and lengths of opencut extending into sloping ground as Gautrees Hill rises and falls, with a deep open cut and flanking shafts extending downhill towards the road. Beyond this point, the vein dips downwards below the overlying shale bed, requiring mining activity at a much greater depth. The visible evidence for the mining activity in this area of level ground is provided by the earthwork remains of hillocks, the surface remains associated with shafts nos. 8 and 10, a leat and a possible storage reservoir thought to have originated as a power source for C18 waterwheel-powered pumps. The eastern section of the rake is traversed by a farm track. To the west of this point, beginning at SK1028780978 is a wide, deep opencut, possibly a natural swallow hole subsequently enlarged by mining. Progressing westwards, there are the earthwork remains of an oval pond, then a dressing floor with nearby collapsed shafts and a possible gin circle and associated collapsed drystone wall. Beyond this is a sleeper-covered shaft, then a walled dressing floor on a hillock with a shaft at its centre with collapsed ginging (dressed or rubble stone lining to the upper part of a shaft). To the southern side of the next section are the remains of a small two-cell drystone structure with an associated dressing floor. There is a rubble heap within the western D-shaped section, possibly covering a shaft, and a curved drystone wall to the eastern section. The rake then extends into a large open cut of between 3 and 6 metres deep, and consistently of 4 to 5 metres width. At its western end is a further dressing floor within which are 3 settling or slime ponds, the lowest of which is separated from the upper ponds by a bank and a retaining wall. At the junction of the rake and the road at SK0970781189 is a large roughly circular hollow thought to have been a water storage pond formed from a natural swallow hole. To the north-east of the road, the principal evidence of lead mining is found around the sites of nos.8, 9 and 10 shafts located on or near the line of the vein, which in this area was worked at a much greater depth than areas to the east. The remains of the mine complex associated with no.8 shaft at SK0958781200 and those at no.10 shaft at SK0919481275 are representative of late C19 investment by the Peak Forest Mining Company, but the earthworks remains of the leat and the diamond-shaped reservoir to the north of no.8 shaft are thought to form part of the development of powered pumping from the shaft by the Newcomen Engine and water wheels installed there in the 1780s. The line of the vein extended at depth to the west of the leat (an open watercourse taking water away from to and from mine workings or water mill sites) and reservoir in a north-westerly direction towards Rushup Farm. In an area to the east, centred at SK0919481275 is the site of the mine complex around no.10 shaft, where, in addition to hillocks, are documented (Barnatt, 2004) the brick foundations and floor surface of an engine house or boiler house and the remains of a brick-built flue extending up the hillside to an associated chimney base. EXTENT OF SCHEDULING The area of protection is comprised of two areas of protection. The first (Area of Protection 01) defines the main extent of the rake between Perrydale and the area immediately to the north-west of the road at the bottom of Gautries Hill. The second area of protection (Area of Protection 02) defines an area associated with no.10 shaft to the east of Rushup Farm centred at SK0958781200. Area of Protection 01 starts on the east side of the Perrydale road at a drystone wall at SK1061280851. This upper section of the boundary is V shaped and extends to the base of the sloping ground to the east, then turns north-westwards to SK1057080980. It then moves to the west, crossing the Perrydale road before turning north-westwards to SK1038077988. From this point it extends westwards to intersect the north- east edge of the workings. The lower section of the boundary extends from the drystone wall point previously described, crosses the Perrydale road and follows a drystone wall on its western side to SK1054680925. It then extends south-westwards to SK1048980891, passing to the rear of the former mine manager's house. From this point, the area of protection boundary lines on both sides of the rake follow the edge of the workings as they progress north-westwards over Gautries Hill to SK409707 381189. where the rake meets the road. On the north-west side of the road, the area of protection boundary follows the line of a low drystone wall to the north-east side of a narrow leat, turning north-eastwards at the rear of a modern farm shed to SK0954581327. It then turns to the north-west to follow the upper edge of an irregularly-shaped pond or reservoir to SK0916581327, where it extends a short distance to the south-west to join the upper limit of the leat at SK0947581431. Here it follows the lower edge of the leat to SK0958681248. It then turns south-west to follow the curved edge of a small wooded area back to the road at SK0964681166. Area of Protection 02 begins at SK0933081241 and follows the field boundary north-westwards to SK0916581343, then turns south-westwards to SK0913981236. From there it moves north-east to a farm track and follows its north-east edge to SK0921981215, before extending to the east to meet a field boundary and following it for a short distance to the starting point of the area of protection. All modern post and wire fences, road and track surfaces and signage are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath all these features is included. The former mine manager's house, and all other outbuildings associated with it, are similarly excluded, but the ground beneath them is included. SELECTED SOURCES Article Reference - Author: Barnatt, J - Title: Excavation and Conservation at How Grove, Dirtlow Rake, Castleton, Derbyshire - Date: 2002 - Journal Title: Mining History Book Reference - Author: Barnatt, J and Smith, K - Title: The Peak District - 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. Vol.2 Millers Dale to Alport and Dovedale - Date: 2008 Book Reference - Author: Rieuwerts, J. H - Title: Lead Mining in Derbyshire: History, Development and Drainage in 4 vols - Date: 2007 Book Reference - Author: Barnatt, J and Penny, R - Title: The Lead Legacy. The prospects for the Peak Districts Mining Heritage. - Date: 2004 Book Reference - Author: Rieuwerts,J.H. - Title: Lead Mining In Derbyshire: History, Development and Drainage. 4. The area south of the Via Gellia - Date: 2012 Unpublished Title Reference - Author: John Barnatt - Title: Lathkill Dale National Nature Reserve Archaeological Survey - Date: 2005 Article Reference - Author: Barnatt, J - Title: High Rake Mine, Little Hucklow Derbyshire excavation and conservation at an important C19 mine. - Date: 2011 - Journal Title: Mining History Book Reference - Author: Rieuwerts, J - Title: Lead Mining In Derbyshire:History, Development and Drainage - Date: 2010 Unpublished Title Reference - Author: Chitty, G - Title: Monuments Protection Programme: The Lead Industry Step 4 Report - Date: 1995 Unpublished Title Reference - Author: Cranstone, D. - Title: Monuments Protection Programme: The Lead Industry Step 1 Report - Date: 1992 Unpublished Title Reference - Author: Cranstone,D. - Title: Monuments Protection Programme: The Lead Industry Step 3 Report - Date: 1994 Article Reference - Author: Heathcote, C. - Title: The history of Coalpithole Vein in Peak Forest and Chapel-en-le Frith Liberties, Derbshire. 1705-1880. - Date: 2007 - Journal Title: Mining History. National Grid Reference: SK0989781114

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Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: English Heritage. 2013. Scheduling Notification: Coalpithole Rake. List entry no. 1412937. SM Cat. No. 549.



Grid reference Centred SK 0989 8111 (1553m by 514m)
Map sheet SK08SE

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Record last edited

Aug 9 2013 3:37PM

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