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Monument record MDR11086 - Whitecoal Pits, Hag Wood, Barlow

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

Whitecoal Pits, Hag Wood. Site of whitecoal pits. The area around Hag Wood and Moorhall in the northern part of Barlow is just one example of a ubiquitous feature in wooded areas of Barlow and Dronfield, namely shallow depressions which mark the site of pits for the making of whitecoal - dried wood used in the lead smelting industry. (1) One pit was excavated by Derbyshire Archaeological Society's Industrial Archaeology Section between spring 1986 and summer 1987. The pit was roughly circular with an area of approx. 16 sq m. The hearth was located approx. 165-170cm below the surface and was distinguishable as an area of hardened baked clay with a clear reddish tinge. It was found to overlie bedrock. There was no evidence for anything other than natural drainage from the pit. The areas above the edges of the hearth were particularly rich in carbonaceous materials, ie charcoal, unburnt coal and coke. The spout of the kiln was downslope at the northern end. It was concluded that the last processes for which the pit was used involved the burning of considerable quantities of coal and that it was questionable whether the making of a coal fire over which wood was dried on racks as in the whitecoal making process would generate heat of sufficient intensity to produce the reddish-coloured baked clay hearth. It was concluded that while the production of whitecoal in the early 17th century may have been the original purpose of the pit, it had probably been re-used for other purposes when the market for whitecoal collapsed in the later decades of the 17th century. (2, 3)

Sources/Archives (3)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Fowkes, D. 2000. Derbyshire Industrial Archaeology. Part V. North East Derbyshire. P.27.
  • <2> Article in serial: Franklin, G. 1991. '"Q" Holes', Transactions of the Hunter Archaeological Society. Volume 16, pp 7-15.
  • <3> Article in serial: Fowkes, D. 1992. 'Excavation of whitecoal pit at Hag Wood, Barlow, 1986-87', Derbyshire Miscellany. Volume 13, part 1, pp 2-8.



Grid reference Centred SK 31418 75298 (149m by 214m)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • EDR2340

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External Links (0)

Record last edited

Feb 8 2011 2:57PM

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