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Monument record MDR3058 - Dovegang/Gang Mine, Dark Lane, Cromford

Type and Period (4)

  • (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

  • World Heritage Site Buffer Zone

Full Description

The Dovegang lead mine, centred at SK 285 557, was regarded as 'ancient' in 1652. The vein ran west to east for about half a mile from Milkham Bottom, Middleton to the Cromford-Wirksworth road, flanked by an old packhorse road. 'Gang House' [approx. SK 2855 5571] is referred to in the 17th century and would have been the centre of the mine. A flattened mound at SK 2885 5572 was probably the site of the old engine pit of the 1630s. Other 17th century features of Dovegang which can tentatively be identified were: Forefield Coe [SK 2877 5567]; Little Coe [SK 2877 5562] and Shore Shaft [SK 2888 5565]. (1, 2) The east-west packhorse road passes through old mines from SK 2830 5567 - SK 2892 5564. All the features listed by Authority 1 can be identified. Off the north side of Middleton Green, which used to be called 'The Basin', there is a path leading to a roofless building. 'Middleton Hall' was identified at SK2754615, a crude structure of stone rubble with no dateable features. (3) This area is now crossed by the diversion of the road to Middleton-by-Wirksworth. In the course of reclamation of the spoil heaps south of the new road at least one of the Calver Penny-Brandrix title stones was destroyed. Two more were removed by K Smith for safekeeping from the area north of the road when Anchorcircle commenced removal of heaps in the summer of 1987. An agreement was reached to protect the probable site of the old engine pit and a strip along the south-east edge of Dark Lane. (4) Gang Mine, centred on SK 286 557. Part of this area has been identified in a survey of lead mining sites as being of high priority. Hillocks and opencuts cover virtually the whole area and provide a very good example of this type of multiple-vein mining. There are also several capped shafts, two ruined coes and the site of an early reckoning/'engine' house that may repay excavation. These mines are known to have been working in the 16th century and had a large output in the 17th century. They are historically very important. (5) Test pits and trenches excavated to examine lead mining features in November 2002 (6) were followed by monitoring of an area of quarry extension in 2006, immediately to the east of the area identified as a high priority site. This revealed several features relating to post-medieval lead mining, including five drystone-lined shafts. A number of wooden stakes were seen protruding from the south-east face of one of these shafts. In addition there was a single unlined shaft and a sub oval pit. It is likely that all the five stone-lined shafts were climbing shafts and that the wooden stakes were the remnants of stemples, used for scaling climbing shafts. Stone capping over one shaft matched a description of 1824 of a 'ging', described as a stone beehive built over an abandoned shaft. A topographical survey recorded further earthworks associated with lead mining. These probably represent spoil and waste stone produced during lead mining activities. Few finds were recovered, making it impossible to accurately date the construction and use of the shafts; however, pottery recovered from the topsoil and subsoil was all of 18th to 19th century date. (7. 8) Further recording was carried out in September and October 2007 as part of an archaeological watching brief. A range of features associated with lead mining were identified. A large ridge and two large mounds of mining spoil were selected for particular observation. The ridge was found to consist of redeposited subsoil with dumps of stone; sectioning of one of the mining spoil heaps showed that it was made up of waste derived from several different episodes of mining activity. Fourteen subsurface mining features were uncovered, the majority of which were vertical drystone-lined mine shafts, some including heavily decayed wooden stemples. Only one shaft had capping contemporary with the lead mining activities. A small amount of pottery was recovered, the earliest being a sherd of 18th century mottled ware. (9)

Sources/Archives (9)

  • <1> Article in serial: Kirkham, N. 1953. 'The tumultuous course of Dovegang', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 73, pp 1-35. 1-35 plan.
  • <2> Index: NDAT. 1485. 1485.
  • <3> Personal Observation: F1 BHS 11-MAY-66.
  • <4> Personal Observation: Pers. Comm. SMR Officer 21-SEP-87.
  • <5> Bibliographic reference: Barnatt, J. 2004. An Inventory of Regionally & Nationally Important Lead Mining Sites in the Peak District. Vol. 2: Corpus of Sites. High Priority Site 115, pp 161-162.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Allen, T (ARCUS). 2003. Archaeological Field Evaluation of land at Dene Quarry, Cromford, Derbyshire. SMR Doc. No. 769.
  • <7> Unpublished document: Alexander, D (ARCUS). 2006. Archaeological Watching Brief, Dene Quarry, Cromford, Derbyshire. SMR Doc. No. 911.
  • <8> Article in serial: Alexander, D (ARCUS). 2007. 'Fieldwork in Derbyshire during 2005 by ARCUS: Cromford, Dene Quarry', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 127, pp 104-105.
  • <9> Unpublished document: Baker, K (ARCUS). 2008. Archaeological Watching Brief, Dene Quarry, Cromford, Derbyshire. HER Doc. No. 1273.



Grid reference Centred SK 2869 5577 (534m by 519m) (Centre)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (5)

  • EDR1806
  • EDR1962
  • EDR3784
  • EDR1004
  • EDR2775

Please contact the HER for details.

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Jan 17 2022 11:12AM

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