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Scheduled Monument record MDR3141 - Roman Cave, High Tor, Matlock Town

Type and Period (1)

  • (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

Roman Cave joins the southern end of Fern Cave at right angles and runs for about 210m (700ft). Lead was mined from it in the 17th and 18th centuries. Part of a larger scheduled area of lead workings [SMR 10057] in High Tor Recreation Ground. The cleft is 2-5m wide, 20m deep, with surviving tool marks on the sides and small underground workings at the bottom. There are smaller clefts adjacent to the western end. (1 ). Roman Cave is a vertical-sided opencut which at floor level is normally between 1m and 2m wide. While the western parts are only up to 7m deep, in its eastern section this increases to 10m. In total it is 157m long. The opencuts mostly lie within open woodland and daylight penetrates throughout. At the western end the two vein branches can both be easily descended down gently-sloping floors. Just before where they meet there is a narrow 'side' working between the two branches. At the junction the opencut is atypically wide, at up to 4m across. Here a flight of steps leads up into Fern Cave [SMR 10046], while a steep flight nearly opposite runs southwards up a backfilled vein work and leads back to surface. Nearby there are two narrow side workings that have largely been backfilled and beyond are further branch veins and small workings. The way eastwards along the deep main opencut is under an overhang where the vein takes a spectacular vertical twist. Beyond, the walls gradually become lower as the opencut comes to an end. Both Fern and Roman Caves include interesting geological and mineralogical details and a wealth of archaeological features, such as notches for wooden supports known as stemples, sooting from early firesetting and scars from gunpowder blasting. These were recorded in detail as part of an archaeological survey carried out in 2006. (2)

Sources/Archives (2)

  • <1> Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1996. Scheduling Notification: Lead Workings in High Tor Recreation Ground. 24984. 376. Cat. No. 376.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Barnatt, J and T Worthington (PDNPA). 2006. A Detailed Archaeological Assessment of Fern and Roman Caves, High Tor Rake and Hard Rake, High Tor, Matlock Bath.



Grid reference Centred SK 298 588 (192m by 74m) (Approximate)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • EDR2574

Please contact the HER for details.

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Feb 27 2020 8:28PM

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