Lime burning at this location is firmly documented from the mid 17th century and was probably operating from much earlier. From 1662 the land was owned by the Duke of Devonshire and leased out for lime burning. Coal was brought from Axe Edge and Goyts Moss, a detached part of the Cheshire coalfield about 2 miles distant. Grin was described in 1704 as being 'cover'd with Lime Kilns', indicating that by the beginning of the 18th century it had already been producing lime for a long period. In addition to lime burning, the hill was also used for habitation by some quarrymen. A simple but very poor form of housing was created by hollowing out ancient lime-ash tips which had become hard through carbonation. Due to increased standards of sanitation the limehouses had by the mid-19th century become a social disgrace. There were still three in Burbage, recorded in the 1841 and 1851 censuses; their occupants were later rehoused in new cottages. Production of lime continued into the mid-19th century but became concentrated in a new large quarry to the south after c. 1857 [see SMR 31155]. Late 19th century OS maps show the site of the earlier kilns as 'Grin Plantation'. The Grin Hill lime burning site today consists of an extensive complex of large earthen lime kilns (about 130) dating from the 17th through to the 19th century, with associated quarries. The woods on the north-east side were acquired from the Duke of Devonshire in April 1970 and turned into the Buxton Country Park centred upon Pooles Cavern. The large quarry [see SMR 31155] and the remainder of the hill were acquired by Derbyshire County Council. (1)
Assessment of the area in 1996 as part of the Monuments Protection Programme assessed the site as being of 'Exceptional national importance as an example of a relict post medieval lime burning landscape of earthen kilns'. (2)
An earthwork survey was carried out in a small part of this area in 2011, along the line of a proposed multi-user trail. Its construction is likely to remove the majority of one ash waste heap and to have a minor impact on four further heaps. (3)
Earthen or earth and stone kilns which are prevalent on the limestone uplands, particularly in Derbyshire, are less recognisable and understood than their 13th century limekiln counterparts. Whilst they were large earth and stone kilns over 25 feet high at Grin Hill near Buxton being used for industrial purposes, they are more usually associated with the production of agricultural lime and play a significant role in enclosure and improvement of land. (4)
Article in serial: Leach, J. 1996. 'Grin Hill, Buxton, a major Derbyshire limestone quarry', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Vol. 116, pp 101-134.
Bibliographic reference: Trueman, M. 1997. Monuments Protection Programme, Step 3 Report: Lime, Cement and Plaster Industries- Site Assessment. Site 2.
Unpublished document: Stenton, M (ArcHeritage). 2011. Multi-User Trail, Grin Low Woods, Derbyshire: Cultural Heritage Statement. HER Doc. No. 1474.
Article in serial: Leach, J. 1995. 'Burning lime in Derbyshire pye kilns', Industrial Archaeology Review.
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Centred SK 050 719 (1525m by 1480m) (Approximate)
BUXTON, HIGH PEAK, DERBYSHIRE
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Record last edited
Nov 27 2015 3:39PM
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