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Site record MDR4060 - Site of Red Rake Mine and Newburgh Level, Calver

Type and Period (2)

  • (Victorian - 1851 AD to 1879 AD?)
  • (Victorian - 1851 AD to 1879 AD?)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

This is one of the few soughs with a dated keystone. The entrance has been preserved by the Peak District Mines Historical Society. The interior is run-in within a few yards. (1, 2). The Newburgh Level is one of the few dated levels in Derbyshire. It bears the inscription NL October 27 1851. (3) The Red Rake or Newburgh Level is often mistakenly referred to as a sough, but was actually planned by the North Derbyshire United Mining Co. as a haulage level for Red Rake, Cat or Catsal Rake, Dog Rake and other smaller veins in Northcliffe Wood. (4) A sough south of Calver, built of gritstone with the interior lined with limestone. The keystone over the entrance is dated 1851. (5) An extensive area around the site has been cleared and tidied by the site owners (Laportes Ltd.), including the capping of shafts upslope from the Level. No apparent damage was done to the Level, based on a visual inspection of the entrance and tail only. (6) The main remaining interest is the fine drystone arched Newburgh Level, with an 1851 datestone, that was used for haulage rather than being a sough despite being commonly called Red Rake Sough. There is also a roofless stone building that was part of the mine complex. Extensive associated hillocks and other features have been reworked or removed. (7) Photographic record. (8-10) Lead-mining drainage sough known as the Newburgh Level emerging through a stone arch inscribed 'N.L. October 1851.' Nearby is a corrugated iron building over a mine shaft and a flat area which was probably an ore-dressing floor. (11) From the National Heritage List for England: 'Summary of Monument Adit portal and stone-lined approach of the Newburgh Level. Reasons for Designation The Newburgh Level at Red Rake Mine, dating from the C19, is scheduled for the following principal reasons: * Rarity: it is a rare survival of a dated adit portal. The dated keystone gives it an intrinsic significance as many of the features in mining complexes are difficult to date with any accuracy; * Survival: it is a very well-preserved feature that survives in good condition: the dated keystone is clearly legible and the stone-lined trackway has also survived well. 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, p. 49). Medieval mining is almost equally elusive in the archaeological record, although there are two major pieces of evidence from this period 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 medieval times 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 made 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. To control mining, mineral courts were set up with a Steward and Barmaster representing the Duchy and a Grand Jury of 24 men (12 since 1851-52) appointed for six months to control each of the different areas. The laws were not fully listed until the mid-C17 when Thomas Manlove, a Barmoot Steward, wrote them down 'in metre', and they were formalised in 1851-52. The court still sits regularly 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; most if not all would have been worked opencast (veins which were worked from the surface to a depth of c30-40 feet) and would eventually have gone further underground. 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. 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. 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 advance. 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 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. 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. Red Rake Mine was first worked in the C19, although it is shown as ‘disused’ by the time of the publication of the 1879 Ordnance Survey (OS) map. The map shows a relatively small site consisting of a shaft and an adit portal to the east. An adit is a horizontal tunnel giving access to a mine for haulage and/or drainage. A straight track runs eastwards from the portal, terminating in a circular feature which has been interpreted as possibly a pond, rather than a dressing circle (J. Barnatt 2012, pers. comm). To the north are two buildings and another circular feature. The adit portal, also known as the Newburgh Level, was constructed in 1851 by the North Derbyshire United Mining Company as a haulage level for Red Rake, Cat or Catsal Rake, Dog Rake and other smaller veins in Northcliffe Wood. It is often mistakenly referred to as a sough because water now drains from it. The vein was reworked in the early C20 for the extraction of fluorspar, lead and barites. The stone building to the east of the portal, which formed part of the mine complex, is roofless; and associated hillocks and other features have been reworked or removed. The ruined concrete and corrugated iron structures to the south-east are not contemporary. The portal has been preserved by the Peak District Mines Historical Society. It was noted in 1976 that the stone-lined entrance had recently been cleaned and repaired in places. . Details The scheduled area lies within a former mining landscape in the Peak District National Park, 0.7km south of the village of Calver, and centred at grid reference SK2386074050. The monument survives as a series of earthworks, buried deposits and standing features including the adit portal, stone-lined approach and buried remains of the Newburgh Level. The drystone arched portal is built of gritstone, whilst the interior and approach channel is lined with limestone rubble. The voussoirs of the arch are dressed and the raised, wedge-shaped keystone is clearly inscribed with ‘N.L. October 27 1851’. The letters ‘N.L’ stand for its name of Newburgh Level. The channel runs in a straight line eastwards from the portal, gradually sloping upwards to ground level. During the English Heritage inspection of 2012 the channel was filled with shallow water. On the north side a shallow bank curves round the north-west corner of the portal. The area measures approximately 13m east-west and 6m north-south. EXTENT OF SCHEDULING The area of protection includes the adit portal and stone-lined approach of the Newburgh Level, and the shallow bank on the north and west sides.' (12)

Sources/Archives (12)

  • <1> Verbal communication: Willies, L. 1970. Pers. Comm..
  • <2> Index: Rieuwerts, J. 1970. Peak Park Treasures: C1.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: 1975. Council of British Archaeology Panel on Industrial Monuments.
  • <4> Article in monograph: Rieuwerts, J. 1987. History & Gazetteer of the Lead Mine Soughs of Derbyshire. p35.
  • <5> Index: NDAT. 0567. 0567.
  • <6> Personal Observation: Smith, K. 1990. Personal communications regarding mines and coin finds in the Peak District. 29.7.1990.
  • <7> Bibliographic reference: Barnatt, J. 2004. An Inventory of Regionally & Nationally Important Lead Mining Sites in the Peak District. Vol. 2: Corpus of Sites. No. 48, p70.
  • <8> Photograph: Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA). Photo 534.16-8.
  • <9> Photograph: Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA). Black and white photograph collection. 1983/90: 474.7-10.
  • <10> Photograph: Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA). Slide Collection. 1983/90: 3105.1-10.
  • <11> Bibliographic reference: Fowkes, D (ed.). 1997. Derbyshire Industrial Archaeology. A Gazetteer of Sites. Part IV. Derbyshire Dales.
  • <12> Listed Building File: Historic England. 2011. The National Heritage List for England.



Grid reference SK 2386 7405 (point)

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Record last edited

Jun 25 2018 12:09PM

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