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Monument record MDR4869 - Wigwell Brick and Tile Works (site of), King's Lot, Wirksworth

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

SK 325549 Wigwell Brickworks. Remains of Wigwell Brick and Tile Works dating to the 19th century. Consists of 2 beehive kilns and workshop buildings. The works stand alongside the Mere Brook, north-east of Whatstandwell Bridge, on the Wirksworth road. The kilns are in poor condition, but the characteristic shape and location of the fire holes may still be discerned. The ruins of the workshop area lay to the south of the site, (1974). The better preserved kiln measures 6m (18ft) by 4m (12ft) at the apex, with 12 fire-holes. (1, 2) Wigwell Brick and Tile Works. In 1975 the site consisted of ruined buildings and a 'very fine' kiln with entrance and stoke holes and a domed interior. Although the outside of the kiln was overgrown with quite mature trees, it was in good condition inside, although it was used as a shelter by cows. In 1980 the kiln was put forward as a candidate for scheduling as it was under threat following clearance of the surrounding land and of some of its protective overgrowth. The beehive kiln was described at that time as having lost some of its outer 'skin' but as having a sound internal skin, the surface of which was completely 'glazed' as a result of the burning process. There were several firing points around the perimeter at ground level and a central circular vent at the top. Its date was not known, but it may have been the kiln mentioned by Farey in 1811 as follows: 'Improved bricks, draining tiles and pipe bricks are manufactured from local clay at Wirksworth Brick Kiln 3/4 mile east of the town'. However, the scheduling was refused and the kiln was finally demolished in the autumn of 1989. The kiln was photographed in 1975, 1979 and late 1989 following demolition. (3) At 'Alderwasley' (i.e. above Whatstandwell) there was the 19th century operation of Wigwell Brick and Tile Works which had a number of small beehive kilns which were only destroyed about 20 years ago. This worked material between the Ashover and Chatsworth Grits. It depended on local coal and the mudstone used had a lime content which promoted self-glazing of the surfaces. (4)

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Index: NDAT. NDAT (no specific reference).
  • <2> Index: Council for British Archaeology (CBA). CBA Industrial Archaeology Report Card. Wigwell Brick and Tile works.
  • <3> Unpublished document: County Treasure Recording Form. 10(i).1, with photos.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Thomas, I (National Stone Centre). 2012. The Lower Derwent Valley: The Exploitation and Use of Historic Building Materials. p 22.



Grid reference Centred SK 324 550 (100m by 100m) (Approximate)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

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Record last edited

Feb 1 2013 2:32PM

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