Skip to main content

Monument record MDR4983 - Stone Edge smelt mill, Belland Lane, Ashover

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)
  • (Georgian to Unknown - 1770 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

The 1st ed. 25" OS map of c. 1880 shows 'Cupola (In ruins)' at approx. SK 334669 and 'Chimany' at SK 33496691. (1) The chimney of Stonedge Cupola is a well-known local landmark. It was probably built at the time of the works about 1770 and as such is the oldest industrial chimney in Britain. The dam was probably built subsequent to the works, to power a bellows used for a small blast furnace to resmelt slag produced in the cupola. (2) The smelting site at Stonedge is probably the most completely preserved example in its original state in Derbyshire. The tall square-built chimney marks the centre of the site. The site plan (see illusration) shows at least two different stages in the development of the works. There is evidence that there were three chimneys at one time. The earliest recorded date for the site is 1783. (3) Stonedge Cupola is described in some detail by Williams & Willies (4). Further evidence suggests that Barker and Wilkinson occupied the cupola as early as 1780. Thus the cupola was built pre-1780 by Twigg and Winchester, then occupied by Barker and Company until 1807 and Sykes Milnes and Company until 1830. The slag mill was probably built soon after their takeover, as it was not mentioned in the Barker Accounts of c. 1807. The dam would probably be built at the same date. This is supported, if not proved, by the map evidence. In 1831 it is listed as belonging to William and Charles Milnes, and it probably closed when Milnes acquired Meerbrook in the 1840s. It was definitely closed in 1852. The site has the remains of flues, furnaces and a fine chimney and there is much slag and ash. (5) SK 334670. Stone Edge Smelt. Scheduled as an industrial monument. (6) Scheduling reviewed and affirmed, June 2002 (7) Stone Edge Cupola, built circa 1760, and rebuilt around 1810-1830. The chimney is a prominent landmark and is one of a number of remains in the area of the mid-18th-mid-19th century smelting works. A dam and other water works remain. (8) The remains of an 18th century lead smelting site distinguished by a tall stone chimney, one of the earliest surviving industrial chimneys in Britain. The chimney stands amongst a series of horizontal condensing flues, which are stone lined. Also visible on the site is a dam which provided water power to operate a slag mill hearth bellows, the slag mill being used to refine a proportion of the slag from the cupola on the site. (9) Site visited on November 22 2002 as part of Hunter Archaeological Society SAM Monitoring Scheme. No serious problems noted (10) In the course of repairs in the early 1980s, the opportunity was taken to excavate and probe around the base of the chimney, thought to stand where maps suggest it was first placed, in around 1771. A combination of maps, documents and a description by Farey (1811) show the site had four cupola furnaces at its height, cased in a barn-like building, on the southeast side of the chimney, linked to it by a short flue. However, upon examination of the chimney base, the arched flue entrance was found to be on the opposite side to that expected. This had been blocked off and two new openings had been crudely made, one at the southwest side, the other where the first flue would have been expected to have entered, except that its flue trenches cut through the site of the earlier barn-like building and were not otherwise related to it. The chimney is clearly older than the two secondary flues as it has been divided internally. The later flues can be dated to the period when a Spanish slag hearth was installed, ie c. 1850. These findings raise a number of questions, including the date of the chimney and the possibility that there was an even earlier set of furnaces, pre-1811. (11)

Sources/Archives (11)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). 1882. OS County Series, 1st edition, scale 1:2500 (c. 25" to one mile). Sheet XXIV.16.
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: Parker H M and Willies L M. 1979. Peakland Lead Mines and Miners. p77.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: Ford, T & Rieuwerts, J. 1975. Lead Mining in the Peak District, 2nd edition. pp 118-120, plan fig..
  • <4> Article in serial: Williams, C J & Willies, L. 1968. 'Stone Edge Cupola', Bulletin of the Peak District Mines Historical Society. Part 6, pp 315-322.
  • <5> Article in serial: Willies, L. 1969. 'Cupola lead smelting sites in Derbyshire, 1737-1900', Bulletin of the Peak District Mines Historical Society. Vol. 4, part 1.
  • <6> Scheduling record: Department of the Environment. 1978. DOE (IAM) AMs Eng. 3.
  • <7> Scheduling record: English Heritage. 2002. Scheduling Notice: Stone Edge smelt mill at Moss Farm. 24983. Cat. No. 232.
  • <8> Index: NDAT. 0109. 0109.
  • <9> Index: Council for British Archaeology (CBA). CBA Industrial Archaeology Report Card.
  • <10> Personal Observation: Hunter Archaeological Society. 2002. Hunter Archaeological Society SAM Monitoring Scheme. M Lawrie.
  • <11> Bibliographic reference: Willies, L. 1992. 'Problems in the interpretation of cupola lead smelting sites', in Boles & Smeltmills, eds. L Willies & D Cranstone. pp 40-42.



Grid reference Centred SK 33478 66980 (161m by 220m)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • EDR1619

Please contact the HER for details.

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Jun 9 2021 12:43PM

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.