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Monument record MDR541 - Coalpithole rake, north of Gautries Hill, Peak Forest and Chapel-en-le-Frith

Type and Period (8)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

At SK 092 813 are the remains of lead mining at Coalpithole Mine. (1) In 1951 and 1952 the British Speleological Association undertook a systematic exploratory survey of the Coalpithole Rake. This commenced with a topographical survey of the shafts along the rake. One of these, a 'large shaft set on a spar heap' which they called Rake Shaft, was chosen for a descent using a hand-powered winch with 300ft of cable and an additional length of rope ladder hanging below the winch seat. Some 20ft of the latter was found to be necessary to reach the bottom. In descending, six openings were noted in the shaft walls as follows: at 200ft, 230ft, 237ft, 263ft, 273ft and 286ft. The bottom level was at 320ft, and partly under water. A second shaft, which they called Veer Shaft, was also explored as was, in 1958, No. 1 shaft in the garden of Mine Cottage in Perrydale. (2) Coalpithole Rake was initially worked at its eastern end on Gautries Hill, near Perrydale, where the vein would be relatively accessible on the hillside. Later it was possible to work the vein farther west beneath the relatively low ground, making use of a natural underground swallow, and ultimately pumping engines, for draining purposes. Finally, the mine was driven still further west beneath the shale covering and into a richly mineralised ground which remained unexploited at the closing of the mine. The first record of the mine comes from 1760, although it is likely that the vein was worked in earlier times, perhaps as opencast workings. Late 18th century documents give the amount of ore measured in the 1760s and 1770s and also record a number of disputes at the mine. Mining appears to have continued to some extent during the first half of the 19th century, but not extensively because the Peak Forest Mining Company, formed in 1858, had to begin by reopening a number of the old shafts and workings. The same year a blacksmith's shop was erected on the surface, and the following year more land was obtained for the erection of further mine buildings and for an Ore House. (3) The Peak Forest Mining Company commenced operations in 1858 to re-work the Coalpithole Mine. This venture was financed largely by Sheffield businessmen, but closed in the 1880s. The Company spent a good deal of money sinking new shafts and erecting pumping and winding machinery. The pumping shaft (SK098 813), over 400 feet deep, was at the side of the road at Perryfoot, and another very deep shaft, reputedly 110 fathoms in depth, was sunk through a considerable thickness of shale at the western extremity of the vein. The mine was one of the few to have a steam winding engine, made by Bray & Co, Leeds, originally for Brightside Mine, Hassop. It was a horizontal engine used for pumping as well as winding. In 1870 it was sold to the Peak Forest Mining Co for £188. (4) Disturbed ground is visible around the former shafts of Coalpithole Lead Mine. (5) Coalpithole Dale is a south-west extension of Walts Grove vein (11629). Westward, the vein disappears under Edale and working Low. It was abandoned in the 1890's when it was 600ft deep. The mine was worked as early as 1705 but there are no details. It was particularly active in the second half of the 18th century when is was being extended. At this time, two water wheels, 24 ft in diameter and a Newcomen fire [??] engine were operational. The depth of the mining reached is unknown. During the mid 19th century it was reopened and worked on a fairly large scale by the Peak Forest Mining Company. There was no sough at this mine. The 40 fathom house at Swallow level, three quarters of a mile west from a swallowhole, was used by the Peak Forest Mining Co. as a pumpway for water for lower workings. It may have been driven in the late 18th century and be contemporary with the water wheels and Newcomen engine. (6) Coalpithole Lead Mine has a large shaft, which is three metres by four metres in size, and 30 metres to water. Ginging at the top of the shaft is disturbed and slightly fallen in. There is some four to five metres of ginging to the limestone. It has been suggested that a shaft of such size would have been an engine shaft. A nick in the west, wide of the ginging, might be where the pump rods descended. A stone flagged area to the south was the site of a boiler house and a brick flue ran west up hill slopes to a remote chimney. The site is generally denuded. Derbyshire County Council proposed to grille the shaft in the winter of 1988 to 1989. (7) Coalpithole is a large mining complex along a rake vein, including a series of shafts with associated dressing floors and other processing sites within a large belland yard. Major exploitation at depth took place in the 19th century; shallower working undoubtedly took place in the 17th and 18th centuries and perhaps earlier. (9) A rise in the price of lead in the late 1930s led to a re-examination of various lead mining prospects in Derbyshire and elsewhere. One such prospect was Coalpithole Mine, where initial enquiries were made in 1935 as to the feasibility of reopening the mine, using electrical pumping apparatus to overcome the problem of water. However, it appears that the project was dropped in early 1937, probably due to the large amount of money that would have been required. (10) Surface interest to the east includes hillocks, an opencut, several dressing floors, two probable gin circles, slime ponds and a probable dew pond. Near the eastern end is the occupied manager's house. Underground interest is provided by deep shafts. West of the road are two engine shafts, at on of which is an engine house and/or associated buildings. Nearby is a large dam and leat, possibly the reservoir for the 18th century waterwheel pumps or possibly constructed as flood control in the 1860s. (11) The earliest known record of mining activity at Coalpithole is from 1705, when the sum of £17-11-6 was lost at 'Cole Pit Hole'. However, mining along the outcrop of such a major rake must have been in progress for many years previously. Ore output was never large. During the years 1752 to 1777, average annual production ranged from 54 loads to 240 loads; the 26 year period saw only 3535 loads of ore taken from the mine, an amount considered to represent a small to medium operation. Despite the moderate output, the proprietors considered that payable reserved lay further down-dip towards the south-west. A Newcomen Fire-engine had been installed by 1783 but was probably too small for purpose and by 1784 water power was being utilised to try and solve the pumping problems. The dam that served the water wheels still exists and has recently been re-filled with water. Despite the installation of the Fire Engine and Water Wheels, little ore was obtained and from 1796 until 1857, immediately previous to the mine being reopened by the Peak Forest Mining Company, only 42 loads and 2 dishes were measured in 61 years. The Peak Forest Mining Company was formed in 1858 and was owned mainly by a consortium of Sheffield businessmen. They reopened and widened shafts and sank a new shaft at the westernmost end of the vein, where they installed a dual purpose winding and pumping engine. Although ore production was negligible at first, large outputs were achieved between 1865 and 1875. Unfortunately output began to decline in 1875 and the mine ceased work in 1880. (12) Parts of the rake were scheduled in March 2013. There are two separate scheduled areas, the main area of protection extending along the rake and including numerous shafts, belland yard walls, gin circles, dressing floors, water storage and settling ponds, extensive hillocks, a long open cut and lengths of trackway. The smaller area of protection is associated with no. 10 shaft to the east of Rushup Farm. See the scheduling record for a full description. (13)

Sources/Archives (13)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Harris, H. 1971. Industrial Archaeology of the Peak District. p 197.
  • <2> Article in serial: Salmon, L B. 1963. 'Coalpithole Rake', Cave Science. Volume 5, pp 36-53.
  • <3> Article in serial: Crabtree, P. 1967. 'The Peak Forest Mines - Part I. The Development of Coalpithole Mine', Cave Science. Volume 6, No. 42, pp 43-61.
  • <4> Bibliographic reference: Ford, T & Rieuwerts, J. 1983. Lead Mining in the Peak District, 3rd edition. p 44.
  • <5> Bibliographic reference: Fowkes, D. 1984. Derbyshire Industrial Archaeology - A Gazetteer of Sites. Part I. Borough of High Peak. p 13.
  • <6> Article in monograph: Rieuwerts, J. 1987. History & Gazetteer of the Lead Mine Soughs of Derbyshire. p 7.
  • <7> Personal Observation: Smith, K. 1989. Personal observation following site visit etc.. 12/01/1989.
  • <8> Index: North Derbyshire Archaeological Trust (NDAT). North Derbyshire Archaeological Trust Index. 0618, 0626.
  • <9> Unpublished document: Ullathorne, A (PDNPA). 2001. Perryfoot Farm, Peak Forest, Derbyshire, archaeological survey, 2004. No. 5, p 3.
  • <10> Article in serial: Williams, D. 2003. 'An attempt in 1935-37 to rework Coalpithole Mine, Peak Forest, Derbyshire', Mining History: The Bulletin of the Peak District Mines Historical Society. Volume 15, No. 3, pp 22-25.
  • <11> Bibliographic reference: Barnatt, J. 2004. An Inventory of Regionally & Nationally Important Lead Mining Sites in the Peak District. Vol. 2: Corpus of Sites. No. 10, pp 20-21.
  • <12> Bibliographic reference: Rieuwerts, J. 2007. Lead Mining in Derbyshire. History, Development and Draining. Vol. 1: Castleton to the River Wye. pp 73-79.
  • <13> Scheduling record: English Heritage. 2013. Scheduling Notification: Coalpithole Rake. List entry no. 1412937.



Grid reference Centred SK 0987 8113 (1447m by 518m) (Centre)

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Record last edited

Jul 13 2015 11:18AM

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