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Monument record MDR7759 - Gratton Dale lead mines, Gratton Dale, Elton

Type and Period (9)

  • (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

The monument includes Rath Rake, Cowlica Rake, Dunnington, Hardbeat, Hardwork and Gatcliffe lead mines. The monument is situated immediately east of Gratton Dale to the south west of Elton village and is defined by two areas of protection. The lead mining operations were carried out in ore bodies contained within Monsal Dale and Bee Low Limestones. It is unclear when the mines were first worked but Roman brooches and pins, found in surface workings at Cowlica Rake and Hardbeat mines in the mid-19th century, suggest very early origins. Later surface workings took place from the 17th century with underground workings recorded in the early 19th century. Dunnington mines is documented from at least 1641 when it is recorded that the mines were in possession of Thomas Staley and Partners. The monument includes a concentration of surface remains which is probably unique in the ore field. They survive as a series of earthwork, buried, standing and rock cut features which include bell pits, open cuts, ruined coes, buddling dams, rakes, hillocks, an adit, a sough, shafts and other ore extraction and processing features. Dunnington Mines are centred at national grid reference SK20876040 and are extensive, characterised by a concentration of open cut shafts, some of which are contained within ruined coes. An adit in the south west of the area provides an entrance into the flat working. At grid reference SK21176036 is a large buddle dam which measures approximately 65 metres long, 45 metres wide and stands to a height of up to 9 metres. Erosion scars on the sides of the dam show it to be constructed of a mixture of stone, clay and sludge from the ore washing process. The second area of protection is centred at grid reference SK21196062 and encompasses the remains of Rath Rake, Cowlica Rake, Hardbeat, Hardwork and Gatcliffe lead mines. Rath Rake runs east to west across the northern end of this area and is marked by a line of hillocks which follow the line of the vein. In the mid-17th century an agreement was made to sink two engine pits into Rath Rake and although one pit was sunk no engine was installed because water could not be drained away. As a result a sough was driven from Gratton Dale to an intersection with Rath Rake, a task which was carried out between 1655 and 1665. The sough was continued west along the rake for a further 800 feet (244 metres). Centred at grid reference SK21166064 are three large opencast workings two of which exploited a near surface flat work. The third hollow is more rounded and is probably the result of both exploitation of the flat work and the removal of discarded waste for buddling in the 19th century. Cowlica Rake, which is marked by a line of hillocks, crosses the third hollow and it was from here, and the adjacent Hardbeat mine, that Roman brooches were recovered. Running across the south western end of the area of protection, and aligned north west to south east, is a closely spaced cluster of bell pits. The exploitation of this area was so intense that in places the spoil from later shafts has partly obliterated the spoil from earlier ones. Also included in the easternmost area of protection is a concentration of at least nine buddle dams of varying size and construction. Such a concentration indicates the intensity of the workings in this area particularly during the early 19th century. Most of the dams are sub-rectangular in plan and survive to a height of up to 2½ metres. Two dams centred at grid reference SK21186054 are unusual in as much as they are very narrow but measure approximately 55 metres in length. Associated with the dams are a variety of buddles and water channels which would have served as water management features supplying the buddles. A small ruinous building located at grid reference SK21266046 is physically associated with a number of hillocks and other mining remains. The physical relationship and the close proximity of the building to the buddle dams indicates its involvement in at least the 19th century operations. On the first edition Ordnance Survey map the building is marked as Hungerhill Farm and even today the access track is still known as Hungerhill Lane. In the very early 19th century a silver deposit was reputedly discovered in the vicinity of Hungerhill Farm. (1) Photograph. (2) In 1978 the area was mapped by a WEA course. (3) This area has been recognised as a high priority region of lead mining. There are extensive well-preserved pipe and vein working hillocks and opencuts, with a number of capped shafts. In places there are large opencast-type workings, presumably in pipes or flats, and one area has a large number of near-contiguous shaft hillocks, which suggest flat or pipe works were mined below surface in 'bell-pit' fashion; exploration of one open shaft here supports this interpretation. Surface features include several buddle dams (some large) associated with 19th century hillock reworking, one with two barrow runs, several ore-dressing pits, a possible pond, two water leats or trunk buddles, three probable/possible gin circles, a ruined circular coe or walled shaft and two mine (or agricultural) buildings on Rath Rake which are presumably large coes. (5) Site monitoring has been carried out. There appear to be some threats to the site. (6) An extensive area of linear bell pitting dating back possibly to the Roman period. Another open quarry-like working, could also be of Roman date. A Roman brooch in the Lucas Collection, British Museum, has been provenanced to Coweica Rake mine which crosses this area. Site worked underground between 17th and early 19th centuries. Around 1810 there was extensive and large-scale rewashing of the waste heaps for low grade ore previously discarded. (7)

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Scheduling record: English Heritage. 2000. Scheduling Notification: Lead Mines 600m and 980m west of Oddo House Farm. 29975. Cat. No.: 502.
  • <2> Photograph: Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA). 1998-2001. Peak District National Park Authority Farm Surveys.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: Hill, R (PPJPB). 1985. Peak Park Treasures. C104/ 16.1.1978.
  • <4> Bibliographic reference: Ward, J. 1905. 'Early Man', The Victoria County History, Derbyshire, Volume 1. p229, 389.
  • <5> Bibliographic reference: Barnatt, J. 2004. An Inventory of Regionally & Nationally Important Lead Mining Sites in the Peak District. Vol. 2: Corpus of Sites. pp 118-119, illus, site no. 87.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Burrow, L (PDNPA). 2008. Scheduled Monument Monitoring Form: lead mines 600m & 980m sw of Oddo House Farm.
  • <7> Index: Peak Park sites and monuments record: Gratton Dale lead mines.



Grid reference Centred SK 21224 60619 (806m by 594m)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • EDR3235

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External Links (0)

Record last edited

May 20 2015 8:36AM

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