Pre-industrial Lime Kilns
Introductions to Heritage Assets
An introduction to pre-industrial lime kilns.
A lime kiln was a structure used to manufacture lime (calcium oxide) by burning calcium carbonate at temperatures above 900°C. The calcium carbonate burned (or ‘calcined’) was commonly limestone or chalk, but occasionally other materials such as oyster or egg shells were used.
Lime burning appears to have been a new technology introduced by the Romans and there is no evidence to suggest that there were any lime kilns in England before the Roman period. Most lime kilns were established to provide lime for use in the construction of adjacent buildings for which they provided lime, usually for mortar. The presence of a kiln therefore suggests that a mortared structure lies in the immediate vicinity.
Descriptions of the asset type, its development and associations along with a brief chronology are included.
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