This browser is not fully supported by Historic England. Please update your browser to the latest version so that you get the best from our website.

Lead workings in High Tor Recreation Ground

List Entry Summary

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Lead workings in High Tor Recreation Ground

List entry Number: 1009710


The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Derbyshire

District: Derbyshire Dales

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Matlock Town

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 05-Sep-1996

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 24984

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Approximately 10,000 lead industry sites are estimated to survive in England, spanning nearly three millennia of mining history from the later Bronze Age (c.1000 BC) until the present day, though before the Roman period it is likely to have been on a small scale. Two hundred and fifty one lead industry sites, representing approximately 2.5% of the estimated national archaeological resource for the industry, have been identified as being of national importance. This selection of nationally important monuments, compiled and assessed through a comprehensive survey of the lead industry, is designed to represent the industry's chronological depth, technological breadth and regional diversity. Lead rakes are linear mining features along the outcrop of a lead vein resulting from the extraction of relatively shallow ore. They can be broadly divided between: rakes consisting of continuous rock-cut clefts; rakes consisting of lines of interconnecting or closely-spaced shafts with associated spoil tips and other features; and rakes whose surface features were predominantly produced by reprocessing of earlier waste tips (normally in the 19th century). In addition, some sites contain associated features such as coes (miners' huts), gin circles (the circular track used by a horse operating simple winding or pumping machinery), and small-scale ore-dressing areas and structures, often marked by tips of dressing waste. The majority of rake workings are believed to be of 16th-18th century date, but earlier examples are likely to exist, and mining by rock-cut cleft has again become common in the 20th century. Rakes are the main field monuments produced by the earlier and technologically simpler phases of lead mining. They are very common in Derbyshire, where they illustrate the character of mining dominated by regionally distinctive Mining Laws, and moderately common in the Pennine and Mendip orefields; they are rare in other lead mining areas. A sample of the better preserved examples from each region, illustrating the typological range, will merit protection.

The lead workings on High Tor are one of the finest examples nationally of opencut workings, due to their deep and narrow form. They demonstrate very clearly the relationship between geological structure and the form of mine workings. Their shape has allowed the survival of tool marks on the rockfaces (normally destroyed by weathering), and this is one of the few sites where such features are safely accessible to the public.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes a group of rock cut clefts, produced by the mining of lead ore from sub-vertical veins. It lies close to the summit of High Tor, a prominent limestone crag. The two main clefts are `Roman Cave' (running east-west and forming the southern part of the monument) and `Fern Cave' (running north from the western part of `Roman Cave'). Both are 2m-5m wide and up to 20m deep, with surviving tool marks on their sides and small underground workings at their bases. There are smaller clefts adjacent to the west end of Roman Cave, and to the west of the central and northern parts of Fern Cave. Fern Cave terminates to the north as an impressive cleft in the cliff of High Tor, where a spoil heap indicates the site of an adit running beneath the exposed workings. The west end of Roman Cave is separated by an infilled length from the cliff face, but an adit and spoil heap in the cliff confirm the presence of workings throughout this length. Archaeological deposits remain in the infilled length, and in the bases of the clefts, where they may well overlie underground workings. Workings are documented here from the 16th to the 18th centuries; an earlier origin is possible, but there is no evidence for Roman working, despite the popular name. The scheduling excludes modern fences, a wooden kiosk at the east end, and modern tarmac paths, but the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Selected Sources

Typescript to Derbyshire Dales D C, Willies, L, Report on Safety of Mines at the High Tor Grounds, Matlock, (1993)

National Grid Reference: SK 29803 58877


© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1009710 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 19-Jul-2018 at 03:21:49.

End of official listing