Hogget Gill lead smelting mill, water management system and wood drying kiln


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015653

Date first listed: 02-Jan-1976

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Apr-1997


Ordnance survey map of Hogget Gill lead smelting mill, water management system and wood drying kiln
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Eden (District Authority)

Parish: Patterdale

National Park: LAKE DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: NY 38850 11182


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. Ore hearth smelt mills were introduced in the 16th century and continued to develop until the late 19th century. They were the normal type of lead smelter until the 18th century, when they were partially replaced by the reverberatory smelt mill. The ore hearth itself consisted of a low open hearth, in which lead ore was mixed with fuel (initially dried wood, later a mixture of peat and coal). An air blast was supplied by bellows, normally operated by a waterwheel; more sophisticated arrangements were used at some 19th century sites. The slags from the ore hearth still contained some lead. This was extracted by resmelting the slags at a higher temperature using charcoal or (later) coke fuel, normally in a separate slag hearth. This was typically within the ore hearth smelt mill, though separate slag mills are known. Early sites were typically small and simple buildings with one or two hearths, whereas late 18th and 19th century smelt mills were often large complexes containing several ore and slag hearths, roasting furnaces for preparing the ore, refining furnaces for extracting silver from the lead by a process known as cupellation, and reducing furnaces for recovering lead from the residue or litharge produced by cupellation, together with sometimes complex systems of flues, condensers and chimneys for recovering lead from the fumes given off by the various hearths and furnaces. The ore hearth smelt mill site will also contain fuel stores and other ancillary buildings. Ore hearth smelt mills have existed in and near all the lead mining fields of England, though late 18th and 19th century examples were virtually confined to the Pennines from Yorkshire northwards (and surviving evidence is strongly concentrated in North Yorkshire). It is believed that several hundred examples existed nationally. The sample identified as meriting protection includes: all sites with surviving evidence of hearths; sites with intact slag tips of importance for understanding the development of smelting technology; all 16th- 17th century sites with appreciable standing structural remains; 16th-17th century sites with well preserved earthwork remains; and a more selective sample of 18th and 19th century sites to include the best surviving evidence for smelt mill structures, and flue/condenser/chimney systems.

Despite being a ruin, Hogget Gill lead smelting mill survives reasonably well and is a rare example of a late 17th to early 18th century smelt mill which retains its smelting hearth. The monument contains a variety of integral components including slag deposits, a wood drying kiln, a wheelpit, launder supports, millponds, a millrace, a tailrace and an overflow channel, and the whole complex is a very good example of this class of monument.


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


The monument includes the late 17th to early 18th century Hogget Gill lead smelting mill, the mill's water management system, and a wood drying kiln. It is located on the east side of Hogget Gill approximately 1.3km south west of Hartsop Hall and includes the remains of a smelt mill with attached wheelpit, two millponds, an overflow channel, a headrace, the remains of launder pillars, a slag tip, and a wood drying kiln. The smelt mill building survives as a rectangular structure of drywalled slate measuring c.9m by 5m internally with walls up to 1.5m high. There are two openings; one at the north end of the west wall, the other towards the south end of the east wall. Internally the building is divided by a cross-wall with traces of a smelting hearth defined by two upright stones on the north side of this wall. The outline of a wheelpit is visible on the building's south east side and traces of an arch in the smelt mill's cross-wall suggest there was an extension of the wheel shaft to operate a set of bellows in the southern half of the mill. To the east of the mill there is a circular drystone kiln some 5m in diameter and up to 1.5m high dug into the hillside with a flue entry on the downslope side. This kiln was used for drying the coppiced wood as fuel for the ore hearth smelting process. To the north of the mill there is an area of slag which has been carried from the the smelting hearth, out through the opening in the north west corner of the building, to be dumped downhill. The water supply to power the mill's wheel came from two millponds situated on higher ground to the south west of the mill. A short leat from the nearby beck fed a small upper pond and this in turn fed a larger subrectangular lower pond. At the northern end of the lower pond the earthworks of a mill race can be traced for 37m towards the mill. Between the end of the mill race and the wheelpit the water was carried on a wooden trough or launder and the bases of four stone-built launder support pillars are visible. An overflow channel carried unwanted water from the larger millpond and flowed down the east side of the mill building, where it collected water from the wheelpit via a short leat or tailrace, before emptying into a stream north of the kiln. Documentary sources indicate that permission to erect a smelt mill was granted at the end of the 17th century, possibly in 1696. A map dated 1764 shows a building at the smelt mill site labelled `Old Smelt Mill' suggesting that the mill had gone out of use by this time, and a survey undertaken in the same year does not mention the mill but refers to alder and underwood growing on the land occupied by the mill. All fence posts and field boundaries are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath these features is included.

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


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

Legacy System number: 27750

Legacy System: RSM


Survey & Archive Report for Nat Trust, National Trust, Hogget Gill Lead Smelting Mill, Hartsop, Patterdale, Cumbria, (1988)

End of official listing