Coalcleugh lead rake
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
- West Allen
- National Grid Reference:
- NY 79733 44812
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
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.
Coalcleugh retains a well preserved example of a typical lead rake which originates from before the 1690s. The monument includes the well preserved remains of small ore processing areas with spreads of waste retaining technological information, together with the earthwork remains of dams believed to have been constructed to hold water for ore processing operations. The monument also includes the earthworks of three whim shafts, typical 18th century shafts which used horse power to raise material from the workings. Although there is no public access to the monument, the remains can be viewed from the road and thus the monument forms an educational resource.
The monument lies besides the road at the end of West Allendale. It includes
the earthwork remains of the shallow shaft workings that follow Coalcleugh Low
Vein which, along with associated dressing areas and spoil heaps, forms a
rake. This rake is thought to be the earliest remains of Coalcleugh mine, the
surface remains of which cover a wide area at the head of West Allendale. To
the north of the rake are the remains of a later 18th to 19th century
nucleated mine which, together with the more dispersed remains of further
levels, air and winding shafts, are not included within the scheduling.
Coalcleugh lies within the manor of Hexhamshire which was appropriated by
Henry VIII and remained in the hands of the Crown until 1632. In 1694 the
estate was sold to William Blackett who became the agent in charge of the
Bishop of Durham's mining interests in Weardale two years later. Blackett
established a mining company which took direct control of mining operations in
Allendale and Weardale, replacing the previous system of mining which had been
conducted by numerous small partnerships of miners holding individual leases
from the mineral rights owner. This company, which became the Blackett-
Beaumont Company, dominated mining in the area until the late 19th century.
Mining at Coalcleugh started before William Blackett bought the estate, and
the area significantly benefited from investment by the Blackett company in
the following years. By the mid-18th century, horse gins (horse powered
winding equipment) were employed at three shafts, Low, Middle and High
Whimsey, allowing deeper exploitation of the veins. In 1760 Barneycraig Horse
Level was started to the south of Carshield, 2km to the NNE of the monument.
This became the main access to the mine workings at the head of the dale and
helped to drain the lower workings. It is thought that by the end of the 18th
century this level, together with the levels driven southwards from the hamlet
of Coalcleugh, just to the north and down valley from the monument, had
replaced the surface workings of the rake. In 1765 Westgarth Forster, the
agent for the Coalcleugh area, installed the country's first hydraulic engine
(which was similar in design to atmospheric steam engines, but used the weight
of water instead of the effect of a part vacuum) to pump water from the deeper
mine workings. Mining for lead ceased in the Coalcleugh area in 1880, but it
was worked for zinc until 1921.
In the southern part of the site lie the c.40m diameter, 2m high earthworks
of a whim shaft, marked on the 1:10000 Ordnance Survey Map as Rough & Ready
(Old Lead Shaft) but believed to be the remains of High Whimsey which was
working by the mid 18th century. This is visible as a spoil heap of mining
waste which has a level area next to a depression marking the location of the
shaft. The level area would have provided space for a horse whim (also known
as a horse gin, being a circular track for a horse, which powered a winding
drum to raise material up the shaft). To the north east of this shaft there
are the earthwork remains of a number of other shafts with smaller associated
mine spoil heaps, typically less than 10m in diameter and 0.5m high. These are
thought to be the remains of shafts dating to before the mid-18th century
which, unlike whim shafts, were not always vertical and tended to be stepped
with short rises offset from one another, rather than being continuous.
Raising ore in these shafts was labour intensive often with a number of people
employed to pass the material to the surface in stages. Consequently much of
the sorting was conducted underground which limited the size of the surface
spoil heaps. Around the shafts there are spreads of ore processing wastes with
dumps of waste minerals removed from the lead ore. Much of this material is
knocking waste (discarded material removed by manual hammering of the
material) which is characterised by its angular appearance. Some however
appears to be jigging waste which is material discarded after the ore has been
sieved in water (ore containing lead is denser than waste material, and will
tend to separate out when agitated in water). The different dumps of ore
processing waste will retain technological information about the processes
involved and a few isolated timber fragments identified on the surface,
indicate that the waste conceals additional buried remains. The spread of
shafts, which are not regularly spaced and are typically between 5m and 20m
apart, with their associated spoil and ore processing waste heaps, extend to
the north east of Rough & Ready shaft to form a strip of workings up to c.70m
wide. Two further whim shafts, c.100m and c.250m north east of Rough & Ready
shaft are included in the scheduling. The shafts on the spoil heaps have been
capped with concrete and are surrounded by drystone walls. Also included are a
number of low earthwork banks, typically less than 0.3m high, which are
thought to be small dams used to store water for ore processing.
The drystone walling surrounding the capped shafts, and the modern fence line
that forms part of the boundary to the monument are excluded from the
scheduling, but 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:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Raistrick, A, Jennings, B, A History of Lead Mining in the Pennines, (1983), Indexed
Chapman, N, 'Friends of Killhope newsletter' in Mr Westgarth's Water Engine, , Vol. Vol 31, (1994), 4-7
Dunham, K C, 'Tyne to Stainmore' in Geology of the Northern Pennine Orefield, , Vol. Vol 1, (1990), 158-159
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing