Mohopehead leadmine and ore works

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016349

Date first listed: 09-Dec-1997

Map

Ordnance survey map of Mohopehead leadmine and ore works
© 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.
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: West Allen

National Grid Reference: NY 76999 49999

Summary

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. Nucleated lead mines are a prominent type of field monument produced by lead mining. They consist of a range of features grouped around the adits and/or shafts of a mine. The simplest examples contain merely a shaft or adit with associated spoil tip, but more complex and (in general) later examples may include remains of engine houses for pumping and/or winding from shafts, housing, lodging shops and offices, powder houses for storing gunpowder, power transmission features such as wheel pits, dams and leats. The majority of nucleated lead mines also included ore works, where the mixture of ore and waste rock extracted from the ground was separated ('dressed') to form a smeltable concentrate. The range of processes used can be summarised as: picking out of clean lumps of ore and waste; breaking down of lumps to smaller sizes (either by manual hammering or mechanical crushing); sorting of broken material by size; separation of gravel-sized material by shaking on a sieve in a tub of water ('jigging'); and separation of finer material by washing away the lighter waste in a current of water ('buddling'). The field remains of ore works vary widely and include the remains of crushing devices, separating structures and tanks, tips of distinctive waste from the various processes, together with associated water supply and power installations, such as wheel pits and, more rarely, steam engine houses. The majority of nucleated lead mines with ore works are of 18th to 20th century date, earlier mining being normally by rake or hush and including scattered ore dressing features (a 'hush' is a gully or ravine partly excavated by use of a controlled torrent of water to reveal or exploit a vein of mineral ore). Nucleated lead mines often illustrate the great advances in industrial technology associated with the period known as the Industrial Revolution and, sometimes, also inform an understanding of the great changes in social conditions which accompanied it. Because of the greatly increased scale of working associated with nucleated mining such features can be a major component of many upland landscapes. It is estimated that several thousand sites exist, the majority being small mines of limited importance, although the important early remains of many larger mines have often been greatly modified or destroyed by continued working or by modern reworking. A sample of the better preserved sites, illustrating the regional, chronological and technological range of the class, is considered to merit protection.

The lead mine and ore works at Mohopehead are well preserved and are a good example of a single phase small mine. The bouse teams are the best preserved example in the North Pennines, which enhances the importance of the monument.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the remains of a small leadmine and associated ore works situated on the left bank of the River West Allen. The complex was active in the early to mid-19th century between the 1820s and the 1850s. The visible remains of the leadmine at Mohopehead are well preserved and include an adit, a lodging shop and a spoil heap. The arched stone portal of the mine adit is visible at the extreme western edge of the monument. It still functions as a drainage tunnel and the stream which emerges from it crosses the monument in a narrow channel which in places retains a covering of stone flagging. Some 16m east of the adit there are the remains of a stone built lodging house. The house, now a ruined structure, contains a large hearth at its western end, suggesting that it was used as a blacksmith's forge. The remains of a single pot conical limekiln with one corbelled draw arch are visible immediately to the west of the lodging house. A trackway leads from the area immediately in front of the adit to a prominent spoil heap which occupies the south eastern side of the monument. The ore processing works are situated at the north eastern side of the monument. Once the lead ore had been removed from the mine it was stored in a series of tall stone containers known as bouse teams. A set of bouse teams, thought to be the best preserved example in the North Pennines, survive and are Listed Grade II. The bouse teams are visible as a series of eight apsidal bays of squared rubble construction, each separated from the other by a stepped wall. They stand largely to their full height. Immediately in front of the eastern end of the bouse teams there is a low stone platform up to 11 courses high and flagged with large stones which is interpreted as a loading platform. This stone structure is also thought to have been used as a knock stone upon which the lead ore was placed and crushed by hand with hammers in order to facilitate further processing. All stone walls and fences which cross the monument are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features in included.

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

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 28554

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Other
NY74NE 17,

End of official listing