Lead rake workings on Flinty Fell, 800m north west of Flinty Quarry


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017448

Date first listed: 23-Dec-1997


Ordnance survey map of Lead rake workings on Flinty Fell, 800m north west of Flinty Quarry
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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: Alston Moor

National Grid Reference: NY 75894 42085, NY 76299 42402, NY 77083 42238


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 remains of rake workings on Flinty Fell survive well and will retain evidence for the manual ore processing techniques associated with this type of lead working. In addition, the understanding of the mining remains at Flinty Fell is enhanced by the survival of documentary sources which provide evidence for early mining activities at the site.


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


The monument, which lies within three separate areas, extends from the west, east and north sides of a coniferous plantation to the south of the road across Flinty Fell between Garrigill and Nenthead. It includes three well preserved areas of lead mining remains which lie within a more extensive mining landscape. Rakes, shafts, levels and spreads of ore processing wastes extend over a wide area from the top of Flinty Fell to the 19th century nucleated mines alongside Garrigill Burn to the north west (which are the subject of a separate scheduling). The three areas along the rakes which form the scheduling include particularly distinct concentrations of well preserved earthworks and spreads of mining and ore processing wastes, and are considered to be representative of the wider mining landscape. In the medieval period, the mines around Alston were of great importance nationally, being part of the `Mines of Carlisle'. The lead ore mined in the mid-12th century is thought to have been especially rich in silver and was used in the royal mint at Carlisle. The first documentary reference to mining in the area is in 1130 and lead is thought to have been mined from Brown Gill and Brown Gill Sun veins from at least the later Norman period and continued on an intermittent basis until the early 19th century, by which time most working was conducted from adits driven from Garrigill Burn to the west and Nenthead to the north. From 1706 the mining was controlled by the London Lead Company which tended to work veins at depth via adits. The first area of protection includes the mining remains that form rake workings along two associated east-west veins and includes the earthwork remains of a large whimsey shaft which is visible as a flat topped mound of mine spoil some 40m in diameter standing up to 3m high alongside Souther Gill. On top of the mound is a depression which marks the position of the shaft and a level area to the side which was the site of the whim gin circle (where a horse walked a circular track to power a winding drum to lift ore up the shaft). Such devices are known from documentary sources from the 17th century and were used into the 19th century. The remains also include a number of smaller shaft mounds typically 20m in diameter standing 1m to 1.5m high. Some of these also retain evidence of gin circles, mostly with the trackway for the horse being concentric with the shaft rather than set to one side, representing the remains of cog and rung gins. These cog and rung gin circles are thought to be generally earlier than whim gin circles. One of these shafts retains a drystone beehive capping standing to 0.5m high. Between the shaft mounds there are numerous grassed over low earthworks which stand up to 0.5m high and are identified as the earthwork remains of shallow surface workings, as well as areas of waste from manual ore processing. Further remains survive to the east, west and north. Those to the east lie within a coniferous plantation most of which appears to have been ploughed before planting. These remains are believed to have suffered disturbance as a result of this ploughing and are thus not included in the scheduling. The dressing wastes associated with the mining remains just to the north of the road appear to have been partially reworked, and are not included in the scheduling. The second area of protection lies to the south of the modern Garrigill to Nenthead road, east of the coniferous plantation. It includes a concentrated area of workings along the rake following Brown Gill vein which runs east-west and it includes the earthwork remains of Longholehead Whimsey. The shaft mound here is slightly lower, and the shaft, which is roughly capped with concrete railway sleepers, is still open. Longholehead is thought to have been sunk by the London Lead Company and it lies above the underground junction between the workings of Whitesike Mine 2km to the west and those driven from Nenthead 1.5km to the north east, both of which are the subject of separate schedulings. To the east, west and south of this large shaft mound there are a number of smaller shaft mounds and groups of shallow depressions marking areas of surface workings. Surrounding all of these features are extensive spreads of manual ore processing wastes which extend over most of the area. This waste will preserve evidence of the techniques employed near the shafts to concentrate the lead content of the ore before it was removed to be smelted. It will retain evidence for the methods of crushing the rock, together with various sorting techniques. The third area of protection includes the earthwork remains of shallow surface workings and hollows up to 1m deep either side of Brown Gill stream. A number of small shaft mounds and unvegetated spreads of ore processing material are also visible within this area. Drystone walling and modern fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath 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: 29013

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Raistrick, A, Jennings, B, A History of Lead Mining in the Pennines, (1983), indexed
Wallace, W, Alston Moor, (1986), 99-100
Blanchard, I, 'Boles and Smeltmills' in Technical Implications of the Transition from Silver to Lead , (1992), 9-11
Dunham, K C, 'Tyne to Stainmore' in Geology of the Northern Pennine Orefield, , Vol. Vol 1, (1990), indexed

End of official listing