Meerbrook sough portal 380m south west of Leashaw Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017652

Date first listed: 24-Feb-1980

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Dec-1997


Ordnance survey map of Meerbrook sough portal 380m south west of Leashaw Farm
© 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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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 - 1017652 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 12-Dec-2018 at 23:52:47.


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

County: Derbyshire

District: Derbyshire Dales (District Authority)

Parish: Wirksworth

National Grid Reference: SK 32671 55246


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

Reasons for Designation

The Meerbrook sough portal represents the rare survival of a well preserved, dated outlet for one of Derbyshire's best documented soughs. Soughs were an important feature of the Derbyshire lead mines and the Meerbrook sough portal reflects many of the technological difficulties confronted by lead miners in the fields of drainage, cutting and ventilation. The massive quantities of water which still discharge from it indicate the scale of drainage problems which early mining engineers faced. In addition, the sough illustrates the long term planning strategies of mine proprietors and the high level of investment which they thought worthwhile to secure the drainage of mines. It will thus provide technological information for the study of drainage technology and for organisational skills employed during the early 19th century by owners of lead mines.


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


The monument lies 1.5km north east of the town of Wirksworth, south of the railway track. It includes the intact dated portal of a sough or drainage tunnel. This is the outlet for one of the best known soughs to serve the Derbyshire lead mining field. Begun in 1772, its construction was affected by technological difficulties, such as problems of ventilation during excavation. Progress was extremely slow despite large initial investments and the cutting of the main sough ceased in 1813, but was resumed from 1841. The portal survives as a well preserved and wide-arched entrance, 3m wide and 2m high. The keystone bears the legend `F.H.1772'. The initials are those of Francis Hurst, the sough proprietor at the time. The sough continues to discharge around 17 million gallons of water a day. A water supply station was set up in 1902 to draw off water from the sough, and this later water management resulted in the installation of sluices and other modifications around the portal, to adapt the sough mouth for water storage. These additions represent the changing function and technology of the sough and are thus included in the scheduling. All fence posts 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. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number: 30957

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing