Emley Day Holes, 200m east of Churchill Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Emley Day Holes, 200m east of Churchill Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Kirklees (Metropolitan Authority)
Denby Dale
National Grid Reference:
SE 24631 12495

Reasons for Designation

Coal has been mined in England since Roman times, and between 8,000 and 10,000 coal industry sites of all dates up to the collieries of post-war nationalisation are estimated to survive in England. Three hundred and four coal industry sites, representing approximately 3% of the estimated national archaeological resource for the industry have been identified as being of national importance. This selection, compiled and assessed through a comprehensive survey of the coal industry, is designed to represent the industry's chronological depth, technological breadth and regional diversity. Extensive coal workings are typical of the medieval and post-medieval coal industry, although this style of exploitation continued into the early 20th century in some marginal areas which were worked on a very small scale with little capital investment. In its simplest form extensive workings took coal directly from the outcrop, digging closely spaced shallow pits, shafts or levels which did not connect underground. Once shallower deposits had been exhausted, deeper shafts giving access to underground interconnecting galleries were developed. The difficulties of underground haulage and the need for ventilation encouraged the sinking of an extensive spread of shafts in the area worked. The remains of extensive coal workings typically survive as surface earthworks directly above underground workings. They may include a range of prospecting and exploitation features, including areas of outcropping, adits and shaft mounds (circular or sub-circular spoil heaps normally with a directly associated depression marking the shaft location). In addition, some sites retain associated features such as gin circles (the circular track used by a horse powering simple winding or pumping machinery), trackways and other structures like huts. Some later sites also retain evidence of the use of steam power, typically in the form of engine beds or small reservoirs. Extensive coal mines vary considerably in form, depending on the underlying geology, their date, and how the workings were originally organised. Sites can include several hundred shafts spread over an extensive area. Coal occurs in significant deposits throughout large parts of England and this has given rise to a variety of coalfields extending from the north of England to the Kent coast. Each region has its own history of exploitation, and characteristic sites range from the small, compact collieries of north Somerset to the large, intensive units of the north east. A sample of the better preserved sites, illustrating the regional, chronological and technological range of extensive coal workings, together with rare individual component features are considered to merit protection.

The survival of medieval coal workings is extremely rare, and at Emley Day Holes the significance of coal mining remains is enhanced by its context within a medieval park. The archaeological remains of the mines may be used together with documentary evidence to gain information about the administration of the mines, their technological development, and the uses of the coal extracted from them. The day holes therefore present an opportunity to study not only the rare remains of medieval coal mining and the technology of the early industry, but also the relationship between the developing industry and other industrial, agricultural and social components of the medieval landscape.


The monument is situated on and around the Dearne valley escarpment, a steep natural scarp immediately south of the village of Emley. It includes the earthworks and buried remains of the Emley Day Holes. The day holes take the form of earthworks of various sizes and forms, and are believed to represent the remains of medieval coal mining, whose features and relationships will provide valuable evidence of mining technology and organisation in this early period. Coal was mined here on a small scale in the Middle Ages; it was not popular as a domestic fuel, but was used for purposes such as iron forging. Where topography allowed, it was mined from outcrops, and this was the case at Emley. The steeply sloping scarp, which faces south west, has a number of small indentations with shallow platforms immediately below, particularly at the eastern and western edges of the site. The most substantial of these is an artificial platform of 1m height and 20m width, on an eastern dip in the scarp. These features resulted from outcropping or adit mining (mining by tunnelling into the hillside). Handcut workings driven into outcropping coal on the escarpment produced spoil, building up small platforms which subsequently made a level surface for convenient access to the workings. A similar platform is seen near narrow opencut workings in the south west part of the site. Further earthworks, predominantly in the west, include spoilheaps, and low parallel banks which are believed to represent the site of buried structural remains. Modern field boundaries and electricity pylons 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:
Legacy System:


WYAS card - mentions dayholes, Moorhouse, Medieval Park - Emley Park, (1985)
WYorks SMR 4607: mentions dayholes, Moorhouse, Elmley Park [sic], (1992)


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

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