Mount Pleasant lead mines, immediately south of Wensley


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017756

Date first listed: 15-Jun-1998


Ordnance survey map of Mount Pleasant lead mines, immediately south of Wensley
© 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.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

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 - 1017756 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 09-Dec-2018 at 22:28:05.


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

County: Derbyshire

District: Derbyshire Dales (District Authority)

Parish: South Darley

National Park: PEAK DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: SK 26338 60892


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 archaeological features of the Mount Pleasant mines constitute an unusually complete assemblage of mining and ore processing remains, in association with equally well-preserved agricultural features. They demonstrate the responses of the local lead mining industry to technological challenges such as problems of drainage and ventilation. The Basrobin Sough, and its relationship with natural cave systems, are noteworthy in this respect. Large rakes, shafts and other extraction features provide evidence for successive methods of extraction, whilst embanked dressing areas, which survive in good condition, will contain deposits showing the effectiveness of dressing techniques. Buried remains, such as further dressing floors, will also contribute to an understanding of the mines. The survival of lynchets, found here in close association with mining remains, presents a rare opportunity to study the spatial and chronological relationship between these two land uses. The Basrobin Sough, in addition to its archaeological importance, is noteworthy for its place in the history of geology. Its section was included in seminal geological publications by Tissington and Whitehurst in 1778.


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


The Mount Pleasant lead mines lie immediately south of Wensley village, on the south side of a small valley. The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of the Mount Pleasant mines. Other features, such as a sough (drainage tunnel) and trackways used for internal and onward transport, add additional interest and offer evidence of technological and organisational structures. This combination of high-quality features is found in close association with medieval or post-medieval agricultural remains which extend over the area, and thus illustrates not only the development of the lead industry in Derbyshire, but also its relationship to local agricultural systems. A sample of these remains is included in the monument. The southern part of the site includes numerous well preserved shaft mounds and two large rakes: these are linear extraction features which follow the line of a lead-bearing vein. The two rakes run roughly north-south and reach a depth of 2.5m, with associated spoilheaps on each side. Both opencut and shaft forms are present, and the rakes are overlain in places by later spoil and a trackway. Field evidence suggests that veins were worked over a lengthy period and by differing methods. In addition to the two large rakes, a number of shallower opencut workings are seen in the vicinity. East of the rakes, a series of cultivation terraces or lynchets are visible. These earthworks are in places overlain by mining-related earthworks, and are cut by a number of shafts on a different alignment to the large rakes. This direct association between industrial and agricultural remains is extremely unusual, and provides evidence of earlier land use on the site. Further information on the relationship between the two types of earthwork will be preserved as buried features. One of the mining earthworks in this area is thought to be a gin circle, where horses were used to power a simple winding mechanism serving the neighbouring shaft. Between the two large rakes, a further arrangement of terraces is visible. These are shallower and narrower than the lynchets, and are believed to represent the sites of dressing floors. A grassed-over trackway runs east-west through the site, overlying the lower parts of the eastern rake. North of the trackway, the eastern part of the site is again dominated by lynchets, with industrial features to the west. The north west corner of the monument includes very substantial earthworks in a stepped arrangement, forming large infilled dams or ponds where late stages of ore processing were carried out. This function is consistent with the position of the earthworks, low on the slope in relation to other mining features. Since ore processing required large quantities of water, it is usual to find that early stages took place on high ground, allowing precious water resources to be reused in later processes downslope. The ponds take the form of successive raised platforms, the highest at the west and lowest at the east. Each is embanked to a maximum height of 2.5m, with a raised lip at the edge. A grassed-over trackway running east-west from the easternmost of these earthworks would have been used by carts to load and transport processed ore to a smelting site. North of the ponds, the land drops steeply away to a stream at the foot of the slope. Low on this slope is the Basrobin Sough, a drainage channel begun by 1767. The mines had made use of natural cave systems for their drainage, but supplementary drainage was evidently necessary by this time. In addition to the earthwork remains, it is believed that buried remains will survive, and will include further dressing areas and deposits which will provide information on the efficiency of processing techniques. The Mount Pleasant mines are very close to the Northern Dale mines, which lie only a few hundred metres to the east and are the subject of a separate scheduling. Modern field walls are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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: 30943

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Rieuwerts, J H (ed), History and Gazetteer of the Lead Mine Soughs of Derbyshire, (1987), 80
Letter about scheduling proposals, Startin, W, Mount Pleasant Mines, (1990)
Proposals for scheduling, Peak Park Archaeologist, South Darley, (1989)
Ref: DR 12711, Mount Pleasant mine and Basrobin sough,
Suggestions on scheduling, Startin, W, (1990)

End of official listing