Upper Rudland Rigg colliery, 1030m south west of Foul Pot Bridge


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018141

Date first listed: 29-Apr-1998


Ordnance survey map of Upper Rudland Rigg colliery, 1030m south west of Foul Pot Bridge
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale (District Authority)

Parish: Bransdale

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale (District Authority)

Parish: Farndale West


National Grid Reference: SE 65001 95179


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

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 colliery at Upper Rudland Rigg preserves important evidence of coal extraction and primary processing activities. The monument represents an early example of an extensive colliery industry and offers important scope for the study of the development and technology of the coal industry.


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


The monument includes the remains of an 18th and 19th century colliery situated in open moorland on the north part of Rudland Rigg. The colliery remains include shaft-mounds and associated features covering an extensive area of moorland. Coal is thought to have been worked in the North York Moors in the medieval period, although the first written evidence dates from 1715 for a colliery at the south end of Bransdale on the Feversham Estate. The industry then expanded eastward throughout the Feversham Estate and by the mid-18th century the first colliery at Rudland was working (this lies 400m to the south and is the subject of a separate scheduling). Upper Rudland Rigg colliiery was opened in 1790, although the coal seam was found to be uneven and unsatisfactory. The coal from the moorland workings was used partly for domestic fuel but mostly for firing lime kilns on the Tabular Hills to the west. Upper Rudland Rigg colliery operated using the board and pillar method. Shafts were sunk in lines following the coal measures running ENE to WSW and spaced between 40m and 60m apart. The shafts were connected at the bottom with the passages, or boards, which mined the seam, leaving a pillar of unexcavated material between each board to support the roof. The passages also allowed access and ventilation and, in some cases, drainage. The coal seam was poor and lay at a modest depth of between 9m and 12m but was only 0.25m thick. Remains of this activity survive as shaft-mounds up to 50m across which were formed by excavated spoil. The shaft-mounds will retain evidence of pit top features such as winding gear, gin circles and temporary buildings for shelter and storage. Evidence of initial sorting and working of the coal may also be present at the shaft tops. Several of the shaft-mounds have remains of drystone walled structures adjacent to the shafts. The colliery was served by a complex of trackways and sled tracks linking the shafts and allowing access, remains of which will survive between the shaft-mounds. A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these are the surface of modern tracks and the fabric of the grouse butts, 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: 29541

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Spratt, D A, Harrison, B J D, The North York Moors Landscape Heritage, (1989), 166-170

End of official listing