This browser is not fully supported by Historic England. Please update your browser to the latest version so that you get the best from our website.

Sharlston Common coal and ironstone workings

List Entry Summary

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.

Name: Sharlston Common coal and ironstone workings

List entry Number: 1018399


The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.


District: Wakefield

District Type: Metropolitan Authority

Parish: Sharlston

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 24-Feb-1998

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 30962

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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 Sharlston Common coal and ironstone workings represent the survival of an early mining area for which documentary evidence survives. It will therefore be possible to combine documentary and archaeological evidence in the fullest possible interpretation of these once typical mining features. Details of the developing technology and organisation of the mines will be available; this information will add to an understanding of the mines, and of the context in which they operated. Further technological data will be provided by underground remains. Additionally, the location of the workings on common land highlights their role in the history of the local community.


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


Sharlston Common lies immediately south east of the village of Sharlston. The monument includes all the earthworks, built and buried remains of the Sharlston Common mines. It incorporates many pits and other earthworks associated with coal and ironstone mining over a long period; and documentary evidence confirms that the area was mined from the medieval period to the 17th century. The monument is characterised by concentrations of shaft mounds and hillocks representing the remains of bellpits. These are early mining features: a vertical shaft was cut to the coal seam, which was worked out in all directions until the threat of collapse or other difficulties made further progress impractical. This gave the pits a bell-shaped profile. For optimum exploitation of the coal (or ironstone), pits were invariably sunk in clusters, resulting in intensive concentrations of earthworks. This distribution is clearly visible at Sharlston Common. Particularly notable concentrations of shaft mounds are seen in the east of the area, and along a shallow ridge in the north. Other earthworks include spoilheaps, hillocks and low retaining banks, which are seen most clearly in the south east of the site. Excluded from the scheduling are the surfaces of modern footpaths, tracks and boundaries, although the ground beneath these is included. A reservoir in the south eastern part of the site, which is thought to date from the 19th century and to have no association with the mining remains, is totally excluded from the scheduling.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Selected Sources

W Yorks Ref PRN 3831, Sharlston Common, (1991)

National Grid Reference: SE 39408 19266


© 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 - 1018399 .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 25-Sep-2018 at 05:55:32.

End of official listing