Coal mining remains 600m south west of Smoile Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018463

Date first listed: 24-Nov-2000


Ordnance survey map of Coal mining remains 600m south west of Smoile Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Leicestershire

District: North West Leicestershire (District Authority)

Parish: Coleorton

County: Leicestershire

District: North West Leicestershire (District Authority)

Parish: Worthington

National Grid Reference: SK 39604 19081


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 coal mining remains 600m south west of Smoile Farm survive well. Earthwork remains provide evidence for both the historical and technological developments of a much more extensive area. The area immediately surrounding each shaft will retain buried features such as the post holes and timber supports for winding gear, which will contribute to an understanding of how the shafts were worked.

The monument's significance is further enhanced by its proximity to additional coal workings at Birch Coppice, Rough Park and The Conery, where different periods of mining activity are represented in the archaeological remains. In association with these medieval coal mining remains, and its relationship with medieval agricultural remains, the archaeological features in this monument form a vital component of a historic mining area which preserves coal mining remains of varied date and type.


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


The monument lies in woodland, around 1.5km north west of Coleorton. It includes the earthworks and buried remains of coal mining in an area which forms part of the Coleorton mining landscape.

Early coal mining remains exposed in nearby areas during opencasting include unprecedented finds of artefacts, tools, textiles and dating evidence from the 15th-18th centuries. The site itself contains equally valuable information about mining technology, particularly relating to mining in the 18th century and including the remains of mines which employed horse power for winding and drainage of coal workings.

Visible remains include well-preserved shaft mounds, 1.5m-2m high and up to 12m wide, with evidence of gin circles (platforms on which horses walked around to power drainage and winding apparatus). The shafts are dispersed throughout the site, with larger ones particularly evident in the east. Buried remains will provide information about pithead equipment such as winding gear, whilst undisturbed underground workings will preserve details of the extraction, ventilation and transport technology employed at the site. In the south east of the monument the shaft mounds overlie medieval cultivation remains (shallow rig-and-furrow ploughing marks). This area therefore retains evidence for the impact that coal mining in this area had on agricultural activities. Some 500m south west of the monument are further coal mining remains which form part of the Coleorton area of early mining and are the subject of a separate scheduling.

All modern fences, roads and track surfaces 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: 31755

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Chapman, N, 'Annual Journal' in Clee Hills Colliery near Ludlow, , Vol. 3, (1995), 61-66
Griffin, Colin P , 'Industrial Archaeology Review' in Technological change in the Leics & S Derbys coalfield <1850, , Vol. 3,1, (1978), 65-74
Hartley, R F, 'Current Archaeology' in Coleorton, , Vol. 134, (1992)
Hartley, R F, 'Mining Before Powder' in The Tudor Miners of Coleorton, Leicestershire, , Vol. 12,3, (1994)
York, R, Warburton, S, 'AIA Bulletin' in Digging Deep in Mining History, , Vol. 18,4, (1991), 1-2
Director of Planning and Transportation, LCC, Coleorton: Area of Historic Mining Landscape, 1990, Environmental assessment
Fieldwork notes, Instone, Eric , Clee Hill, (1994)
Fieldwork notes, Instone, Eric , Coleorton: Historic Mining Landscape, (1994)
Plan of earthworks at Coleorton, LMARS, (1990)
Register of Parks and Gardens, Coleorton Hall, Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historical Interest,
Various mining features on Clee Hill, South Shropshire SMR, 07112-07122, (1995)

End of official listing