Wagbeach adit portal, 630m and 640m south of Hogstow Mill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018469

Date first listed: 16-Nov-1998


Ordnance survey map of Wagbeach adit portal, 630m and 640m south of Hogstow Mill
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Minsterley

National Grid Reference: SJ 36431 02535, SJ 36455 02505


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. Nucleated lead mines are a prominent type of field monument produced by lead mining. They consist of a range of features grouped around the adits/and or shafts of a mine. The simplest examples contain merely a shaft or adit with associated spoil tip, but more complex and (in general) later examples may include remains of engine houses for pumping and/or winding from shafts, housing, lodging shops and offices, powder houses for storing gunpowder, power transmission features such as flat rod systems, transport systems such as railways and inclines, and water power and water supply features such as wheel pits, dams and leats. The majority of nucleated lead mines also included ore works where the ore, once extracted, was processed. The majority of nucleated lead mines are of 18th to 20th century date, earlier mining being normally by rake or hush (a gully or ravine partly excavated by use of a controlled torrent of water to reveal or exploit a vein of mineral ore). They often illustrate the great advances in industrial technology associated with the period known as the Industrial Revolution and, sometimes, also inform an understanding of the great changes in social conditions which accompanied it. Because of the greatly increased scale of working associated with nucleated mining such features can be a major component of upland landscapes. It is estimated that at least 10,000 sites, exist the majority being small mines of limited importance, although the important early remains at many larger mines have been greatly modified or destroyed by continued working or modern reworking. A sample of the better preserved sites, illustrating the regional, chronological and technological range of the class, is considered to merit protection.

The Wagbeach adit portal and associated remains include information about an important period in the development of water power technology and its application to mining. The adit will retain information about the late 18th century flatrod pumping system. The remains associated with the waterwheel will increase our understanding of water management and the provision of power at an important centre of the Shropshire lead mining industry. They will also illustrate the adaptation of the waterwheel system in response to the growing dominance of steam technology in the 19th century.


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


The monument lies in the hamlet of The Waterwheel, around 1km west of Snailbeach. It includes the standing and buried remains of the Wagbeach drainage adit and associated remains including a waterwheel pit, iron water tank and water channels, within two areas of protection. The adit, or covered drainage channel, whose entrance is included in the western area of protection, was constructed in the 1790s to serve the nearby lead mine at Snailbeach. Its course towards Snailbeach can be traced by the mounds of spoil created when ventilation shafts were cut during its construction. These shaft mounds are not included in the scheduling. The adit housed a flatrod system, an arrangement of staggered rods which allowed the transmission of power, in this case provided by a waterwheel at the adit entrance, to drive a drainage mechanism in the mine itself, from which water then flowed down through the adit and into Minsterley Brook. The flatrod drainage system was replaced in 1858 by a steam engine located at the mine, and the Wagbeach water system was subsequently adapted to drive a barytes grinding mill which processed minerals mined at Snailbeach until its closure in 1926. The barytes mill has since been demolished. The entrance or portal of the adit is visible in the westernmost part of the site as a brick and stone arch around 1m wide and 1.5m high. Water still drains from it through a stone-lined channel into the brook. Those remains of the flatrod system which survive in the adit will provide valuable evidence of the technology employed at the site. The eastern part of the monument includes features associated with the waterwheel which initially drove the flatrods, and later the barytes mill. Remains in this area include a stone wall which survives to a height of 3m and carries a leat or water channel from which a penstock, in this case an iron water tank with sluice levers, is filled, by means of a thick connecting pipe. The penstock, a rectangular tank supported by two iron legs and the pipe tying it to the wall, acted as a small reservoir, allowing water to be released at will to assist the turning of the waterwheel to its north, or to feed other industrial processes within the mill. The water from the leat which is not caught in the penstock runs on into a curving channel, around 0.4m wide and 35m long, which carries it north and north west to discharge into the stream. Modern fences, gates and walls, sheds, a footbridge, track surfaces and concrete settings are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath all 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: 31761

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Lancaster University Archaeological Unit, , Snailbeach Lead Mine; Stage 2 Study, (1990), 57
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Shropshire, (1968), 322-24
Brown, I J, 'Snailbeach Lead Mine' in Snailbeach Lead Mine..., , Vol. 17, (1993), 18
Notes on Wagbeach adit, Guthrie, J MPPA, (1997)
Wagbeach Level air shafts, (1994)

End of official listing