Coal mining remains immediately north east of Horseditch House on Clee Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018471

Date first listed: 01-Feb-1999


Ordnance survey map of Coal mining remains immediately north east of Horseditch House on Clee Hill
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Bitterley

District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Coreley

District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Hopton Wafers

National Grid Reference: SO 59721 77382


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 at Horseditch represent the unusual survival of undisturbed early mining, and represent a remarkable and well-defined concentration of coal workings. The coal mining remains north east of Horseditch House preserve valuable technological data and waterlogging suggests that any organic remains will be well-preserved. The mining remains will therefore enhance our understanding of the earliest phases in this industry. Its earthwork remains, and buried deposits in the area immediately surrounding each shaft, provide information for both the historical and technological development of coal mining in this area, and for the operation of the individual shafts.


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


The monument lies on high ground approximately 1.5km north of Cleehill village. It includes earthworks and buried remains of coal mining, which was practised from an early date in the Clee Hill area. Coal mining was taking place on Clee Hill by 1260, and there is documentary evidence relating specifically to Horseditch in the 16th century. It is almost certain, however, that Horseditch had been mined before the 16th century as the easily accessible outcroppings of the coal measures, such as those at Horseditch, were amongst the earliest areas to be mined. At first coal could simply be gathered, then later cut from surface outcrops. More typical was the development, well illustrated within the monument, from deepening opencuts to closely-spaced pits. A short vertical shaft was sunk to the coal seam, and workings extended along the seam in all directions until the roof was in danger of collapse. To optimise coal extraction these pits were typically sunk very close together and in large numbers; when one pit was no longer safe, another would be cut very close to it and its spoil tipped in and around the first. The distinctive earthworks of these early coal workings are undisturbed and clearly visible at the Horseditch site; in particular, there is a large concentration of shaft mounds. Most visible in the eastern two thirds of the site, these are collars of spoil thrown up around the shaft, typically less high and up to 5m in diameter, with a central hollow indicating the location of the shaft. The earthworks and buried remains of these workings will preserve valuable information about the technology of early coal mining, including details of transport around and from the mines. In many cases the shafts are heavily waterlogged, suggesting that underground remains will be well-preserved. The density of shafts and spoilheaps is typical of intensive medieval working methods. In the south western part of the site are numerous weathered hollows, around 1m deep, with associated mounds and ridges of spoil up to 2m high. Some are low shaft mounds, but others are believed to be the remains of opencuts dating to the earliest period of coal mining at the site. These low, worn earthworks are believed to represent the first and simplest excavations for coal, which were followed by a gradual expansion of deeper and slightly more sophisticated workings in an easterly direction across the site. These south western mounds will therefore include details of early coal mining technology, preserved beneath the spoil of later workings. Further coal mining remains are visible to the south east and east of the monument and these are the subject of separate schedulings. Modern fences, gates, walls 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: 31763

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Chapman, N, 'Annual Journal' in Clee Hills Colliery near Ludlow, , Vol. 3, (1995), 61-66
RCHME, , 'Annual Review 1983-4' in Surveys of Industrial Landscapes: Clee Hill, Shropshire..., (1984), 18-21
Fieldwork notes, Instone, Eric , Clee Hill, (1994)
RCHME, RCHM Study of the Clee Hill area, (1983)
Title: Ordnance Survey 2nd Edition 6" Map Source Date: 1903 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: 6" scale
Various mining features on Clee Hill, South Shropshire SMR, 07112-07122, (1995)

End of official listing