Clintsfield Colliery


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Clintsfield Colliery
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Lancaster (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SD 62895 69752

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.

Clintsfield Colliery is a rare surviving example of an 18th/early 19th century colliery which displays evidence of both steam-powered pumping and dispersed horse-powered winding shafts. Additionally it is a well preserved example of part of an extensive colliery landscape of this period, and in addition to the engine house and gin circles it displays an assortment of associated features including shaft mounds, a roadway, reservoirs, dams, and a water management system.


The monument includes the upstanding and buried remains of the 18th/early 19th century Clintsfield Colliery, which is located on the valley side south of the River Wenning approximately 250m east of Clintsfield Farm. It includes an upstanding but roofless steam operated engine house together with an attached boiler house and chimney, three reservoirs with associated dams and a water management system, shaft mounds and gin circles, and a roadway connecting some of the shaft mounds. The engine house was constructed of sandstone in the early 19th century in order to house the engine used for pumping water from increasing depths within the main shaft. It survives largely to its original height apart from some collapse of the upper part of its north wall. Documentary sources indicate that in 1839 it housed an engine of five horse power with a boiler and a pump. After the mine closed the engine house was converted into a dwelling house, although many original features survive, including a partly-blocked doorway and a partly-blocked round-headed beam engine aperture, out of which the beam or arm of the pumping engine protruded to a point above the mine shaft immediately to the east. The attached boiler house on the north side of the engine house was used in the provision of steam to power the engine, and adjacent to the boiler house stands a stone-built chimney about 6m tall. North of the engine house is a circular earthwork considered to be the site of a gin circle, a horse-powered winding arrangement for raising coal from the shaft. Elsewhere there are a number of shaft mounds which survive as circular hollows each surrounded by a mound of spoil, one of which, at the south end of the site, has an associated small gin circle. Three of these shaft mounds are linked by a roadway. On the eastern side of the monument are three small reservoirs each with a dam on the northern side. An outflow leat runs from the northern of these dams and flows past the western side of the engine house, and is considered to have provided water for use in the provision of steam to power the engine. Eighteenth century coal mines were characterised by dispersed landscapes of shafts connected underground, with manual or horse-powered pumping and winding at several shafts. With the introduction of steam power, pumping became concentrated at the engine shaft with winding continuing at a number of different shafts using horse-power. Even into the early 19th century, by which time the crank and flywheel allowed steam-powered winding, many smaller collieries maintained this earlier arrangement. Engines represented a considerable financial investment and the best way of increasing production with only one steam engine was normally by using it to pump water from increasing depths rather than winding. Collieries that continued into the mid-19th century generally invested in steam winding plant thus concentrating both winding and pumping at one or two shafts. However, it is thought that the coal deposits at Clintsfield never made the investment in steam winding worthwhile, thus preserving an arrangement which elsewhere was frequently destroyed by later development. Clintsfield Colliery engine house is a Grade II Listed Building. All modern field boundaries, fence posts and gateposts are excluded from the scheduling, 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:
Legacy System:


DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
SMR No. 4822, Lancashire SMR, Clintsfield Colliery, Tatham, (1998)
SMR No. 9128, Lancashire SMR, Clintsfield, (1987)
Step Report, Instone,E., Coal Industry Site Assessment - Clintsfield Colliery, (1994)


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.

End of official listing

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