Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1018920
Date first listed: 19-Mar-1999
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: 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
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: 27846
Legacy System: RSM
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