Hollins Mine and Bank Top iron calcining kilns


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


Ordnance survey map of Hollins Mine and Bank Top iron calcining kilns
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

North Yorkshire
Ryedale (District Authority)
North Yorkshire
Ryedale (District Authority)
Rosedale West Side
North Yorkshire
Ryedale (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SE 72550 94670

Reasons for Designation

Iron has been produced in England from at least 500 BC. The iron industry, spurred on by a succession of technological developments, has played a major part in the history of the country, its production and overall importance peaking with the Industrial Revolution. Iron ores occur in a variety of forms across England, giving rise to several different extraction techniques, including open casting, seam-based mining similar to coal mining, and underground quarrying, and resulting in a range of different structures and features at extraction sites. Ore was originally smelted into iron in small, relatively low-temperature furnaces known as bloomeries. These were replaced from the 16th century by blast furnaces which were larger and operated at a higher temperature to produce molten metal for cast iron. Cast iron is brittle, and to convert it into malleable wrought iron or steel it needs to be remelted. This was originally conducted in an open hearth in a finery forge, but technological developments, especially with steel production, gave rise to more sophisticated types of furnaces. A comprehensive survey of the iron and steel industry has been conducted to identify a sample of ten sites of national importance that represent the industry's chronological range, technological breadth and regional diversity. Iron ore occurs in two main chemical forms, as a carbonate and as an oxide. The carbonate ores require calcining (roasting) to drive off carbon dioxide, converting the ore into an oxide before it can be smelted to produce iron or steel. Calcining also improves the ore for smelting by driving off water and other volatile substances, and by breaking the ore into smaller fragments. The earliest and simplest method of calcining was to pile ore and fuel into a heap known as a clamp, and then to set light to it. The sites of clamps can sometimes be recognised by deposits of gritty red or purple calcine dust, also known as fines. Although clamps were used into the 20th century in some areas, they were generally replaced with calcining kilns from the 17th century, as these were found to require less fuel. Initially similar to lime kilns, they were typically stone-built structures which were loaded from the top, with the calcined ore drawn out through an arched opening at the base. In the 19th century, kiln design developed, employing new materials such as fire-brick and ironwork. There were two principal forms of kiln. Both operated in a similar manner, but had different interior shapes. One was rectangular or elliptical in plan, with an inverted cone-shaped cross section and two or more arched openings along its base through which the calcined ore was drawn. The second, known as the Gjers type, was circular in plan, narrowing to both top and bottom in cross section. Both operated continuously, with ore and fuel loaded at intervals in the top and the calcined ore drawn out from the bottom. Calcining frequently took place close to where the ore was smelted, and sometimes actually at the mine, especially where transportation costs were a major factor, because calcining both reduced the weight of the ore by between 15 and 50% and increased its value. Because of their ephemeral nature, evidence of calcining clamps of any date rarely survive. Thus any sites with confirmed remains in addition to calcine dust are considered to be of national importance. Kilns are a more common survival, and a representative sample of better preserved calcining kilns, illustrating the range of different designs, are considered to merit protection. Those retaining remains of associated mining and/or smelting complexes are considered to be of particular importance.

The ironstone mines of the North York Moors and the Cleveland Hills were of great national economic importance. A sample of the better preserved sites, including a representative range of extraction techniques and structures, are considered to merit protection. Rosedale witnessed an explosion in iron mining in the mid-19th century, its population increasing from 548 in 1851 to 2839 in 1871. This has left an extensive industrial landscape across and around Rosedale which is amongst the best iron mining landscapes known nationally. The monument forms an important and well preserved core area of this wider landscape. The mining boom started with the Hollins Mine magnetite deposits. The Bank Top calcining kilns are also thought to be the earliest of the three sets of kilns within the dale and are the only ones retaining their associated tips of waste calcine dust. The incline linking the mine to the kilns forms a striking landscape feature which also retains remains of its winding house and associated features. The whole monument forms a well preserved complex which aids our understanding of the way in which the kilns functioned.


The monument includes standing, buried and earthwork remains of a mid-19th century iron mining complex located on the western side of Rosedale, approximately 1km south of the village of Rosedale Abbey. It includes the Bank Top iron calcining kilns (which are Listed Grade II), with their associated tips and other features, the remains of Hollins Mine which was the main source of the ore for the kilns and the 900m long incline which linked the mine to the kilns. The monument is a core part of Rosedale's wider iron mining landscape and further 19th century industrial remains lie beyond the area of protection. The iron mines of Rosedale were a fringe area of the important Cleveland iron ore field, in which the ore mostly occurs as horizontally bedded Jurassic ironstone, typically as a thick seamed but relatively low grade ore. Apart from small scale medieval surface workings, Cleveland iron ore was first exploited in the 1830s, peaked at 6 million tons in 1883, a third of Britain's output, and declined after World War One to end in 1964. The ore field was very important economically and helped to make Middlesbrough the centre of the international iron market in the late 19th century. At first the iron ore was typically worked by quarrying the outcrops, then by mining via drifts driven into the face, the thick seams often requiring no extraction of waste rock. This has left extensive, generally linear areas of remains including working faces, tramways, engine houses, and relatively small waste tips compared to other mining sites. In Rosedale in 1853 magnetite ore, a high grade iron ore, was discovered just north east of Hollins Farm. This and later discoveries of lower grade carbonate iron ore resulted in the establishment of a series of iron mines around the dale linked by branch lines of the North Eastern Railway. Hollins was the first mine to be established with leases secured in 1856 and 1857 to exploit the magnetite which formed two troughs up to 22m thick, extending over 400m into the dale side. The area was worked intensively from 1859 by the Rosedale Mining Company, with 3,000-4,000 tons of ore initially transported to the railway at Pickering using horses. In January 1861 a narrow gauge incline started operation, linking the mine to Bank Top and the terminus of the Rosedale West branch line which opened at the end of March. This improved transport link allowed the rapid expansion of mining operations with over 200,000 tons being produced in 1862. The deposits of magnetite were quickly worked out, but mining continued, exploiting larger reserves of lower grade carbonate ore. To concentrate this ore, lowering its mass and increasing its value, calcining kilns were constructed at Bank Top. Production at the mines, including the smaller scale workings to the north, peaked at 560,000 tons in 1873, but a slump in the iron trade and a strike in 1874 saw a rapid decline in output and the collapse of the Rosedale and Ferryhill Iron Company in March 1879. Mining, by the Carlton Iron Company, resumed at a much lower level in 1881 until 1885 when Hollins Mine became the first of the Victorian Rosedale mines to close. The remains of Hollins Mine lies at the eastern end of the monument and is formed by two large openworkings extending into the dale side. These correspond to the two deposits of magnetite which were exploited initially. In the base of these workings there is a series of collapsed drift entrances which were opened to extract the more extensive deposits of carbonate ore. Tramways lead out north eastwards from these drift entrances onto a terraced area with spoil heaps extending downhill to the north east. The tramways curved around north westwards to meet the foot of the incline to Bank Top. Between the drifts and the incline there is an area of spoil heaps which retains the cutting for an earlier alignment of the incline as well as the base of a ventilation chimney around the top of an airshaft. The incline runs uphill, across the line of the slope, initially curving west to WNW for 150m and then continuing straight for 750m to end at Bank Top above and to the west of the calcining kilns. The incline, which was single tracked, is between 2.2m and 5.2m wide and along most of its length is formed by an embankment. In places it has stone built revetments and stone lined culverts. The Rosedale Chimney Bank road passes over the incline, which at this point is lying in a cutting, via an embankment. This later embankment is believed to overlay the surviving remains of a bridge. The incline was powered by a stationary steam winding engine sited approximately 80m beyond the top end of the incline. The twin beds for this engine survive as 15m long walls 1.85m wide and 2m apart, partly obscured by fallen masonry. In the top of each wall there are the remains of two rows of five pairs of iron rods, originally used to secure the steam engine to its base. Adjacent to the north there are the ruined remains of the boiler house represented by turf covered rubble banks in an area 21m by 13m. This originally held three low pressure Collins type boilers, two of which were transferred to Rosedale East Mines in 1885 with the abandonment of the incline. On the west side of the boiler house there is a further scatter of mainly brick masonry which is the remains of the boiler chimney. Centred 70m to the west is an approximately rectangular, water filled reservoir 27m by 25m which supplied the boilers with water. This is defined by low banks up to 1.5m high and fed by a leat which extends north west from the boundary of the monument for over 700m to reach springs on Shooting House Hill. Nearly 200m east of the reservoir are the Bank Top calcining kilns. These form a massive stone structure including a pair of kilns built into the hillside. Internally each kiln is roughly elliptical in plan, originally lined with fire brick, with four arched openings in its eastern wall. The southern kiln was built first and is the best preserved. It is slightly smaller, the rear wall being just over 17m long, and its four stone built round headed arches being slightly narrower than the northern kiln's. The rear wall of the north kiln has largely collapsed, but it would have been just over 20m long. The kiln's four semi-circular arches are brick built with a stone facing. The kilns were loaded with iron ore and coal from above and the calcined ore was drawn out of the base of the kilns, through the arched openings, and loaded directly into metal bodied trucks on a siding which ran along the front, east side of the kilns. Although most sorting of ore from waste rock is thought to have been conducted at the bottom of the incline, some final sorting also occurred before loading the kilns resulting in the finger tips of spoil that extend both to the south and north of the rear of the kilns. The west side of these spoil tips was constrained by another railway siding which led to a coal depot shown on the 1893 Ordnance Survey map. The remains of this depot, which is not thought to have been part of the mine complex, lie beside the road, just outside the area of protection. Remains of a second coal depot, disused by 1893, are included in the monument. These lie 200m south east of the reservoir, built into the side of the spoil tips and includes a 64m long coal bunker with a tramway along its eastern side which heads towards the top of the calcining kilns. Revetting the opposite side of the spoil tips, 80m to the east, there is a section of massive stone walling up to 40m long which is roughly in line with the rear wall of the calcining kilns centred 100m to the north. This has been interpreted as the remains of a second bank of calcining kilns which, according to an 1865 poem, was badly designed and collapsed. The monument also includes the surviving tips of calcine dust that lie to the east of the calcining kilns. A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these are all modern fences, styles and gates and all road surfaces, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Hayes, , Rutter, , 'Research Report' in Rosedale Mines and Railway, , Vol. 9, (1974)
Typescript report, Lane, Paul , Archaeology of the Ironstone Industry of Rosedale, (1989)


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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