Goldscope copper and lead mines and remains of associated dressing floors, stamp mill, dressing mill, reservoir and leats


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


Ordnance survey map of Goldscope copper and lead mines and remains of associated dressing floors, stamp mill, dressing mill, reservoir and leats
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Allerdale (District Authority)
Above Derwent
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
NY 22244 18443

Reasons for Designation

Copper was extracted in Britain intermittently from the Early Bronze Age (about 2000 BC) until the early 20th century, after when the industry was confined to by-product production and small scale reworkings of mines and dumps. There is very limited evidence for copper mining before the 15th and 16th centuries, and most known sites are of later date, principally of the industry's 18th and 19th century peak after it had been revitalised by developments in smelting technology. In the 18th and 19th centuries, as perhaps it had also been in prehistory, British production was important on a European scale. Nucleated copper mines are a prominent type of field monument produced by copper 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 and power transmission features such as wheel pits and leats. The majority of nucleated copper mines are of 18th to 20th century date, earlier mining being normally by rakes, opencuts and open levels, and including scattered ore dressing features. An essential part of a copper mining site is the ore works, where the mixture of ore and waste rock extracted from the ground was separated (dressed) to form a smeltable concentrate. The range of processes can be summarised as: picking out clean lumps of ore and waste; hammering (breaking down lumps to a smaller size by manual hammering or by mechanical crushing); jigging (separation of gravel-sized material by shaking on a sieve in a tub of water; and buddling (separation of finer material by washing away the lighter waste in a current of water). Field remains of ore works include crushing devices, separating structures and tanks and tips of distinctive waste from the various processes, together with associated water supplies. Simple ore dressing devices had been developed by the 16th century, but the large majority date from the 18th to 20th centuries, when technology evolved rapidly. During English Heritage's national evaluation of the copper industry, 130 sites were assessed. This is a highly select sample of the numbers of sites that historically existed in England; although there are no national estimates, for the south west alone an estimate has been made of over 10,000 sites. It is considered that protection by scheduling is appropriate for less than 50, with alternative means of protection or management being considered more appropriate for the other nationally important sites.

Despite demolition of the upstanding remains of the lead ore dressing mill and its associated buildings adjacent to Newlands Beck, Goldscope copper and lead mines and the remains of their associated spoilheaps, dressing floors, reservoir, dam and leats survive well. Additionally buried remains of the lead ore dressing mill and an earlier copper stamp mill considered to have occupied the same site as the dressing mill will survive. Documentary sources indicate that Goldscope is considered to be a rare example of medieval mine working in Cumbria. As one of the mines owned by the Mines Royal Company in the 16th and 17th centuries it is of major importance for the study of post-medieval mining in Britain, and in particular for the degree or otherwise of German influence on British mining technology. Overall the monument will contain examples of mining technology from the 13th to the early 20th century.


The monument includes Goldscope copper and lead mines together with the remains of associated dressing floors, spoil heaps, a reservoir, dam, leats, and the buried remains of a copper stamp mill and a lead dressing mill. It is a long, linear monument located on the western side of Newlands Valley, across the heights of Scope End, and along the eastern side of the Scope End valley. A 13th century land inventory considered to refer to Goldscope tells of gold, silver, copper and lead mining being undertaken in the Derwent Fells during the 13th century. These early workings would have been little more than scratchings of the mineral vein where it appeared at the surface. Documentary sources indicate that the first large-scale, skilled working of the mines began in 1564 when Goldscope became one of many mines in the Keswick area to be worked by the Mines Royal Company who, during the 16th and 17th centuries, were leaders in European mining technology. Copper was the principal ore mined here during this period but during the 18th century little, if any, mining took place. During the 19th century lead began to be mined at various times as ownership of Goldscope changed frequently; mining finally ceased here in about 1920. The remains are described from east to west. On the western bank of the Newlands Beck, at NY22951840, there is a large area of dressing waste amongst which are traces of building foundations and floors relating to the 19th and early 20th century lead dressing mill and associated buildings and features situated here where the lead ore was processed. Water to power some of these dressing processes flowed along a leat which drew water from the fell to the south west and which survives as a well-preserved and partly waterlogged feature running northwards along the side of the valley from NY22821813 for about 350m. Also considered to be located here are the buried remains of an earlier copper stamp mill. Here the newly-mined copper ore would have been subjected to primary breaking. The water-powered stamp mill would have typically consisted of a set of vertical beams shod with iron which were raised and allowed to fall onto the ore. On the hillside to the north west are a series of largely 19th century spoilheaps associated with lead extraction. These virtually obliterate a lower copper adit driven by Thomas Robinson between 1697 and 1704. On the eastern side of Scope End above these spoilheaps are a series of early copper opencuts with associated adjacent hand-dressing sites. Those directly above the spoilheaps have latterly been enhanced as part of 19th century lead mining. An opencut is a process of mineral extraction whereby the ore is worked directly from the surface resulting in a linear opening along the mineral vein. Such extraction processes typically survive as a gully or ravine. A short distance to the south west on Scope End, high up on the eastern side of Scope Beck valley at NY22521855, there is a large copper opencut with adjacent dressing floors and spoil tumbling down the steep hillslope. Elsewhere on the valley side are numerous adits and small spoilheaps associated with lead mining together with a small copper opencut high on the valley side at NY22311837. At NY22421852 a leat terminates above a hand-chiselled adit on the eastern side of Scope Beck valley. This leat fed a 12m diameter waterwheel in the lead workings. It was however, originally constructed to provide waterpower for an internal waterwheel erected by the German miners of the Mines Royal Company in the copper mine known as St George's Shaft. The water was channelled through the hand-chiselled adit and drained through the mountain to Newlands Beck via the main adit above the lead spoilheaps on the western side of Newlands Valley. Remains of a late 19th/early 20th century engine mounting exists at the entrance to the hand-chiselled adit. At NY21521773 is the reservoir which provided the water to drive these two waterwheels. The reservoir is contained by a substantial stone-built dam across Scope Beck. The leat exits the north east corner of the reservoir and follows a course along the eastern side of Scope Beck for about 1.2km until it reaches the hand-chiselled adit. All modern field boundaries, fenceposts, gateposts, a small covered reservoir or water tank, and the surfaces of all footpaths are excluded from the monument, 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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Adams, J, Mines of the Lake District Fells, (1995), 23-9
Adams, J, Mines of the Lake District Fells, (1995), 23-9


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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