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Icehouse 720m south east of Bath House Farm

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Icehouse 720m south east of Bath House Farm

List entry Number: 1020715

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County:

District: Doncaster

District Type: Metropolitan Authority

Parish: High Melton

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 24-Jul-2002

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 29995

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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

Reasons for Designation

Icehouses are subterranean structures designed specifically to store ice, usually removed in winter from ponds and used in the summer for preserving food and cooling drinks. Thousands of icehouses have been built in England since the early 17th century. These were initially built only by the upper level of society, but by the end of the 18th century they were commonplace. They continued to be built throughout the 19th century, when huge examples were established by the fishing industry, as well as for use in towns. Icehouses only became obsolete after the introduction of domestic refrigerators in the early 20th century. Of the thousands originally built, some 1500 icehouses have been positively identified through a combination of archaeological and documentary research. Although a relatively common class, most recorded examples with surviving remains will be considered to be of national interest and appropriate for consideration for either scheduling or listing. They are also generally regarded as a significant component of local distinctiveness and character.

The icehouse, ponds and water management system in the grounds of High Melton Hall are particularly well-preserved and will retain important archaeological information about the construction and use of the icehouse. The association and survival of two ponds is rare. If the ponds are contemporary then the site suggests a novel method in working the icehouse was employed. If one pond replaced the other as the provider of ice then the monument offers a rare chronological sequence in the development and use of the icehouse. The silt within the ponds will also retain important environmental information about the landscape in which the icehouse was built and used.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the earthwork, standing and buried remains of an icehouse, two ponds and associated drainage system. The icehouse was built in the grounds of High Melton Hall, an 18th century hall with 100 acres (40ha) of landscaped parkland. The monument is situated on a steep south west facing slope about 350m south of the Hall and approximately 60m above sea level. The icehouse is constructed of brick and stone and is of a `cup and dome' design. On the ground surface it is evident as an earthen mound, measuring approximately 20m by 15m, with stone facing visible on the south eastern side. The entrance to the icehouse is positioned on the south side and enters the building at the spring line of the domed chamber. The entrance consists of a vaulted tunnel and leads to the ice chamber. Internally there is evidence of a stone door jamb approximately half way down the length of the tunnel entrance. This would have supported the internal door with the external door being flush with the front of the tunnel. The two doors were designed to prevent any warm air currents from entering the icehouse. Straw was often placed in the passage between the doors to further block the movement of warm air. The ice chamber has vertical, or near vertical, sides and is sunk beneath ground level. Although not exclusive to the 18th century, vertical sided cup and dome ice chambers are characteristic of this period of construction. The icehouse is built mainly of brick although externally there is evidence of a stone facing. This would have reinforced the structure and would also have offered insulation, as would the earthen mound. The icehouse is hidden in the estate landscape and is now camouflaged by trees. It was thought that trees had the ability to keep the ground cool and aid evaporation therefore cooling the air above the icehouse. It was also believed that trees would dry the soil to a great depth. It is however, difficult to establish whether the trees were deliberately planted at the time the icehouse was built. To the east of the icehouse and terraced into the natural slope is a square enclosure. This is defined by earthen banks which survive to a height of approximately 1m. The enclosure measures approximately 14m by 14m and is interpreted as an ice pond. The banks or dams would control the level of the water and help to keep it still to facilitate freezing. The proximity to the icehouse and the fact that it has been terraced into the slope indicate that the pond was built to service the icehouse. Also associated with the icehouse is a second pond which is situated approximately 80m down slope to the south west. This is circular in shape with a brick built dam evident around approximately two thirds of its circumference predominantly on its northern side. The dam survives to a height of about 0.5m and, although very silted, continues to retain water. The pond drains into the River Dearne which lies approximately 800m to the south west. The pond is roughly 20m in diameter and is terraced into the natural slope. Although not physically linked, the pond appears to be associated with the icehouse through an earthen bank which runs from close to the south east corner of the square pond to within a few meters of the circular pond. The bank survives to a height of about 0.5m and is interpreted as a drainage or water management feature. It is possible that the ponds are contemporary and both functioned in the running of the icehouse. Equally they could offer a chronological sequence in the development and use of the icehouse with one pond replacing the other for the production of ice. The modern bricked entrance to the icehouse is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it 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.

Selected Sources

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

National Grid Reference: SE 50800 01418

Map

Map
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This copy shows the entry on 18-Nov-2017 at 03:08:39.

End of official listing