Lime kiln and associated quarry 75m south of High Scarth Barn


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020891

Date first listed: 28-Jan-2003


Ordnance survey map of Lime kiln and associated quarry 75m south of High Scarth Barn
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Craven (District Authority)

Parish: Scosthrop


National Grid Reference: SD 88911 59877


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

Reasons for Designation

Limestone or chalk has been the basic ingredient for lime mortar from at least Roman times. Since the medieval period, lime has also been used as agricultural fertiliser and, since the early 19th century, widely used in a variety of other industries: as a flux in blast furnaces, in the production of gas and oil, and in the chemical, pharmaceutical and food industries. The lime industry is defined as the processes of preparing and producing lime by burning and slaking. The basic raw material for producing lime is limestone or chalk: when burnt at high temperature (roasted or calcined), these rocks release carbon dioxide, leaving `quicklime' which, by chemical reaction when mixed with water (`slaking'), can be turned into a stable powder - lime. Lime burning sites varied in scale from individual small lime kilns adjacent to a quarry, to large-scale works designed to operate commercially for an extended market and often associated with long distance water or rail transport. Lime burning as an industry displays well-developed regional characteristics, borne out by the regional styles of East Anglia, West Gloucestershire or Derbyshire. The form of kilns used for lime burning evolved throughout the history of the industry, from small intermittent clamp and flare kilns, to large continuously fired draw kilns that could satisfy increased demand from urban development, industrial growth and agricultural improvement. Small-scale rural lime production continued in the later 19th and 20th centuries, but this period of the industry is mainly characterised by large-scale production and the transfer of technologies from the cement and other industries. The demand for mortars grew steadily during the 19th and 20th centuries. The successful production of mortars made with artificial cement represented an economic challenge to lime production and gradually replaced the use of lime mortars in major construction and engineering projects. From a highly selective sample made at national level, around 200 lime industry sites have been defined as being of national importance. These have been defined to represent the industry's chronological depth, technological breadth and regional diversity.

The lime kiln and associated quarry 75m south of High Scarth Barn survives extremely well. A wealth of internal features is clearly visible and the working method of the kiln can be clearly understood. In addition to the quality of its survival the kiln is an unusual example of a large scale draw kiln which represents an attempt at large commercial production. Taken as a whole the kiln offers important information about both draw kiln technology and the development of the lime industry.


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


The monument includes standing and earthwork remains of a 19th century draw type lime kiln and associated quarries. It is located on a south facing aspect on the southern flank of Warber Hill on the southern part of the Yorkshire Dales massif. The monument lies on the southern part of the Yoredale Series of Carboniferous Limestone. There has been widespread extraction and processing of lime in the Yorkshire Dales since medieval times when it was used for improving soil, the manufacture of mortar and plaster and as a building material. There was an increased demand for lime when it was used to improve the soil in intake land and reclaimed moorland during the enclosures of the late 18th and 19th centuries. The landscape is littered with remains of simple lime kilns built to meet what was primarily a very local demand. The 19th century saw a great demand for lime to use in the new and technologically improved industries of the industrial revolution as well the boom in the building trade. Consequently large scale commercial kilns were built. Little is known of the history of the Warber Hill lime kiln. It is not depicted on the first edition Ordnance Survey map of 1854, and based on comparisons with other similar kilns elsewhere it has been dated to the late 19th century. The size of the kiln indicates that it operated on a commercial basis rather than just to provide lime for immediate local use. Its operation appears to have been short lived as the quarries are relatively small. The size of the kiln and the quality of its construction indicate that some expense was made in its construction. It is likely that the kiln was an attempt to produce large commercial scale quantities of lime using the draw method but was unable to compete with the more efficient and technologically advanced production systems being employed elsewhere, most notably at Langcliffe 8km to the west. Although there were variations in style, size and detail all draw kilns operated on the same principles. There was a stone or brick built superstructure, which contained a circular or near-circular bowl which gave way at the base to an arched opening at the front of the structure. The operation of the kiln involved placing successive layers of pieces of limestone and fuel, normally coal, into the top of the kiln bowl which were then ignited from below. The resultant burnt lime was then extracted through a draw hole at the back of the arch at the bottom of the kiln. By loading the kiln from above it was possible to maintain a number of successive burns although the kiln would have to periodically cease production for maintenance. The Warber Hill kiln was built against an exposed limestone scarp possibly in a pre-existing quarry as the supporting walls on either side of the kiln are built directly on bedrock. The rear of the kiln is built against bedrock and the front is free standing. The front of the kiln comprises a vertical, random coursed, rough hewn limestone face with a large draw arch in the centre. The kiln face measures 6.5m across and is 6.45m high. The draw arch is 3.13m high and 3.25m wide, extends north into the body of the kiln for 6.1m and was large enough to take a cart. The face of the arch is edged with rusticated stone blocks. At the rear of the arch there is a loading bench above which the draw hole is still visible, through which the lime was extracted. There are significant amounts of calcified deposits extruding from the draw hole. Above the loading bench there is the exposed brick of the kiln bowl projecting, unusually, into the draw arch. On each side of the kiln face there are retaining walls which rise to the same height as the kiln. These served to support both the kiln and the ground to the rear. On the top of the kiln the opening to the kiln bowl is visible although it is now completely filled in with rubble. It is circular in shape and measures 2m in diameter. To the rear of the kiln top there is a level area some 12m deep and 23m wide leading to an arc shaped quarry face. This area is covered with grass and it is not currently possible to determine where the kiln structure ends and bedrock begins. This level area would have been used for sorting and breaking limestone into suitable sizes and for stacking fuel prior to charging the kiln bowl. The quarry face is a maximum of 5.6m high. Above the quarry face, on the level ground to the north there is an area of open cast limestone workings. There are at least nine separately identifiable quarry pits extending over an area 65m by 20m. The largest of these workings is 10 sq m and 2.4m deep. At the front of the kiln there is a hollow way 30m long and 2m wide which gave access to the kiln arch.

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: 35476

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Johnson, D, Yorkshire Dales Limekiln Survey, (2002)
Johnson, D, Yorkshire Dales Limekiln Survey, (2002)
White, R, Yorkshire Dales, (1997), 91-92
Williams, R, Limekilns and Limeburning, (1989)

End of official listing