Yewdale lime kiln 380m south west of Low Yewdale


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1021014

Date first listed: 06-Oct-2003


Ordnance survey map of Yewdale lime kiln 380m south west of Low Yewdale
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: South Lakeland (District Authority)

Parish: Coniston

National Park: LAKE DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: SD 30915 98836


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.

Yewdale lime kiln 380m south west of Low Yewdale survives well, is a good example of an early 18th century draw kiln, and will contain buried remains of an associated lime shed. The kiln's national importance is enhanced by its unusual regional vernacular style of architecture.


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


The monument includes Yewdale early 18th century lime kiln and the buried remains of an associated lime shed which was attached to the front of the kiln. It is located adjacent to a crag on the north west side of the A593 Coniston to Ambleside road 380m south west of Low Yewdale. It is a single pot draw hole type kiln which was used to burn limestone.

Typically the limestone was tipped into the kiln from the top via the charge hole then burned using wood, coal or coke as a fuel. The resultant quicklime, also known as birdlime or slaked lime, was then shovelled out from the draw hole at the bottom of the kiln. Lime has many uses including spreading on lime deficient soils to encourage plant growth, the whitewashing of walls and ceilings of buildings, and concrete and cement production.

The lime kiln is of slate construction and is of unusual design in that it is set into the hillslope and has a square base which gently tapers up to a circular stack. The draw arch which leads to the draw hole, also known as the fire hole, is approximately 1.6m high and has a corbelled arch which is splayed. A metal grate or bar remains in situ above the draw hole. Evidence th shed was originally attached to the front of the kiln can be seen by the existence of a timber beam, joist hole and slate drip course above the draw arch and the stub of a wall to the west of the arch. A surviving example of a lime shed elsewhere in the area suggests that such a structure would have extended across the front of the kiln and measured approximately 5m wide. The circular stack above the kiln, or charge hole, is largely choked with scru rubbish. Above and to the rear of the kiln there is a well-built charge ramp with retaining walls along which stone would be transported prior to being tipped down the charge hole for burning.

The lime kiln is a Listed Building Grade II.

All fences and fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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: 35004

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Keates, A C , 'Cumbria Industrial History Society' in Yewdale, (1995)
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
SMR No. 18520, Cumbria SMR, Limestone How Quarry and Lime Kiln, Coniston, (1988)

End of official listing