Lime kilns at The Dell, off Wragby Road


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1021082

Date first listed: 08-Sep-2003


Ordnance survey map of Lime kilns at The Dell, off Wragby Road
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Lincolnshire

District: Lincoln (District Authority)

National Grid Reference: SK 98352 72004


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 double-kiln block at The Dell, off Wragby Road, represents a rare survival of a pair of draw kilns in an urban context. As a result of good documentary evidence the site is quite well understood, representing the only known surviving lime kilns from a small group which operated to the east of Lincoln Cathedral in the mid-19th century. As such it preserves unique evidence for a limited period of use, which has been sealed by subsequent infilling and remained relatively undisturbed for over a century. The site will therefore preserve intact archaeological deposits relating to the construction and use of the lime kilns in a distinct historic period, telling us how they functioned as a characteristic feature of small-scale industry in the urban landscape.


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


The monument includes a pair of lime kilns at The Dell, a former quarry situated approximately 0.5m north east of Lincoln Cathedral. Documentary sources of the mid-19th century refer to Nelthorpe's Quarry, owned by William Tweed Nelthorpe, lime burner. By 1877, however, both the quarry and the lime kilns had become disused. In the 1890s a house called The Dell was built on the eastern edge of the earlier quarry, the lime kilns were infilled and the bank within which they stood landscaped as part of the associated garden. The lime kilns were partly exposed at the end of the 20th century but still remain largely buried.

The lime kilns take the form of a block of two draw kilns, aligned approximately north-south, built into the bank which marks the western edge of the quarry. A narrow passageway flanked by walls of roughly dressed limestone leads from the floor of the former quarry to a tall brick-arched opening, about 1.4m wide, set into the side of the bank. This archway opens into the central lobby, 1.6m in width, which gave access to both kilns. The rear wall of the lobby is constructed of limestone and tapers upwards to a brick-vaulted roof. In the south wall, which is constructed of brick, a smalled arched opening about 0.75m high and 0.5m wide represents a draw-hole through which the southern kiln was lit, and ash and lime subsequently removed. In the north wall, which is constructed of coursed limestone and brick, a larger opening about 1.2m wide and 2m high provided access to a draw-hole in the northern kiln. The firing chambers (pots) of the kilns, now infilled, are believed to be about 5m in diameter and will survive to a height of at least 6m, buried within the bank. Roughly dressed limestone blocks on the side and top of the bank indicate the location of the buried pots. The pots would have been filled from the top of the bank through open tops, in alternating layers of fuel and limestone, providing a continuous feed lasting up to a few weeks for each firing.

The fence at the western edge of the monument is not included in the scheduling, although the ground beneath it 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: 22776

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing