Thieveley lead mine 330m south west and 910m WSW of Buckleys


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


Ordnance survey map of Thieveley lead mine 330m south west and 910m WSW of Buckleys
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Burnley (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SD 86629 27781, SD 87320 27777

Reasons for Designation

Approximately 10,000 lead industry sites are estimated to survive in England, spanning nearly three millennia of mining history from the later Bronze Age (c.1000 BC) until the present day, though before the Roman period it is likely to have been on a small scale. Two hundred and fifty one lead industry sites, representing approximately 2.5% of the estimated national archaeological resource for the industry, have been identified as being of national importance. This selection of nationally important monuments, compiled and assessed through a comprehensive survey of the lead industry, is designed to represent the industry's chronological depth, technological breadth and regional diversity.

Thieveley lead mine is a rare example in north west England of a site displaying evidence of features relating to lead mining in the early 17th and mid-18th centuries. It contains a range of features associated with mining during these periods including shafts, spoil tips, ore-processing areas, a buddle and the buried remains of a smelt mill. This latter feature is considered to be the only known example of foot-powered bellows operating in a smelt mill of this date in Lancashire and Yorkshire, and thus reflects one of the technological developments in use at smelt mills prior to the later widespread use of waterwheels to power bellows for increasing the heat in the smelting process.


The monument, which is divided into two separate areas of protection, includes the earthworks and buried remains of Thieveley 17th century lead mine. The eastern area close to the remains of Thieveley Farm, includes shafts, spoil mounds, an ore processing area and the buried remains of an early smelt mill, while the western area close to Black Clough contains a shaft, a leat, the remains of a buddle, and an area of ore processing debris. The first known mining at Thieveley commenced in 1627 when Robert Hartley discovered lead ore while digging a trench to divert water into the farmyard at Thieveley Farm. By 1629 a small smelt mill which is thought to have utilised foot-powered bellows for increasing the heat in the smelting process was operating here. Two years later this mill had become an ore store after being replaced by a larger mill in the valley bottom. Documentary sources indicate that mining may have ceased after the mid-1630s, however, it is probable that the Thieveley Farm and Black Clough areas were reworked by the Clitheroe Mining Company for a short period sometime between 1753 and 1766. To the west of the remains of Thieveley Farm there is an area of lead ore dressing debris with larger and more regular shaped debris at the eastern end suggesting the site of a former structure presumed to be the smelt mill. The remainder of this area appears to be where the ore was dressed ready for smelting. There are two terraces, the higher containing larger waste suggesting that the ore was broken by hand to remove unwanted rock, the lower containing smaller waste suggesting sieving to remove smaller particles of shale. To the south and south west of the remains of Thieveley Farm there are four largely infilled lead shafts. The lowest of these displays exposed spoil immediately below it, the one close to a drystone wall corner has a grassed over tip, the one closest to the farm consists of a hillside depression with loose stones in the bottom, and the one to the south west of the farm consists of a large depression 3m in diameter encircled by a grassed over ring mound of spoil. Two small adjacent mounds are also thought to be spoil tips. At SD86632776, to the east of Black Clough, there is the site of a shaft consisting of a mound partly devoid of vegetation and containing grit and shale debris with traces of barytes, a vein mineral associated with lead. Just below this mound there is a leat or water channel ending at a square pit which is thought to be the location of a buddle. A buddle was a device for separating pulverised veinstone into its various minerals. Fine veinstone was shovelled into the conical centre of the buddle where water, fed by the leat, and a paddle system, agitated the mixture and gradually distributed it across the floor, leaving the heavier lead particles near the centre and washing the waste to the edges. An area of ore processing debris, covered by thin vegetation, extends downhill below the buddle. All drystone walls, fences, fence posts, gates and gateposts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath 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
Thornber, T, The History of Cliviger, (1987)
France, S, 'Records of the Society of Lancashire & Cheshire' in The Thieveley Lead Mine 1629-35, , Vol. 109, (1951)
Gill, M C, 'British Mining' in The Yorkshire and Lancashire Lead Mines, , Vol. 33, (1987)
Roe, M, 'British Mining' in The Archaeology of Thieveley Lead Mine, , Vol. 67, (2000)
To Robinson,K.D. (MPPA), Roe, Martin (Conservation Officer, NAMHO), Thieveley lead mine, (2003)


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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