The site of High Rake mine is located within High and Washers Rake, an extensive linear area of lead mining activity near the settlements of Great and Little Hucklow in Derbyshire.
Reasons for Designation
High Rake Mine, documented as being worked in the C18 with significant C19 survivals, is scheduled for the following principal reasons:
* Survival: the remains of the High Rake Mine are rare and exceptionally well-preserved survivals of C19 lead mine buildings and associated features and processing areas. The site provides significant legible evidence of the scale and form of lead mine pumping and winding engine house complexes on the Derbyshire orefield. The importance of the site is further enhanced by the remains of ore processing areas and associated mechanisms;
* Diversity: the site retains a diverse range of building remains and associated features representing the extraction and ore processing stages of lead mining in Derbyshire in the C19. Such survivals have the potential to enhance our knowledge and understanding of the county’s nationally significant lead mining industry, of the chronological depth of the site in question and of the place it held in the wider economic and social landscape;
* Documentary Evidence: the historical context of mining at High and Washers Rake is provided by Barmote Court records, with more specific details relating to the establishment and operation of the High Rake Mining Company;
* Group Value: the group value of the many different features contained within the High Rake Mine site enhances its national significance. The sum of the whole transcends the significance of individual components and provides an example of a C19 lead mine complex, evidence of which was once far more extensive throughout Derbyshire’s multi-period and regionally distinctive lead mining landscape;
* Potential: The diverse range of features represented at High Rake Mine have the potential to explain the development and chronological range of the mine working at the site, as well as to contribute to the understanding of the historical and technological development of lead mining in Derbyshire.
Lead mining in Derbyshire may have begun as early as the Late Bronze Age as indicated by the discovery of lead artefacts at Mam Tor and Gardoms Edge, but no archaeological evidence for mining, ore processing or smelting at this time has been recorded (Barnatt, Bevan and Edmonds 2002). In the Roman period, the presence of a major national lead industry is attested both by classical references and by numerous finds of lead 'pigs' (ingots of smelted metal). The distribution and inscriptions of the pigs indicate production in the Mendips, South Shropshire, Derbyshire and the Yorkshire Pennines. The mines themselves are elusive as later mines have cut through the earlier shallow workings (Barnatt and Smith 2004, p49) and the range of mining and ore processing features on Roman sites cannot yet be specified.
Medieval mining is almost equally elusive in the archaeological record. 'Lead works' were mentioned in the Domesday Survey but it is not clear if this meant mining or smelting. There is documentary evidence of mining at for example the Nestus mines, Matlock Bath and Tideslow Rake at Tideslow and there are also many Bole Hills (a primitive smelting furnace) in the area with vestiges of slag remains where lead was smelted. Two major pieces of evidence dating from the medieval period are of fundamental importance; the earliest written laws of lead mining from the Ashbourne Inquisition of 1288 and the carving of a medieval miner in Wirksworth church (moved from Bonsall church in C19), which is probably even earlier.
In the Middle Ages a royalty of a thirteenth of all ore mined (known as a 'lot') was paid to the Crown and a tenth (or 'tithe') was claimed by the church. The Peak was a free mining area with wide and unusual privileges and the 'free' miners were allowed to work by very liberal laws which enabled them to search for lead ore in the 'liberties'; anywhere but churchyards, gardens, orchards and highways. The miners had right of access, water and space to both mine and dump their waste without regard to the land users or owners wishes. To control mining, mineral courts were set up with a Steward and Barmaster, representing the Duchies, including Devonshire, Rutland, and Lancaster, and other landowners as lords of their own liberties, as well as a Grand Jury of 24 men (12 since 1851-52) appointed for six months to control each of the different areas. The laws grew in complexity through time and were not fully listed until the mid-C17 when Thomas Manlove, a Barmoot Steward, wrote them down 'in metre'. The mining laws were formalised in 1851-52. The court still sits today, made up of men who have a wide knowledge of the miners and mining field.
During the C12 and C14 documentary sources provide evidence of 11 and possibly 12 mining sites of one or more workings in Derbyshire; work would have started as opencast (veins which were worked from the surface to a depth of c30-40 feet) and would eventually have gone further underground. In reality there were probably many more mines for which no documentation survives. The miners progressively improved their practical understanding of the nature and location of ore-bearing beds from the medieval period onwards, but by the mid-C18 mine agents and overseers rather than miners had acquired enhanced scientific geological knowledge.
The evidence for mining during the C15 and C16 comes primarily from the written versions of the laws and customs existing between 1288 and 1525 and from an increasing number of specific mines for which we have documentary record, often in the form of court case records. Once the nature of wide and deep horizontal deposits was understood by the mid-C16, meers (a linear measurement along a vein irrespective of its width or depth) were measured in squares rather than the usual linear measurement along the vein. As knowledge of ore deposits increased many more mines were worked; in excess of a hundred are individually named in documents but many groups of miners could be at work along a single vein. During the C15 and C16 technological development moved apace with the first evidence of drainage using horse-powered pumps (c1579-1581) and a long drainage adit all appearing in contemporary documentation.
The C17 witnessed rapid expansion in both geological knowledge and technical advancement. Improvements in smelting technology during the last quarter of the C16 allowed smaller size ore to be smelted in the new ore-hearth furnaces. As a consequence many large mines had their old underground workings and surface hillocks extensively reworked. The breaking of rock underground using gunpowder (from the 1660s) made working mines to a greater depth easier, but these required more efficient ventilation, gained by sinking shafts at regular intervals. The driving of soughs (1627 onwards) to dewater mines was crucial and these became common.
Technological advancement continued in the C18. At the beginning of the C18, shafts and workings were at a depth of 700ft, but by the end of the century some shafts were in excess of 900ft deep. The first Newcomen engine was installed between 1716 and 1719 and a 40ft diameter water wheel was recorded in 1747. Haulage was also transformed in the C18; baskets and sleds were gradually superseded at larger mines by the introduction of small, plain wheeled wagons running along wooden rails. Iron railed tramways became relatively common in the C19. Haulage to the surface continued to use traditional stows (a wooden windlass used for winding materials and water) although horse gins were also in use in most medium to large mines. Longer, deep level soughs and deeper mine workings demanded improved methods of ventilation.
In the C19 profitable sources of ore became scarce and increased competition from other ore fields led to a decline in the importance of, and production at the Peak District mines. A series of expensive ventures using steam engines to enable work at depth were launched but mostly failed to produce viable ore over sustained periods. As with all previous centuries, small scale underground production by miner-farmers and other part time workers, and low-paid reworking of hillocks for residual lead ore, continued apace. With the exception of Millclose mine at Darley Bridge, which worked until 1939, little profitable mining was carried out from the 1880s onwards. From the early C20 to the present, lead mining sites have been extensively reworked for minerals originally discarded by the lead miners. Those of economic worth are primarily fluorspar, barites and calcite, while lead ore is still a valuable by-product.
High and Washers Rake is located in the Liberties of Little Hucklow and Great Hucklow (the districts within which the miners worked, governed by a set of laws and customs). It is not known when the area was first worked for lead, but documentary evidence indicates that lead mining was taking place there in the late C16, as Robert Dolphin is recorded as working lead ore in ‘Little Hucklow Waste’. This area is the part of the ore field where High Rake is located. High Rake Mine is identified in 1745 in connection with a Barmote Court action concerning a payment due to Isaac Morton, and in 1767 the mine is valued at £480. A 1730s map shows five mine shafts located along the rake between the Castleton to Tideswell road (henceforth referred to as ‘the road’). Deep mining took place in the 1760s and 1780s but output remained low until the 1830s. The historic Ordnance Survey map of 1880 depicts the rake with a number of named mine sites along its length, including Mock Mine close to the road, then High Rake Mine, Valentine’s Mine and Fox’s Venture to the west-north-west of Windmill hamlet. Further east, beyond Windmill were other mines, including Hill Top Mine, Gateside Mine and Milldam Mine, before the vein sank below the shale deposits.
In 1834, the High Rake Mining Company was formed to access and mine previously inaccessible deep deposits of lead located beneath a thick layer of toadstone – a volcanic rock overlying deeper deposits of limestone. The ore-bearing deposits above the toadstone layer had been worked out by the mid-C18, and an attempt had been made to penetrate the toadstone in 1768, without success, the shaft being driven to a depth of 84m. In 1842-3 the company installed a Cornish pumping engine to de-water the old workings, prior to further excavation. However, in 1847, further sinking of the shaft beyond the 220m depth then reached was abandoned, as the toadstone layer had not been penetrated. Although some ore deposits found within the toadstone were worked with the aid of the newly-installed winding engine, this, together with the reworking of the hillocks formed by earlier mining operations, failed to re-coup the earlier outlay of capital and in 1852 the mine was closed. Photographs taken in the late 1920s show the High Rake Mine buildings in a ruinous condition, and shortly afterwards they were demolished to provide stone for new council housing in the area.
Throughout much of the early and mid-C20, the lead vein area around Great Hucklow, including those sections of High and Washers Rake to the west was a source of fluorspar and calcite, valuable gangue minerals (waste materials found in association with lead ore, or rock bearing only a small proportion of lead ore).
The hillocks resulting from lead mining and ore processing between Great Hucklow and the Mock Mine site were re-worked for calcite (Barnatt, 2011) and eventually the open workings were used as a linear tip for domestic waste. At High Rake, in the 1970s the main shaft was capped in concrete, and the tipped area to the west of the mine site was consolidated and planted with trees. Between 2000 and 2008, the mine landscape, including the remains of the pumping engine house and the later winding engine house installed to the north of the main shaft were excavated, together with associated features including the boiler houses and chimneys of both engine houses, a gin circle (remains of horse-powered winding apparatus), a crushing circle, (an area where ore was crushed by a horse-driven vertical millstone), a coal yard, part of a large reservoir and a dressing floor.
The area of protection is centred on SK16377 77782. It includes that section of High and Washers Rake containing the earthwork, buried, standing and rock-cut remains of High Rake mine. The mine site’s main shaft is located at SK16389 77764 and is now covered with a concrete cap. Immediately to the south of the shaft is the fully excavated site of the 1842-3 Cornish pumping engine house, its boiler house, flue and chimney. The boiler house remains are attached to the west wall of the engine house, with its flue and chimney at its southern end. Immediately to the west of the boiler house is the cobbled surface of its coal yard, and further west the embanked earthwork remains of a rectangular reservoir with what are believed to be irregularly-shaped prospecting pits above its northern end. Immediately to the east of the shaft is a gin circle (the remains of the area occupied by horse-driven winding machinery), on a raised platform previously housing a capstan. 6m west of the shaft is a circular crushing floor with a gritstone crushing wheel and short curved sections of stone paving located on the perimeter of the now-lost circular iron-crushing bed. 20m to the north of the shaft, beyond the track that passes through the site, are the remains of the winding engine house, its boiler house, flue and chimney, erected in 1847. The engine house is orientated east-west, and is attached to the south end of the boiler house, with its flue and chimney at the north end. To the north and east of the winding engine house is the surviving section of a dressing floor created in 1847-8, reflecting a change of scale of ore dressing activity on the site. Part of the south-eastern section of the dressing floor has been lost or overlaid by the farm track which passes to the south of the engine house remains and then north-eastward across the south-east sector of the dressing floor. 20m to the north of the winding engine house chimney, the ground drops away steeply beyond the drystone belland yard wall (substantial drystone walls erected around dressing floors to prevent livestock grazing on contaminated ground), which forms the northern boundary of the area of protection. Immediately to the south of the boundary wall are hillocks of 2-3m height, thought to be the best-preserved examples associated with High Rake Mine, in an area of High and Washers Rake which was otherwise heavily re-worked in the C20.
EXTENT OF SCHEDULING
The area of protection extends eastwards from SK1634477751 along the line of the drystone boundary to its junction with a farm track at SK1640577737. From here it follows the upper edge of the track to SK1647377810. At this point it extends directly northwards to meet the belland yard wall forming the northern boundary to the area of protection at SK1647277835. From here it progresses westwards along the line of the wall to SK1631177817, and then directly southwards to SK1631377787. It then extends eastwards running parallel to the lower edge of the track passing west to east through the area of protection to SK1631977706. From this point it turns south-eastwards to join the belland yard wall and continues to follow the line of the wall to SK1634477751. It then extends eastwards, following the wall line to the starting point of the area of protection previously described.
All modern post and wire fences, road and track surfaces and signage are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath all these features is included.