Catch the Wind Kite Festival, Morecambe – July 2009

Catch the Wind Kite Festival - Morecambe, July 2009

Catch the Wind Kite Festival – Morecambe, July 2009

It has been a bit quiet archaeology-wise in the usual lull since Christmas, with all the feverish writing up of reports that I need to do rather than fieldwork. I thought I would trawl back through my photos to see if there was anything to post up and I came across these images of the Catch the Wind Kite Festival on the beach at Morecambe. I think it was a bit of a cloudier day to the more recent festival I posted on in St Anne’s last year but the scenery is a bit more interesting!

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St Catherine’s Estate at Windermere – Landscape Survey Report

Watercolour view of the house and formal garden at St Catherine's Estate, c1900

Watercolour view of the house and formal garden at St Catherine’s Estate, c1900

The historic landscape survey report we completed way back in 2005 for St Catherine’s Estate, a National Trust property on Windermere, Cumbria is now available online via the OA Library. This project recorded the archaeological and historical features within the 0.32sq km of the property, a mixture of pasture, woodland and parkland, in order to inform the future management of the estate. The project was funded by the Local Heritage Initiative and from the outset it incorporated the involvement of members of the local community who were trained in documentary and survey techniques. In 2006 an eco-friendly straw bale building was built on the estate. The Footprint, is now used for educational visits.

The location of St Catherine's Estate near Windermere

The location of St Catherine’s Estate near Windermere

The project entailed documentary study, identification, boundary and tree surveys, as well as a detailed survey of the formal gardens.

Training a volunteer in the dark arts of GPS survey

Training a volunteer in the dark arts of GPS survey

Prior to the establishment of the formal landscape the area was exploited for agriculture and was divided into two separate lots known as High and Low Gate Mill How.  A cottage once existed at High Gate Mill How, presumably on the site of the later mansion. The agricultural management within the study area was typified by the relatively static enclosed fields with drystone walled boundaries. The survey also identified a number of agricultural features within the original extent of the parkland estate, which predate the park; these included clearance cairns and drains. Similarly, woodland management was a crucial part of the historic land use; at least ten charcoal burning platforms were recorded within the two areas of woodland examined. The woods were divided up into compartments of coppice at different stages of growth and the remains of the compartment boundaries still survive.

Charcoal burning platform in High Hag Wood, St Catherine's Estate

Charcoal burning platform in High Hag Wood, St Catherine’s Estate

Coppice boundary foundations in High Hag Wood, St Catherine's Estate

Coppice boundary foundations in High Hag Wood, St Catherine’s Estate

The estate was bought by the Parker family in 1788 and by 1804 it was in the sole ownership of Ann Parker. Around 1810 a Swiss Cottage Orneé was erected on the site. This took place concurrent with work to establish gardens and the development of a parkland landscape fronting onto the road running along the west side of the estate. In 1831 the estate was sold to the Second Earl of Bradford, and it was used as an occasional holiday residence for the Earl and his wife, whose main seat was Weston Park in Staffordshire. By 1856-1857 work was completed on many of the designed elements of the estate, including the house, kitchen block, stable block, formal garden, wilderness garden, walled garden and parkland, but there were still also areas of woodland and farmland within the estate. However, by the mid 1860s Low and High Hag Woods had been developed into an extension of the pleasure grounds, and incorporated formal paths and arbors.

Watercolour view of the St Catherine' cottage overlooking Lake Windermere, c1850s

Watercolour view of the St Catherine’ cottage overlooking Lake Windermere, c1850s

The Second Earl of Bradford died in 1865 and between the late 1860s and 1890s the house remained a summer holiday residence for the third Earl of Bradford. Then in 1895 the Cottage Orneé was extensively enlarged and another storey was added; the central kitchen range and the stable block were also expanded. A map of 1898 showed that by this date a summer house had been added to the Gatelands field, adjacent to the Wilderness garden, and the carriageways were extended into the northern part of the park.

Late nineteenth century photograph of the house and formal garden, St Catherine's Estate

Late nineteenth century photograph of the extended house and formal
garden, St Catherine’s Estate

The Third Earl of Bradford died in 1898 and the estate passed on to his daughter, Lady Mabel Kenyon-Slaney, who used the property as an occasional residence until at least 1905. By 1899 much of the estate had been sold off, and the remainder was thereafter in a state of decline; significantly, there were very few changes to the estate between 1899 and 1914. The property remained in the ownership of the family until 1914 although it appears that the house was let and was no longer visited by the family.

Plan of St Catherine's Estate - 1899

Plan of St Catherine’s Estate – 1899

On the 29th September 1914 Lady Mabel Kenyon-Slaney sold part of the main St Catherine’s Estate to John Robinson, which included St Catherine’s house, Low Hagg Wood, Rawes Green, High Haggs, Browhead Spring, as well as the Cottage and buildings at the Crosses. The Robinson Family soon after constructed a house called ‘The Hoo’ just to the south of the estate. John and Ellen Robinson and their two daughters Marjorie and Jessica lived at ‘The Hoo’ and the empty house at St Catherine’s was alternatively used as a studio or rented out in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1925 Ellen Robinson was widowed and in the same year Jessica married Edwin Ferreira. The main house and kitchen range were demolished on the orders of Ellen Robinson at some point between 1928 and 1935. Mrs Robinson feared that the empty house would be used by tramps and had it demolished whilst the rest of the family were on holiday wintering in France.

The surviving stable range at St Catherine's Estate

The surviving stable range at St Catherine’s Estate

In 1952 Jessica Ferreira inherited the estate upon the death of her mother and in 1954 Jessica and Edwin Ferreira moved to St Catherine’s and lived above the stables, and by 1955 a bungalow was built on Gatelands field. The Ferreiras had a son, Christopher, who remembers hay making in the parkland in the 1950s, and at this time Jessica Ferreira owned a small herd of Jersey cows which were housed in the stables. By 1987 after the death of the widowed Jessica Ferreira the remainder of the estate was entrusted into the hands of the National Trust.

The survey identified the nature and extent of many formal features from the nineteenth century estate, including the nature and extent of the formal carriageways within the parkland and, more importantly, the surviving elements of the formal pathways within the woodland. Other important formal elements were recorded such as the foundations of the summer house in Gatelands Field, formal planting and an arbor in High Hag Wood, and a putative formal planting area and possible sunken glade, in Low Hag Wood.

A volunteer measuring a rabbit smoot

A volunteer measuring a rabbit smoot

The garden survey revealed surviving fragments of the formal layout of the separate gardens and buildings which were the focal point of the St Catherine’s Estate. Very little survives of the original plantings within the gardens apart from several veteran non-native trees on the north end of the formal garden; a terraced flattened area within the wilderness garden which may have had decorative function and, possibly, the rockery on the east side of the coach house.

The detailed garden survey undertaken at St Catherine's Estate

The detailed garden survey undertaken at St Catherine’s Estate

In the wilderness garden formal pathways and garden furniture include a flight of steps and four crossing points over Wynlass beck. The course of the beck has been modified and it runs over a small waterfall, which would have been overlooked from two of the bridge crossings. Structural elements associated with the upkeep of gardens are limited to the foundations of a greenhouse within the walled vegetable garden and the putative potting/tool shed on the edge of the formal garden.

Late nineteenth century photograph of Wynlass Beck running through the wilderness garden

Late nineteenth century photograph of Wynlass Beck running through the wilderness garden

The Fairfield Iron Mine, at Tongue Gill, near Buttermere

Volunteers surveying the lowest spoil heap and working area at Fairfield iron mine in 2013

Volunteers surveying the lowest spoil heap and working area at Fairfield iron mine in 2013

This is the third of my posts on the mining sites we have explored and surveyed in 2013 for the Windermere Reflections Project, and it concerns the Fairfield iron mine which is located at the northern end of Grasmere.

In the late nineteenth century this mine, in tandem with the more northerly Providence iron mine, formed the contemporaneously worked Tongue Gill Mines. The mine exploited a north-west/south-east orientated haematite ore vein in the Borrowdale volcanic rock that dipped to the south-west. running through the area of Great Tongue on the western flank of Fairfield mountain.

Location of Providence and Fairfield iron mines at Tongue Gill, near Grasmere

Location of Providence and Fairfield iron mines at Tongue Gill, near Grasmere

Google Earth image of Tongue Gill near Grasmere, with Fairfield and Providence iron mines highlighted

Google Earth image of Tongue Gill near Grasmere, with Fairfield and Providence iron mines highlighted

An agreement, dated 1693, to supply iron ore for nine years from pits in Grasmere (LRO DDSA 38/2)

An agreement, dated 1693, to supply iron ore for nine years from pits in Grasmere (LRO DDSA 38/2)

The mining literature recorded both Tongue Gill mines as being worked around 1700 to supply ore to a furnace in Great Langdale. The only possible piece of evidence uncovered for pre-nineteenth century workings was an agreement dated 1693 which detailed Henery Rooper, a miner of Grasmere who was to supply Myles Sandys, of Hawkshead, (an individual associated with Cunsey Forge on the southern end of Windermere) with iron ore for nine years. No recognisable locations for the iron ‘pits’ in Grasmere were identified through the agreement and in any case the agreement was not enacted upon, but this surviving document may point to other such agreements/leases held in this period by other parties to mine iron ore in Grasmere. In addition, samples of haematite recovered at Cunsey forge during excavations undertaken in 2003 were consistent with known occurrences in the Grasmere area.

At Fairfield Mine, the mine layout is more complex than that at Providence mine which suggests some longevity of working although the documented history of the mine is relatively short-lived. Identifiable documents coincide with the 1870s boom in iron prices; in 1872 Thomas Dineen a man of Irish extraction, who was a rivet and bolt manufacturer and iron merchant from Workington, acquired a take note for one year with an option for a 21-year lease for the mine sett. His tenure was unsuccessful, indeed when he first visited the site in 1873 it was said that he couldn’t even find it.

Messrs Morgan and Waide of the Lake District Haematite and Mining Co. (© Rotherham Libraries, Museums and Archives)

Messrs Morgan and Waide of the Lake District Haematite and Mining Co. (© Rotherham Libraries, Museums and Archives)

On the 19th September 1874 the lease was taken up by the newly formed Lake District Haematite and Mining Co., that was set up by a group of Rotherham and Sheffield businessmen, presumably to feed raw materials for their other ventures. The mine agent 1873-1877 was John Hall, a skilled mining engineer from Alston. The directors included an alderman of Rotherham, James Clifford Morgan, and his colleague Francis William Waide, who were partners in the company of Morgan, Macaulay, and Waide a stove grate manufacturers, general iron founders and merchants, located at Baths Foundry in Rotherham.

The mineral statistics of 1874 show that 204 tons of ore had been raised, valued at £350 (along with the ore from Providence mine) but with the slump in the price of iron in the following year the mine was evidently in trouble. In total both Tongue Gill mines together raised 1,300 tons of ore (or 1500 tons in the other later secondary sources) in this short-lived period. By at least December 1875 the venture was in trouble and a pleading letter was sent by the company to the mineral agent asking for the unpaid rent on the mine to be waived due to the amount of development the company has undertaken on the mine.

The company failed to post accounts and a list of shareholders to the Register of Joint Stock Companies, as required by law. In 1877 the angry and unpaid chief mine agent John Hall took the named directors to court in Rotherham for unpaid wages and other liabilities. The directors counter-claimed that they had been conned into investing in a worthless mine, and eventually the company was liquidated. In part the fiasco eventually led to the financial ruin of Mr Waide but Alderman Morgan became mayor of Rotherham the following year followed by a comfortable retirement. The mine was recorded in the mineral statistics as being owned by the Lake District Haematite and Mining Co. Ltd from 1877 –1882 but it was standing idle.

The surviving layout of the mine consists of three adits driven south-east into the hillside that run gently upslope following the course of the south side of Tongue Gill for over 150m. The ruins of mine buildings, and dressing floors/working areas are concentrated around the lowest adit on the western end of the site.

Overall survey drawing of the Fairfield iron mine, at Tongue Gill, near Grasmere

Overall survey drawing of the Fairfield iron mine, at Tongue Gill, near Grasmere

Some of the earliest mining remains surveyed at Fairfield comprise the series of well-defined earthworks of inter-connected hushes that run downslope from Rydal Fell to Tongue Gill. The main hushing runs south-east/north-west down to the gill and is partially overlain by an enclosure wall. There is a cross-cutting hush running along the slope that would have channelled water from at another hush and at least one hushed tributary stream. These hushes would have been used to chase surface evidence of the ore vein and to identify its orientation; it is possible that they predated the 1870s exploitation of the mine.

A linear hush running down the mountainside at Fairfield iron mine

A linear hush running down the mountainside at Fairfield iron mine

On the edge of Tongue Gill, just to the west of the hushings, is a series of shallow surface trial workings running into the stream where ore nodules were visible in the stream bed and banks. There are two more pronounced deep cuttings running into the stream and the westernmost cutting is an almost vertical rectangular cutting which was either chasing the ore vein or has been stoped-out to extract ore near the ground surface.

The easternmost trial adit  is potentially late-nineteenth century in origin, and there is a vertical quarried rock face on the footpath west of the trial adit where drill marks show it has been excavated using blasting technology.

The central of the three adits at Fairfield  lay above the stopes and surface workings in the centre of the complex. The size of the spoil heap may point to this adit also having been purely a trial level.

Survey drawing of the main area of working at Fairfield iron mine, at Tongue Gill, near Buttermere

Survey drawing of the main area of working at Fairfield iron mine, at Tongue Gill, near Buttermere

The main focus for Fairfield mine is the lowest adit located on the western end of the complex. There are a series of features surrounding the adit, including a large spoil heap, a yard/working area and a possible ore store. The adit itself is partially blocked at the entrance and was not investigated underground. Tyler recorded that the adit was 6ft 6ins high by 4ft 6ins wide and extended into the hillside for over 160 yards before a roof collapse at the start of the stoping had closed it. A small trial of a subsidiary north/south orientated stringer of ore was recorded 60 yards from the entrance.

View along the top of the spoil heap/working floor at the lower mine adit of Fairfield iron mine

View along the top of the spoil heap/working floor at the lower mine adit of Fairfield iron mine

There is an extensive spoil heap running west from the adit entrance that spills steeply down onto Tongue Gill. The flat top would have been used for ore dressing and adjacent to the adit mouth is a partially collapsed rectangular year/storage area consisting of two short sections of walling. This yard has evidently not been roofed as a structure and here is a small gap between the yard and the retaining wall that define the south side of the working area which would have originally provided a gap for narrow gauge rails to pass by. At the southern end of the spoil heap are fragmentary remains of a walled loading ramp/bay, similar to that at Providence Mine and adjacent to it is a collapsed ore store.

A loading ramp on the southern end of the lower spoil heap/working floor of Fairfield iron mine

A loading ramp on the southern end of the lower spoil heap/working floor of Fairfield iron mine

On the westernmost edge of the complex is a roofed bothy structure located adjacent to an enclosure wall at the entrance where an access trackway would originally have extended up to the mine. The bothy should probably be associated with miner’s accommodation/shelter as it evidently predated the construction of the nearby reservoir. Other features to note are the trackways running through the complex and the large bridge piers constructed across Tongue Gill.

A large uncovered reservoir built for Grasmere Urban District Council, was constructed on top of the mine complex but apparently does not seem to have done much lasting damage to the site. There is an associated weir located upstream on Tongue Gill where water was piped down to the reservoir.

View looking west downstream at the lower workings of Fairfield iron mine

View looking west downstream at the lower workings of Fairfield iron mine

The character of the working at Fairfield and Providence is comparable to the other boom period mining sites. Both Providence and Fairfield mines reflect a brief period of intense mining activity fuelled by high prices for ore, and accords with a number of other operations elsewhere in Cumbria. The decline in both cases was prompted by the slump in iron ore prices in 1875, and that was in itself prompted by the over production of iron ore across the region. Being operational for only a few years they demonstrate single phase integrated workings and as such provide an opportunity to examine the workings process of the late nineteenth century. The extensive hushes, small stoped workings and surface extraction at Fairfield iron mine may, however, have been undertaken in an earlier undocumented period of activity.

The Providence Iron Mine at Tongue Gill, near Grasmere

View south along Little Tongue Gill towards Grasmere, from the drainage adit spoil heap at Providence iron mine

View south along Little Tongue Gill towards Grasmere, from the drainage adit spoil heap at Providence iron mine

For this the second of my occasional posts on the mining sites we have explored and surveyed in 2013 for the Windermere Reflections Project, I will concentrate on the Providence iron mine which is located at the northern end of Grasmere.

In the late nineteenth century this mine, together with the more southerly Fairfield iron mine, formed the contemporaneously worked Tongue Gill Mines. The mine exploited both a north-west/south-east and a north/south orientated haematite ore vein in the Borrowdale volcanic rock running through the area of Great Tongue on the western flank of Fairfield mountain.

Google Earth image of Tongue Gill near Grasmere, with Fairfield and Providence iron mines highlighted

Google Earth image of Tongue Gill near Grasmere, with Fairfield and Providence iron mines highlighted

Prior to the nineteenth century the mining literature had both Tongue Gill mines recorded as being worked around 1700 to supply ore to a furnace in Great Langdale. However, it was the short lived boom in the early to mid-1870s that prompted the opening (or re-opening) of many mines across the region and saw a massive, and very intensive period of iron extraction. This was fuelled by an increase in the value of iron ore when the price of iron rocketed from 13s to £1 12s per ton, and many entrepreneurs across the region were keen to take advantage of this opportunity.

Surveying at Providence iron mine, near Grasmere in 2013

Surveying at Providence iron mine, near Grasmere in 2013

It is within this context, that we see the documented short-lived but intensive activity at the Tongue Gill mines of Grasmere. The Providence Mine was opened by the Providence Iron Co Ltd in 1873 and was worked by them until 1876, with the chief agent being John Muse, a successful miner from Alston. The mine was excavated to exploit a 16ft thick vein of solid haematite and the mine posted mineral statistics for 1874 for 300 tonnes of ore extracted which was valued at £350 along with the ore from Fairfield mine. The success was short lived due to fractured and unstable ground conditions, high transport costs due to a lack of a nearby railhead, and a declining market for iron from 1875 onwards. The mine was acquired by John Muse himself in 1877 as part of John Muse, J Straughton, Ashton and Co. who also ran the successful Force Crag mines, but the mineral statistics show that it stood idle between 1877-82. The brief documented history for Providence Mine in this period is relatively simple, and the straightforward surface layout of the mine would suggest that most features were associated with this short-lived episode of exploitation.

Overall survey drawing of the Providence iron mine, at Tongue Gill, near Grasmere

Overall survey drawing of the Providence iron mine, at Tongue Gill, near Grasmere

The surface layout for Providence Mine is separated into two distinct zones, with evidence for the majority of the features at the upper workings in the north-west of the site and with smaller lower workings in the south-east. The upper workings  consist of various extractive areas beneath a collapsed vertical shaft at the summit of the mine. There are several adits, trial scoops and a hushed channel with spoil heaps straddling the outer enclosure wall and clustering along the course of a small tributary stream of Little Tongue Gill. This stream was undoubtedly where the prospecting for an ore vein was undertaken along the stream bed as it climbed upslope and iron staining is visible as far up as 1700ft in the stream bed. At the foot of the upper workings there is a walled loading ramp on the side of an access trackway that runs away from the mine, towards the lower workings and a junction with the Grisedale Hause packhorse route.

Loading ramp at the upper workings, Providence mine, Grasmere

Loading ramp at the upper workings, Providence mine, Grasmere

Separate from this zone, at the lower workings, thee is a single collapsed adit with spoil heap located further downslope adjacent to Little Tongue Gill and near to the Grisedale Hause packhorse route. The adit may have functioned to drain the upper workings of the mine; it would have provided an easier haulage level to bring ore out rather that winding it up the top shaft, or transporting it further from the upper workings.

The collapsed lower drainage adit - Providence iron mine

The collapsed lower drainage adit – Providence iron mine

The most unexpected feature encountered on the survey was a large oval scooped stock enclosure, which, would typically have been of prehistoric/Iron Age in date. It has a well-defined kerbed entrance on the east side and would have corralled cattle at the foot of Great Tongue, where trampling and the extraction of manure from the centre has created a scooped effect. The location of any round house within the site would have been in the south-west corner where there is a small flattened area, but there is no other surface evidence for it.

A scooped prehistoric stock enclosure at Tongue Gill, Grasmere

A scooped prehistoric stock enclosure at Tongue Gill, Grasmere