Windermere Reflections – Industrial Archaeology publication

Cover of the popular publication for the Windermere Reflections Project

Cover of the popular publication for the Windermere Reflections Project

The popular publication we produced for the Windermere Reflections project has now come back from the printers.  It will shortly be available to purchase directly from the Lake District National Park Authority. Whether you are interested in community archaeology, industrial archaeology or the history of Windermere and the wider Lake District in general it is worth having a look at.

The book concentrates on the surveys and excavation undertaken in the Windermere catchment over the last few years as part of a Heritage Lottery funded project. Themes covered in the publication include metal mines, slate quarries, bloomeries, fulling mills and woodland industries. There is even a picture of me on the back!

Landscape archaeology and me – a basic talk

Maybe I should post this, maybe not. It is a long talk given to an interested local non-archaeology group and of course there is no Powerpoint to go with it either.  My thanks for the recording goes to the Continuing Learning Group at Lancaster University (c)

 

Allan Bank, Grasmere – Garden Survey Report

The house at Allan Bank, Grasmere, under renovation in January 2012

The house at Allan Bank, Grasmere, under renovation in January 2012

The historic garden survey report we completed in 2012 for Allan Bank, a National Trust property (and brief residence of William Wordsworth) located at Grasmere, Cumbria is now available online via the OA Library. This project recorded all the archaeological and historical features within the c 4.6 hectare gardens on the property in order to inform the future management of the estate. The work was completed in advance of remedial works to be undertaken before the gardens were opened to the public.

Allan Bank, Grasmere in 1861

Allan Bank, Grasmere in 1861

Deeds record the sale of the land at Allan Bank located above the head of Grasmere by a Mr Sawyer to a Mr Edward Partridge in 1756. In 1804 Mr Partridge, or his descendants, sold the property to John Gregory Crump, an attorney and merchant of Liverpool. Subsequently, a villa was built at Allan Bank between 1805-8 in a simple Classical style, and was positioned on the southern flank of a rocky shoulder dividing Easedale from the main Vale of Grasmere. The house was raised artificially to create the depth for cellars and it was orientated so that the main south front looked straight down the length of Grasmere. A few years later William Wordsworth and his family moved there as soon as it was completed as it’s first occupants between May 1808 and May 1811; and their literary friends Thomas de Quincey and Samuel Taylor Coleridge stayed with them for lengthy visits.  He did not like living there, but needed to move to more ample accommodation than their previous dwelling at Dove Cottage. Their occupation of the property was short-lived, in part, due to complaints about smoky chimneys.

Stone tunnel at Allan Bank, Grasmere

Stone tunnel at Allan Bank, Grasmere

Stone viewing seat at Allan Bank, Grasmere

Stone viewing seat at Allan Bank, Grasmere

The extant remains comprise three separate garden areas: a large wilderness garden; a walled kitchen garden; and formal gardens adjacent to the house. The survey identified, and recorded, a total of 109 archaeological features and/or garden components.  Elements in the wilderness garden consist of a series of sinuous pathways with rustic flights of steps constructed of stone slabs. There are four/five garden seats located at strategic spots within the garden which variously had panoramic views looking north-west onto Helm Crag, south-east to Grasmere lake and east towards the house, although many of these vistas are now obscured with mature trees. Water was managed in the garden, with a reservoir that probably served the house and an underground pipe followed the footpath towards the house and ran through an elaborate stone-vaulted tunnel. Streams have been canalised and one stream passes over a craggy waterfall and has a small pool beneath. There is also a small well within rustic stone retaining walls. Features pre-dating the construction of the wilderness garden include charcoal burning platforms and two sections of relict boundary walls.

Plan of Allan Bank gardens, Grasmere – south

Plan of Allan Bank gardens, Grasmere – south

The kitchen garden has a large slate-topped unheated fruit wall on the northern side, which would have masked the garden from the house. The garden was laid out into quarters by slate-edged pathways and in the centre are the remains of a stone circular structure that may have functioned as a formal focal platform. There is a slate-roofed garden shed, a ruined twentieth century greenhouse, water troughs, a compost heap and a French drain that drained water away from the waterfall in the wilderness garden.

Plan of Allan Bank gardens, Grasmere - house area

Plan of Allan Bank gardens, Grasmere – house area

The formal pleasure gardens form a discrete area running around the house and extend to the kitchen garden; its elements consist of driveways, a dwarf-kitchen garden terrace, containing rectangular flowerbeds, and a sundial. The west, south and east sides of the house have stone-lined flowerbeds and stone-hewn flower boxes. On the west side of the house is a small garden lawn with relict beds/pathways evident. It is enclosed on the west side by a sinuous retaining wall constructed of cyclopean boulders and there is a large rockery constructed of quartz stones. Land to the south of the garden has been landscaped/terraced but its function is unclear. The formal gardens are skirted on the west side by a curvilinear gravelled trackway that runs towards the kitchen garden.

Rock art panel at Allan Bank, Grasmere

Rock art panel at Allan Bank, Grasmere

To the east of the house is a gravelled drive adjacent to the main house entrance, grass-covered tennis courts and a stone outcrop with rock art motifs. On the north side of the house there are the remains of two external buildings, an elaborately decorated chapel or billiard room and the ruins of a small garage or coach house.

Excavation of a Viking-Age Cemetery at Cumwhitton

I thoroughly recommend purchasing this book, as it is a great piece of work by OA North on what is one of the most important Viking sites to come up in Britain over the last few years.

Heritage Calling

Little did Peter Adams know, when he pulled a metal object from the ground in 2004, that he had made one of the most exciting discoveries in Viking-age archaeology in England for many years. He had been metal-detecting, with permission, on farmland to the west of the quiet village of Cumwhitton in the Eden Valley and, until then, it had been a fruitless search.

The object was reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme and proved to be a brooch that was identified as a rare Viking oval brooch of ninth – or tenth – century date. These are mostly found in pairs and in a burial context. He therefore returned to the site and did, indeed, find a second brooch.

One of the oval brooches found by Peter Adams. © Oxford Archaeology Ltd One of the oval brooches found by Peter Adams. © Oxford Archaeology Ltd

The Portable Antiquities Scheme commissioned Oxford Archaeology North to investigate the site as it was under immediate…

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Eden House, a cairnfield on the North York Moors near Whitby

Aerial view of the cairnfield and linear boundary at Eden House

Aerial view of the cairnfield and linear boundary at Eden House

This time last year we battled through the snow and ice on our journey over to survey a small cairnfield located on the North York Moors near Whitby. The report for this particular project has just been posted online to the OA Library and you can download it here. Did it really snow so late last year? I just can’t contemplate anything other than rain rain rain at the moment, but luckily (and selfishly) I’m still indoors writing up reports.

View of Eden House and the rough grazing behind it that contains the cairnfield

View of Eden House and the rough grazing behind it that contains the cairnfield

We undertook at topographic survey to record all of the surviving earthworks located on a small plot of rough pasture by the farmstead of Eden House, which is near the village of Hutton Mulgrave, on what was once part of Barnby Moor. The 4.66 hectare area of the cairnfield is statutorily protected as a Scheduled Monument, and as part of an ongoing management plan for it further detailed recording was needed. You can find a description of the monument here.

Eden House cairnfield - topographic survey

Eden House cairnfield – topographic survey

Eden House cairnfield - georectified aerial photography

Eden House cairnfield – georectified aerial photography

The survey was completed using a combination of photogrammetry and GPS survey. The photogrammetry was undertaken using photographs taken from a small UAV helicopter that were used to generate a metrically accurate model of the surface of the study area, including all surface features that were not obscured by vegetation. Some features were obscured, and so in addition a ground topographic survey was undertaken to record the more subtle features by GPS survey.

The survey presents a thorough record of all the archaeological structures and components identified in the form of a detailed measured plan, profiles across the putative deer park boundary, digital photography and an outline site gazetteer.

Surveying the hillforts of the Inner Tay estuary, Perth and Kinross

Law_Hill_Figure

The archaeological reports produced for each of the six surveyed hillforts around Perth have been uploaded online to the OA Library, and they can be downloaded here.

The detailed topographic surveys present a thorough record of all the archaeological structures and components identified on each of the hillfort sites in the form of a series of detailed and annotated measured plans.  Surveys were undertaken at Castle Law, Abernethy;  Moncreiffe Hill;  Moredun Top, Moncreiffe;  Grassy Law, Deuchny Wood;  Law Hill, Arnbathie  and Pole Hill, Evelick. In the case of the hillfort at Abernethy the survey also recorded the outlines of previous antiquarian excavations on the site.

The hillforts are late-prehistoric/early-historic defended sites of significant archaeological importance, both in terms of buried archaeological deposits and as monuments within the wider landscape. Significant elements at the core of all six hillforts surveyed during the present phase of the project are statutorily protected as Scheduled Monuments of national importance.

Hillforts_Surveyed_Perth_Kinross

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

Exploring the Wery Wall and Roman bath house in Lancaster

General view looking east of the Wery Wall bastion and bath house

General view looking east of the Wery Wall bastion and bath house

The report produced for our assessment of the Wery Wall and Roman Bath House on Castle Hill, Lancaster is now available online. This understated and easily overlooked site is well worth a quick look around if you ever visit Lancaster. Back in the winter of 2010/11 we undertook a survey of the Wery Wall, a fragment of the late Roman coastal fort wall, and the adjacent Roman bath house remains located on Castle Hill. I seem to remember the weather being bitterly cold and snow lay on the ground for some of the time.  Festive cheer was also severely lacking at the time!

The surviving fabric on the west side of the Wery Wall bastion

The surviving fabric on the west side of the Wery Wall bastion

The Wery Wall is a surviving fragment of the late Roman coastal fort wall located on the eastern scarp of Castle Hill at the north-east corner of the Vicarage Fields, and is immediately adjacent to an earlier Roman bath house relating to an earlier fort, which it now partly overlies. The surviving remains of the Wery Wall are thought to represent the core of a polygonal external bastion on the north wall of the defences. Only the inner rubble core of the wall survives, its facing having been robbed for re-use in other buildings at some time before the early eighteenth century.

The 1970s excavations in the bath house caldarium (Lancaster Museum)

The 1970s excavations in the bath house caldarium (Lancaster Museum)

The wall and bath house were excavated in the 1950s and 1970s and the currently exposed archaeological features include at least three episodes of construction. Firstly there are walls associated with a courtyard building, secondly a bath house inserted into the courtyard building and, thirdly the surviving remnants of the Wery Wall bastion.

Detailed survey of the Wery Wall and Roman Bath House, Castle Hill, Lancaster

Detailed survey of the Wery Wall and Roman Bath House, Castle Hill, Lancaster

View looking west of the bath house caldarium and Wery Wall external ditch

View looking west of the bath house caldarium and Wery Wall external ditch

Surviving elements on site consist of extant walls on the north and west side of the caldarium, as well as one inserted through the tepidarium, are all associated with bath house inserted into the earliest courtyard building. These structures consist of the complete extents of the Caldarium and Tepidarium rooms and the partial survival of an annex room, the Praefurnium, on the south-west side.

View looking east of the bath house caldarium, Wery Wall bastion and external ditch

View looking east of the bath house caldarium, Wery Wall bastion and external ditch

The stump of bastion masonry called the Wery Wall, is the only visible evidence of the late Roman coastal fort, along with its external ditch which would have once surrounded the fort.  It was interpreted as being the inner core of a multi-angular bastion, being either a corner or interval tower set along the length of a thinner curtain wall. The external ditch was excavated and preserved where it had cut through either side of the caldarium room in the bath house.

The Wery Wall and bath house were subject to a robust scheme of consolidation works (and in some cases rebuilding) in the 1970s in order to improve their stability and to allow them to be left permanently exposed. The site has degenerated to a degree and is now in need of a phase of remedial repair works to stabilise the monuments and enable them to be subject to only minimal maintenance in the future.

Location of the Wery Wall and bath house in relation to previous excavations on Vicarage Field, Castle Hill, Lancaster

Location of the Wery Wall and bath house in relation to previous excavations on Vicarage Field, Castle Hill, Lancaster

Windermere Reflections Community Archaeology 2012 – Fulling mills survey report online

Montage of volunteers surveying on the Windermere Reflections project 2012

Montage of volunteers surveying on the Windermere Reflections Project in 2012

As part of the 2012 season of community archaeology survey for the Windermere Reflections project, the Fulling mills survey report is now available online at the OA Library.

Just to recap I have already posted on the fieldwork for this season of the project in 2013. As part of the 2012 field season we collaborated with the National Trust and the Lake District National Park Authority on a community archaeology project using local volunteers to survey a series of five fulling mill sites. These were each located in the water catchment area of Windermere Lake in the Lake District. The project was intended to undertake a series of detailed topographic surveys and desk-based analyses of the potential ruinous fulling mills sites while providing support and training for volunteers in areas such as archaeological survey and archive research.

Volunteers doing both plane table and theodolite surveying at Sourmilk Gill, Easedale

Volunteers doing both plane table and theodolite surveying at Sourmilk Gill, Easedale

The project was financed by the Heritage Lottery Fund and was one of three community archaeology surveys that have been undertaken in the last two years under the banner ‘Reflections on History’ as part of a wider range of conservation and heritage themed projects under the umbrella of ‘Windermere Reflections’ for the Windermere Catchment Restoration Programme.

Windermere Reflections Logo

Topographic survey was undertaken between the 9th April and 5th May 2012 to identify, record, and describe any extant structures and features associated with the possible fulling mills. Desk-top historical survey of information pertinent to each site, including historical maps, and records held in the Armitt Library and Kendal Record Office took place on the 9th and 10th May 2012.

Drawing of a fulling mill taken from Theatrum Machinarum Novum (1661)

Drawing of a fulling mill taken from Theatrum Machinarum Novum (1661)

Fulling describes the process of cleaning and de-greasing woollen cloth, either with potash, dung and urine or fuller’s earth, and the pounding of the cloth to compact the fibres of the fabric. The pounding of the roughly woven woollen cloth was undertaken using large wooden hammers (known as stocks) which were lifted by cams on an axle turned by a water wheel. The stocks would act upon the cloth within a large fulling trough which also contained water and fuller’s earth. After fulling, the cloth would be washed, stretched and dried.

Location map of the five fulling mill sites investigated in 2012

Location map of the five fulling mill sites investigated in 2012

Four of the five sites examined by the survey are located within the northern part of the catchment, near the villages of Grasmere and Langdale, an area documented as important for fulling and weaving. The condition of the mills was variable, with one at Sourmilk Gill being an exceptional survival and representing an archetypal medieval fulling mill, whereas at Loughrigg Terrace, for example, there is reasonable survival of the water system but the mill remains are open to interpretation. Two of the mills, that at Sourmilk Gill and Stickle Ghyll, were originally stone founded structures, associated with well-defined water supply systems, comprising head race, wheel pit and tail race, and, at Sourmilk Gill, a launder platform also. Both mill structures were potentially reused and their operational life is uncertain.

Detailed topographic survey drawing of the Sourmilk Gill fulling mill

Detailed topographic survey drawing of the Sourmilk Gill fulling mill

At Loughrigg Terrace, the putative mill platform is only 4.5m by 2.6m in size and it is possible to conjecture that the stocks and trough would not have been contained within a building, although a simple timber structure could have been erected over the working components. There would, in any case, have only been room for a single stock hammer and trough.

Foundation remains of the fulling mill and race at Sourmilk Gill, Easedale

Foundation remains of the fulling mill and race at Sourmilk Gill, Easedale

The head and tail races were the most diagnostic features of all the mills, and often provided the most definitive evidence for a mill, notably at Loughrigg Terrace. The relatively limited water supply for many of these water wheels indicates that the supply would have been taken over the top of an overshot wheel (as opposed to an undershot wheel which required a large flow of water) using a wooden launder. These rarely survive; but a large stone platform for a launder survives at Sourmilk Gill.

Surveying the mill pond in Low Wood, Elterwater

Surveying the mill pond in Low Wood, Elterwater

At three of the mill sites (Sourmilk Gill, Low Wood and Little Ore Gate) a series of ponds survived, which drew water from a divert channel, although their function as part of the fulling process were potentially varied.

The process of fulling was bound into a broadly agricultural economy of mixed farming, including the rearing of sheep and shearing, as well as weaving and potash manufacture. Spatially associated with a number of the mills were stock pounds, arable farming remains and potash kilns, which reinforce the historical evidence that indicates that fulling was undertaken on a part-time basis alongside a large range of agricultural activities and was seasonal following on from the annual wool shear typically in mid-summer.

Gazebo malfunction at Loughrigg Terrace, by the side of Grasmere Tarn

Gazebo malfunction at Loughrigg Terrace, by the side of Grasmere Tarn

Special thanks must go to all of the volunteers who participated on the five survey projects, especially for their fortitude in ofter trying weather conditions.

Bangarth and Blea Tarn iron mines, Eskdale – report online

Inside of the open drainage adit at the foot of Blea Tarn Mine

Inside of the open drainage adit at the foot of Blea Tarn Mine

The report for the Bangarth and Blea Tarn iron mines survey is now available online via the OA Library. OA North was invited by the National Trust to undertake a detailed topographic survey of two iron mines at Bangarth and Blea Tarn, in Eskdale, Lake District (NY 1538 0081 and NY 1676 0061: approximate centre). The survey was undertaken in March and November 2012.

Eskdale Iron Mines, 2012 Survey Locations

Eskdale Iron Mines, 2012 Survey Locations

The Eskdale mines comprise seven mines, or mine groupings, that were worked during the late nineteenth century and include Blea Tarn and Bangarth mines. A lease on the areas covering Bangarth and Nab Gill mines was taken by S and J Lindow in September 1845 and they initially focused on establishing levels at Nab Gill. Prior to 1854, however, they had putatively focused their workforce on ‘opencast’ extraction at Bangarth, which did not prove to be particularly successful and in c 1856 they withdrew from these operations. A subsequent attempt to mine Bangarth was made by Joseph Fearon in 1860, which was abandoned in the late 1860s.

The area between Nab Gill and Bangarth was leased by Faithful Cookson in the 1860s, who sub-let it to Whitehaven Iron Mines Ltd in 1871. This company established an additional level below the earlier Bangarth workings, and worked on four levels at the site, and began work at Blea Tarn mine, where they established seven. However, the vein narrowed as the works penetrated into the hillside and the company abandoned Bangarth in 1874 and the main focus of work was then directed onto the Nab Gill mine, which became the most successful of the operations in the area.

Peat storage hut, near Bangarth Mine, Eskdale

Peat storage hut, near Bangarth Mine, Eskdale

The present survey has identified a complex archaeological resource at both Bangarth and Blea Tarn ironstone mines. Both mines are predated by elements associated with zigzagging trackways giving access onto the common for both stock grazing and peat cutting. Sites found adjacent to these trackways include small stone quarries, peat huts, sheepfolds and shelters. The area of Bangarth mine contains extensive evidence for cairnfields/field-systems of both earth and stone construction and stone-walled boundaries. Their considerable complexity, with areas of large consumption banks, interspersed with clearance cairns and probable later narrow ridge and furrow cultivation, point to multi-period use comprising at least small-scale cultivation and occupation on the now open common. There is evidence of two putative medieval shielings and a probably later demolished farmstead, as well as a platformed stock enclosure.

Part of the detailed topographic survey of Bangarth Mine, Eskdale

Part of the detailed topographic survey of Bangarth Mine, Eskdale

The simplest distribution of mining features is that at Blea Tarn mine, which reflects that there was a single phase of development from 1871 which proved unsuccessful in finding extensive ore deposits. Elements of mine adits, trials and open cutting were evident on at least five levels, including a large drainage adit at the base of the mine.

The mining features at Bangarth mine are more complex reflecting initial stoped working of a sizeable lode at the mine from the mid-1840s through sporadic activity to the late 1860s and renewed exploration from 1871. Evidently, the extent of viable ore was such that it was deemed profitable to revisit the mine for further exploitation and, unlike at Blea Tarn mine, as is evident by the extensive spoil heaps and an inclined plane constructed for transport to the Ravenglass and Eskdale railway. On the upper part of the site the putative early stoping at the top of the mine has been worked and reworked as the large opencast pit has directly cut through the earlier workings; a series of truncated adit mouths, trials and spoil heaps indicate the earlier extraction operations.

Opencast pit at the summit of Bangarth Mine, Eskdale

Opencast pit at the summit of Bangarth Mine, Eskdale

On the open common the mine was evidently worked on a further two levels where there are extant features associated with two open cuttings: a trial mine and an adit. Immediately downslope, below the modern enclosure wall, is another level of working consisting of a large platformed working floor with three adit mouths and the top of the inclined plane.