Shropshire History

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Within a 4 mile radius of the village of Shelve, lies an area consisting of moorland, woods and rocky outcrops, dotted with scattered farms and villages.  Visitors who have the time to look can also find other features - spoil tips, tall chimneys and the roofless grey walls of old engine houses.  It is hard to believe but this pleasant rural scenery was once the site of a thriving mining industry which extracted lead, zinc, copper, barite and other minerals.  In 1875, this small area produced over 10% of the UK Lead ore and up to the First World War produced about 25% of UK barite. The Romans were possibly the first to exploit lead in this area by means of open trenches and shallow levels and shafts. A favourite exploration technique of theirs was “hushing” where a small dam was made at the top of a slope and then released.  The water would remove the soil and expose the underlying rock, including any minerals.  If lead ore was revealed, they would excavate this by means of open trenches and shallow levels and shafts.  Ingots (called pigs) of lead from that period have been found as follows :-

 

1)       Weight 190lbs, dated AD117-138, found 1767, probably 3 miles NW of Bishops Castle.  Now at Linley Hall.

2)       Weight 193lbs, dated AD117-138, measuring 22” x 7”, found 1796 at Snailbeach Farm (this is the old Snailbeach Farm which is the half-timbered house behind the large grassed-over hillocks).  Now at British Museum.

3)       No details and has not been seen since 1827.

4)       Weight 185lbs, dated AD117-128, found 1851 at the Roveries Snead, ¾ mile NE of church and 1 mile W of Linley Hall.  Was at Liverpool Museum but now believed lost.

5)       Weight 173lbs, AD117-138, found in 1851 near to where (2) was found earlier.  There is no record of it so it may be confused with the original find.    

6)       A lead pig was apparently found in the open workings at Roman Gravels but nothing further is known about this.

 

Most of the pigs found in Shropshire bear the inscription IMP HADRIANI AVG (Emperor Hadrian ruled from 117-138AD).  144 English pounds are the equivalent of 200 Roman pounds and this may be the weight that the Roman lead manufacturers were aiming at in producing the Shropshire lead ingots. Mining methods would have changed very little in the centuries after the Romans left and workings would have continued to be shallow and drained by levels driven from the valley sides.  Lead continued to be a valuable commodity and, although there is no mention in the Domesday Book of lead mining in Shropshire, there are some early references to mining in this area. Following the Norman conquest, the area was designated as a royal forest called “Tenfrenstanes”, from which the name Stiperstones is derived.  Towards the end of the 12th Century, this was under the care of Baron Peter Corbet of Caus Castle but he seems to have upset King Henry II at some stage.  It is recorded that the King “engrossed” the whole or a great part of, the profits of the Shelve mines, owing to Corbet, baron of Caus Castle, being in disgrace.  Shelve was an important lead mining centre for the area and the mines referred to are likely to have been the nearby Grit and Roman Gravel Mines, which are equally as old.  Control of mining in the area was delegated to an official called a Justice of the Forest, to whom payment was made for a lease to work the mines.  The Justice would then pass this money over to the Sheriff of Shropshire who accounted for it to the King. Mining in the area was obviously an important income for the King and he took this as either money or lead itself, depending on his needs at the time.  Lead for the King always seems to have been sent to Gloucester first and it would have been transported by boat along the River Severn from Shrewsbury.  The following records from the time give an idea of what was happening :-

 

1179                        Thomas Fitz-Bernard, a Justice of the Forest, leased the lead mine at Shelfe to one Nicholas Poncler for one year at a rent of £55, to be paid by even installments at Easter and Michaelmas following.  The Justice paid this over to Hugh Pantulf, Sheriff of Shropshire, who delivered it in full to the King the following year upon receiving an order to do so.

1180           Thomas Fitz-Bernard let mines for 40 Marks (£26.13s.4d) and paid this to Hugh Pantulf.  The latter accounted for forwarding 60 cart loads of lead worth £21, for the King’s use.  Also 120 cart loads of lead to Gloucester by the King’s order.  After deducting transportation costs, he paid a balance of 6d into the Treasury and was quit.

1182           Hugh Pantulf forwarded lead worth £389 from Shrewsbury to Gloucester, as certified by witnesses.  The latter process is possibly because of the extremely large value of the consignment, indicating that the mines must have been very productive at that time.  He then purchased 110 cart loads of other lead for the King costing £38.10s.0d. This was sent to the convent of Amesbury in Wiltshire, which had been dissolved in 1177 on the grounds of immorality!  The lead helped to re-roof the buildings which were re-colonised by a ‘purer sisterhood’.  In the same year, a church in Gloucester paid 10 guineas for 34 loads of Lead for the roof.

1278           Three wagon loads of Lead were sent from Shelve to Builth Castle.

 

As ore became exhausted, however, the miners had to go deeper and faced the problem of removing water from the workings.  Where drainage levels from adjacent valleys could not solve this problem, the water was removed manually in barrels drawn up the shaft by windlass or horse whim.  Other mines used waterwheels to operate pumps but the major problem with these was that the water supply tended to dry up in summer and freeze in winter, thus causing the lower workings to flood.  This state of affairs continued until the late 18th century when the invention of the steam engine revolutionised the local mining industry.  In 1775, Boulton and Watt formed their famous partnership and began to manufacture steam engines near Birmingham.  The mine adventurers of Shropshire were not slow to take advantage of this new means of power and nine Boulton and Watt engines are recorded at local mines before 1800.  After 1800, the Boulton and Watt monopoly expired and engines from other manufacturers began to appear on the scene.  The mining industry began to expand and by 1850 the view from the Stiperstones would have included a dozen engine houses, each with its tall chimney capped with a plume of smoke.  By the 1870s, it was said that there were 17 engines at work in the Rea Valley alone, with four more on order. Steam engines worked by introducing steam into a vertical cylinder fitted with a moving piston, thus forcing the piston down the cylinder.  This piston was connected to the end of a beam which was pivoted on the wall of the engine house, with the other end projecting over the shaft.  As the piston was pushed down the cylinder, it pulled down the "indoor" end of the beam and thus raised the "outdoor" end.  In most engines, the outdoor end of the beam was attached to a series of joined pump rods in the shaft which were connected to pumps at the shaft bottom.  As the piston came to the end of its stroke, the weight of the pump rods pulled the outdoor end of the beam back down and thus raised the piston back to the top of the cylinder.  In other engines, the beam was attached to a crank which operated a winding drum or crushing machinery.

 

Boulton & Watt did not manufacture everything on their engines, only the more specialised parts.  John Wilkinson's foundry at Bersham made the cylinders and the rest was made by local blacksmiths and mechanics on site, using plans and drawings supplied by the partners.  Payment for the engine was also unusual in that it was not an outright sale.  An annual payment was negotiated, based on fuel costs shown by the engine as compared with a Newcomen engine of the same power.  These payments were to last until the partners' patent expired in 1800.  In South Shropshire, where some of the mines found it hard just to keep in business, the partners must have found it difficult to collect their dues. Production of Lead reached a peak in the latter half of the 19th century but, by 1885, cheap imports from abroad had caused the price to drop from a high of £20 to only £11 per ton.  This brought disaster to many of the district's smaller mines which could not make a profit at this price and had to close.  Even the larger mines were on the wane by 1900 and they had to turn to mining barite to make ends meet.  Huglith Mine was the last large mine in the orefield but it closed in 1947 and there has been no serious mining since. Although miners were brought in from places such as Cornwall or Derbyshire, most of the men who worked here were locals.  Their women and children worked on the surface crushing and preparing the ore for smelting (a process known as dressing the ore).  They had to work in all kinds of weather with minimum shelter, a miserable life that would never be condoned today.  Adjacent to many of the mines you will find ruins of houses which were abandoned when the mines closed forever.  If you visit the head of Perkinsbeach Dingle or Blakemoorgate you can see the remains of whole abandoned villages.  Although some miners lived in villages, many more preferred to live in smallholdings scattered over the surrounding hillsides.  Landowners encouraged their miners to "squat" on their land and to make small enclosures.  In this way, they could collect rent from the miner as well as obtaining his labour.  From his cottage, the miner used to walk many miles to the mine, both day and night in all kinds of weather.  There was no social security in those days and the miner had a stark choice, if he didn't work he didn't get paid.  To offset this, many miners formed friendly societies whereby they could receive a weekly payment if they were off work due to sickness or accident.  Each cottage had a number of acres of land and this allowed the families to supplement their income by growing most of their own food.  This led an irate mine owner of the 19th century to remark that, because of the need to cultivate their own land, the miners were not entirely dependent upon their earnings at the mine for subsistence.  This was apparently an undesirable trait as it made the miners too independent!  Their houses were small with no more than 2 bedrooms upstairs and a living room and pantry downstairs, occasionally with lean-to buildings at the side.  The miners built their own houses out of local stone with a thatched roof, with neighbours often lending a hand.  Outbuildings were also thatched but the walls were made with a frame of wood filled with a mixture of gorse, turves and mud.  The smallholding was usually sufficient to provide enough grazing for the milking cow in summer and hay to last the winter, while some miners also kept pigs for bacon or as porkers.  Poultry were common, as were sheep which were allowed to roam the hillsides.  Since the miner's family tended to be large, he was therefore of necessity a keen gardener, using his vegetable garden as an important additional food supply.  The children were expected to help out by collecting whinberries and blackberries from as far away as the Long Mynd to supplement the family diet.  This was so important that schoolmasters often had to close the local school at those times of the year when wayside fruits were ripe.  A miner's main meal might consist of bacon and vegetable stew with homemade bread.  To eat meat supplied by the butcher was highly unusual. 

 

The system of working the larger mines was by shifts of men every 8 hours for 5 days per week.  On Saturdays only a third of the miners were at work, between the hours of 6am and 12 noon.  The remaining two thirds of the men were thus idle from Friday night to Monday morning.  These long weekends were not usual at the time and were unpopular with the mine owners who still had to keep the mines pumped dry.  All attempts to introduce a full day's work on Saturday were unsuccessful. By 1871, the miners were also taking a day's holiday immediately following the monthly payday.  The lunch hour, taken during the shift, was a full hour or more.  Both these facts appeared to cause the mine management a great deal of frustration. Unlike modern mines, very few miners were actually full-time employees of the mining company.  The exceptions were the mine captains, engineer, engine drivers and perhaps a few other specialists such as the men who maintained the shaft.  It was even known for particularly skilled captains and engineers to be employed by more than one mine, dividing their time between them.  All other workers were employed on a monthly contract and they had to compete to sell their skills in a type of auction known as the monthly reckoning.  In this, the captain would offer different types of work for the forthcoming month and it would be given to the miners who quoted the cheapest rate.  The men formed themselves into small teams and would offer to work a particular part of the mine for which the mining company would pay them an agreed rate for a set weight of ore brought to surface.  Pumping and winding costs were borne by the company but the men were obliged to buy gunpowder and candles from the company.  Depending on the custom, some mines accepted ore as it was brought from the mines, others required the mining teams to deliver it already dressed for smelting.  In the latter case, the teams would have to employ their own people to dress the ore on surface.  To prevent ore becoming mixed up, each kibble or wagon of ore was marked to show where it came from and was dumped at surface in separate compartments known as ore bins. 

 

Underground, the teams had discretion in how they mined the ore.  This was subject to some restrictions, however, and the mine captain was responsible for ensuring the safety of the mine, having the right to insist that timber supports were installed if necessary.  This wasn't particularly for the benefit of the men - he was more concerned that the workings did not collapse and interfere with the profits!  A typical mining team consisted of two experienced miners, a labourer for the heavy shovelling and perhaps a young boy to carry the ore to the shaft bottom.  The mine workings would be divided into many different working areas, each with their own mining team.  It was always a gamble because, depending on the richness of the vein, a team could either make a big profit during the month or a loss.  Surprisingly enough, this system was very popular with the miners who valued their independence and appreciated the chance it gave them to make good profits.  It also suited the mining companies because it encouraged the teams to deliver as much ore as possible to surface.  The rate for a particular area of the mine could vary from month to month.  If a team found a rich vein which was easily worked, they would obviously make a large profit.  This would encourage the mining company to offer a lower rate for that area at the next reckoning and this ploy worked because there were always other teams willing to take on rich areas.  Conversely, if an area proved poor during the month then teams would be unwilling to bid for it and the company would have to increase the rate before it was taken on.  The monthly reckoning was a general holiday and there was no school that day. 

 

Local political feeling ran strongly at times and elections were occasionally accompanied by violence between bands of rival villagers.  The Hope Valley was a Tory stronghold whilst Snailbeach was staunchly for the Liberals.  The supporters of each party were in the habit of attempting to prove their superiority by punching the heads of their supposed inferiors. Compared to some areas, the district was very well served by schools.  Although most were small, they were very numerous and each small village had its own.  The free school at Snailbeach, founded in 1843, was a typical example of one of the larger ones.  It was erected at the joint expense of the Marquis of Bath and several gentlemen of the Snailbeach Company, with accommodation for 100 pupils and average attendance being about 80.  The company provided an endowment of £40 per annum towards the running costs and each miner was expected to pay 6d per quarter to the schoolmaster.  As the mine at this time employed 500 men collecting an average total of £2,000 per month, it would seem that education was quite cheap.  The schoolmaster's wage would have been £100 per annum (twice the average miner's wage) unless he chose to pay an assistant.  The mining communities were very religious and there was a strong chapel following in the district.  It is significant that, of the seven men killed in the Snailbeach disaster, three were lay preachers and the other four were steady attenders.  Five were Methodists and the remaining two belonged to the Church of England.  The Wellington Journal of the times records that Mr Henry Wiggin of London, known as the "Weeping Preacher", visited the area and had large audiences for night after night. Sunday Schools thrived and the big occasion of the year was the 'Treats'.  In hard times, these might only consist of marching behind a local brass band, followed by a picnic on top of Corndon Hill.  Later trips were made with the children riding in horse drawn wagons and eventually in charabancs to places as far away as Rhyl.  The chapels organised Eisteddfodau at holiday times with singing competitions and another popular local activity was football.  Thrift was encouraged by means of the Chapel clothing clubs and charity took such forms as paying a child's school pence when the father died.

 

Like in many hard rock mining areas, Shropshire miners also had to face the problem of silicosis when rock drills were introduced.  It wasn't until later in the 20th century that regulations were introduced to reduce the amount of dust produced by these machines.  Most drills then used water to damp down the dust emission but Huglith, Gatten and Sallies Mines used suction containers to collect the dust and the miners wore masks.  For many miners, however, the regulations came too late and they were condemned to die early from pneumonia and other dust-related diseases. It was for this reason that the women called the drills “Widow Makers”.  One trick used by unscrupulous promoters of mining companies was to include one of the other rich mines in the company name, eg North Snailbeach. This gave the false impression that it was linked with that mine.  Another trick was to promote a “sett” of two or more mines in a group. In such cases, probably only one of the mines would produce any reasonable ore. The entries below include details of entrances and surface remains where known. Where output statistics are shown, this does not necessarily mean the total output but only that officially returned.

 

Adstone Mine, Wentnor (SO391941)

Barite, Copper

The adit was next to the road but appears to have been filled in and the spoil heap removed.  No trace of vein minerals could be seen.  This was probably only a trial.

                                                             

Bagbury Mine, Hyssington (SO322933)

Lead

 

Batholes Mine, Hope (SJ339006)

Barite, Lead  (aka Lower Batholes Old Batholes, West Tankerville Mine)

                                    

Benree Mine, Shelve (SO344987)

Lead

Worked between 1859-1866.

 

Bergam Mine, Tankerville (SO358997)

See Burgam

                                                             

Bettws-y-Crwyn Mine, Bishop's Castle (SO171835)

Lead

 

Blackhole Mine, Snailbeach (SO366012)

Lead

A supposed adit could not be found in 1959 and has not been searched for since, although a clump of trees can be seen from the road south of the farm.   

                                    

Blackwood Mine, Rushbury (SO520908)

Lead

                                                             

Boat Level, Stiperstones (SJ35869997)

Drainage Level

 

Bog Mine, Bog (SO356978)

Barite, Lead, Silver, Zinc  (aka Stiperstones, Tankerville Great Consols)

 

Bromlow Mine, Bromlow (SJ321019)

Lead

Worked between 1815-1866. There is an open adit by the side of a stream.  A fast flow of water emerges and there is about 1ft of air space at the entrance.

 

Brownhills Mine, Pulverbatch (SO38689916)

See Gatten Mine

                                                             

Bulthy Mine, Middletown (SJ310131)

Barite, Lead  (aka Middletown, Middletown Hill, North Snailbeach)

 

Burgam Mine, Tankerville (SO358997)

Barite, Lead, Zinc  (aka Bergam)

 

Calcot Mine, Priest Weston (SJ298973)

Barite

This mine was worked in conjunction with Cliffdale Mine between 1914-1919.  An adit on the north-east side of the valley goes for 100 yards but may be blocked with sheep.  Lower down, on the opposite side of the valley, is a short level leading to a stope that has broken through to the surface.  The total depth is about 70ft, split into three levels by floors supported on stemples.  The bottom of the stope is partly flooded.

                                                             

Callow Hill Mine, Minsterley (SJ386048)

Lead

Worked between 1888-1914. Between 1890-1891 it produced 4 tons of lead and 1 ton of zinc. Most of the workings have now been quarried away but two air shafts into Lower Level are open but flooded a short distance down. These workings are in a direct line with Snailbeach, although not reaching the lode, and probably relate to the requirements in the lease from the Marquis of Bath in 1880 to spend £2,500 on work at Callow Hill mine

 

SJ382038

Shaft (open)

SJ384043

Powell Shaft (flooded)

                                                             

Cardington Mine, Cardington (SO4994)

Copper

 

Cathercott Mine, Pulverbatch (SJ41530021)

See Cothercott

 

Cefn Gunthly Mine, Hyssington (SO336953)

Barite, Lead  (aka Linley Consols)

 

Cefn Guntley Mine, Hyssington (SO336953)

see Cefn Gunthly                                                                              

 

Cefnguntle Mine,  Hyssington (SO336953)

see Cefn Gunthly                        

                                                                                                              

Cefn-y-Gunla Mine, Hyssington (SO336953)

see Cefn Gunthly

                                                             

Central Snailbeach Mine, Snailbeach (SJ369016)

Lead  (aka Crowsnest, New Central, New Central Snailbeach)

 

Cevn-Guntley Mine, Hyssington (SO336953)

see Cefn Gunthly

 

Chittol Mine, Norbury (SO348950)

see Chittol Wood

 

Chittol Wood Mine, Norbury (SO348950)

Copper

Worked between 1859-1866. There is a large tip with a collapsed adit half way up the hill and a collapsed shaft on top of the hill.  Two collapsed adits in the valley bottom may only be trials.

 

SO349949

Shaft (filled)

SO349950

Adits (collapsed)

SO349952

Drainage adit (collapsed)

 

Churchstoke Mine, Churchstoke (SO2994)

Barite

 

Cliffdale Adit, Priest Weston (SJ298980)

Drainage Level

Dammed as a water supply.

 

Cliffdale Mine , Priest Weston (SO302977)

Barite  (aka Western, Weston)

 

Coldyeld Mine, Bog (SO364967)

Barite

In 1943 it produced nearly 800 tons of barite. The adit has been blown in and the opencast workings infilled.

                                                             

Cothercott Mine, Pulverbatch (SJ41530021)

Barite

 

Crest Wood Mine, Wotherton (SJ287001)

see East Wotherton

 

Crowsnest Mine, Snailbeach (SJ369016)

See Central Snailbeach Mine

 

Cuthbarcotte Mine, Pulverbatch (SJ41530021)

see Cothercott

 

Cwm Dingle Mine, Priest Weston (SO297979)

Lead

The adit is open but nearly blocked by a pile of rubbish and soil. Inside there is about 3½ feet of clean water. It goes for about 75 yards at an angle of 310o. At this point there is an area of stoping above and below adit level. On top of the hill are three collapsed shafts, with a filled shaft and collapsed adit to the north-east.

 

SO295981

Shafts (collapsed)

SO296984

Adit (filled)

SO296984

Shaft (collapsed)

SO297979

Adit (open)

 

Cwmdwla Mine, Priest Weston (SO291965)

Barite

Worked between 1895-1913.

 

Dingle Mine, Middletown (SJ301127)

Calcite

The shaft is next to the track but it has been filled and recent landscaping has obscured the site.  Hidden in the trees to the north of the track is a reservoir which fed the boilers of the winding engine.  Calcite seems to have been worked opencast to the north of the track and there was once an access tunnel from the track which is still open on the far side.

 

SJ301127

Adit (open)

SJ301127

Shaft (filled)

 

Downton Hall Mine, Middleton (SO529781)

Limestone

 

SJ529781

Lime kilns (C19)

SJ529781

Lime kiln hopper shaft (C19)

SJ529781

Hand winch (C19)

SO529781

Adit (open)

SO529781

Inclined adit (collapsed)

SO529781

Stope (open)

 

East Grit Mine, Shelve (SO327980)

See Grit Mine

 

East Roman Gravels Mine, Hope (SJ337002)

Barite, Calcite, Lead, Silver, Zinc  (aka Hope Valley, Upper Batholes, West Tankerville, Wood)

 

East Shelve Mine, Shelve (SO33959917)

Lead

A large spoil heap marks the site of More Shaft, sunk as a trial between the wars.  It has completely collapsed.  To the north-east is the silted up entrance to a stone arched adit with a long spoil tip, which may have drained the workings.  It was open in 1964, when it was found to be filled to within 30" of the roof with thick grey mud and was not fully explored.  An air shaft to the south-east, on the other side of the track, is collapsed.

 

SO33959917

More Shaft (collapsed)

SO342993

Drainage adit (collapsed)

SO342993

Air shafts (collapsed)

 

East White Grit Mine, Shelve (SO327980)

See Grit Mine

 

East Wotherton Mine, Wotherton (SJ279004)

Barite

Worked between 1874-1890, when it produced 5,277 tons of barite.  In 1878 it also produced 325 tons of copper. There is an open shaft with an iron fence next to the road.  Nearby is an open stope with rubbish in but side passages appear to lead off.  A narrow opencut on the hillside above still possesses the timbers jammed across to support working platforms. Old maps indicate a trial adit to the south and another to the east but these have not been visited.

 

SJ27980031

Shaft (filled)

SJ27990023

Adit (open)

SJ28060043

Open vein workings

SJ28070045

Open stope

SJ28140041

Shaft (filled)

SJ28800047

Shaft (open)

                                  

Eastridge Wood Mine, Snailbeach (SJ38820219)

Lead

An open trial level goes for 150ft to a right angled turn to the right, then a further 50ft to a heading. There is waist deep water at the end.

                                    

Far Gatten Mine, Bridges (SO38579852)

Barite

There is an open adit on the side of the hill but it has collapsed a short distance inside.  On the hillside above to the north-west is a blocked shaft which may have connected to the adit.  Another open adit, north of a track, only goes a short distance.  There are remains of open workings and collapses to the west but no trace of an adit supposed to be next to the road.

 

SO38309875

Adit (collapsed)

SO38389863

Shaft (filled)

SO38579852

Open vein workings

SO39019867

Adit (open)

SO39089845

Shaft (filled)

SO39109840

Adit (open)

 

Foxhole Mine, Shelve (SO327980)

See Grit Mine

 

Gatten Lodge Mine, Pulverbatch (SO38689916)

See Gatten Mine

                                                             

Gatten Mine, Pulverbatch (SO38689916)

Barite  (aka Brownhills, Gatten Lodge, Gatting, Gatting Lodge)

 

Gatting Mine, Pulverbatch (SO38689916)

See Gatten Mine

 

Gatting Lodge Mine, Pulverbatch (SO38689916)

See Gatten Mine

                                                             

Grit Mine, Shelve (SO327980)

Barite, Calcite, Lead, Zinc  (aka East Grit, East White Grit, Foxhole, Grit Hill, Old Grit, South Salop, West Grit, White Grit)

 

Grit Hill Mine, Shelve (SO327980)

See Grit Mine

 

Hayton's Bent Mine, Hayton's Bent (SO516811)

Copper

Worked between 1870-1919. There are two collapsed adits by the side of the road and the dressing floor for these was on an area of ground to the north.  Up the hillside to the south-east is an area of open working and further uphill are two collapsed shafts.  The country rock is crumbly limestone and collapses were apparently common when the mine was working.

 

SO516811

Adit (collapsed)

SO516811

Adit (collapsed)

SO517811

Shaft (collapsed)

SO517811

Shaft (collapsed)

 

Hazelor Mine, Church Stretton (SO462929)

Copper  (aka Hazelgate)

Worked between 1853-1865. There was a reference in the 19th Century to the shaft infill being dug out in the search for the missing body of a woman. 

 

Hazlegate Mine, Church Stretton (SO426929)

See Hazelor Mine

 

Heathmynd Mine, Hyssington (SO332936)

Lead  (aka Stiperstones Consols)

Worked between 1830-1875.

 

Hill Sett Mine, Stiperstones (SJ36960048)

See Myttons Beach Mine

 

Hogstow Hall Mine, Stiperstones (SJ361014)

Lead

                                                             

Hollies Mine, Snailbeach (SJ38250145)

Lead

There is a small tip with an arched adit, the entrance to which has been almost completely filled in.  It is stone arched for 10ft and then in shale.  The adit goes for about 60ft to a collapse, which corresponds to a collapsed shaft on surface.  Another adit to the south has a much smaller tip and the entrance is completely collapsed.  This adit is known locally as Roman Level but there is no evidence for this dating.

 

SJ38250145

Shaft (collapsed)

SJ38260126

Adit (collapsed)

SJ38340147

Adit (open)

 

Hope Valley Mine, Hope (SJ337002)

See East Roman Gravels Mine

 

Hugleth Mine, Pulverbatch (SJ40390158)

See Huglith Mine

 

Huglith Mine, Pulverbatch (SJ40390158)

Barite, Copper

 

Knick Knolls Mine, Hope (SJ34230072)

see Nick Knolls

                                    

Knolls Mine, Bridges (SO374974)

Barite

Worked between 1943-1944, when it produced 1,357 tons of barite. An adit 500 yards north-west of Squilver Farm has now collapsed.  Another adit, 600 yards west of the farm, has an obvious spoil tip and can be entered by squeezing over a pile of earth at the entrance.  It leads after 50 yards into a stope at right-angles to the adit, after passing through a fault plane halfway along.  The strata on both sides of the fault appear to be red Longmyndian Sandstones.  The stope is about 30 yards long and 40ft high.  At its far end the barytes vein is replaced by a clay plug, along which an adit has been driven for a few yards to a blind heading. 

 

SO371974

Adit (open)

SO373973

Adit (open)

                                                             

Ladywell Mine, Shelve (SO32669921)

Lead  (aka South Salop)

 

Larden Mine, Brockton (SO574934)

Copper

 

Lavington’s Hole, Bridgnorth SO717928)

Tunnel

Driven in 1646 during the English Civil War by Parliamentarian forces under Colonel Lavington.

Bridgnorth Castle, under Royalist control, was being besieged and they kept their store of gunpowder in the adjacent St Marys Church. Lavington decided to undermine the church and set off an explosion but the castle surrendered as soon as they heard of the plan. The tunnel only goes for 70ft in red sandstone and the entrance is grilled. To the left of the entrance are a number of caves cut into the sandstone which were once used as dwellings.

 

Leeds Rockhouse Mine, Bog (SO347963)

See Rock Mine

 

Leigh Level, Worthen (SJ33080360)

Drainage Level

                                    

Lesser Poston Mine, Hayton's Bent (SO539821)

Copper

 

Linley Consols Mine, Hyssington (SO336953)

Combined sett - see Cefn Gunthly & Rhadley

 

Linley Mine, Linley (SO6898)

Lead

 

Lordshill Mine, Snailbeach (SJ375021)

See Snailbeach Mine

 

Lower Batholes Mine, Hope (SJ339006)

See Batholes

                                                             

Lyd Hole Mine, Pontesbury (SJ416053)

Copper

 

Lyth Hill Mine, Longden (SJ4606)

Copper

 

Maddox Coppice Mine, Snailbeach (SJ38160300)

Lead

This was an extensive trial by the Snailbeach Company.  The drainage level is a water supply and should not be entered without prior permission from the farm.  It goes in for about 50 yards to a fall.  The upper adit, after a fall 50 yards in, reaches the vein after 100 yards.  It ends in a blind heading after a further 30 yards but there are crosscuts left and right at the vein.  The right hand passage follows the vein for about 40 yards to a blind heading.  After 20 yards, a crosscut to the left runs under a loose roof to a pool 15ft long and 17ft deep.  On the other side of the pool the passage continues 10 yards to a winze and a blind heading.  With the exception of the upper reaches of the left hand passage, the whole mine is under 3ft of water.

 

SJ38100311

Drainage adit (open)

SJ38100300

Adit (collapsed)

SJ3820306

Shaft (collapsed)

SJ38160300

Adit (open)

SJ382032

Adit (open)

 

 Meadowtown Mine, Meadowtown (SJ314015)

Barite, Lead

Worked by John Harrison between 1858-1865, when it presumably became worked out.  There is an adit on the west of a stream next to a hut, with the spoil tip on the other side of the stream.  The entrance has been dammed with earth to provide a water supply.  Old maps show a shaft to the north but this has not been visited.

                                    

Medlicott Mine, Bridges (SO400946)

Copper

A shaft behind Medlicott Farm is filled.  There is an adit in the valley bottom to the north which is collapsed but the spoil heap is quite large and contains much malachite-stained rock.  Murchison describes the mine as having been worked by the Snailbeach Company

 

SO400946

Shaft (filled)

SO400947

Adit (collapsed)

 

Middleton Mine, Priest Weston (SO309992)

See Stapeley Mine

                                                             

Middleton Hill Mine, Rorrington (SO303994)

Barite, Lead

 

Middletown Mine, Middletown (SJ310131)

see Bulthy

 

Middletown Hill Mine, Middletown (SJ310131)

see Bulthy

 

Minsterley Mine, Hope (SJ337002)

see East Roman Gravels 

 

Mitchells Fold Mine, Priest Weston (SO309992)

See Stapeley Mine

 

Murgatroyd’s Level, Nind (SO336959)

Barite

Between 1932-1935, Mr E Murgatroyd of Keighley, who had been involved in barite mining in Yorkshire during the war and later at White Grit, drove a trial level eastwards to discover new deposits. Up to 5 men were employed but no underground work was done after 1933. There is a very long tip that has a collapsed adit at the end and the remains of a compressor house. 

                                    

Myndtown Mine, Plowden (SO389888)

Barite, Copper

There is a collapsed adit with a small tip below the road but it was probably only a trial.  A rock outcrop above the road shows traces of malachite.

                                                             

Myttonsbeach Mine, Stiperstones (SJ36960048)

Lead  (aka Hill Sett)

 

Nether Heath Mine, Stiperstones (SJ361008)

Copper

Worked between 1728-1735.

 

New Bog Mine, Bog (SO354968)

See Nipstone Mine

 

New Central Mine, Snailbeach (SJ369016)

See Central Snailbeach Mine

 

New Central Snailbeach Mine, Snailbeach (SJ369016)

See Central Snailbeach Mine

                                                             

New Venture Mine, Stiperstones (SO36649981)

Lead  (aka Stiperstones)

 

New West Snailbeach Mine, Tankerville (SO351995)

See Roundhill Mine

                                                             

Nick Knolls Mine, Hope (SJ34230072)

Barite, Lead

 

Nind Mine, Nind (SO3396)

Barite, Lead

 

Nipstone Bog Mine, Bog (SO354968)

See Nipstone Mine

                                                             

Nipstone Mine, Bog (SO354968)

Barite, Lead  (aka New Bog, Nipstone Bog, Nipstone Rock)

Worked between 1890-1911, when it produced 5,585 tons of barite. Nipstone Level is on the west of the road with a large tip.  It appears to be used as a water supply but it was described as collapsed on previous visits.  It has been explored for 100 yards to a stope, in which the water level used to fluctuate by at least 60ft.  This was surprising since the workings are drained by the Boat Level.  The stope was descended during a dry period and a drop of 40ft led to a rubble slope ending in water, the chamber at this point being 15ft wide and 60ft high.  The water was dived for 20ft to a 5ft square level leading off.  To the east of the road is a deep opencut but no apparent adits off.  Further south is a collapsed adit.

 

SO354970

Adit (collapsed)

SO355968

Adit (collapsed)

SO355969

Open vein workings (C20)

SO355969

Shaft (filled)

 

Nipstone Rock Mine, Bog (SO354968)

See Nipstone Mine

 

Norbury Mine, Norbury (SO3694)

Barite, Copper

Worked between 1830s-1865. Old maps show 3 shafts to the west of the track near Clapper Farm but there is no obvious trace other than various areas of rough ground.  A local shepherd had no knowledge of the shafts, which were visited by E C Gray in 1921, but knew that copper mining had taken place in the area.  To the north-east, on the other side of the track, there is a collapsed adit where a few pieces of barytes were found. The Victorian geologist Roderick Murchison refers to workings at Norbury in Palaeozoic slaty rocks but Norbury Hill is clearly composed of red Longmyndian sandstones.  It is probable therefore  that his descriptions may refer to workings in Shuttocks Wood.   The mystery remains unsolved.

 

SO359943

Shafts (collapsed)

SO359948

Adit (collapsed)

SO364928

Adit (collapsed)

SO364928

Adit (collapsed)

SO364928

Adit (collapsed)

SO364928

Shaft (collapsed)

 

North Central Mine, Shelve (SO32669921)

Combined sett - see Ladywell & Grit

 

North Snailbeach Mine, Middletown (SJ310131)

see Bulthy

 

North Tankerville Mine, Tankerville (SO351995)

See Roundhill Mine

 

Old Batholes Mine, Hope (SJ339006)

See Batholes

 

Old Grit Mine, Shelve (SO327980)

See Grit Mine

 

Old Snailbeach Mine, Shelve (SO37440217)

See Snailbeach

 

Ovenpipe Mine, Tankerville (SO35479948)

see Tankerville

 

Oxenbold Mine, Brockton (SO588922)

Copper

 

Pennerley Mine, Pennerley (SO35179881)

Barite, Lead, Silver, Zinc  (aka Stiperstones Mine, Tankerville Great Consols)

 

Pentirvin Mine, Bentlawnt (SJ330015)

Lead

There is an open adit with a large tip but it has been dammed with concrete to form a water supply.

                                                             

Perkinsbeach Mine, Stiperstones (SO36459975)

Barite, Lead

 

Pitcholds Mine, Lydham (SO330929)

Lead  (aka Stiperstones Consols)

Worked between 1873-1875. An open adit in a quarry has been dammed for a water supply.  Just above is another open adit but this does not go far and was probably a short trial.

 

SO330929

Adit (dammed as water supply)

SO330929

Adit (open)

                                                             

Plowden Mine, Plowden (SO393876)

Lead

 

Potter’s Pipe Mine, Tankerville (SO35549931)

see Potter’s Pit

 

Potter's Pit, Tankerville (SO35549931)

Lead  (aka Potters Pipe, Stiperstones Mine, Tankerville Great Consols)

Worked between 1857-1872. Between 1857-1868 it produced 100 tons of lead. The Wellington Journal of 5th June 1875 recorded “The sinking below the 65 fathom level is making usual progress. The 65 west ; The lode continues in the same channel of ground, and yielding some good stones of lead. No 1 winze : Sinking below this level is a splendid course of ore, and never looked better than at present, worth fully £120 per fm. The stope in back of this level is worth £50 per fathom. At the 55 fathom level the cross-cut to intersect the Big Ore lode is making fair progress. The winze sinking below this level is worth £50 per fathom. The 45 fathom level west : The lode is 1½ ft. wide, yielding good stones of ore. Stope in back of this level is worth £25 per fathom.   W T HARRIS, J DELBRIDGE”. The main shaft is blocked and a large amount of the tip has been removed as a source of aggregate.  This uncovered a small but substantial building which may be the remains of an engine, although it is set back from the shaft. An adit close to the road is called Goodest (Good as) Tuesday Vein.  After a short distance, 3 holes in the floor lead into a stope.  Several small crosscuts from the adit are blind and have been partially backfilled.  The stope extends horizontally for 350ft and has been descended 300ft to water.  It is believed to connect with the Boat Level, which is now flooded.  The entrance to the adit is used for watering cows and access is not encouraged. 

 

SO355993

Winding engine house (C19)

 

SO35529925

Shaft (filled)

SO35549920

Shaft (capped)

SO35549931

Adit (open)

SO35569926

Shaft (collapsed)

SO35589922

Shaft (capped)

 

Presthope Mine, Presthope (SO5897)

Limestone

 

Pultheley Mine, Hyssington (SO331950)

see Cefn Gunthly

                                                             

Ratlinghope Mine, Bridges (SO396964)

Copper

A small fenced area can be seen from the road that looks like a shaft.  It has not been visited to see if anything is open.

 

SO396963

Shaft (open)

SO396964

Adit (collapsed)

                                                             

Reilth Mine, Bishop's Castle (SO279874)

Lead

 

Rhadley Mine, Bog (SO34389590)

Barite, Lead  (aka Linley Consols)

 

Rhadley Stiperstones Mine, Bog (SO34389590)

see Rhadley

                                                             

Ridge Hill Mine, Priest Weston (SO27859793)

Barite

                                    

Ritton Castle Mine, Bog (SO344977)

Barite, Lead, Zinc  (aka Ventnor, Wentnor, West Stiperstones)

 

Rock Mine, Bog (SO348961)

Barite, Lead, Zinc  (aka Rockhouse, Leeds Rock House, South Bog)

 

Rockhouse Mine, Bog (SO347963)

See Rock Mine

 

Roman Boundary Mine, Bentlawnt (SJ33310020)

Lead  (aka Roman Gravels Boundary, West Tankerville Mine)

It worked between 1881-1884 and closed when the company went into liquidation. Work started up again soon after but it closed again for good in 1889. The site can be recognised as a bench halfway up Gravelsbank.  There was only one shaft called Primrose Shaft and this has been capped.

 

Roman Gravels Mine, Bentlawnt (SO33329995)

Barite, Calcite, Lead, Silver, Zinc  (aka Shelvefield Gravels)

 

Roman Gravels Boundary Mine, Bentlawnt (SJ333002)

See Roman Boundary Mine

 

Rorreton Mine, Rorrington (SO305998)

See Rorrington

 

Rorrington Mine, Rorrington (SO305998)

Barite, Lead  (aka Rorreton, West Roman, West Roman Gravels, West Snailbeach)

 

Roundhill Mine, Tankerville (SO35079955)

Barite, Calcite, Lead, Silver  (aka New West Snailbeach, North Tankerville)

 

Sallies Mine, Pulverbatch (SJ396001)

Barite

 

Santley Mine, Snailbeach (SJ342003)

Lead

The main shaft has been filled with the tip material.  A smaller shaft about 50ft lower down the hillside is also filled.

 

Sawpit Mine, Bentlawnt (SO33329995)

See Roman Gravels

 

Scott Level, Snailbeach (SJ373022)

Drainage Level

 

Shelve Mine, Shelve (SO33639913)

Lead

There is an open adit with a concrete step and 3ft deep water behind.  It has not been explored.

 

SO33639913

Shaft (filled)

SO33649913

Adit (open)

SO33749910

Shaft (filled)

 

Shelve Pool Mine, Shelve (SO33109780)

Barite, Lead

Worked between 1872-1900.The shaft and both adits are blocked.

 

SO32949787

Adit (collapsed)

SO33109780

Shaft (collapsed)

SO33229781

Adit (collapsed)

SO33399808

Shaft (collapsed)

 

Shelvefield Mine, Shelve (SO342996)

See South Roman Gravels Mine

 

Shelvefield Gravels Mine, Bentlawnt (SJ334998)

See Roman Gravels Mine

 

Shipton Mine, Shipton (SO56359195)

Lead

The 6ft high entrance is normally semi-flooded by a pond.  The passage slopes downwards but ends at a fall after 55 yards, at this point the height is 4ft 6 inches with 3ft of water.  The fall has been bypassed and water pumped out to reveal that the passage continued for a further 100ft.  It was not explored beyond this point since it still sloped downward and the air space was too small.  A shaft marked on the map has not been found.

                                                             

Shuttocks Wood Mine, Norbury (SO373923)

Copper

There is a collapsed shaft on the right of a track through the wood.  In the southern edge of the wood is an opencut with a depression at the western end.  Water flows into a hole here but this may be a land drain.

                                                             

Snailbeach Mine, Snailbeach (SJ37440217)

Barite, Fluorspar, Lead, Silver, Zinc  (aka Lordshill, Vessons)

 

Snailbech Smelter, Pontesford (SJ408061)

Lead Smelter

 

Built in 1784 by the Snailbeach Company to process their lead ore.  Closed in 1862 when it was replaced by another smelter nearer the mine. The shell of the building still survives but it now has another use.

 

Somme Level, Bog (SO357977)

Lead

 

South Bog Mine, Bog (SO347963)

See Rock Mine

                                                             

South Roman Gravels Mine, Shelve (SO342996)

Barite, Calcite, Lead  (aka Shelvefield)

Worked between 1871-1940.  Between 1874-1882 it produced 58 tons of barite and between 1875-1879 12 tons of lead. The Wellington Journal of 5th June 1875 recorded “Shelvefield engine shaft : The branch of carbonate of lime referred to in last report has crossed the shaft and has formed itself upon the main lode. There is a strong rider of ground in present bottom, which has greatly retarded progress in sinking during the last few days, but I believe this change which has followed the branch referred to is only temporary. The shaft is down 11 fathoms.  J W POWNING”. This mine is marked by a large spoil heap adjacent to Shelfield Farm.  The shaft is completely blocked and the engine house is only just distinguishable.  There is what appears to be a collapsed shaft to the west, next to a stone quarry.  Old maps show another shaft and an adit to the east but these have not been found.

 

SO342996

Pumping engine house (C19)

SO342996

Engine Shaft (collapsed)

 

South Salop Mine, Shelve (SO327980)

Combined sett - see Grit Mine and Ladywell Mine

 

Squilver Mine, Bridges (SO377974)

Barite

Worked between 1943-1944. There is a short open adit.

                                                             

Squilver Hill Mine, Hyssington (SO327932)

Barite, Lead  (aka Stiperstones Consols)

Worked between 1873-1875. The adit entrance has been completely buried by quarry spoil tipped down the hillside.  Old maps show a shaft to the south-west but this has not been visited.

                                                             

Stapeley Mine, Priest Weston (SO309992)

Lead  (aka Middleton, Mitchells Fold, Stapeley Hiil, Staveley)

It worked between 1863-1866, when it produced 809 tons of lead.  This relatively high output of lead ore suggests that it must have found a single but very rich lead vein.  The adit is still open with about 18 inches of water and it goes in approximately 75 yards. At the end there are 2 piles of loose fill on the left-hand side. On the hill above are 2 depressions corresponding to the filled areas in the adit. Below these workings there are signs of another adit (now blocked) and some working floors. Shot holes were  present.

 

SO309991

Adit (blocked for water supply)

SO309992

Adit (open)

SO309992

Shafts (collapsed)

SO312993

Open vein workings (C18)

 

Stapeley Hill Mine, Priest Weston (SO309992)

See Stapeley Mine

 

Staveley Mine, Priest Weston (SO309992)

See Stapeley Mine

 

Stiperstones Mine, Bog (SO356978)

Combined sett - see Bog Mine, New Venture Mine, Pennerley and Potters Pit

 

Stiperstones Consols Mine, Hyssington (SO336941)

Combined sett - see Heathmynd, Pitcholds and Squilver Hill

 

Stiperstones Smelter, Pontesford (SJ409061)

Lead Smelter

 

Built in 1739 by the Matthew Dore & Partners to process lead ore from Bog Mine.  It was brought by horse and cart until 1897, when the mine turned to producing barite and the smelter closed. The shell of the building still survives but it now has another use.

 

Tankerville Great Consols Mine, Bog (SO356978)

Combined sett - see Bog, Pennerley, Potters Pit and Tankerville

                                                             

Tankerville Mine, Tankerville (SO35479948)

Calcite, Lead, Zinc  (aka Ovenpipe, Tankerville Great Consols)

 

Upper Batholes Mine, Hope (SJ337002)

See East Roman Gravels Mine

 

Ventnor Mine, Bog (SO344977)

see Ritton Castle

                                    

Venus Bank Mine, Stiperstones (SJ352011)

Lead

 

Vessons Mine, Snailbeach (SJ375021)

See Snailbeach Mine

 

Wagbeach Level, Snailbeach (SJ364024)

Drainage Level

                                    

Watercress Level, Tankerville (SO34929977)

Drainage Level

This adit is open with about 3ft of clean water. On the right near the entrance is a silted up passage which seem to go on for some way but has not been investigated. The main passage heads almost due west for about 100 yards to where it is blocked with gravel infill which appears to have been washed in.  It is rumoured to drain Pennerley Mine but is more likely to have been connected with Roundhill Mine. This adit is hand-picked and shows no signs of blasting.

 

Wentnor Mine, Bog (SO344977)

see Ritton Castle

 

West Grit Mine, Shelve (SO327980)

See Grit Mine

 

West Middletown Mine, Middletown (SJ300128)

White Clay

This mine extracted a white clay which was sold to the pottery industry.  Current remains are being quarried away but adits could be seen in the quarry face.

 

West Roman, Rorrington Mine, Rorrington (SO305998)

see Rorrington

 

West Roman Gravels, Rorrington Mine, Rorrington (SO305998)

see Rorrington

 

West Snailbeach, Rorrington Mine, Rorrington (SO305998)

see Rorrington

 

West Stiperstones Mine, Bog (SO341980)

See Ritton Castle Mine

 

West Tankerville Mine, Bentlawnt (SJ333002)

Combined sett – see Batholes, East Roman Gravels and Roman Boundary

                                                             

Westcott Mine, Pulverbatch (SJ40310145)

Barite, Copper

 

Western Mine, Priest Weston (SO302977)

See Cliffdale Mine

 

Weston Mine, Priest Weston (SO302977)

See Cliffdale Mine

                                    

Whitcliffe Mine, Ludlow (SO5074)

Lead

Worked in the 1750s.

 

White Grit Mine, Shelve (SO327980)

See Grit Mine

 

Whittingslow Mine, Whittingslow (SO428894)

Lead

 

Wilderley Level, Pulverbatch (SJ41120115)

Drainage Level

Dammed as a water supply.

                                                             

Wilderley Mine, Pulverbatch (SJ412005)

Copper

 

Wood Level, Hope (SJ33630064)

Drainage Level

 

Wood Mine, Hope (SJ337002)

See East Roman Gravels Mine

 

Wotherton Mine, Wotherton (SJ27900049)

Barite, Copper

 

Wrentnall Mine, Pulverbatch (SJ41560302)

Barite

                                    

Yew Tree Level, Snailbeach (SJ37980184)

Lead                                                   

The level is open and was used as a water supply in the past.  Attempts have been made to explore but digging through several collapses has proved fruitless.

 

Yorton Bank Mine, Yorton (SJ499238)

Copper

There is a reference in the Memoirs of the Geological Survey ”... another occurrence of copper ores along a north and south fault was formerly worked at Yorton Bank, about a mile west of the Grinshill Mines. The shaft is said to be 50 yards deep”. There is a small building at SJ499241 which contains a pump and next to it is a covered well surrounded by an ornate iron fence. Further information led to an iron manhole in the road at SJ499238 that was about 3ft out from the side of the road but this could not be opened. It has been suggested that there were more entrances in a small quarry near Broughton Farm and in a copse to the north called The Drumble.

 

Further Reading

Diary of Thomas Orchard 1857-61

Distribution of Lead in Western Shropshire

Handbook of Shelve & Minsterley Mines (Introduction)

Handbook of Shelve & Minsterley Mines (First Chapter)

Lead Mines in Roman Times

Lead Mining in Shelve - Mining Journal 1898

Lead Smelters of South Shropshire

Lead Smelting at Pontesford

Lord Tankerville in Shropshire

Mine Drainage

Mineral Veins of Shelve

Miners' Guide 1836

Miners Housing

Mineshaft to Fireside

Mining Journal Apr 1870

Shelve & Minsterley District

Shropshire Lead Producing Area

Shropshire Miners

Shropshire's Lead Industry

Stiperstones Mines Field Guide

South West Shropshire Orefield

The Singular Stiperstones