Lead, Coal and Barytes in Cowling

June 4th, 2015

This information below came to us from M Gill, Sutton-in-Craven. Full article with bibliography is available from Moonrakers.

Areas of Lead and Barytes in Cowling

Ickornshaw Moor in SD968406 The Geological Survey records a narrow barytes vein in the sandstone, 435 metres to the SSW of the shooting hut on Ickornshaw Moor.

Barytes has also been found in the bed of small stream near Cowloughton (SD94. 961413). From a point about 30 metres downstream from the Cowloughton waterfall, a level (shaft?) has been driven ESE in a bed of shale. Its purpose is unknown but it was probably a trial for coal. (Barites or Barytes is a mineral mainly used in x21stC in drilling fluids in oil and gas exploration as a weighting agent. Also used in making cars, electronics, TV screens. Rubber, glass, ceramics, paint industry and medical (barium meals)

The other two veins, recorded by the Geological Survey, are in a small quarry, 460 metres west of Monkroyd (old Hargreaves Arms). And, as a six inch vein going NNW in Warley Wise, immediately NW of Jerusalem Farm. Neither of these areas is known to have been mined for lead.

Cowling Hill Mine (lead, barytes)

GILL BOTTOM TRIAL SD965437 or to be exact– 0.2 km NNE of Gill; near Middleton; Cowling at SD96610.43730

STUBBIN TRIAL SD962438 or to be exact – A level 0.15 km SE of Stubbin Farm at SD96280.43860

This mine is two trials onto a vein along, or closely associated with, the Cowling fault which runs NW – SE. The major trial is a shaft sunk in the valley floor some 50 metres NE of Gill Bridge. Examination of the tip reveals shale and grit with some barytes.

A smaller tip is located 150 metres SE of Stubbin Farm. Again, the tip is of shale and grit, with lots of barytes and some galena (a mineral and the most important ore of lead. Also contains 1-2% silver).

Mineral Statistics below has entries only for the years when the mine was run by the Duke of Devonshire’s Agents and nothing is known of the Homer & Co. which had it between 1864 – 1868. It may have been the Horner, of Horner & Fell, Craven Lead Works at Skipton, but this is only a possibility.

In the figures below there is no mention of 1862, 1863, Much more ore could have been mined or it might be that these were the only years it operated under the Duke of Devonshire’s Agent.

Production:        Lead                      Ore(tons)                            Lead(tons)

1861                         3.40                                     2.15

1866                       20.25                                     13.40 (thought this year was Homer & Co)

1869                         4.90                                      3.15

1869-1871  No detailed returns

1872                       37.50                                     28.20

1873  No detailed returns

Comment:          1863-1869  ore Smelted at Cononley


Cowling Hill Mine (CONT)

Worked by:        1862-1863  Duke of Devonshire

1864-1868  Horner & Co.

Agent:                  1862-1863  James Ray Eddy

1870-1874  Thomas Ward

Cowling – 1881 Census (jobs associated with mining and quarrying)

Name, position in household, age, job, where lived (order below)

Thomas Shackleton son 20 Calc spar miner Cowling, Beckfoot

Colonel Smith Hd 25 Calc spar miner Lothersdale, GillTop

James Hargreaves Hd 37 Spar miner Cowling, Barr Hill

George Shackleton Hd 25 Spar miner Cowling, Middleton

Benjamin Shackleton Hd 27 Spar miner Cowling, Middleton

Bolton Wilkinson Hd 23 Lab in Limestone Rock, Lothersdale   Middleton

Richard Smith Brd 18 Lab in Limestone Rock Lothersdale, Middleton

William Smith Hd 29 Quarryman Limestone Rock Lothersdale, Middleton

William Atkinson Hd 68 Limestone Breaker Cowling, Park

Reedshaw  Moss Coal Mining

The principal area of coal mining at Cowling was on Ickornshaw Moor, where an eight inch thick coal seam lies over the flaggy, upper part of the sandstone.

Immediately beyond the western edge of Ickornshaw Moor, a series of faults (earth movements) has formed outliers of the Burnley coalfield between Colne and Laneshaw Bridge, in Lancashire. The easternmost tip of that coalfield, which projects about a mile into Yorkshire, has been folded into a small basin of Lower Coal Measures, forming Reedshaw Moss, and centred on SD94954145.

Although the workings on Reedshaw Moss probably have a longer history, it is not until the 1770s that the Kildwick parish registers record a small number of coal miners living at Cowling.

Further evidence of mining at this time is an ‘engine’, presumably for pumping water, shown on Thomas Jeffreys’ 1773 map of Yorkshire, at a place now covered by Reedshaw Reservoir. Mining appears to have stopped by the late 1840s, when the 1st edition 1/10560 OS sheet shows some 30 old shafts. No workings are shown on the Lancashire side of the beck.

Samples of coal, from spoil heaps on four mines in South Craven (other 3 actually in Keighley), were examined by the National Coal Board’s Yorkshire Regional Laboratory in 1973. The lowest grade coal came from Reedshaw Moss.

On the eastern edge of Ickornshaw Moor, a level has been driven east-south-east from a point (SD96574128) downstream of Cowloughton waterfall. Its purpose is unclear, but it was probably looking for coal. A nearby glacial moraine (material moved and dropped by glaciers) (SD96704120) has been extensively quarried for limestone. This was burnt to make lime which was carried to markets in Calderdale for treating acid soils. Other moraines have been worked all along this hillside, past the head of Reedshaw Reservoir into the Trawden area.

Re-drafting to leave out technical information and add italics – M Barnes, March 2015