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Walking tour of Charterhouse Lead Mines (IA Section)

Wed. 6 July 2022 at 11:00 am


A guided walk of Mendips Lead Mining Sites at Charterhouse with Geoff Fitton and Peter Daniel.

The Romans mined lead on Mendip from AD 49 for around 350 years, and several ingots of lead have been found, especially near Charterhouse. The mines were forgotten until the 12th century, when the Bishop of Bath was awarded the right to mine lead, and, from the 13th century onwards, Witham Priory held several Mendip mines.

Lead production increased in the 16th century, and, though it declined in the 17th, continued into the 18th and 19th centuries. Latterly, calamine became important for use in the brass industry in Bristol.

In the 19th century, the industry focused on reprocessing large quantities of old smelting and dressing wastes. These were taken from the hills and treated at lead works, clearing much of the “gruffy” ground, most of which has been reclaimed for agricultural use. There is still much to see at Charterhouse, however, including watercourses, dressing floors, condensing flues and piles of obsidian-like glass slag at smelting sites.

Meet at 11.00 am at the Blackmoor Reserve car park on Velvet Bottom GR: ST505557. If this small parking area is full, there will probably be space in the private car park of the Charterhouse Outdoor Activity Centre at the crossroads 350 meters to the west at GR: ST502557. Please car-share if possible.

Bring packed lunches. Rough ground means that stout footwear will be needed. The walk is shared with the Somerset Industrial Archaeology Society and numbers are limited. There is no fee.

Registration is required: please contact the organiser (details below).


Wed. 6 July 2022
11:00 am
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Industrial Archaeology Section (Iain Miles)