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Mine Exploration Forum

Author Calamine Mining in the 16thC
Hattlebags

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Calamine Mining in the 16thC
Posted: 26/07/2019 08:00:19
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Can anyone here help me with local info on mining for Calamine (Zinc Ores) in the 16th / 17th Century. This was used to alloy with copper to make Brass. I believe the Mendips was the main source of Calamine in this period. Are there any preserved workings and processing infrastructure still visible for this industry and period ? IP: 86.191.113.11
Jim MacPherson

Joined: 02/09/2015

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Calamine Mining in the 16thC
Posted: 26/07/2019 08:15:36
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Hattlebags wrote:

Can anyone here help me with local info on mining for Calamine (Zinc Ores) in the 16th / 17th Century. This was used to alloy with copper to make Brass. I believe the Mendips was the main source of Calamine in this period. Are there any preserved workings and processing infrastructure still visible for this industry and period ?


There is also Pikedaw Zinc Mine near Malham, perhaps active a bit later than you are looking for?, from the information the remains are limited to the mine (I think still accessible) and a chimney near Low Trenhouse.

Jim

http://www.outofoblivion.org.uk/record.asp?id=344
IP: 109.146.250.96
AR

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Location: Knot far from Knotlow in the middle of the Peak District

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Calamine Mining in the 16thC
Posted: 26/07/2019 09:03:29
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There may have been some working in the Peak too, but documentary records of calamine working, particularly early on, are scanty. The majority of production would probably have been from picking through old hillocks, which was in full swing in the Peak during the last decades of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th century. This was mainly for the lead ore that had been discarded as too small for the older bole smelter, but could be smelted in the new ore hearths.

Calamine was definitely being got from hillock reworking in the early 18th century in the Peak but offhand I'm not sure of any earlier references.



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christwigg

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Joined: 20/02/2008
Location: Cleveland / North Yorkshire

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Calamine Mining in the 16thC
Posted: 26/07/2019 09:32:18
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Jim MacPherson wrote:


There is also Pikedaw Zinc Mine near Malham, perhaps active a bit later than you are looking for?, from the information the remains are limited to the mine (I think still accessible) and a chimney near Low Trenhouse.


Started around 1788 according to Raistricks 'Mines and Miners on Malham Moor'

Talks about it going to Cheadle.

A letter in 1798 in that book talks about other major sources in Shropshire, Derbyshire and Flintshire.

He believes the Flintshire source is London Lead Company from Holywell and Halkyn Mountain.
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christwigg

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Calamine Mining in the 16thC
Posted: 26/07/2019 09:38:51
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https://www.namho.org/research/LEAD_Assessment_20130207.pdf

In the 18th century mines in Derbyshire, at Castleton, Cromford, Bonsal and Wirksworth, and in North Wales, were supplying calamine to the Cheadle brass makers. Calamine was still being worked in the 1830s-40s, though probably as a small part of zinc output by then. Buildings and mine remains associated with Calamine production have been recorded in and around Malham (Yorkshire) and a ‘Calamine Pit’ is known at Bowland-with-Leagram, in Lancashire (M Gill pers comm).

At Cobscar Mine (North Yorkshire) a ‘Calamine House’ or calciner survives and is now a scheduled monument (NMR No. 34827). Calamine mines are also know in the Mendip orefield, where Singing River has been a focus for investigation (Richards 1971, 7-9; Schmitz 1976, 81-3).
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Ed W

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Calamine Mining in the 16thC
Posted: 26/07/2019 10:03:10
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There are Calamine workings still extant on Mendip, notably at Singing River Mine at Shipham, the lead mines on Sandford Hill also appear to have encountered Calamine and Blende. I'm no great expert, but all of the underground workings I am aware of appear to be 18th Century (there are shot holes and I am led to believe that black powder appeared on Mendip in 1680). The extensive surface workings at Charterhouse and Ubley Rakes may date back to this time or before (the MCG excavated a small mine tentatively dated to Roman times in the early 2000s). Your best bet for better information would be to consult "The Mines and Minerals of the Mendip Hills" by Peter Burr - I understand the third volume will be published soon. IP: 86.158.244.196
Peter Burgess

Joined: 01/07/2008
Location: Merstham. Or is it Godstone ...... ?

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Calamine Mining in the 16thC
Posted: 26/07/2019 10:04:14
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Shipham, I believe, was the centre of the calamine mining activity in Somerset. Alan Gray may be the person to contact initially. IP: 85.115.54.201
Boy Engineer

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Calamine Mining in the 16thC
Posted: 26/07/2019 15:49:46
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If there is a continuation of this hot weather and inevitable sunburn, they will have to reopen some of the calamine workings for the prodigious quantities of lotion that will be required.

Whilst we're on the topic, I should point out that references to 'Plaster Pits' generally refers to gypsum workings and not the source of zinc oxide wound coverings.
IP: 31.185.47.152 Edited: 26/07/2019 15:53:21 by Boy Engineer
Jim MacPherson

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Calamine Mining in the 16thC
Posted: 26/07/2019 16:03:35
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Boy Engineer wrote:

If there is a continuation of this hot weather and inevitable sunburn, they will have to reopen some of the calamine workings for the prodigious quantities of lotion that will be required.

Whilst we're on the topic, I should point out that references to 'Plaster Pits' generally refers to gypsum workings and not the source of zinc oxide wound coverings.


Timing is everything! Innocent, currently it's pouring with rain.

Some interesting caving maps of Pikedaw suggesting there might still be some bits of foundations left for Calamine House, date of comments about the 1805 map is not stated.

http://cavemaps.org/surveys/cpc/full/CPC%20J1-5%20Pikedaw%20Calamine%20Mine.png

Jim
IP: 81.154.10.237 Edited: 26/07/2019 16:06:55 by Jim MacPherson
Peter Burgess

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Calamine Mining in the 16thC
Posted: 26/07/2019 20:13:32
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This paper is quite detailed. http://www.brassmill.com/linked/2003_09_-_history_of_calamine_mining_on_mendip.pdf

As for "preserved" workings, there is "Singing River Mine" in Shipham, and maybe a few other small holes in the area, but I have no idea of antiquity. Ed Waters of MCG could possible comment on the mines they have been exploring at Sandford Hill, but whether calamine was extracted there as well as lead, I don't know.

If you are looking for 16th century stuff in particular, I suspect that's quite a tall order.
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toadstone

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Calamine Mining in the 16thC
Posted: 27/07/2019 13:47:11
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This topic cropped up sometime ago here:-
https://www.aditnow.co.uk/community/viewtopic.aspx?t=5411&txtSearch=Cheadle&lblnWhere=all&lblnMatch=any

The good news from my part is by chance after sorting through some of my Mother's photos I found some photos of Jim and the mine at Hollinsclough.
http://www.toadstone.com/pdmhs/chrome_adit/

Cheers, Peter.
IP: 83.217.165.46
PeteJ

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Calamine Mining in the 16thC
Posted: 27/07/2019 14:45:59
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Hattlebags wrote:

Can anyone here help me with local info on mining for Calamine (Zinc Ores) in the 16th / 17th Century. This was used to alloy with copper to make Brass. I believe the Mendips was the main source of Calamine in this period. Are there any preserved workings and processing infrastructure still visible for this industry and period ?


Map evidence of a Calamine House at Nenthead but no published evidence on the local source of ore. Might be Gudhamgill Vein shaft workings.
IP: 87.115.69.40
John Lawson

Joined: 09/12/2010
Location: Castle Douglas Dumfries & Galloway

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Calamine Mining in the 16thC
Posted: 30/07/2019 19:52:30
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PeteJ wrote:

Hattlebags wrote:

Can anyone here help me with local info on mining for Calamine (Zinc Ores) in the 16th / 17th Century. This was used to alloy with copper to make Brass. I believe the Mendips was the main source of Calamine in this period. Are there any preserved workings and processing infrastructure still visible for this industry and period ?


Map evidence of a Calamine House at Nenthead but no published evidence on the local source of ore. Might be Gudhamgill Vein shaft workings.


Peter I always thought that Calamine workings on the Moor, were in the mines closer to Alston,rather than the big Nenthead mines! Blaigill etc I thought were in this particular
profile.
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neutronix

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Calamine Mining in the 16thC
Posted: 30/07/2019 21:47:38
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I don’t know whether this is relevant, or not, but calamine was shown in the late 18th century to be a mixture of a zinc silicate (hemimorphite) and a zinc carbonate (smithsonite). To compound the confusion, calamine is also a synonym for hydrozincite, a zinc hydroxycarbonate.

According to Greg and Lettsom (Mineralogy of Great Britain and Ireland, 1858), calamine (as hemimorphite) was found at Roughton Gill, Alston Moor, Rutland Mine near Matlock, Masson Hill, Castleton, Nenthead, Shipham, Bristol in England; Holywell in Flintshire in Wales; Leadhills and Wanlock Head in Scotland. To add to the confusion Greg and Lettsom consider this mineral to be named smithsonite, reserving calamine as the name for the phase now named smithsonite. Calamine (i.e. smithsonite sensu stricto) localities in Greg and Lettsom include Wheal Mary in Cornwall, Roughten Gill, Alson Moor, Farnberry Mine at Alston, Wirksworth, Castleton, Matlock, Old Nestor Mine, Cumberland Cavern, Allenhead, and the Mendips in England; Cymystwyth, Llanymynech Rocks, Holywell and Halken Mountain in Wales.

If you are interested I can update with a longer and more up-to-date list derived from Andrew Tindle’s Minerals of Britain and Ireland (2008).


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PeteJ

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Calamine Mining in the 16thC
Posted: 31/07/2019 20:58:00
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John Lawson wrote:

PeteJ wrote:

Hattlebags wrote:

Can anyone here help me with local info on mining for Calamine (Zinc Ores) in the 16th / 17th Century. This was used to alloy with copper to make Brass. I believe the Mendips was the main source of Calamine in this period. Are there any preserved workings and processing infrastructure still visible for this industry and period ?


Map evidence of a Calamine House at Nenthead but no published evidence on the local source of ore. Might be Gudhamgill Vein shaft workings.


Peter I always thought that Calamine workings on the Moor, were in the mines closer to Alston,rather than the big Nenthead mines! Blaigill etc I thought were in this particular
profile.

John - I agree. There is a plan of the Calamine House at Nenthead in the PRO.
IP: 87.115.69.40
PeteJ

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Calamine Mining in the 16thC
Posted: 07/08/2019 21:32:31
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Nenthead Fields veins were worked for calamine in the first part of the 1800s. IP: 87.115.69.25
Hattlebags

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Calamine Mining in the 16thC
Posted: 09/08/2019 07:06:28
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All very valuable info, thanks. I am trying to pin down the source of “calamine” used by the Society of Mineral and Battery Works in the 1568 - 1590 period. So quite a bit earlier than many of the sources mentioned. If I knew how to post a picture here I would show you their Coat of Arms which has a big lump of calamine in pride of place. IP: 86.181.156.45
AR

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Calamine Mining in the 16thC
Posted: 09/08/2019 08:28:52
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For that period, Alston/Nenthead was effectively in the middle of a war zone so I doubt there was any mining taking place at that time - there was a good reason the Hochsetters had their base of operations on an island!

Gut feeling tells me Mendip or the Peak is the most likely source but if one of the German workings in the Lakes was producing it as a by-product then that would be more likely.

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Wormster

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Calamine Mining in the 16thC
Posted: 10/08/2019 09:59:12
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Singing River Mine on the Mendip is a good example.

Not sure about the access atm, the old lady who has the entrance in her backgarden passed away a while back, and, I don't know who's the best person to contact.

a bit of web searching pulled up this though:

https://www.b-i-a-s.org.uk/BIAS_Journal4_SINGING_MINE_CALAMINE.pdf

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