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Mine Exploration Forum

Author Waltham Chalk Mine
William Lot

Joined: 03/02/2009

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Waltham Chalk Mine
Posted: 03/02/2009 22:06:25
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Would be interested to contact anyone with details of the mine. My great great grandfather William Munton 1840-1873 was a limeburner and associated with the mine...appears to have died from the effects of his employment at the age of 33. Smile IP: 92.9.143.13
Peter Burgess

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

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Waltham Chalk Mine
Posted: 03/02/2009 22:30:49
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Waltham "Mine" is listed as a denehole. Unless this is one of the very rare examples worked into the late 19th or early 20th century, I suspect the site you are thinking of might have been an open chalk pit? Deneholes or chalkwells were single shaft mines with 2 or 3 short levels at the bottom, radiating out from the base of the shaft. They were almost always dug to provide chalk for spreading on the nearby fields, although some are recorded in association with lime kilns. They were small in comparison with 'proper' chalk mines, and probably only worked for a year or so before a new one was dug nearby. Consequently, they sometime occur in clusters.


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Hey, who turned out the lights!
IP: 92.3.199.30
Peter Burgess

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

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Waltham Chalk Mine
Posted: 03/02/2009 22:36:53
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The following is an extract from the Kent Underground Research Group's book/website. You can read the full description of deneholes at www.kurg.org.uk and click on the "Denehole" link. I can't give you a direct link to the page as the site is basically a load of frames (techies will know what I mean). It is highly informative.

Possibly the last ever denehole to be dug in Kent was excavated near Doddington by 'Tokey' Higgins between 1904-08. Fortunately, he was interviewed by a KURG member, Jim Bradshaw, shortly before his death in 1976 at the age of 92.

'…I had a small quarry and lime kell (kiln) just above the "Chequers" on Chequers Hill and, after an argument with the owner of the land, had to leave them. To stay in business, I moved up the hill on the same side and, on a small bit of ground, I built a brick kell and sank a draw well. This was in 1904 and at first I pulled up the chalk in baskets by hand with an old well-top windlass but later used an old horse that walked downhill and brought it up by block and tackle. I worked as a casual day labourer on the farms and lime burning was a "fall back" job. When the well was 20ft deep, I began to widen it as the old timers did until 1908 when I gave it up.'


It would be fantastic if you knew for an absolute certainty that your ancestor was working a denehole as there are precious few records of this in existence. Most sites have little or no evidence as to how old they are.

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Hey, who turned out the lights!
IP: 92.3.199.30 Edited: 03/02/2009 22:42:14 by Peter Burgess
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