Water wheels were one of the main sources of power for the majority of mines that required more power than could be supplied by either direct physical power by the miners or by the use of animals, usually horses powering a horse gin.

Waterwheels were used to power pumps by the use of pump rods to drain workings that are below the lowest ground level and so canot be drained by driving a drainage level under the workings. the power can also be used for winding up both the ore, any waste rock that can not be stored below ground in old workings and occasionally the miners themselves.

Once the ore is on the surface it usually still had to be processed to concentrate the ore and reduce the amount of waste rock that needs to be transported to the smelt mill. This processing took palce on a dressing floor originally by hand but as machinery such as stamps and buddles were developed they need power and this was supplied by waterwheels.

The smelting process required a blast of air and again the bellows were worked by waterwheels.

The original waterwheels were suported in a wooden frame but more permenant wheel pits were built out of stone or cut directly into the bed rock if suitable.

For waterwheels to work they require a constant supply of water and a very extensive of water management systems were developed. Streams and rivers  had weirs constructed across them to allow water to be directed into leats, which could rum for miles at near horizontal level around the hillsides to either a reservoir or directly to the waterwheel.




Wheel pit at Dubby Sike Mine NY 7954 3198. size of wheel pit 2.7m by 10.2m.


Inside of wheel pit showing outflow.


Remains of pump rods which were driven by the waterwheel.

In 1874 the Dubbysike Mining Co. was formed. In 1878 they started sinking the above oval shaft which was driven by the waterwheel via steel rope. By 1880 the shaft had been sunk 14 fathoms. The company ceased working in 1883. 




Large wheelpit at Greenhurth used to drive a set up pump rods to a shaft higher up the fell.

courseof pumprods

The course of the pump rods up the fell. The wheel pit is in the distance.



A second wheel pit used to drive a set of stamps on the dressing floor with the outflow tunnel in front.


st john wheelpit 3

Wheel pit used to drive a pump in the nearby shaft.

st john shaft

The capped shaft.

st john wheel

The wheel as it remained in the 1960s.



metslband wheel pit 2

 Wheel pit used to drive a set of cornish stamps.


metalband wheel pit

This wheel was used to drive a set of Cornish stamps.

metalband stamps

 Remains of stamps.



providence shaft engine bas

Providence shaft, in the fore grond, when originally sunk was kwpt clear of water by the installation of a steam engine, engine base in middle ground. However the cost of the fuel, coal and peat, was to high and a waterwheel was installed to power the pumps except in times of drought.


wheel pit ny 76491 33918 b

wheelpit ny 76491 33918d

This appears to be a substantial wheel pit with water supplied both from Tyne Green Syke and also a leat marked on the 1st edition OS map as Teesside Syke. The overflow can be seen in the second photo.


tyne boog wheel pit

A waterwheel used to pump the Tyne Bog Shaft.

tyne bogg shaft

Capped shaft in front of the wheel pit. Water for this wheel was drawn from a wet area just south of the source of the river South Tyne.


wheelpit scordale

The wheel pit at Scordale.


wheelpit blanchland

Remains of wheelpit at Ramshaw. Wall on right is a retaining wall for the road.





internal wheelpit goldscope

 Internal waterwheel pit hand chiselled in the rock by the'German' miners during the Elizabethean period. Used for drainage.

wheelpit goldscope w3

A wheelpit on West Goldscope again cut from the bed rock and again for drainage.




 waterwheel pit castle nook

Another wheelpit cut into the rock. The water entered the wheel from a leat at the height of the grass level area in the background. The shaft was in the foreground.




Bonsor East wheel pit.


Old Engine Wheel pit. Used for winding and pumping using a series of pump rods.

old engine ho diagram

Diagram showing the mechanism which the Old Engine Wheel.


New Engine wheel pit.



wheelpitny 30770 36000

Water wheel pit at NY30770 36000


hartsop mine pit and waterw

The stone pillars carried the leat to the wheel pit. the wheel drove via a set of flat rods a pump in the shaft where the tree is.

The waterwheel was made by Cowan and Sheldon at Carlisle in 1867. 

myerheadw wheel pita


 The wheelpit.

myerhead wheelpit 2

 View inside the pit looking towards the shaft in the distance at the tree.




















hush carrock mine

A small hush to attempt to find the vein at Carrock End copper mine.

hush roughtengill2

Hush in Roughten Gill NY 29821 35718.





silverband hush

A very long and deep hush running down from the Silver Band mine on Great Dun Fell down into Knock Ore Gill. starting at NY 70170 31614 running to NY 70310 30239.

an adit was driven into the bottom of the hush.

knock hush1a

Another deep long hush Knock Hush running across Green Fell and dropping into Swindale Beck. Running from NY 71441 19715 to NY 71153 29114.



Hush running down from Corn Rigg running from a small dam at NY 71886 37321 to Corn Rigg Syke at NY 71696 37181.

There are a number small dressing floors either side of the hush and a number of shafts towards the bottom.



Hush on the south slope of Cross Fell from a dam at NY 69455 33925 into Crowdundle Beck at NY 69610 33459.



Front of dam for the above hush. 

track crossing hush

The hush lower down is crossed by the track from blencarn past Tees Head to Garrigill. Dry stone walls have been built across the hush to carry the track.


hush and damSILVER KELL WEL

The dam in the foreground across the picture with the hush running away downhill at Silver Kell Well mine NY 829 198.











The Isle of Man is particularly rich in early medieval period carved stonework. The stone work relating to christianity dates from the seventh century, early celtic christianity to the vikings in the eleventh centuries. 

The majority of these worked stones are in the form of grave markers and alot have some form of cross carved on them. The early examples have simple compass-arc decoration dating from 650 to 800 AD. from the 9th century larger slabs of monumental proportions were erected. They often bear representations of the celtic ring-headed cross in low relief on a rectangular slab. A lot of these slabs also show closely-knit interlacing patterns.

After the conversion of the Viking invaders to Christianity the practice of erecting cross slabs was readopted in the 10th century. Many had inscriptions on the edge in Runes. They also incorporated Scandinavian art styles including interlacing ornament and animals.  


cross with monks

Cross Slab with Monks, Maughold.

A large rectangular slab with Celtic ring-headed cross in low relief typical 9th Century with pictish overtones. The two seated monks flanking the cross shaft probably represent the Coptic saints Paul and Anthony in the Egyptian desert.

crux guriat

Crux Guriat, Maughold

A very large cross slab 7ft x 3ft. the whole face has been tooled downto leave hemispherical bosses protruding to indicate the cross-head. the shaft, ring and base are marked by inscised lines.

The right edge bears a simple inscription in Hiberno-British characters "Crux Guriat"  i.e. the cross of Guriat. Guriat according to early welsh records as probably a British king ofMan whose son Myrfyn Frych successfully established his dynasty as the Kings of North Wales.



osruth cross shaft

Osruth's Cross, St Johns Church, Tinwald.

A runic cross dating from 950 AD. Carved on one face only with the typical Manx ring and chain pattern introduced  by Gaut.

One edge is carved incompletly with runes - But osruth carved these runes. 

sandulfs cross1  sandulfs cross2

Sandulf's cross slab from Andreas now in museum Douglas.

A 10th century cross-slab. The cross is in plain low relief on each face with interlacing on the shaft. Ring chain on one face and a plait of 5 on the other. There is animal decoration flanking the shaft including goats and rams. The common hunting scene of a dog leaping onto a deer.

Runics on side read 'Sandulf the black erected this cross to the memory of Arinbiorg his wife'.





Smithfield is a small hamlet approximately halfway between Brampton and Longtown in North Cumbria.

George Hope was a Sculptor, general carver and marble mason.

hope invoice


Examples of his work.

bell hope irthington

Thomas Bell August 1842 Irthington Churchyard.

rev bell kirklinton hope

White marble wall tablet for Rev. George Bell died November 1872. Kirklinton Church.

el bell hope kirklinton

Slightly plainer table to the Rev. Georges Bell's first wife Elizabeth (above) Kirklinton church.

elliot hope bewcastle

Joseph Elliot Bewcastle Churchyard.

jackson hope arthuret

Walter Jackson died July 1889 Arthuret Churchyard.





A stead is the term used for the usually stone built compound for storing ore in various stages of dressing before smelting.

Ore that came out of the mine before washing/dressing was termed bouse. If there was more than one set of miners working in the mine then there was a need to keep the undressed ore produced for each partnership seperate till after it had been dressed and the actual quantity of dressed ore can be determined and the partnership can be paid. Therefore a bouseteam/stead was built with a seperate bay in which each individual partnerships ore could be stored until there was suffucent to dress it.



bingsteads coldberryashgill


Bouse team built into side of waste tip at Coldberry Low Level.




Bouse team and dressing floor by Gregs Hut on side of Cross Fell NY 690 354 


bousteadscashburn NY7164436


Bouse team at Cashburn mine NY 717 368

bingsteads mill level cashw


Bouse teams at Mill level Cashwell mine built inot side of the waste heap.  NY 71673 36391.


bingsteads upper slatey sik

Bouse teams at Upper Slatey Sike. NY



bentyfield bousstead


A row of bouse teams at Bentyfield mine NY 751 425.




Bousteads at Greenhurth built into side of the waste heap.

wellhopehead bousestead

Bouseteam at Wellhopehead Mine NY 78317 46586.




boustead 1

Bousteam at the Copper mine at Carrock End.


bousteadny30594 36096

A similar design of boustead at Hays Gill  NY 30594 36096.





Once the ore had been dressed it was measured in bings and moved to the smelt mill ready for smelting into lead. The ores from many different mines were smelted at one mill and again the dressed ores from each mine was kept seperate until it was smelted. Again stored in bingsteads.



In some cases the mineral owners were entittled to a proportion of the dressed ore as part of the rent for the mine. In the case of Alston Moor the mineral owners was Greenwhich Hospital and the constructed their own bingsteads at Hudsgill to receive their share of the dressed ore so that it could be delivered to a smelt mill for smelting.



A general view of the Hudgill bingsteads.


Conserved bingsteads. note the shoots in the back wall  that allowed the ore to be tipped in from the road behind and above the bingstead.


The bingsteads here have been restored to show how they were covered in




Small office building presumably for aperson to record the coming and going of the various deliveries of ore.


 nenthead bingstead


The bingsteads at Nenthead Smelt mill. After the smelt mill was closed they were used to store coal for the boiler plant for producing compressed air for use in the mines.