An area of day-working comprising small quarry delves, unfinished blocks and a flat-edged millstones within a boulder-field around Houndkirk Hill.
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- QUARRY (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
- MILLSTONE WORKING SITE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
An area of day-working comprising small quarry delves, unfinished blocks and a flat-edged millstones within a boulder-field around Houndkirk Hill. Hathersage was the main centre of millstone production from at least the 16th century (Hey 2002).
There were thirteen millstone makers living in the township in 1590, each earning about 10d a week which was comparable to other craftsmen. Each maker produced twelve pairs of stones a year, or one a fortnight, totalling 312 millstones a year. Bars and chains were used to manoeuvre suitable boulders into position, which were chocked at an angle to facilitate dressing using a pick, hammer and chisel (Tomlinson 1981). In 1728, Daniel Defoe described millstones being ‘dug’ out of small delves on Hathersage Moor and the quarrying of stone from escarpments.
From at least the 16th century, most stones were exported via the port of Bawtry to millstone merchants based in East Anglia (Hey 2002). The 17th century was the most prosperous period of millstone production in the Peak District, especially when war interrupted trade with France or Germany. Millstones from the Rhine and Paris were favoured because they had a superior milling edge and didn’t discolour wheat flour. Peak millstones left a grey colour in milled wheat. The industry declined as white wheat bread became more popular but revived during another interruption in supplies of favoured
stones caused by the Napoleonic Wars. Small-scale working may have ended in the 18th century (ibid).
Flat-edged stones appear to be later than domes and round-edged stones, and were the dominant type from the 19th century onwards. They were used for a variety of milling and crushing purposes. Oats, barley, rape, peas, beans and animal fodder were milled using Peak stones because the grey discolouration was not a problem. Most county mills had German or French stones for wheat and Peak stones for other uses until the end of the 19th century (Tucker 1977). In Dorset Peak stones were specifically used for barley and farm meals (Tomlinson 1981). In 1874 there were over 20 corn mills and 6 paper mills in Sheffield, and each corn mill had at least one pair of Peak stones (Tomlinson
1981). Flat-edged stones were also used for more industrial processes, including crushing lead ore, pulping wood and crushing ingredients to make paint. Stones were exported to Scandinavia, Russia and North America for pulping wood to make paper, with the last stones from the area being sold to Sweden in the 1930s (Hey 2002).
Some stones were used for grinding, but the pebble beds founding gritstone limited the use of Hathersage and Burbage stones for this purpose, because they would easily explode when used, so causing fatal injuries (Tomlinson 1981). Those that were used from the area were coarse and middling course grades that weren’t used for fine work such as knife grinding. Some millstones were used in Hathersage in the 19th century for grinding needles .
- SNA65465 - Report: Bill Bevan. 2006. From Cairns to Craters: Conservation Heritage Assesment of Burbage, Longshaw Estate..
Other Statuses and References
- ENA7059 - Heritage Assessment, From Cairns to Craters: Conservation Heritage Assesment of Burbage, Longshaw Estate.