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Kirk Croft Mine, Winster, Derbyshire


The information provided in this article is attributed to the exploration work carried out in the mid 1970’s by the ‘North Staffs mining Club’ and subsequent recent field work carried out by both members of that organisation and the Pegasus Caving Club.

A recent visit to the site in September 2023 by Pete Forster, Alan Steele, Nigel Burns and Cheg Chester revealed no visible features relating to previous mining activity as both the Butts Close and Kirk Croft areas have been landscaped and returned to good pasture land. See Fig. 4 & 5.

Prior to visiting the site, a check was made of the 25” OS map of Derbyshire XXVIII.16: Revised: 1897, Published 1899. which indicates the existence of a shaft in Kirk Croft at NGR SK 23684 60758 which was assumed to be the location of the Kirk Croft Founder Shaft.

There was no indication of the existence of a shaft in Butts Close, however, there was reference to a ‘Well’ at the location NGR SK 23662 60785 and on making a quick calculation of the distance between the Founder Shaft and the Climbing Shaft, taken from the survey shown in Fig. 1 and overlaid on the 25” OS map, showed a distance discrepancy of only a few feet. It was therefore assumed that the feature marked ‘Well’ was most probably the location of the Kirk Croft Climbing Shaft which is referred to in this report.

However, if Fig.1. is overlaid on the 25" map with the magnetic declination for 1974 which is 8 degrees west of North then the result shows that the 'Well' is a different feature from the Kirk Croft Climbing Shaft as indicated in Fig. 3.

Kirk Croft Mine, Winster Survey

Fig. 1. Kirk Croft Mine Survey shown in relation to local road layout.

Kirk Croft Mine Side Elevation, Winster Derbyshire

Fig. 2. Side elevation of sections  A - A1 through to F - F1 shown in Fig. 1.

Kirk croft Mine, Winster, Derbyshire overlay.

Fig. 3. Line survey derived from Fig. 1 and overlaid on the 25" OS map of Derbyshire XXVIII.16: Revised: 1897, Published: 1899. (Overlay plotted 2024)

Report 1974

Only two open shafts are now known on the vein, one being Kirk Croft Founder which is I80 ft. deep and the other being in Butts Close. The shaft in Butts Close is also on the Winster Sough. Kirk Croft Climbing Shaft.

As stated, this shaft is situated in field No. 112 (Butts Close) and has been capped with concrete but access can be gained by removing a large gritstone slab just to one side of the cap. The shaft was plumbed and found to be 85 ft. deep, it is ginged with dressed gritstone blocks to a depth of 35 ft. and through the ginging it is 3 ft. diameter. The ginging is in very poor condition, many of the blocks being split and cracked and large areas of them have slipped making the shaft very dangerous to descend, indeed, on the climb out of the shaft 2 or 3 large blocks fell away out of the ginging and it was very fortunate that an accident did not occur. The shaft has now been declared unsafe for a further descent.

Kir Croft Mine Climbing Shaft

Fig. 4. Nigel Burns standing on the approximate location of 'Kirk Croft Climbing Shaft' in 'Butts Close'

Placket lane running diagonally to where it intercepts the Winster to Elton road,

with Water Lane in the background

Kirk Croft Mine Founder Shaft CC.JPG

Fig. 5. 'Butts Close', field No. 112 at left with Placket Lane centre and Nigel Burns standing on the location of 'Kirk Croft Founder Shaft' in 'Kirk Croft', field No. 152

Below the ginging the shaft is seen to be sunk on the vein and due to this the ginging on two sides is sat on dressed gritstone arches as the shaft bellies out into the vein. 10 ft. below the ginging and heading off to the N.W. along the vein is a passage which extends for 15 ft. This passage is 4 ft. 6 ins. high by 3 ft. wide in section and the floor consists of packed deads which continue down to within 10 ft. of the bottom of the shaft where they are seen to be supported on old timber. The other three sides of the shaft are in solid limestone although the vein can be seen on the S.E. side as a lean stringer. At the bottom of the shaft is a large cone of rubbish on top of which there is a rotting carcass that made the first descent very unpleasant.

The shaft is sunk onto a passage, which runs both east and west from the base and not along the vein as one would expect. This passage is in fact part of the Winster Sough. To the west, upstream, the passage can be followed for 180 ft. and entry is gained into this passage by crawling down for 4 ft. through a small gap over the rubbish at the bottom of the shaft. Once into the passage it is found to be 4 ft, 6 ins. high by 3 ft. wide and for the first 20 ft. of its length there is some 6 ins. of standing water on the floor, which has backed up behind the rubbish at the base of the shaft. 20 ft. along the passage from the shaft is a rise in the roof and this is on a vein which the passage is now following, the section here is 6-8 ft. high by 3 ft. wide and this is maintained for the rest of its length. There is now a small flow of water coming down the level at this point. After a further 80 ft. a junction is reached with the passage carrying straight on and a branch passage leading off to the right. The passage straight on continues for 50 ft., the floor now dry, to where it has been backfilled to within 3 ft. of the roof, this backfill extends for 20 ft. to where a vein has been intersected and a small passage leads off here to the left to follow the vein for 10 ft. with the main level continuing as a coffin level 5 ft. high by 3 ft. wide to-terminate after 15 ft.

Back at the junction, the passage off to the right continues for 30 ft. to where it turns through 90° to the left and all the water comes from along this level. This stretch of passage is also following a vein and in this case the roof of the passage continues up as a narrow stope in the vein and here there are numerous stemples still in situ. From the sharp bend in the passage the level continues for a further 35 ft. to a fall, which completely blocks the passage and has the appearance of a run-in shaft.

When plotted onto the survey this fall is below where a run-in shaft is located on the surface in the corner of field No. 206 (Gammas Croft) near the junction of Water Lane with the main Winster to Elton road. This shaft is shown on the 1843  plan as Level (Winster Sough?) Shaft.

From the bottom of the entrance shaft the passage to the east is again entered by crawling over the rubbish at the shaft foot. The section of the level is 4 ft. 6 ins. high by 3 ft. wide and there is a stream of water flowing down it. It was followed downstream for 70 ft. with the passage inclined down rather steeply to say it is a sough level and after 70 ft. an 1S1 bend is reached and just beyond this point the passage becomes a coffin level 3 ft. high by 2 ft. 6 ins. wide and from this point the level is flooded to a depth of I'8 ins. with water and slimes which makes the going very difficult.  35 ft. along the passage from the shaft a junction is met with passages leading off to both left and right (N. - S.). To the left (north) the passage has been backfilled with yellow/brown clay to within 2 ft. of the roof with a width of 2 ft. 6 ins. wide. This section is maintained for a distance of 40 ft. at which point the passage opens out a little to become. 3 ft. high by 3 ft. wide, here the walls of the passage are covered with sweeping pick marks and the floor is packed with deads and limestone rubble. After a further 15 ft. the passage turns slightly to the right and in the left hand wall is a small pocket on a vein. The continuation of the passage becomes very low with a crawl over the packed deads but after a further 20 ft. it opens out again over the top of a winze 30 ft. deep, which is extensively packed on all sides. The passage has previously carried on beyond the winze but has been completely backfilled to the roof and is thus now inaccessible. The vein can be seen in the roof above the winze and here it is I ft. wide and filled mainly with clay and a small amount of calcite. Leading off to the right from the top of the winze is a pocket on a pipe working which extends for 14 ft.

From the junction in Winster Sough the passage to the right (south) can be followed for 100 ft. The passage is between 4 and 5 ft. high and 2 ft. 6 ins. to 3 ft. wide and is following a leader. After 35 ft. there is a small pocket on the left, and from here on the passage is inclined down slightly until after a further 55 ft. a T- junction is reached. To the right the passage extends for 22 ft. along the vein to a blind heading, its section being 4 ft. 6 ins. high by 3 ft. wide.

To the left from the T-junction the passage is now inclined down even more steeply than previously and the floor drops down over two 2 ft. deep steps. This passage ends after a further 15 ft. on a ledge in the side of Kirk Croft Founder Shaft.

As previously stated whilst members of the M.M.R.G. survey party were leaving the mine via the climbing shaft in Butts Close the gritstone ginging began to run in as large pieces of shattered gritstone blocks fell out from 25 ft. below the shaft collar, this was rather disturbing as this occurred for no apparent reason other than the state of the ginging being very poor, for it had not been knocked or touched, needless to say after this occurrence the shaft was hastily vacated and deemed unsafe. Any further exploration of these workings will have to take place from the Kirk Croft Founder Shaft. The 30 ft. winze has not yet been descended nor has the sough been pushed any further downstream than shown on the survey and both of these areas might repay further investigation.

References.    • -
The Mines of the Winster Area, by D. Heald and A. Elwood. M.M.R.G. Records. Plan of Placket and Orchard Mines, by. J. Gratton, 1843. M.M.R.G. Library.

Report Ends

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