Norbury / Linley Hall

Lead Mine, Mine and Roman-Building

The Norbury Mining Complex and Settlement at Linley Hall

There is evidence of Roman lead mining in the area between Norbury and Linley Hall (SO 361929) along the southern slopes of Linley Hill. The preferred method used here by the Romans was ‘hydraulic sluicing’, forcibly washing the galena ore from the hillside using water brought in along an aqueduct channel east of Squire Hall. The lead from these hills is particularly poor in silver content, there being only around 2½ ounces of precious metal in each ton of processed lead.

The mining complex on Linley Hill is undoubtedly connected with the so-called ‘villa’, discovered in 1856 within the grounds of Linley Hall (SO 347927), to the immediate west. This substantial building, comprised a small range of three rooms, each with the pilae indicative of a hypocaust heating system, arranged roughly north-east to south-west, the water being brought in along an aqueduct to the west and drained away through a covered drain running along the eastern side. This building may be the bath-house associated with a small mining settlement, which may itself be represented by rectilinear patterns observed from the air in the fields to the north-east, covering an area of about 12 acres (c.4.85 ha).

At least five lead ‘pigs’ or ingots have been recovered from the area over the years, each with the words IMP HADRIANI AVG moulded into the upper surface, emphatically proclaiming them the property of the Emperor Hadrian (Imp. A.D. 117-138). Three of these ingots also bear inscriptions which have been stamped or punched into their surfaces; that in the private collection at Linley Hall has MINB, the one in the British Museum has SN, and another, now lost, is said to have borne the stamp LEG XX. These are very likely the marks of the military units and private contractors who were licenced to extract the ore.

There is another Roman lead-mining complex nearby on Shelve Hill, about 4½ miles (c.7.3 km) to the north.

References for Norbury / Linley Hall

  • Air Reconnaissance in Roman Britain 1977-1984 by G.S. Maxwell & D.R. Wilson in Britannia xviii (1987, p.48);
  • Lead and Leadmining by Lynn Willies (Shire 1994); The Cornovii by Graham Webster (Sutton, London, 1975) pp.113-6 & fig.47;

Map References for Norbury / Linley Hall

NGRef: SO3692 OSMap: LR137

Roman Roads near Norbury / Linley Hall

None identified

Sites near Norbury / Linley Hall