Treasure 25: The John Wheatcroft Plan of the Hubberdale Possessions, 1840

This treasure has been suggested by one of our regulars, researcher Steve Thompson.  He is the author of the text which follows.

D3266/92 is a very fine lead mining plan indeed, entitled “Plan of the Pipes and Rakes in the Hubberdale Title Within the Townships of Taddington & Flagg in the Queens Field and Hundred of High Peak by John Wheatcroft in June 1840”.  This very large plan, a little over eight feet by six feet, is drawn on a scale of 1 inch to 50 yards (1:1800), and demonstrates a very high standard of draughtsmanship.

What is especially interesting about the plan is that a number of quite important associated documents have also come to light which relate this plan, as well as one which, if it ever existed, is as yet undiscovered.

Firstly, a second version of the plan exists, dated 1842 and half the size, at a scale of 1 inch to 100 yards. This plan is held in the archives of the British Geological Survey at Keyworth under the number KP6959. When the drawing, and especially the lettering, of this second plan are compared with the “original” it seems clear that they were prepared by the same draughtsman, possibly Wheatcroft himself.

One notable feature of the “original” plan is that many of the veins shown bear numbers in red, and a large number of the shafts are numbered in blue. However, no key to the plan was known.

The detail from the plan, shows the Sheathes Pipes, with veins numbered 65 to 67, there being two numbered 66, but no number 68, although a vein so described (below) is shown top left on the plan.

D3266 map4

One day, some time ago, I examined a document catalogued as “Alport Mining Co. Bennetts’ Letter Book 1848-1853 – at front Barmaster’s entries etc. for Hubberdale Mine 1804-1840 ” (D504 B/L 363). In this book are three entries dated April 22nd, 24th and 25th 1840, and clearly these entries, if not actually the key to the veins on the plan, would serve as such.

An extract from the second entry reads thus:-

“Liberty of Taddington and Flagg in the Queensfield April 24th 1840. Then gave to J B Brushfield for the use of the Hubberdale Mining Company the Several Old Founders called by the names of Dungeon Dale, Tapestone, Kedlock Torr, Horse Shoe, Sheathes Pipe and the Potatoe Mine and viewed an entered Possessions for the same viz.

……1 Pair of Possessions for their Founder Pair on the Sheathes Pipe (No. 65) and 35 Pairs of Possessions for 35 Meers of Ground ranging North and South from the said Founder, 11 Pair ranging North to Sheathes Lane and 24 Pair ranging South to the top of Depdale. 2 Ranks of Possessions on the Nether Sheathes Pipe (No. 66) 11 Pairs of Possessions for 11 Meers of Ground on each Rank ranging South. 4 Pairs of Possessions for 4 Meers of Ground on a vein (No. 67) breaking out of the East side of the Sheathes Pipe and ranges North. 7 Pairs of Possessions for 7 Meers of Ground on a scrin (No. 68) ranging West from Sheathes Pipe……”

D3266 map1

Some little while later I found another part of the picture in a quite unexpected place. In the Bagshawe Collection, now moved from Sheffield Archives to Derbyshire Record Office, is an anonymous, rather scrappy little notebook (D7676/BagC/587/44/2/106). It soon became clear that this was a field notebook which had been used to compile the key to the veins on the Wheatcroft plan!

One of the pages of this notebook, shown right, reads as follows:-

“March 14th 1840 on the Sheathes Pipe

1 Pr for the Founder and 11 Pr ranging N to Sheathes Lane and 24 ranging S to the top of Depdale

a double rank on the Nether Sheathes Pipe 11 Pr on each rank ranging S

4 Pr on a vein breaking out of the E side the Sheathes Pipe ranging N

7 Pr Scrin ranging W from Sheathes Pipe

1 Pr for the Founder pr on the Potatoe Vein and 8 ranging W and 6 ranging E to Sheathes Lane ”

D3266 map2

I noted earlier that as well as the numbering of the veins indicated on the plan many of the shafts are also numbered. In fact 70 shafts bear numbers, in the range 6 to 74, although one number (8) is used twice. Eighteen of the shafts are labelled with names or descriptions, and eight of these are also numbered.

The next image shows a detail of the plan covering Tunstead Rake and Crotie Water Rake, with twelve of the numbered shafts, two of which are also named or described.

D3266 map3

However, one mystery remains. Is there a key to these shafts as yet undiscovered, or was one never compiled? As we know from what has been found already, if one does exist it could be anywhere, in any collection, or even in private hands. One thing is certain, if it does exist we can only speculate about the information that it may contain, and this could be of immense value to mining historians and archaeologists. Please keep researching!

Steve Thompson

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2 thoughts on “Treasure 25: The John Wheatcroft Plan of the Hubberdale Possessions, 1840

  1. Pingback: New exhibition: 50 Treasures, part 3 | Derbyshire Record Office

  2. One other important thing to note about this plan is that it was one of a set of four as far as we know – William Wyatt’s correspondence (part of the Bagshaw Collection) contains a number of items relating to this set of plans. This plan would appear to be one purchased in the 1930s by the then-owner of Magpie Mine, from someone in Sheffield who had other plans, were the other three of the set (covering Chapeldale, Whalf, and Hard Rake mines) among these? If anyone does know of the whereabouts of these other plans please let the Record Office know.

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