Landscape Revealed

Landscape Revealed

01_east_byfield
East Byfield
02_sawn_faces
Sawn Faces

Tramways and cart roads/Evidence of extraction

OA investigations revealed that the mine contained a fascinating range of quarry features including well preserved tramways and cart-roads and evidence for the use of cranes, in the shape of huge stones incised with thick grooves to be used as crane-bases. Similar square slots, or Chog Holes, in the roof were used for the insertion of the crane post head. The walls and pillars of the mine were studded with pick and other tool marks, whilst other walls with a smooth surface suggested the use of huge stone saws called Frigbobs. All this evidence bears testimony to the variety of techniques used to extract the stone over the three hundred year history of the mines. Scattered across the underground landscape are the huge monuments of the extraction process, the massive pillars (including a separate quarrying area with the high pillars known as the Grand Canyon) and the drystone pack walls used to prop up the roof or to demarcate one man's mine from the next. The area contained other stone built monuments, including the base of a well-constructed for the Hine's (now King William IV) brewery above; at least two huge dry stone arches constructed at the entry tunnel mouths; numerous vertical winding shafts, sometimes called 'light shafts' (usually stone lined); and a stone lined sloping or inclined entrance tunnel, known as the Irvings Incline, which emerged upwards into the light on the southern edge of the mine.

Back to Top

Masons work areas

Other particularly evocative finds include mason's work areas which often contain smooth stone work benches usually surrounded by a jumble of off-cuts and, very often, discarded pieces of worked stone and intended architectural pieces, discarded when the stone proved impure or when the mason's skill deserted him and the pieces warped beneath his hand.

Back to Top