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Stafford Family History - Title

History of Lead Mining


There are records of lead mining in Derbyshire since Roman times when the Romans made the people work the mines.

In the 9th century Repton Abbey owned mines at Wirksworth and when the abbey was destroyed by Danish troops in 874 they were taken by the Danish king Ceolwulf. They remained in royal hands after the Norman conquest of England and paid royalties to the Crown for centuries afterwards. Mention of the Derbyshire lead mines can even be found in the Doomsday book.

Mining in the area continued right through to the early 20th century until the falling price of lead brought the decline of the Derbyshire lead mining. During this period while there were periods of decline generally mining was a constant employer and was for quite extensive periods the main source of employment for people living in the area, particuarily the lower classes.

Lead did indeed become second in importance in the national economy only to wool. It was essential for the roofs of public buildings and the new houses being built in every part of the country by the nobility and gentry. All houses, including farmhouses and cottages by then, had glazed windows, with lead glazing bars. It was the only material for water storage and piping. Every army used it as ammunition and there was a thriving export trade. The Wirksworth area, of which Carsington was a part, was the main source of the ore. During the 17th Century the governing Derby Committee said "Manie thousands will be undone; that great multitude, their wives, children and families, that live meerely by getting of lead ore and trading in that commodity."




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