Industrial Heritage Online

Industrial Heritage Online

Raygill Quarry

Raygill (or Lothersdale) Quarry is c. 700m long by c. 120m wide with most of it now water filled in the deeper part running from one end of the quarry almost to the other. The site also had a barytes mine. Most infrastructure was removed when the site closed down though some stone buildings in the processing and mine area still stand. The two lakes are now a commercial leisure fly fishery.

The Raygill area of Lothersdale has three other limestone quarry complexes in addition to Raygill Quarry itself, all worked on a commercial basis but to a much smaller extent than Raygill:

Dowshaw Delf/Lothersdale Lime Works - SD935,449, with two quarries and two pre-1850 lime kilns
Hawshaw Slack Delfs - SD940, 446, with one pre-1850 kiln; and SD9392,4472
Hawshaw Hill Quarries - SD9443,4441 and SD9461,4461 and SD9479,4478.

The small quarries that became Raygill Quarry had up to 10 lime kilns over time, eight of them pre-dating 1850, and all worked on a small scale for local use, though it is known that lime was burned here in the 1680s when Thomas Smith conveyed to Robert Smith his tenement of Marleclough Beck 'with liberty to get limestone in the delfs next unto the said messuage - situate in Raygill' (a). From the very late 17th
century the site was owned by the Aldersley family and lime was sent far and wide by packhorse trains. In 1820 William Spencer married Mary Aldersley and three generations of the Spencer family ran the operation - also called Lothersdale Limeworks - William (1800-68), Peter William (1821-83) and William (1861-1949). The latter two both patented lime kiln designs and developed a major business with quarry interest elsewhere, at Swinden Quarry (qv), Giggleswick Quarry (NYK 01059) and Thornton Rock Quarry (qv), as well as at Clitheroe and in Derbyshire.

Raygill had traditional vertical masonry built lime kilns that were adapted by the Spencers with a steel-clad superstructure based on William Jun's patent design of 1900, and the usual crushing and screening plant. The quarry ceased lime burning in the early 1950s as market conditions worked against them and Raygill had no rail access, and the site thereafter concentrated on crushed stone and coated stone. P.W. Spencer Ltd was taken over by the Lime, Sand and Mortar Group (LSM, later Tilcon Ltd) which invested heavily in the operation but public concern over increasingly large lorries using the narrow lanes roundabout was increased when the company began bringing in stone from its Swinden Quarry to maintain production at the coating plant in Raygill. In 1972 Raygill's reserves were estimated to be less than 10-year's worth: in fact it shut down in 1980.

(a) Wilson, K. 1972. The history of Lothersdale. Lothersdale Parish Council, p. 58.
Johnson. D. 2010. Limestone industries of the Yorkshire Dales. Stroud: Amberley, pp. 95, 167, 172-73, 244.

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Key Words :- disused limestone quarry
Linked Sites :-
Address :- n/a, Lothersdale, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD20
Grid Ref :- SD 942 454
Co-ordinates :- Lat - 53.904727 , Long - -2.089764
Local Authority :- Craven District Council
Pre 1974 County :- Yorkshire - West Riding
Site Condition :- Site redeveloped to industrial / commercial use
Site Status :- Site extant - Protected status unknown
Site Dates :- pre 1850 - 1980