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Kiddal Lime Kilns
rented in 1831 to Henry Pullan

Barwicker No. 113
March 2014

The society has in its possession the estate farm book from Potterton Hall which was written in the 1820's. It contains details of the agreements of 7 estate farms rented to farmers and 9 cottages and other properties rented from the estate. One extra agreement covers the lease of land to Henry Pullan for lime burning.

While we know that lime burning was a local occupation, this lease is the only documentation relating to the matter which has come to the Society's attention. Quicklime was produced by burning limestone, which is the underlying bedrock of the area, using coal which was also locally available. Quicklime was used as lime mortar and limewash in construction and also for making acidic moorland more productive. In the early 19th century there was still a considerable part of the parish which had recently been unenclosed moorland. Hence, lime burning had a useful role in the local economy.

There is a great deal of evidence that limestone quarrying was carried out in practically all parts of the parish and we know that lime burning was carried out on the north side of Wendel Hill, just outside the earthworks. On the north side of the Leeds Road at its junction with Taylor Lane lies Limekiln Hill. There is another hill called Limekiln Hill on Potterton Lane between the wood yard and Potterton Bridge on the eastern side of the road. There is no evidence in the parish to suggest that local lime burning was by the use of specially constructed kilns. The simplest method of producing lime was by using a 'clamp kiln'. This was not really a kiln at all, but consisted of layers of fuel and limestone stacked together in a mound, covered with clay or turf and slowly burned in a method similar to that used in charcoal burning. In the absence of constructed kilns we must conclude that clamp kilns were probably the method used at Kiddal.

The Potterton estate book shows the details of where lime burning took place on the estate at Kiddal. The location is also very evident on the somewhat tarnished copy (owned by the society) of the 1840's Ordnance Survey map below:

The map shows what appears to be 7 kilns when the survey was done in the mid 1840's. There also appears to be evidence of two former kilns in an Old Quarry (Limestone) south of the working quarry.

The agreement on the lime burning site, dated January 3, 1821 shows that it was leased by Henry Pullan who took over from a Mr Harrison. The site is referred to as Kiddal Lime Kilns. It was in a field of just over two acres called Little Yew Tree Close. It will be seen from the map that the lime burning site was at the south side of the Leeds York Road (A64), known then as the Turnpike Road, nearly opposite Kiddal Hall. As the process of burning creates air pollution, it is surprising that it is so close to Kiddal Hall and not far off being in the line of the prevailing wind. Kiddal Hall was owned and leased out to Thomas Kemp by Mr Wilkinson of Potterton Hall at that time so air pollution at Kiddal Hall was of little concern to the owner.

The agreement required Mr Pullan

"to pay £25 annually for 400 yards (1) whether got or not, and for any greater quantity Is 3d per yard. Payments to be made at the Rent days in summer and Xmas equally." After three months further arrangements were made by Mr. Howgate (possibly the estate overseer) to have stone markers (shown on a site plan as A and B) placed and for what appears to be a significant fall in the yardage payment from Is 3d per yard for the first 400 yard measure to 1s Od per yard and 1s Od for further yardage - if one assumes that the primary yardage was still 400 yards.

Apart from the rental of the lime burning site the agreement allowed Mr Wilkinson to receive 4 Chaldron(2) of Lime annually free of expense. The rent of the land containing the kilns and a cottage was £1 per acre. Under the rental agreement, Mr Pullan was also required to:
  • hang and keep in repair a gate going from the Quarry to the Turnpike Road,
  • keep in repair the Wall adjoining the Turnpike Road,
  • pay the rent of cottage and land adjoining the Quarry to be annually, (sic)
  • pay all assessments and outgoings whatever,
  • not to assign over or let any part of the premises occupied by him, without leave in writing from Mr Wilkinson or his agent,
  • surface soil had to be preserved and wheeled to one side and remain until some part of the bottom is ready to receive it being first levelled.
Six months notice was required to be given by either party as a termination of the rental agreement at any period of the year. In the event of termination, Henry Pullan was required to give up the land and the kilns in working condition and the dwelling house in good and tenantable repair at the expiration of 6 month's notice to quit given at any period of the year."
(1) It is uncertain what a yard means in this instance. It is probably refers to a linear yard measured along a quarry face. There seems to have been two marker stones set to record the start and end of the quarrying for the year in question.
(2) A unit of dry measure formerly used in England, equal to 4 quarters or about 32 bushels of grain and 36 bushels for coal. Used in Britain for both solids and liquids, it is equivalent to 1.309 cubic metres.

After the first year's agreement there was a further development under which a "Cow House" was built by the estate for Mr Pullan on the other side of the Turnpike Road. Presumably there was insufficient demand for lime to keep Mr Pullan occupied. This likelihood is perhaps made clearer for at some time in the next 7 years, Mr Pullan is recorded as renting a 3 acre field at Morgan Close (called later Morgan Cross?) and another of over 4 acres called Low Pasture to the east of Potterton Hall. This may well indicate a need for land, wherever it is to earn money from farming to supplement lime burning income. Henry Pullan can be found in the 1841 census aged 70 describing himself as a farmer. He is in the 1851 census, still at Potterton at the age of 80, giving his place of birth as East Keswick although there is no trace of a Pullan being born or resident in East Keswick. He would have been 50 when he took on the lease at Kiddal.


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