As I begin to explore the Underbath ie. what lies beneath Matlock Bath, I’m hoping to  build up a glossary of the unfamiliar words and/or terms I come across. Here’s the first ten.


BOUSE: Consists of earth, stone &c. &c. brought up from working in the Mine. Boise or Bouse, is the soil drawn out of the Mine, in the gross mass, and amongst which the Ore is often found, and from which it is collected and gathered, by washing or buddling. (DMG)


CORFE, CORVE (see also KIBBLE): A name that the Miner gives his tub or vessel, with which he gets up the Minerals &c. out of his Mineral works; and this is done either by a turn tree, with a rope, or by an engine worked by horses. (DMG)

00305_tif100 Bucket shaft
Although illustrating an iron bucket here, often the corve, corfe or kibble would often have been a substantial wooden construction…


DEADS: Stacked boulders, usually mine debris, at the side of a passage. Often ‘supported’ by wood of unknown age and dangerously unstable (C0D) OR Is the term Miners apply to those barren veins, consisting merely of Soil, Caulk, Carbonate of lime, or other substances unaccompanied by Ore. (DMG)


KIBBLE: The bucket used in drawing up the Bouse, either by means of the small windlass, called the Stoce and Turn Tree; or the larger one worked by a Horse and called an Engine (BMG)

antique image of lead mining


PUNCHEONS: Pieces of wood used in the Mines, to prop up the ground, under which a Gate-way or road is made in the Mines, or for other purposes to support the works made in getting Ore. (DMG)


SHACK Where the Mineral is not regular but loose (DMG), SHAKE or SHAKEHOLE: a depression in the ground surface due to a collapse of a cave beneath (CoD)

SINK or SINKHOLE: any place where water disappears underground or has done so in the past (C0D)

SLICKENSIDES or SLIKEN SIDE: polished, striated or grooved surface of a fault plane (C0D) To smooth, or make Slick. A term by which Miners describe the externally splendent or polished appearance of the compact vein of Lead Ore, whose smooth sides lie face to face, and have the appearance of being shot with a plane, consisting of various members (DMG)

SWALLET or SWALLOW: any hole taking a stream underground from the surface OR in a mine a natural hole draining the workings OR A natural Cavity or Gulph in the Strata, by means of which water in a Mine is let off (DMG)


TURN-TREE: A machine fixed at the top of the Mine, to which the Miner affixes his bucket tub, or corve, in which he puts Ore, Minerals, or Vestry, got at the bottom of the Mine, and by means of a rope affixed to the Turn-tree, draws it from the bottom of the Mine to the top of it, or what is called the Miner’s Hillock (DMG)



CoD = Ford, T.D. & Gill, D.W. (1984) Caves of Derbyshire Dalesman Books ISBN 0 85206 781 X

DMG = Mander, J. (1824) The Derbyshire Miners’ Glossary Minerva Press (Google Digital)


Photo credit: the featured image was found on an internet search for ‘Magpie Mine Derbyshire’ and is by David Byrne


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