The next part of my journey into the history of Matlock Bath and my family’s connection to it will take me below ground, into geology and mineralogy, into caverns and mines, to help me understand the foundations upon which the town grew and lives were lived.

As I begin to explore the underbath ie. what lies beneath Matlock Bath, I’m building a glossary of the unfamiliar words and/or terms I come across.


BELLY: the widest part of the (lead) vein.

BING: Ore of large size. This seems to take its name from the place where it is deposited, as a Bin or partition more conveniently made, or placed, than the other sorts are; if so, its name should be Binn, alias Binne. Sax. A large chest to put corn, &c. in. In the Danish language, it is called Bing; and so we have its original.

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)

BUDDLE: The action of cleansing the Boose (or Bouse) earth & stone brought up from the Working; by water, in a dam. Probably a corruption of the word ‘puddle’, which is drawn from a pool. The bundle dams are by custom confined to Quarter Cord (a quarter of the surface ground allotted to a miner); they are absolutely necessary to the Miner to wash and cleanse his Ore; and extremely pernicious to the Landholder in Bellanding (poisoning) his ground. There has been much contest about them.

(From Wikipedia) A buddle pond is a pit, often circular when specifically constructed, the purpose of which was to separate by sedimentation minerals from lighter rock dust in crushed ore, and used in the mineral mining industries such as lead mining. Early examples of buddle ponds were often natural hollows in the ground, adapted by lining them with stone or clay to make them waterproof. A purpose-built pond, constructed from stone or brick contained water, and a set of brushes, often powered by a water wheel, which rotated in the water in order to agitate the mixture, the result of which was that the heavier and denser material – i.e. the ore – tended to collect at the centre of the pit, from where it could be retrieved. The worthless gangue was then disposed of, often by draining.


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)


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)


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)