Sharrow Hill lime kiln MYD16498 (c) YDNPA, 2023
Six kilns once stood on the slopes of Sharrow Hill but only this one has survived and, because of its unusual design, it was consolidated and stabilised by the National Park Authority in the mid 1990s. The whole area is honeycombed with lead mines, and the former Grinton smelt mill lies in Cogden Gill below the kiln. Lime would have been needed by the mining concerns, not least for mortar in the various mine buildings.
It is not possible to fully interpret this kiln because, before consolidation, there was a good deal of internal collapse and some features have been lost. The kiln has three arches: the two outer ones were for drawing burned lime from the single bowl. Quicklime could be directed to either draw hole by means of an arrangement within the bowl. The function of the middle arch is a mystery. From surviving evidence it does not seem to have been linked to the firing process. Was it, perhaps, for storage of equipment or materials; or did it have a purely aesthetic role?
The kiln was sited in an ideal location. Stone could readily be transferred from the nearby quarry, and the old road, now a green track, provided a convenient means of importing fuel and despatching quicklime.