Robin Hood Iron Mine (Forest of Dean)

From International Robin Hood Bibliography
Coordinate 51.8037, -2.6398
Adm. div. Gloucestershire
Vicinity c. 85 m SW of Staunton Road (A4136) and c. 107 m W of Staunton Road (B4228)
Type Establishment
Interest Robin Hood name
Status Extant
First Record 1871
A.k.a. Robinhood Iron Mine; Robin Hood; Robin Hood Iron Pit
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Site of Robin Hood Iron Mine (Forest of Dean).
At the mine / Courtesy Aditnow forum user 'Lipsi'.

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2018-09-24. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2021-02-12. Photos courtesy Aditnow forum user 'Lipsi'. Thanks also to forum administrator Simon Lowe.

Robin Hood Iron Mine was located in Marian's Inclosure in the Forest of Dean. Said to have started in 1871, it was certainly in operation by 1884.

According to Wikipedia's article on the village of Coleford, the mine began operation in 1871,[1] and this may well be correct though no source is cited. The earliest map source for this place-name known to IRHB is a 6" O.S. map of the area published in 1884, based on surveying carried out 1879-80 (see Maps below). Some revisions of the map label the site "Robinhood Iron Mine", while others have "Robin Hood Iron Pit". The part of the Forest of Dean in which the mine was situated was known as Blake's Wood. A deep pit and a land pit were operated.

One of 39 active mining operations in the district during the 19th century or later, the Robin Hood Iron Mine was worked mainly for red oxide but also produced ochre for use in the paint industry. It closed in 1932 but was briefly reopened by the Ministry of Supply during WWII.[2] The forest has reclaimed the site to the extent that hardly any traces of the mining operation can be discerned on Google Maps satellite images. However, on the ground several are still visible, including the "[s]ite of a shaft (now sealed with an iron plate)" and the "[s]ite of an air shaft of unknown date, located c.60 metres south-west of Robin Hood Iron Pit, and possibly associated with that site". Among many other remains of mining and quarrying operations in the vicinity are a "[f]lat-topped mound of unknown date located in woodland to the north of the site of Robin Hood Iron Pit, near the A4136".[3] The O.S. maps listed below include details such as buildings, a shaft, an air shaft, ramparts or heaps of waste, a weighing machine, and access roads. With few conspicuous traces of the mine now remaining and hence so little reason for people in the area to have use for a name for it, the place-name is kept alive mainly by local historians and people interested in mining history and exploration. There are also a few references in the archaeological literature.[4]

"Marian" occurs as an element in the names of at least five localities in the vicinity, and until we have clear evidence to the contrary, it seems reasonable to believe these place-names may refer to Maid Marian.





Brief mention

Also see