Ice House Dig

The official downloadable report by Trent and Peak Archaeology can be found at this link, FINAL REPORT

The “Overview of the Project” downloadable leaflet can be found at this link, LEAFLET

DAHG Research Report No. 86  written by Alan Bradwell and Tony Lintott is now available as a Library Loan Item. This report, written from our perspective and containing additional fact and data, is complementary to T& PA’s official report. Please use the Group email to arrange a loan or speak to a Committee member.

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  • THE PRESS RELEASE IS OUT – Read here To Press release
This is text from our Heritage Lottery Fund application for a grant of £9.5K in their Shared Heritage category

Research by DAHG has located an Ice-House at Darley Abbey near Derby which is marked on 1881 maps, but has been unused and ‘lost’ for decades. This will have belonged to Darley Hall, built 1727, (demolished 1964). Restored stables and workers cottages close by remain (Listed Grade II).

Observed in woodland, at the same map site and now in the local park, is an obvious circular mound about 1m. high, this almost certainly has the IH beneath it. There is a path to the North off which will be the entrance and/or steps into the IH. The mound is visible on a LIDAR surface map and a sub-surface feature, probably the drain, is found by Dowsing.

Each IH has different characteristics and construction, is usually underground and each is a highly valued heritage feature. The Darley IH is no different and it will be unique.

We wish to carry out an exploratory excavation with our professional partner archaeologists (Trent & Peak Archaeology) to record and assess the IH, its construction and materials detail and its state of repair. This may lead to the possibility of opening it to the public and/or to improved access and interpretation media.

The Evans family lived in Darley Hall and built the 18thC. Cotton Mill, which together are Listed Buildings and are part of the Derwent Valley Mills/World Heritage Site (DVM/WHS). Exposing the IH will add significantly to the other historic and listed features in the village, namely 13th. C Monastic Lodges, 18th.C Housing and the 18th.C Hall remains & Stables.

Our research, and that of the Derbyshire Archaeological Society (DAS), shows that the Ice-House is probably on the site of the ‘lost’ Abbey of Darley, the largest abbey by assets in Derbyshire. It may also have used Abbey foundations or materials in its construction. The excavation could therefore reveal Abbey structures. In summary, an IH a Darley, in this area of the village, may well contain relics of Darley’s lost Abbey.

This will be a Community Dig using Volunteers from Local Groups and it is a 10-day project. It will engage all ages in the local community, including students and school children, who will learn about their heritage-village history as well as gaining experience in surveying, excavation and sorting and recording finds by working with a professional team of archaeologists from Trent & Peak Archaeology. Several local Groups (DACA; FODOS; DA Scouts) have offered Volunteers to help with the project.

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