Took place in Britain before the Roman invasion and archaeological remains of mining occur in the Mendip Hills in Somerset, Devon, Cornwall, the Pennines, and Wales. Demand for lead grew during the Roman occupation when the metal was used for various purposes including making water‐pipes. Lead‐mining continued after the Romans left. Lead was used for many purposes such as roofing churches and castles, fixing decorative glass in windows, and in the manufacture of pewterware and paint.
Miners secured separate special jurisdictions and regulated their mining activities and social life. These legal privileges remained in being until most of them were superseded by the formation of commercial mining companies during the 16th cent. or later. These organizations became necessary to pay for the equipment needed for extracting ores at greater depths. But mining in Britain became less worthwhile once cheaper supplies of lead from overseas became available and British mining dwindled rapidly in importance after 1850.
Subjects: British History.