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Sandstone Mines, Broomers Hill Lane, Pulborough, W. Sussex


I don't know if anybody will find this of major interest.  Not exactly earth shattering news that will warrant a stampede of thousands of cavers clutching BA's, harnesses, miles of rope and Elsan's, but it is a hole or rather several holes in the ground and I suppose, as J'Rat suggested to me, it does warrant a mention.

I carried out a survey trip on these mines on Sunday the 18th November 1989, with the help of a friend, Rod Donaldson.  The only reason I asked him was because he is an architect and the proud possessor of an electronic digital measuring thingy, which he forgot to bring, along with the torch! So the survey was carried out with a 3M tape and a cigarette lighter.

Rod found that even with the lighter it was very difficult to see, until he realised that he was still wearing his dark glasses a half hour after we'd started!  Still it was at the crack of 10am on a Sunday morning.

However we did manage to measure up all the passages theand  result is the attached plan (see next page).

Research has brought very little information to light save for two mentions.  One in Sussex Industrial Architecture a field guide. "Sand mining in Pulborough. Deserted for many years, overgrown, a series of shafts driven horizontally 25m. into hillside".

The other, a mention in the history of Pulborough by J. Pedley.  "Mr. Perrier dug sand (moulding sand) in Adits in small ravine at Broomers Hill till 1890".

The mine is a series of 6 adits (one now partially blocked) driven into sandstone and the system covers a mined area of approx. 340 2/M, Pillar and Stall. (612 3/M).

Apart from the above information local legend abounds with tales of tunnels connecting to houses in the village, much used by smugglers.  Also a local farmer unearthed two Roman lead "pigs" (now in Chichester museum), at the entrance.  Certainly there is much evidence of Roman habitation very near to the site.  Pulborough is situated on " Stane Street", and nearby Hardham, on the River Arun, was an important Roman river garrison.  However, there is no evidence to suggest Roman working of the mines and it remains open to speculation.

If anyone is in Sussex at any time and fancies a visit, contact me on 07982 5257 and I'll be happy to conduct a guided tour.  Rod has also asked me to mention that he and his wife Kay do own the local hotel and offer very reasonable rates as well as serving excellent ales. Brakspears, King and Barns and Marstons. (This mention is his "Architects fee" for, as he puts it, "crawling around in the dark and muck by the light of a flickering Zippo".)

Andy Garrod