Kilnsey Sow Kiln Excavation 2007

At the end of August 2007 the Group, with help from the Upper Wharfedale Heritage Group, excavated another early lime kiln within Town’s Piece at Kilnsey in Wharfedale. The site had been identified as a possible kiln from the earthwork though this was very shallow and vague. This excavation was conceived as the final stage of the Group’s Sow Kilns Project which began in 2005. The vague hollow proved to be a very well preserved lime kiln, with much of the internal stoke-hole – or ‘feather’ – intact and the deep external flue perfectly preserved. Large quantities of burnt lime and fuel residue, or limeash, within the flue and on a rake-out spread outside the flue.


As the kiln was intact and undisturbed, as well as being a potentially important site, an archaeomagnetic dating was commissioned from Professor Mark Noel of GeoQuest Associates. A date was duly obtained for the kiln’s last firing, namely between 1620 and 1670. This encompasses the period during which nearby Kilnsey Old Hall was rebuilt around 1648. The morphology of this kiln fits in with the typology of clamp lime kilns that has been developed during this project.