Magpie Lead Mine and the Unforgivable Widow’s Curse | Derbyshire

The first records of the Magpie Lead Mine date back to 1795,the workings here probably go back much further than to around the 1740s. It finally ceased operations relatively recently, back in 1958. The 1950s saw little lead mined and a far cry from its heyday in the mid-19th Century.

The proximity of other mines often led to disputes. Magpie Mine and the Red Soil mine disputed the rights to the Bole Vein on which they both lay. Tragically this led to the death of three miners from the Red Soil Mine in 1833 when they were suffocated underground when miners from Magpie mine lit a fire to try to drive the men out of the opposing mine. Twenty-four Magpie miners were put on trial for murder with three miners then put on trial, only to be acquitted.

A ‘Widows’ Curse that is said to remain to this day.

Three widows of the Red Soil miners were bitter about this verdict placed a curse on the Magpie mine. Many felt this curse took hold after the trial for murder. Numerous floods, and even a fire plagued the mine. In 1880, the Magpie Mining Company even changed its name in an attempt to rid the mine of this curse.

In 1835, the mine was again plagued by floods and people’s belief in this curse resulted in the mine being closed down. Miners used to be very superstitious so the belief in such a curse working would have been extremely high. It reopened in 1839 and continued to produce lead until its final closing in 1954.

A side story to the curse is that the mine is rumoured to be haunted too!

One well-documented encounter was recorded in 1946. A survey team working in the Magpie spotted a man holding a candle further down the shaft. This figure vanished as they watched it. Later this team took a photograph that shows a ghostly figure standing on top of a deep pool of water.

I have investigated here before but very little occurred but I do believe I could have caught a UFO here

Here is my blog to read on that encounter!

Written by Charlene Lowe Kemp

Pictures taken by Simon Wilson

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