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IND-ARCH  July 2002

IND-ARCH July 2002


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Wortley Top Forge


"Dr. Chris Morley" <[log in to unmask]>


[log in to unmask]


Mon, 15 Jul 2002 10:43:33 EDT





text/plain (296 lines)

Dear Peter,

Perhaps I did not make myself clear in my e-mail to the List.

The site upon which the Wortley Tin Mill was built, in 1743 by John Cockshutt 
I, was originally a bloomery furnace of which we have a lease dated 1621 that 
relet the premises and site to a partnership. This partnership had taken over 
the Bloomsmithy from others who had an existing twenty-one year lease which 
takes us back to 1600.

The Old Wire Mill was established in 1624 in a fulling mill that had replaced 
a short lived bloomery mentioned in 1567 on the river Don NEAR to Thurgoland, 
actually in the Ecclesiastical parish of Silkstone and being just over the 
border of the ecclesiastical parsh of Tankersley in the chapelry of Wortley.

The Corn Mills at Wortley were nearer to Wortley than the Old Wire Mill, 
there were two, although they did not exist at the same time. Corn Mill No. 1 
became the Low Forge, and Corn Mill No. 2 was built upon a site between the 
Low Forge and the Tin Mill Bloomery site.

James Cockshutt put in the first puddling furnace and rolled iron rod in a 
rod mill suitable for wire drawing at the Wortley Tilt Mill. Other puddling 
furaces were put in at the Top Forge and Low Forge. At the Tin Mill site only 
reverboratory reheating furnaces were in use to reheat blooms for plate and 
sheet rolling, a practise that was carried on there until the Tin Mill site 
was closed and dismantled (blown up) in the late 1880s.

The dates that my recent research for an updated version of the History of 
the Wortley Iron Works are as follows:


1567    Margaret Corbett (nee Wortley). 
        Thurgoland Furnace (Bloomsmithy). Almost certainly this was converted 
into a Fulling Mill, and then into the Old Wire Mill in 1624?

1600    Mathew Stafford, Ambrose Wood, John Turneley
        Wortley Bloomery  on later Tin Mill site

1606    Robert Swyfte, Robert Greaves
        Silkstone Smithies near the village of Silkstone

1612 - 1614 Barnby family of Cawthorne
        Built Colnbridge Forge

1618    Sir Francis Fane, Sir Edward Barrett, Robert Leigh, George Hemsworth, 
John    Spencer I
        Kirkstall Forge Bloomery

1621    Sir Francis Fane, Sir Richard Beaumont, Francis Burdett, Edmund Cundy
        Wortley Bloomery on Tin Mill site

1624    Ambrose Wood II 
        Old Wire Mill (ex. Fulling Mill)

1624 - 1658 Tilt Mill erected 1/2 mile upstream of Top Forge site

1637    Sir Francis Wortley II
        Bloomery at Top Forge established

1638 - 1643 All Wortley family property handed over to Trustees for Dowager 
Countess of         Devonshire - mother of Sir Francis Wortley II (he was in 
financial trouble).

1638    William Smyth
        Finery Forge at Low Forge site

1638    William Fownes I
        Wortley Top Forge Bloomery

        Midgley Bank Blast Furnace (Nether) built.

1638    William Cotton II
        Came from Cheshire to manage Wortley Top and Low Forges
        Converted Bloomery at Top Forge to a Finery

1642    Robert Woolorth, George Dancy, Henry Haughton
        Wortley Bloomery  on Tin Mill site
1643        Cannon Shot forged at the Low Forge site finery?

1651    John Spencer I,  Gilbert Fownes
        Midgley Bank Nether Blast Furnace, Barnby Blast Furnace

1657    William Cotton II mentioned as being of Wortley Forge

1658    William Fownes II, John SpencerI, John Banckes,  Russell Allsop
        Kirkstall Forge (By now a Finery Forge using Barnby Furnace pig iron)

1658    William Cotton II
        Clerk at Kirkstall Forge as well as Wortley Forges (Top & Low)

1658    John Spencer I
        Wortley Top and Low Forges 

1658    Edward Spencer, Russell Allsop (in trust for John Spencer III)
        Wortley Top and Low Forges
1660    William Cotton II inherited the property of Elizabeth Fownes (nee 

1665    Thomas Dickin
        Colnbridge Forge

1667    William Cotton II retired

1675    Banckes, Allsop, and Fownes, released Kirkstall Forge & Barnby 
Furnace to Dickin I     and Cotton III
1675    Death of Lionel Copley of the Duke of Norfolk's Ironworks.

1675    William Simpson, Francis Barlow, Dennis Heyford, and (later?) John 
Simpson -
        Chappel Furnace, Attercliffe Forge, Wadsley Forge (were D o N 

1676    Thomas Dickin I, William Cotton III, John Spencer II
        Kirkstall Forge

1679    John Spencer III joined Dickin I and Cotton III
        Kirkstall Finery Furnace and Barnby Blast Furnace

1679    William Simpson
        Wortley Top and Low Forges, and the Midgley Bank Nether Blast Furnace

1679    Dennis Heyford
        Became possessed of the Rockley Blast Furnace, etc.

1683    William Simpson
        Wortley Top & Low Forges and Nether Bank Furnace - extended lease to 

1684    William Wood
        Wortley Bloomery on Tin Mill site

1685    Thomas Dickin II , William Cotton III
        Colnebridge Forge

1686    Thomas Dickin I, William Cotton III, John Spencer III
        Rebuilt Barnby Blast Furnace

1689}   Two leases to John Eyre
        Wortley Top & Low Forges and Bank Blast Furnace

1690    William Fell I, William Simpson, Dennis Heyford, Francis Barlow, John 
        Chappel Furnace, Wadsley & Attercliffe Forges, etc. - called the Duke 
of      Norfolk’s Iron Works.
1690    Eleanor Cotton (nee Fownes), William Cotton II, Thomas Dickin II 
        Colnbridge Forge
        Midgley Bank Upper Blast Furnace built

1695    Thomas Dickin II,
        Wortley Top & Low Forges and Nether Bank Furnace 71/2 years lease
        extended up to 1706 in partnership with John Spencer III

1696    Cotton, Dickin, Spencer acquired an interest in Duke of Norfolk’s Iron
 Works, etc.

1702    John Spencer III, Nicholas Burley, Mathew Woodhead
        Wortley Forges, Kirkstall Forge, Colnesbridge Forge, Bank and Barnby 
Blast       Furnaces, -  and shares in the Duke of Norfolk’s Iron Works

1706    John Spencer III
        Wortley Forges, Bank Blast Furnaces
        Brought  Mathew Wilson into partnership & resident manager at Wortley 

1716    John Spencer III brouht in to help his father II to manage affairs

1720}   John Spencer III sole signature on Wortley leases

1722    Jonathan Swinden leased to Mathew Wilson (of Wortley Forge)
        The Old Wire Mill and a Slitting Mill (the Tilt Mill?)

1722    Mathew Wilson, James Oates, Mr Burley
        Kirkstall and Colnbridge Forges

1723    Mathew Wilson, James Oates, William Murgatroyd, with William and 
Edward  Spencer
        Old Wire Mill and Tilt

1727-28 Matthew Wilson  
        New Wire Mill built

1729    James Munds
        The Old Wire Mill and Slitting Mill

1730    The Old Wire Mill and the Tilt ceased operating

1738    William Spencer sole signature on lease although in partnership with 
Mathew  Wilson
        Wortley Forges

1739    Mathew Wilson died leaving everything to John Cockshutt I

1739    John Cockshutt I re-opens Old Wire Mill and Tilt

1743    John Cockshutt I,
        Obtains control over Wortley Forges, Bank Furnace, Old Wire Mill, Tilt

1743    John Cockshutt I
        Built Tin Mill and sheet rolling mill on old Tin Mill Bloomery site

1750    John Cockshutt I, Joseph Broadbent in equal partnership.
        Wortley Forges, Bank Furnace, Old Wire Mill, Tilt, and several 
        that belonged to Broadbent.

1762    Joseph Broadbent died and Thomas Broadbent (his son) became a partner

1774    John Cockshutt I died nd John Cockshutt II became partner

1782    Thomas Broadben bankrupt John Cockshutt II sole owner with mortgages

1798    John Cockshutt II died James Cockshutt took over
        the Old Wire Mill, the New Wire Mill, the Tilt Mill, the Top Forge, 
the Low         Forge, the Tin Mill

1810        Bank and Bretton Blast Furnaces closed down.

1814    James Cockshutt closed down the Tin plating plant converted it to 
plate & sheet   rolling

1819    James Cockshutt died
        Wortley Iron & Wire Works sold

1824    Wire works sold off
        Iron Works kept as a whole by Earl of Wharncliffe

1824    Vincent Corbett
        Iron Works - Top and Low Forge, Tin Mill

1824    Joseph Sanderson
        Old Wire Works

1824    Joseph Dyson, Mr Poyton
        The Tilt

1824    Joseph Sanderson
        The New Wire Mil

1825    Vincent Corbett
        Low Forge converted to a powerful sheet rolling mill

1847     Attempts to sell off the Iron Works

1852    Andrews, Burrows & Co.
        Top and Low Forges, Tin Mill

1871    Thomas Andrews & Co.
        Top and Low Forges

1887    Tin Mill plant ‘blown up’ and the buildings demolished

1907    Thomas Andrews
        Wortley Iron & Steel Works & Co.  at Top and Low Forges

1908    Thomas Andrews & Co. 
        Pulled out from Wortley to The Royds Works, Sheffield.

1908    John and Benjamin Birdsell
        Wortley Iron Company at Low Forge site - Top Forge disused

1929    Wortley Iron Company bankrupt
        All work ceased at Top and Low Forges.

    Wortley Investments Ltd. attempt to convert Top and Low Forges to a 
'Pleasure   Garden'.

1939?   Ministry of Works declare Top Forge an 'Ancient Monument'.

1953    Society for the Preservation of Old Sheffield Tools - later the 
Sheffield Trades    Historical Society - later still the South Yorkshire 
Industrial History Society -    acquire Top Forge and commence renovations 
and preservation work.

Hope you find the above of interest,


Chris Morley
President, South Yorkshire Industrial History Society

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