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I don't wish to muddy the waters (and not having the precise reference to
hand) I recall an article in Historical Metallurgy by the former S Yorks
County Archaeologist (John Little) about steel production at Wortley.

I read this during research on my MA dissertation on the Sheffield steel
industry and found the evidence from the structure excavated to be
unconvincing as a steel furnace.  Having been to the site in the company of
Ken Hawley I felt that there was no possibility of a (cementation) furnace
on the site, however experimental.

I wondered if other list members had seen this paper and had any feelings on
the subject.   I am currently preparing this dissertation for publication
and would like to update if necessary.


Paul Belford
Ironbridge


----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter King" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, July 16, 2002 10:24 AM
Subject: Re: Wortley Top Forge


> It is now several years since I did my detailed research on the history of
> Wortley.  My object was to draw attention to the importance of the site,
> but nevertheless point out that certain of the published views on the site
> are not necessarily quite correct.
>
> There a number of minor points on which I must take issue with you.  For
> example 1695 is the last time Upper Bank Furnace was used,  not the date
it
> was built.  Cotton, Spencer and others on the one hand and Hayford, Fell
and
> others entered into a joint arrangement concerning all the Yorkshire
> furnaces.  They did not acquire any other interest in the Duke of
Norfolk's
> Works at Sheffield until William Spencer was admitted to that partnership
in
> 1727.
>
> These are relatively complicated issues that I would prefer to deal with
> off-list at this stage.
>
> Peter King,
> 49, Stourbridge Road,
> Hagley,
> Stourbridge
> West Midlands
> DY9 0QS
>
> telephone 01562-720368
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Dr. Chris Morley <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: 15 July 2002 15:32
> Subject: Wortley Top Forge
>
>
> 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:
>
> SOUTH YORKSHIRE AND RELATED IRON WORKS.
> PARTNERSHIPS AND OPERATORS.
>
>
> 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
>
>
> 1638
>         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
> Spencer)
>
> 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
> Ironworks).
>
> 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
> 1690
>
> 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
>
> 1688}
> 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
> Simpson
>         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
>
> 1695
>         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
>
> 1712}
> 1720}   John Spencer III sole signature on Wortley leases
> 1722}
>
> 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
> foundries
>         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.
>