Letter – Nicholas Walton to John Ibbetson – 23 Apr 1768

Document Type: Letter
Date: 23 Apr 1768
Correspondent: Nicholas Walton
Recipient: John Ibbetson
Archive Source: TNA ADM 66/96
  • Transcription
  • Comments (0)
  • Change font
    If columns/tables do not appear straight, change font
To John Ibbetson Esqr. 					Farnacres 23rd April 1768



 	Inclosed you have our Account of the Expenditure upon the Smelt Mill amounting to the sum of £1327.18.10 3/4 and which together with the Sum of £80.3.4 of which you had the Estimate in our last; amounts to the Sum of £1408.2.2. 3/4 comprehending every thing we are apprised of, ready to begin Smelting.

      This being a branch of Business in which our Workmen were not practised; and there being entire new Quarreys to open, & uncertainties how they would turn out; and how the heavy Materials in general could be procured; the Work also begun late in the Season, and likely to be carried on thro' the Winter in a very exposed Situation, the difficulties obliged us to carry it on by Day Works. This Method necessarily produced an Amount of the Expenditure in the form which we now lay before the Board; and that we are ourselves fully satisfied that everything has been managed to the best advantage, that circumstances could admit: under the daily care and inspection of William Labourne; whose dilligence and attendance in all Seasons we have experienced on this, as on all former occasions: yet as this method of Account, by no means shows the quantum or Value of what has been done, we have for the Satisfaction of the Board drawn out a Valuation and Distribution of the Expense of the Work, as it now Stands; and which with a Plan of the Buildings we have also inclosed.

      In our Letter to the Board of the 14th June 1766 We transmitted an Estimate for building a Smelt Mill & Refinery, with all necessary Utensils & Conveniences compleat; which Estimate amounted to the Sum of £813.19.11 1/2. Upon this Estimate, we had the Board's Order of the 18th June following to proceed; which we did as abovementioned: but as the place was not absolutely fixed upon when the above Estimate was made it could only be formed upon a general Idea; and was for two Ore Hearths, a Slagg Hearth, a Reducing Hearth, and two Refining Furnaces: the whole in one Building and to be worked by one Water Wheel.

      In our Letter of the 13th January 1767 we acquainted the Board with the Progress of the Works of the Mill, and represented that from our somewhat enlarged our design, in order that everything might be as compleat as possible, and several articles having cost more than was at first expected; we should be obliged to exceed our Estimate by about £150; also praying the Directors to enable us to issue such Sums as might be necessary to compleat the same, in as frugal a way as possible, consistent with the Situation, and the necessary Strength and convenience. The Board was pleased to signify by their Minute of the 31st January, their approbation of what we had done with respect to the Enlargement of our Design, whereby some further Expence would attend the same, beyond what it was first Estimated at.

      As the Refinery was not begun till Spring following, and the Duty Ore having in the mean time considerably increased; we judged that the great point of consequence, was to give the Mill & Refinery conjointly, every advantage in respect to dispatch of Business of which the Situation was capable: accordingly instead of joining the Refinery to the Mill as first proposed in order that the whole should be work'd by the same Water Wheel: we concluded to set the Refinery at a distance from the Mill, and to construct another Water Wheel for the use of the Refinery only; thereby leaving the Power of the original one to be applied to Smelting, and to construct a Reducing Furnace in the Refinery instead of using one of the 4 Hearths in the Mill, as a Reducing Hearth; by which means we got three Smelting Hearths in the Mill instead of two, and all other conveniences in the Refinery in Proportion but on these Accounts, as also to render the whole of the Refinery more Roomy & Commodious for Dispatch of a greater Quantity of Business, that Building is now made almost 2 1/2 times larger, than our first Proposal. We also found it adviseable to construct a Dam for reserving 2 or 3 days Water while the Mill is not at Work, which we expect will be of great use in dry Seasons.

      These with many other smaller alterations and conveniences which the increasing State of the Duty Ore suggested; the much greater Quantity of Walling digging and levelling; arising from the inequality if the Ground, where the Mill stands; the cutting of 3/4 of a Mile of Aqueduct to bring Stublock Colliery Level Water to the Place, upon which the whole was judged most convenient for the Mill. The Superior Weight of Metal which we were advised to put into the Cast Iron Work of the Hearths, the superior Expence of the Bellows and the great charge attending the Carriage of the Materials, as well as hindrance of the Workmen, arising from the inclemency of the Season, and the great hurry in which the Mill was built, to save the Boards Engagement concerning the Mill with the Lead Company; have occasioned the whole Expenditure to amount to the Sum now laid before the Board; but as we have endeavoured to do every thing with all possible frugality; consistent with the Substantial manner in which the whole is executed; And as the whole Premises on a fair Valuation appear equal to the Exoence: we doubt not but our endeavours herein, to Serve the interest of the Hospital will meet with the approbation of the Board. We are Sir

      Your most Obedt. Servt.

      Nich. Walton Jun

             		J. Smeaton

Estimate of the Expence of Utensils etc, still wanting to compleat the first Outset of Langley Smelting Mill and Refinery Vizt


For Utensils for the Smelting Mill, such as Pokers 

Shovels, Pigg Pans etc for 4 Hearths at £4 p Hearth.   £16

For Scales and Weights for weighing the Ore from the 

Carryers and to the Smelters.                          £ 2 10

For cutting additional Watercourses to collect several 

Springs of Water and bringing the same into the Dam or 

Reservoir made near the Mill. 880 roods at 7d.         £25 13  4

For making two Barrow Ways with Wheel Frames or 

Carriages for conveying the Lead from the Smelting 

Mill to the Refinery. at £10 each                      £20

For Utensils for the Refinery such as Tests, Cast 

Iron Potts, Pokers, Shovels, Pigg Pans etc for the 

two Refinery Furnaces at £6 each and for the Reducing 

Furnace at £4.                                          £16


                                                        £80  3  4

For building the Mill, Refinery and Conveniences, 

making a Dam etc and for Cast Iron Hearths Bellows 

& Carriage of Materials                                £1327 18 10 3/4

                                                       £1408  2  2 3/4


      Farnacres 20th April 1768

      Nich Walton Jun

J Smeaton

Leave a comment

We welcome further information or corrections on topics and incidents mentioned in individual letters. It might take a while before your comments are checked for adding to public view within the website. We cannot undertake further research in response to questions.

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


General Discussion
Suggested correction or addition


  Return to search results or refine/create new search
The Dukesfield Smelters and Carriers Project aimed to celebrate and discover the heritage of the Dukesfield Arches & lead carriers' routes between Blaydon and the lead mines of Allendale and Weardale. A two year community project, it was led by the Friends of the North Pennines in partnership with Hexhamshire and Slaley Parish Councils and the active support of Allendale Estates. It was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the generous support of other sponsors. Friends of the North Pennines: Charity No:1137467