Report – Robert Stagg – 24 Jun 1816

Document Type: Report
Date: 24 Jun 1816
Correspondent: Robert Stagg
Archive Source: NEIMME LLC 40
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Report of the Weardale Mines Midsummer 1816

Middlehope The prospects of this Mine are very favorable but the chief workings having been pushed forwards upwards of 20 fathoms before the drawing Level from an improper anxiety on the part of Mr Dodd to raise a great quantity of Ore they were all working to great disadvantage, & in consequence the Men have been taken out of them & employed in the old pickings untill the Level gets sufficiently forward to enable us to prosecute these leading Workings to the greatest advantage; which has necessarily occasioned a greater number of Bargains to be let at higher prices this quarter than formerly but although the present appearance is thereby rendered unfavourable the Company will eventually be greatly benefitted by the reduced Rates at which those places now standing will work when fairly opened out & it will be no loss but the contrary, to fall short of raising the usual Quantity of Ore at this Mine untill the Stock is reduced at Stanhope Mill.   To give the Court some Idea of the state of the workings discontinued I directed the Agents, in their inspection of the Mine, to view them and Report to me the price at which they would work after the level in question is got up and by small partnerships of 4 Men instead of the large partnerships of 8 or 10 Men recently working them, and their Report is as followes Viz

A Working where 10 Men have been employed at 23/- pr Bg will then work at 15/

Do         10 men                          @ 25/-                         18/

Do          8 do                           @ 25/-                         21/

Do          6 do                           @ 30/-                         25/

Do          6 d                            @ 23/-                         18/

Some part of this enormous difference of price is owing to the improvement of the Mines but they all agree that the alterd mode of working this Mine just stated will be a saving upon the average of at least 4/- a Bing, which upon the quantity that will annually be raised from these workings will amount to not less than £400 p[er] Year the Level to relieve these workings is driving as quickly as possible, but, being extremely hard & poor, we have been obliged to give a price p[er] Fathom in addition to the price p[er] Bing, as the Court will see by referring to Edward Byers &c in the list of Bargains. We calculate that in less of than a Year this Level will be so far driven that we shall be able to prosecute the Ore workings now left off to the greatest advantage.

	Thomas Headron &c having been working by Mr Dodds directions the greater part of last quarter without a Bargain the work has now therefore been estimated & a Bargain let them for it, they are this quarter employed in rising into an upper Sill in the New Vein which has for a considerable time been unproductive but is now rather promising & we anticipate that the trial in question will lead to better prospects in this once valuable Vein.

	Thomas Gleeson &c are driving to Air this <rise> & also and also to prove the intermediate ground: these trials are expected to be terminated in 6 Months.

	The Middle Level on which the whole of the leading workings are dependant for a supply of Air having been discontinued since last Michaelmas & the Top Level intended to communicate with the middle Level having been also standing the same length of time, Joseph Temperly &c have been imployed to drive forward the top Level untill it is pushed as far forward as the middle Level forehead & then to sink a Sump into the middle Level to Air it.  & from this Sump it is intended to try the Vein in the Slate Sills which are here in a very favourable situation for producing Ore.  & from which we anticipate opening out an extended Mine in the upper Strata.

	Wm Brown &c are employed to rise from the middle Level to meet the Sump & by doing so they will make a trial of the Vein in the Firestone Sill; it is expected these trials will occupy 6 Months but they are certainly very desirable & when it is considered that without them it would be impossible to work the very excellent Mines now standing in the lower workings without extreme loss & injury, I doubt the Court will at once see the necessity & advantage of pushing them forward as speedily as possible.   Upon the whole the prospects of this Mine are extremely promising & when the trials now making are completed the Court may expect very handsome profits to come from it even supposing the present depression of the Lead Trade to continue; it is in fact the Mine which to all present appearance will be by far the most advantageous of any in your concern, as in addition to its Richness the Ore is of excellent quality & it requires comparatively little Wood in working it.  & when once got into a proper working state it will then be prosecuted at a slight expence of Dead Work.

Stanhopeburn Mine The leading workings in the flatts is improved in appearance & the Bargain in it has accordingly been let @ 30/ a Bing.  The other workings continue poor but there being no expence incurred by prosecuting them beyond the price p[er] Bing given they will yet work to profit.   Joseph Vipond &c are sinking a Shaft for the purpose of airing their workings & to enable us to make trial at several Strings which have lately been cut by the Level it is expected that this Shaft will be finished in 5 or 6 Months.   Two Ore Bargains have been let @ 35/ a Bing in old workings in an other Vein where little has been done by the Company, as the Ore of this Vein is of superior quality we shall at that price have a fair profit by working it & these two Bargains may be considered a desirable trial for by them we shall without any expence have an opportunity of ascertaining the state in which these old workings have been left & be thus enabled to decide with more precision respecting any further trial of them.

	Thomas Wallace &c are driving the deep water Level this level which had been driving many years at an expence of not less than £2500 had been allowed to stand nearly two Years though within a few fathoms of the principal Vein to cut which under the old workings appears to have been the main object in driving it, being fully aware of these circumstances, immediately on entering upon the direction of this Mine I let a Bargain until Midsummer at 140/- p[er] Fathom as the Court will see in the list of Bargains.  I have now, the level having become much harder, being obliged to give 220/ a Fathom.   This trial is expected to be completed in 9 Months or a Year. However expencive there seems sufficient grounds for continuing it.   For if this object could justify the driving a Level 400 fathoms it must surely be worth completing when so near the Vein and from all the information which can be collected, there is a good reason to hope that the Ore will be raised to repay a part if not the whole of the Money which this trial has cost.

      Rob Stagg
undated so has been given a midsummer date.

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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