Report – Robert Stagg – 24 Jun 1818

Document Type: Report
Date: 24 Jun 1818
Correspondent: Robert Stagg
Archive Source: NEIMME LLC 40
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General Report of the Mines Midsummer 1818 


Lodgesyke. Since the last quarters Report I am happy to have to State that a material improvement has taken place in the prospects of this Mine. In order that the Court may the better comprehend its state and prospects I accompany this report with a ground and section plan. The parts of the plan shaded with Indian Ink are those that have been wrought and where nothing but old Pickings are left. In order to encourage the reworking of these parts I have had the whole allotted into lengths, as shown by the perpendicular dotted lines and have let each length, where there appeared to be any chance, to separate Partnerships. These of course required the best price that can be given having been passed over before, and all the Ore having been then taken out of them that was thought worth the Working. By thus encouraging the Pickings a great proportion of Men are kept at work who could not otherwise be employed, whilst a very handsome profit is left to the Company on all the Ore they obtain. The part of this Mine that has been the most productive is comprehended between the two brown dotted lines within which is included what is termed by Miners the best bearing Sill or Strata. This Sill (the Slate Sill as its called here) is gradually dipping deeper and deeper as we proceed Eastward and with it the best Ore is also found to dip downwards, whilst above & below it, altho repeated trials have been made, no Ore of consequence has been met with. Since the last Report Beadle &c completed their Crosscut from the upper Level to the Vein and met with a good Mine. Whilst they were effecting this John Hunt &c drove the upper Level ten fathoms further East and cut into the Vein, where they also met with a good Mine, as the Court will see by the Rates at which these parties have now taken Ore Bargains. Thomas Robson's Working to the West of these, above the high level, is also good. This is a most favorable and unlooked for indication, as the workings above the high Level have been very poor and unpromising during the whole of the last years. The improvement here we attribute to an intersection of the Vein with some Strings from the South. The Rise prosecuting by <Bej> Beach &c  to open out the whole ground lying between the high & low Levels is nearly completed and is opening out promising Mines; whilst the leading lengths of the ground immediately above the low level working by Geo. Tarn 

Geo. Wall, Jos. Parks, Geo. Raine & John Lewis have all been improved since the last Report as they rise up in the Sill. We therefore hope and expect, with almost certainty, to find productive & advantageous Mines in the high part of this ground, (all of which is yet to explore) lying between the low Level driving by Henry Wall &c and the high Level driving by Mich. House &c whilst from the unlooked for improvement of the Works opening out of the high Level the prospect is also much better of advantageous Mines being opened out as we proceed further Eastward.

      We are just completing the laying of the Low Level with Iron Rails up to Beach rise, which rise I mean to use for getting down the waste from all the leading and principal Workings above Level and will enable us to take with the utmost advantage nearly the whole of the ore to the washing place at the low Level where the Crushing Mill is erected and will save the cost of leading it down in Carts after it is drawn out of the high Level. When this Rise is finished the arrangement of the Works in this Mine will be as complete as I know how to make them, the waste will drain out with the utmost saving of labour; and the whole Mine being now divided into lengths each partnership works their own ground to the greatest advantage without any interruption from their neighbours. I am therefore justified in entertaining sanguine hopes of this Mine continuing to work with great advantage for a very considerable time hence as independent of the prospect of opening out new Mines Eastwards, the whole ground situate between the high and low levels (the goodness of which is in a measure reduced to a certainty) is about 140 yards in length and 46 deep which, on a moderate computation may be expected to produce many thousand Bings of Ore and with the existing arrangements, will be wrought to the utmost advantage. The parts shaded and mark x,x,x,x at the foremost shaft, between the surface of the Hill and the highest Level are trials that we have made in the Vein in this part of the Strata, but without any success whatever - and as the workings up to the preceding shafts became too poor to be wrought at any price per Bing, we have very little reason to calculate upon this upper part of the Strata becoming productive, altho' as we proceed with the high Level, it will be desirable to have further trial into it, as the whole ground that we would otherwise leave unexplored is of too great magnitude to pass by without looking into it from time to time.

      The Bargain let to Geo Hardy &c at 60/ per Bing is to explore the whole ground lying between the second Shaft from the low Level mouth and  Binks Sump, where little or no Ore has hitherto been found. If he succeeds in his trial, which however is not expected, it will open out a great extent of new ground that will be advantageous to the Company, and if  he fails it will at any rate be a satisfactory trial made without loss. By a little additional price in cases of this nature Men are induced to make trials that frequently lead to very excellent Mines one existing proof  of which is the Rampgill Sun Vein in Alston Moor, now working to an uncommon advantage and which was discovered by a partnership who were led to make the trial from the extra encouragement which I held out to them in this way and without any expectation on the part of either themselves or any Agent of a very successful result. I therefore systematically encourage this spirit of speculation and adventure among the Workmen as it may and often does do much good to the Company, without the possibility of doing any injury whatever.

Coldberry. The Level driving in the Vein at Coldberry has been very poor and unpromising for several Months past, yet, as it has in it always more or less Ore, it would not be prudent to discontinue this trial, & the more particularly as there is the prospect of the Vein in which the

Level is driving being intersected in its course by other Veins, which hold out the double chance of an improvement of this Vein and of the trials of all those to which it may lead. But I have stopped the Level, pro tempore, until we sink from the forehead of it, to make trial of the Sill below it, which Sill it is expected may probably be more productive of Ore. Since the last Report we have cut a Strong Vein in the Cross cut driving by Robt Coatsworth &c, which from its strength, bearing, and general appearance, we believe to be the North Lodgesyke Vein. We have only just cut into it, and cannot therefore pronounce as to its prospects until it is cut through, and a trial made into the Limestone and other Sills lying above the Level; which will require several Months to effect. This however is so powerful and so excellent a Vein, that its discovery and trial in fresh ground, is always most desirable and well worth the expense of making it

The trials at Flakebrigg, Wiregill, Mannergill and Brockergill are proceeding towards their objects with no material change of circumstance

Alston Moor

Rampgill. The Level driving by Robert Hetherington &c has again become exceedingly hard & difficult, which has rendered a very high price necessary John Elliott &c are commencing a Cross cut from the Rampgill Vein to the South, with the view of cutting the Rampgill Sun Vein (now working to so much advantage) considerably further to the East; and also with the intention of continuing it until we cut three other Veins lying still further south. This Cross Cut will be about 100 Fathoms before it reaches its ultimate objects, but, it affords an excellent chance of opening out an entirely new and productive Mining Field at Nenthead, and is considered by every one of your Practical Mining Agents to be well worthy the trial Thomas Thompson &c are opening out a Sump between an upper Level and that driving by Heatherington &c This Sump is necessary to Air the Level, and the same time it will open out the Old pickings between those Levels, which are expected to Work to profit The Ore Workings in this Vein are all Old Pickings that require the best price.

Rampgill Sun Vein continues to raise Ore to the greatest advantage, as the Court will perceive by the uncommonly low rates at which the leading Bargains are let. All the Bargains above 18/ per Bing are for Old Pickings in the parts of this Vein previously wrought. Matt Thompson &c are rising to try the Vein in fresh ground. James Lee &c have at length cut the Vein for which their Cross cut has been prosecuting and are now rising to try it in the Limestone. The Vein is abundantly strong, but until we reach the Limestone no opinion can be offered as to the probable result of the trial. 

Rampgill 2nd Sun Vein is poor and no way materially altered since the last Report. Rampgill Cross Vein is exceedingly poor, and the Bargains let will be merely to preserve the Lease.

Small Cleugh. This Mine continues to Raise Ore to advantage, and promises to be a lasting & profitable Mine, altho' from its extreme hardness, great prices are required to be giving for Raising the Ore. Jno Hind &c are continuing to drive the Level to prove the Small Cleugh Cross Vein through another Cross Vein, called the great Cross Vein, that has intersected it. This Small Cleugh Cross Vein was formerly uncom-monly Rich and continued to be productive until it came within the influence of the other Cross Vein. since which time it has been nearly quite barren, and until it has again become an independent Vein it is not possible to pronounce whether it is likely to regain its former character, but as it was so very profitable, prior to this intersection the chance of its again becoming productive renders it well worthy of the trial. M & M Dickinson &c are opening out a Shaft in order to Ventilate this Mine. 

Scaleburnmoss. This Level driving in the Vein with the view of unwatering the parts of this Mine further Eastwards where Ore is expected to be found that will more than Repay the trial continues to be very hard indeed, yet it has Ore in it even now, the profit in which will nearly cover the cost of driving the Level.

Hanginshaw. The Ore Bargain let here is merely to cover the lease. 

Middle Cleugh continues poor, yet, as it has no dead weight upon it as present it will leave a fair profit on the extent to which it is working Middle Cleugh 2nd Sun Vein The low Level driving by Smith Elliott &c towards the whole ground thro' which the Vein runs has become very hard and difficult to drive, and requires in consequence a high price. The upper Level opening out by Ridley Robson &c has led us to a Sun String on which the Ore Bargains are chiefly let, and which, altho' poor will leave a very fair profit, and bids fair to open out several additional workings. The Sum for sinking by Thos Midcalf &c is to ventilate and open out, the Mine, and has been completed since the Bargains were let.

Long Cleugh is poor but continues to raise Ore at high prices, which however as there is now no dead Work, will leave a fair profit. 

Tynebottom continues so hard and poor as to require the highest prices, yet as the dead Work upon it is light, this Mine continues to be worked to advantage. The Level driving by Jos. Wardlaw &c is to open out the Mine in fresh ground, and it is essential to its future prosecution. 

Thortergill. The Level driving by Wm Rittson &c  is a continuation of the White Syke low Level which has been allowed to run together and which we have recently opened out and arched, so as to secure it as a permanent level without further repair. The Vein in which the Level is driving is known at Nenthead by the name of MiddleCleugh, and in Garrigill by the names of Caple Cleugh, Longholehead, Browngill and Thortergill and has at each of these places been most productive and profitable in former times. The object in repairing this Level is to enable us to try the part of this Vein yet lying whole to a very great extent between Caple Cleugh & Longholehead and also to enable us to work the pickings that may have been left in the Old Workings under which we have to pass on our way to Longholehead. This will be a long trial but it is considered universally to be one of  the most hopeful chance of Opening out advantageous Mines that we have in Alston Moor, and worth all the other trials we  have in Garrigill. We have driven the Level a few fathoms since we reached the Forehead, and, altho' it is in a part of the Strata that is not likely to produce much Ore, yet the appearance of the Vein is very good and the indications more flattering than I had hoped it would be found in this situation. It contains Ore even now that will more than defray the charges of driving the Level, and I have not a doubt will in time open out very profitable Mines. In short I consider this one of the very best chances you have of future Good Mines. The Ore Workings here are all pickings opened out by the reopening of this Level. 

The trials of Caple Cleugh Cross Vein, Browngill Sun Vein, Broomberry, Blackashgill, Garrigill burn, Loveladyshield & Crossgill are proceeding with no changes of circumstance entitled to Notice. The Ore Bargains in Carr South End, Cowslitts Cross Vein and Cowhill are merely to preserve the Leases.


Middlehope Mine continues to raise Ore to the greatest advantage, and its prospects as we proceed in opening it out Eastwards are most flattering The Level however driving by Henry Coulthard &c on which the future openings out of this mine depend happens to be in a situation so twitched & hard as renders it impossible to push it forward with sufficient rapidity to enable us to place the Workmen in New Lengths as speedily as they work out their old ground, and hence, with the most flattering prospects that can be wished we are in danger of wanting a full supply of Ore from this Mine against another Year as well as of having a proportion of the Men thrown out of employment. We made an experiment during last Quarter of rising a fathom above the Level Forehead with the intention of running the Level up a little of the Sill as that part was found to be softer and better to drive but it is proved to be equally hard as at the present depth of the level, and as it is not practicable to Run up the Level more than the trial we made, there is no alternative but to persevere as it is until we reach softer ground in course of driving. I have under these circumstances increased the partnership to 8 Men, who relieve each other and are working at extremity from Monday Morning at 1 oclock until Saturday Night at 11 which is all that can be done without working the Mine to disadvantage. We could indeed allow the Ore Workings above Level to be pushed forward before this level; but, this would throw us into the Situation in which I found the Mine on entering upon it, and, altho' we could by this means increase the raising of Ore for a Year or two, we should be doing it at an extreme loss and must eventually stop entirely until the Level again reached the Workings, which would be alike impolitic & expensive. Thos Cail &c are making a trial in the West a new Middlehope Vein where we still hope to regain Mines that will work to profit.

Ireshopeburn. We are continuing to sink the Egine shafts for the purpose of the intended trial of the lower Strata. The Court will I doubt not be staggered at the extraordinary price of £30 pr Fathom for sinking at this Mine. It is therefore necesary to state that an Engine Shaft being three times as large as a Common Shaft requires a much higher price pr Fathom and that we are sinking through a Sill of about 4 Fathoms thickness of a nature so peculiarly hard that even at this price, the Workmen are not enabled to make the ordinary Wages. Col Beaumont sank thro' the same Sill some time ago when he was obliged to give a still higher price per fathom at which the Miners are not enabled to make more than half Wages. The present Bargain is for two Fathoms only to guard against loss in case of the lower part of the Sill becoming softer which however we do not expect. Altho' the uncommon hardness of this sill makes the trial of sinking thro' it costly, yet we consider it a very favorable indication as sills of its description are generally found to be most favourable for raising Ore.

The trial at Coldberry is proceding without any material change.

Stanhopeburn continues to raise Ore at high prices and without any change entitled to notice, if anything however it is a little more promising Thos Wallace &c are sinking a shaft which we have commenced for the purpose of ascertaining the exact situation of the Strata in the range of a New Vein, which we consider best worthy of trial, in order that we may be enabled to form an accurate judgement as to the best mode of proceeding to explore effectually this ground at the least expence and with the greatest probability of success. When we have obtained this requisite information I purpose to commence the trial without loss of time as we have now so long a Lease to reap the benefits of whatever may be discovered.

In concluding the Midsummer Report I may be allowed to congratulate the Court upon the general State and prospects of the three Districts; which could hardly be desired to be more flattering each containing very productive Mines, and a Number of  promising trials being in progress, several of which are rapidly advancing towards their objects. A proportion of these can hardly fail to prove successful and give us every reason to hope for a succession of advantageous Workings. It is also to me a source of no little satisfaction that this Year will nearly put the Mines in all the Districts into perfect good repair, and into a State that will enable us, should they continue good to work them in future to the utmost advantage. During the present year we have laid with Iron Rails the very long Levels of Lodgesyke in Teesdale, Middlehope in Weardale, and a great part of the Rampgill in Alston Moor, and I have provided the rails for the remainder of this Level. In addition to these very heavy & expensive improvements, we have erected two powerful Engines at Ireshopeburn & Middlehope & have remodelled the washing places & conveniences in Weardale & Alston Moor; thus completing all the most costly and necessary alterations and repairs. 

I have been induced to complete all the improvements this year, wherein much Iron, Castings & Wood were required, from the circumstances of having been fortunate enough to contract for the Years Supply at a very low Rate, immediately before a considerable advance took place in the prices of these Articles and as there is no prospect of again obtaining them on terms so favourable, I determined to make the most of the present Contracts prior to their termination on the 2nd August.

Robert Stagg

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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