Report – Robert Stagg – 24 Sep 1817

Document Type: Report
Date: 24 Sep 1817
Correspondent: Robert Stagg
Archive Source: NEIMME LLC 40
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General Report of the Mines Michaelmas 1817

Weardale District

Middlehope. Henry Coulthard &c Jno[John} Watson &c & Tho[ma]s Cail &c are driving the leading Levels which are absolutely necessary in the regular prosecution of the Mines & Isaac Hetherington &c are making the requisite preparations for the immediate erection of the Engine agreed by the Deputation to be erected in this Mine for the working of a part of the Great Limestone. The Quarry Hazel and Four fathom Limestone which are below the present Level and cannot otherwise be wrought we hope to complete the [struck out ‘present Level’] Engine in about 6 Months and doubt not but we shall thereby be enabled to open out profitable Mines to which we cannot otherwise have access.  We have now got the low Level at the Mine so far pushed forward, that we are enabled to commence working those parts which I stopped on entering upon the Superintendance, the advantage of which the Court will see, by the very low prices at which the Bargains are let in the leading places.  The pickings at this Mine are much exhausted, the chief of the Men having been employed in them whilst the Level was driving up to relieve the leading Workings, but these foremost workings are very flattering and I have no doubt of raising the Ore at this Mine now unless some unforeseen failure should take place to much disadvantage.

Ireshopeburn	We have commenced the preparation for the Further trial of the Mine by an Engine, as was agreed upon by the deputation, which we hope to complete in 6 or 8 Months

Coldberry. The Trial is also commenced as was agreed upon by the Deputation and the Level is expected in a few Months to reach the Vein.

Stanhopeburn	There is no material alteration since the last Report.

Teesdale District

Lodgesyke. Henry Wall &c and Geo[rge] Beadle &c are driving the upper & low Levels upon which the continued prosecution of the Mine depends.  The leading & general Workings at the Mine are considerably poorer than they were last Quarter, and as the several district Agents were of opinion with me that a part of the Vein is lying further to the North then the present Workings extend, I let a Bargain to <T..> Hunt &c to make a Cross cut for the purpose of discovery. Jos[eph] Spark &c are raising Ore by the Fathom as an experiment the grounds of which were explained in the last Report.  Altho’ the general prospects of this Mine are at present a little unfavrable as has been already stated, yet as this is a Vein or rather an accumulation of Veins which continualy fluctuate in their appearance, I hope ere long an alteration may again take place for the better, and in this expectation the prices have been kept lower than the present state of the Mine would otherwise have warranted.  

At Coldberry Mine the prospects are more favourable than last Quarter but they are not so flattering as they were a few Weeks ago nor are we yet sanguine that this Vein will ever be very productive, although we expect it may leave a balance in its favour. Jos[eph] Beach &c are sinking to ventilate the Mine to try the Strata above the Level.  In the prosecution of this Vein, we now find by its bearing that is not the continuation of the Lodgesyke Vein as we expected it had been, but an entirely new Vein which we have hit upon in searching for the other, which yet remains undiscovered in this Lease.  I have therefore employed Rob[er]t Coatsworth &c to cut a Cross from an old Level in search of a Vein which was the chief object in undertaking this Lease & from the alteration in the Strata indicative of the approach to a Vein, which has taken place since the commencement of the Cross cut, we have every reason to expect the discovery will speedily be made.

The other trials of Mannergill, Wiregill, Brockergill and Flakebrig have not arrived at the ultimate objects of them, and are proceeding with little or no variation since the last Report.

Alston moor District

Rampgill. This Mine continues to raise Ore in the old Rakings, some of which are a little more promising than they were last Quarter. The low Levels driving by Rob[er]t Heatherington &c for the purpose specified in the last Report is expensive hard & difficult to drive and therefore proceeds slowly, and has not yet reached that part of the Vein where we calculate upon much

Ore being raised, but we entertain no doubt that it will eventually open out successful Mines.  Jno[John] Eliot &c are commencing a trial of a Cross Vein (termed Pattersdale Vein) cut by the Rampgill Level, the appearance of which is promising and the district Agents are jointly of opinion, that it abundantly warrants the trial & the more so as a few Fathoms working will prove it.  Should the trial prove successful, this Vein affords the prospect of an extensive

Mine, as it is yet untouched in the whole of the Nenthead district.

Rampgill Sun Vein. I have much satisfaction in reporting the continued and very flattering prospects of this Vein.  Its success so far as we have yet exploredit, is equal to my most sanguine wishes, as the Court will perceive by a reference to the very low rates in the Bargain List.  Jno[John] Eels &c Matt[he]w Thompson &c and Tho[ma]s Hewitson &c are cutting to open out this Vein more extensively and each of them will arrive at the object of their Dead Work in a few Fathoms driving, and should those trials prove successful, which we have no reason to doubt, they will enable us to command the raising of Ore during the remainder of the Year to the full extents of the smelting powers of Nenthead Mill.  James Lee &c are cont[inu]ing the Cross cut for the purposes stated in the last Report.

Rampgill 2a Sun Vein Is poor and we not calculate upon it providing much Ore until the low Level in the Rampgill Vein is considerably further advanced when we shall be enabled by a Crosscut from it to try this Vein in fresh Ground & in the interim I hope to be enabled to hold the Lease by giving good prices for Pickings in it without incurring any Dead expence.

Do X Vein Is extremely poor, and its future prospects are bad.

Small Cleugh Is not materially altered since the last Report.  We cut one new Flat, with the Crosscut set on last Quarter which is now the best part of the Mine and Wm[William] Slack &c are continuing this Cross cut, as we expect there may still be more Flats undiscovered. The other Dead Work at this Mine is mostly temporary the one preparing the Level for laying the Rails, and the other to assist the partnership to cut the Flat just discovered in an other part of the Mine, both of which terminate in a few Weeks.

Middlecleugh	Continues very poor & the Ore raised is entirely in the Old Pickings. Jno[John] Armstrong &c are driving a Cross from this Level to try a Vein lying to the North and which in another part of the Mine was very productive.  We expect they will cut this Vein in about 14 or 15 Fathoms driving

Do 1st Sun Vein  The Dead Work wrought in this Vein last Quarter has been so far successful as to enable the Partnership to take in One Bargain at  a high price, and will leave a profit that will more than repay the trial, but the prospects of this Vein are not promising.

Do 2nd Sun Vein. We have here experienced one of the disappointments to which Mining is incident.  The prospects of this Vein last Quarter were most flattering, and the several Bargains let in it raised a considerable Quantity of Ore during the early part of the Quarter but since then it has almost entirely failed in the Workings where the Men were then employed, and the present Ore Workings are merely Pickings.  This however is one of the best Veins in Alston Moor, and the Dead Work prosecuting here is to open it out whole Ground were the several Agents are very sanguine in the hope that lasting Mines will be found.  We shall not however reach the part where much success is expected in less than 100 Fathoms driving but the new Mining Ground that will be thereby opened out affords one of our best chances of extensive Mines in Alston Moor. The Ore raised last Quarter was in a part of the Great Limestone which had not been wrought from the upper Level, and it proved to be much less extensive than was generally expected, and than Mr Dodd calculated upon when the low Level was begun by him.  Still the main objects are to prove when we reach the whole Ground alluded to.

Tynebottom Mine was very promising during the early part of last Quarter & raised a very considerable Quantity of Ore, but has lately become much poorer.  We do not however despair of a revival in it, as we proceed with the Level and open out fresh Ground.

Crosgill. The trial is just on the point of reaching the first object of it, we have already cut a string attached to the Vein the appearance of which is very promising and leads us to anticipate a successful termination of this trial when we arrive at the principal Vein.

The Bargains at Oldhams East of Nent, Cowslits, Bentyfield, Shortergill & Tyne bottom West of Tyne are merely to preserve the Leases, until we complete the trials which are deemed more promisong, and on the Dead Work becoming less heavy.  We purpose to make further trials of these Veins.  The trials at Middlecleugh Cross Vein Scaleburn CapleCleugh Cross Vein Oldham Longcleugh Loveladyshield, Brownsberry Blackashgill Garrigill Burn, Old Groves & Browngill Sun Vein are proceeding towards their respective objects with no material variation of circumstances since the last Report.  At Oldhams Longcleugh Loveladyshield & Garrigillburn old Groves we expect very speedily to cut the Veins for which these Levels are driving, as there is every reason to calculate upon Grain being at moderate prices during the Winter, I have ventured to make a further reduction of 1 shilling per Week, on all the <Wagements> rates & I have also made an additional reduction in the Bargain rates generally.  I have likewise after an other revisal of the Mill & Carriage rates, made some further reductions in these departments, a statement of which I subjoin.

It may be satisfactory to the Court to be informed that from the 30th September 1816 to the 30th Sept[ember] 1817 We have raised about 16,900 Bings of Ore inclusive of Duty. Viz in

Alston moor about  8,900

Weardale about     3,500

Teesdale about     4,500

   Total          16,900 

and as far as an opinion can be offered in a subject so peculiarly fluctuating as Mining where we daily meet alike with success and disappointments which no calculation could anticipate, we have every reason to expect the success of the Year now commencing will not be less than that of the last.  The Court will perceive an increase of Dead Work, this Quarter particularly in Alston moor.

I found after placing all the Men we could without disadvantage in Ore Bargains & in the general trials that we had in the latter district, nearly 100 Men left unemployed. I therefore commenced a few dead Work trials which we purposed to make during the Year (most of which will be terminated in 3 or 4 Months) partly with a view to the employment of a few of the Workmen out of places, & partly to endeavour to open out additional Ore Workings to give us the command of extending the raising of Ore during the latter part of the Year, should an increased quantity be then deemed desirable.

In concluding I have much pleasure in reporting the general good conduct of the Men and industry of the Agents and Workmen during last Year.  It is also particularly gratifying to my feelings to be enabled to add that the four parts of the district at large continue very flattering, and are such as with considerably good fortune in the cause of the various and extensive trials in progress warrant the hope that the concern will now afford a fair remuneration for the capital employed in it.

Still however there is that extreme uncertainty attached to all Mining Speculations, which renders it impossible to pronounce with certainty as to their future results and excludes or ought to exclude very sanguine expectations otherwise we have every reason to anticipate success equal to our utmost wishes for severall years hence.

      R[ober]t Stagg
This report appears to be the first after a gap in the sequence of two quarters

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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