Report – Robert Stagg – 29 Sep 1819

Document Type: Report
Date: 29 Sep 1819
Correspondent: Robert Stagg
Archive Source: NEIMME LLC 40
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General report of the Mines Michelmas 1819

In the Teesdale District the general prospects continue to be most flattering and even improve, as we proceed in opening out the Mines Lodgesyke is excellent, and is now Working in regular lengths to the greatest advantage  Coldberry has also greater appearance of becoming a valuable Mine than it ever had before. In driving the Trial Level, we have Cut a Cross Vein which appears likely to be of service; but in the Confusion of the junction, through which we cannot get until the Shaft for ventilation is completed no decided opinion can be formed. We have likewise every reason to expect that we have regained a Mine at Mannergill which will be very valuable, as soon as it can be properly opened out, by the Sump now sinking for that purpose. At [underlined: 'Hudshopehead'] we have sunk upon the New Vein discovered by the hushing, and met with good Ore, but could not get down for the Water to make an effectual trial; but, as we saw enough to fully warrant the taking up a Level, I have had one begun this quarter, which will cut the vein in driving about fifty fathoms, and in about One Hundred Fathoms, will reach a part of the Ground where a satisfactory trial can be made   We all entertain considerable expectations that this Level will lead us to a valuable Mine and should it prove so, as the vein is [underlined: 'entirely new'] and therefore whole throughout your Mining Fields in this District, (which is several Miles in extent) it may open out very extensive Mines.  But until the trial is completed, notwithstanding the present flattering prospects, no decided judgment can be formed; and it may after all, be of no value whatever. As daily experience proves that no certain dependence can be placed upon any present Mining indication either favourable or unfavourable, as they are subject to fluctuations and casualties over which there can be no control, and which baffle all calculation, were it not for these considerations I should without hesitation report that the Teesdale District could not fail to be highly valuable for a long series of years As it is, I can only say that its present state and prospects are as good as could be reasonably desired, I sincerely hope and wish that the Mines may be as lasting as they are now excellent.  

In Weardale no very material change has taken place since the Midsummer Report. The fore end of Middlehope where the new ground is opening above the Level as it proceeds towards the Company's Boundary, has become very poor, which is materially affecting the [underlined: 'immediate Ore'] raising at this Mine; but we see no reason to doubt that it will again improve as we proceed, as this is a Vein that has always been liable to these changes and we are therefore more [underlined: 'disturbed'] at the [underlined: 'certainty'] of reaching the extremity of your

Boundary in this Vein in four or five Years, than of any expectation of its ceasing to be a profitable Mine whilst we have it; although it may not very probably, be so valuable again as it has been; for there is an immense weight of thill where we have now to work which generally operates unfavourably on Veins that are not of immense strength. But then, on the other hand, we have more good reason to hope that the Engine trial may gain us valuable Mines in the Strata [underlined: 'below Level'], for we have since the bargains accomplished a partial trial of the Vein in that situation, and its appearance is very good, Should this trial succeed to the extent of our hopes and expectations, it will give us an entirely new field, that will hold out during the whole of our lives; but, as it will require a considerable time to push away the Levels from the Egine Sumps; that are required to open out the lower Strata, it is probable there may be a considerable falling Off this Year in the Ore raising at Middlehope 

At [underlined: 'Stanhopeburn'] no change worthy of notice has occurred since Midsummer. We have completed the Engine Sump At [underlined: 'Ireshopeburn'] and are now engaged in Cutting to the Vein from the bottom of the Sump, and expect to reach it during the Quarter.  We are also prosecuting a Level in the Vein, taken from about the Middle of the Sump and, so far as we have proceeded, the indications are favourable and, altho' we do not expect this Vein will ever be very Rich, we confidently hope that it will abundantly repay the expense incurred in the trial.  It is probable that there may be a diminution of the quantity of Ore raised in this District during the ensuing Year; and even perhaps in the Year following on Account of the time required to fully open out these trials, nevertheless the prospects of lasting and extensive Mines are considerably improved 

[Alston Moor]

The state of the [underlined: 'Alston District'] has been much amended since the last Report, by the discovery of the New Veins out at Middlecleugh, and Old Carrs; both of which are likely to be valuable and raise considerable quantities of Ore on being opened out their present indications are indeed highly flattering yet, as we have only just touched upon them, and have therefore had but a slight opportunity of judging whether they are likely to become lastingly good, too sanguine expectations ought not to be entertained respecting them, for they are not like Lodgesyke in Teesdale, reduced to near a certainty of being good Mines for Years hence. It must therefore be understood that my Report of these Mines is confined to their [underlined: 'existing state'] where we have just discovered them, and that I Offer no opinion as to their continuance lest it should lead to disappointment. The Rampgill Sun Vein is just working within the ground already opened, and as has been remarked in the last Report, we are not free from apprehensions lest, on its junction with two Cross Veins to which it is rapidly approaching it should be rendered unproductive. No other material change has taken place in the Moor since Midsummer.  But as the trials already made are likely to prove successful, and as several others are rapidly advancing towards their objects, of which we entertain a better opinion than we had of those already reached, I am far from despairing of yet witnessing this District in a very flourishing State.  My great object has been to explore whole and untried ground, where, if we have success, Mines of considerable magnitude will be opened and where, also, there is always most profit. If, therefore one only of the trials in ten should succeed, the speculation can hardly fail to be advantageous

      The Court will perceive by the lists that a greater number of Men than ordinary are employed in dead Work 

      In order to give employment to the Washers in Winter and to open out Ore Workings as extensively as possible for the ensuing Year, I always make a point of reserving a Number of Small trials (that must be made at some point) for this Season when the Want of work would be so severely felt - which will explain the circumstances and I am happy to say, that we have not in consequence a Man unemployed; and it will, I feel assured, be satisfactory to the Court to know, that at this moment of general agitation, I am not aware that we have a dissatisfied or a disaffected Man in the Concern As this is the first time that an estimate has been given of the Ore raised at the Mines the preceding Quarter, it may be proper to explain to the Court that these estimates ought to be received as little more than mere guesses at the quantity; as it is utterly impossible to approach very nearly to the truth [underlined: 'generally'] in computing Ore in an unwashed State, and therefore mixed with several times its own bulk of Stone, Spar, Sand &c &c  

      Robert Stagg
thill is another term for ‘underclay’, beds that show signs of once having contained plant roots, and are typically unstable

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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