Lyrics to ‘Lead Smelting at Dukesfield’ by Anita James

Lead Smelting at Dukesfield
lyrics and music (c) Anita James, 2014

Come to Whitley Chapel a country place in Northumberland
So beautiful and peaceful. A landscape oh so grand
But not so long ago it was a very different place
Filled with mines and industry, a polluted smokey place.

Lead mining up on the hillside
Smelting Mills and Water Wheels
Stone Arches and tall chimneys
As local history tells

They mined the Ore at Allendale and Hedley on the Hill
T’was washed and crushed and purified and sent to Dukesfield Mill.
“Here come the Galloways” was the cry you often heard.
A train of hardy ponies carrying a heavy load.


The furnaces are roasting with local coal and peat
Molten Ore now smelted down in that tremendous heat
Flues that trace their way, all along the countryside
Carrying fumes and poisonous gas to chimneys tall close by.


The Smelters worked long hours they were very skillful men
Forteen shillings and six pence was the wage they paid out then.
With the coming of the railways brought the carriers to an end
The age of steam took over as progress did extend


The Mills now all dismantled as you walk the path of time
Listen for the Galloways their haunting bells still chime
The banks of the Devil’s Water drew the woods you walk along
Approach two Gothic Arches majestic, proud and strong.


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