The Arches – Pat Wilson

The Arches
(c) Pat Wilson

The hoot of an Owl startled me.
Turning I spied him atop a tree.
The bird now quiet with wide eyes staring.
I stood at the Arches, their majesty glaring.

The moon disappeared behind a dark cloud.
Raindrops enfolded me like a burial shroud.
Inside the Arches it was dry and roomy.
While outside the shelter it was wet and gloomy.

There wasn’t a tavern. There wasn’t a house,
and the scurrying noise, I thought was a mouse.
“What are you doing here lad?” a stern voice said
“That pony needs loading with silver and lead”.

“Oh no Sir, not me Sir, I should be in bed”.
“Get a move on now lad” the older man said.
“I’m too young to work Sir, I want my Dad”.
“He’s dead and gone lad”, said the man looking sad.

I awoke with a start, I’d slept it seemed.
Of being a Mill worker apparently I’d dreamed.
Then slipped to the floor I saw what I’d read,
the story of Dukesfield and the smelting of lead.

Pat Wilson

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