In the 1740s and early 1750s, ore from Isobel Meah Hill and other mines in Lunedale liberty was smelted at Bollihope mill, in Weardale. In 1756, however, Sir George Bowes, the mineral lord, built a small mill in Wemmergill, in Lunedale. The mill had a fairly short life and had probably closed by 1806, when Messrs Hopper & Company were working at Lunehead.
Besides having mining interests in Swaledale, Thomas Hopper was also the occupier of Bollihope smelt mill by 1820. By the 1830s, ore from the Lunedale mines was being sold to Sherlock, Addison & Company of Middleton in Teesdale. Mark Sherlock, the proprietor of Newbiggin smelt mill, was a local land owner, mineral agent and mine owner.
The 1st edition 1/10560 OS sheet wrongly shows the mill on the west bank of Wemmergill, but it is actually the “old walls” about 150 feet to the north, on the east bank, just below a waterfall. The mill had two rooms, aligned east to west, with an external wheelpit along the eastern wall. The western wall, next to the stream, has a massive buttress to help take the thrust from the furnace arch.
Further information and references can be found in:
- Gill, M.C. Yorkshire Smelting Mills Part 3, Northern Mine Research Society Memoirs 2000, British Mining No 67, pp 108-119