Muker – NY 909005
This mill was built because of a protracted dispute, about the ownership of minerals at Beldi Hill, between Thomas Smith, Lord of the manor of Healaugh, and Lord Pomfret, owner of the minerals under the unenclosed lands. Until 1768, ore from Beldi Hill had been smelted at the Spout Gill mill, which Smith claimed was his as the result of his purchase of the Wharton estate lands. Smith had another smelt mill on Barney Beck.
In 1768, however, John Scott and Richard Smith, sub-lessees of Beldi Hill mines from Messrs Parke, found a rich mine, which Pomfret claimed. Smith successfully defended his title but, in 1770-71, Beldi Hill mill, or Swinnergill mill as it was then called, was built on land which was undisputedly his.
Smith’s new mill, which had a single ore-hearth, clearly demonstrates the durability of the modular design which was typical of dales mills. This enabled Thompson & Co., lessees of the mines from 1838, to expand by simply building another mill, with a slag-hearth, onto the east side of the first one. A detached building, housing a roasting furnace, was also added.
The Beldi Hill mill (R. Milner & Co.) was also included in the Mining Journal’s 1882 list of smelting companies, and the company smelted its last parcel of ore in the following year. An inventory made in 1878, however, suggests that its equipment was already in a poor state.
Further information and references can be found in:
- Gill, M.C. Yorkshire Smelting Mills Part 1, Northern Mine Research Society Memoirs 1992, British Mining No 45, pp 111-150