Cupola Clough – SD 804284

The Clitheroe Mining Company built this small mill, which had a reverberatory furnace, near the head of Great Clough. Kerr notes that “The Cupola was begun in June, 1755, and finished in the following November, at a cost of £61.36 for the mason work, stone and lime being provided by the company, and a further expenditure of £3.17, apparently for appliances, making a total of £64.53”. Besides smelting its own ores, it is recorded that the company purchased ore from mines at Bowland, Rivington (Anglezarke) and Brennand.

The precise nature of this mill has been the subject of some speculation, with claims that it was equipped with a horizontal flue and distant chimney. In support of his argument in favour of a long chimney, Kerr invoked local tradition and noted that

“this furnace was built in the bottom of an almost inaccessible cwm”

and, of the chimney, that

“the flames issuing from it were seen at some distance in different directions”

Further, and also by tradition, he noted

“that for a wager a man crept up it, from bottom to top, and died from the effects of vapours inhaled during his progress”

In reviewing this argument, examination of the area at the head of Great Clough has failed to reveal any traces of such a flue which, if it had been built in 1755, would have been truly innovative.

The Clitheroe Mining Company was wound up in 1766, but some of its old shareholders floated a new company in December 1768. No details of the new company’s activities are known, but it may have kept the mill open until it too was wound up in February 1775.

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