Grassington – SE 025663
The history and development of this mill, which began smelting on October 2nd 1792, was discussed in British Mining No.46. Nevertheless, even this model may be subject to some revision because of questions raised by a detailed survey of the site commissioned by the Yorkshire Dales National Park in the autumn of 1992. The preliminary findings of this survey, by the Archæological Unit of the University of Lancaster, whilst agreeing with much of Gill’s model, suggest that some structural phases within the mill may have been in the reverse order.
The outline of Gill’s model is as follows: The cupola was built with two furnaces and a very short flue leading to a chimney immediately behind the mill. The present flue system, which has a combined length of around 1.8 Km, was built in four stages between 1840 and 1855.
From 1792 until 1826, the mill had two furnaces. Late in 1825 or early 1826, a third furnace was added. No.1 furnace was shut down at the end of August 1830. The remaining pair were still called No.2 and No.3, however, until at least 1855.
The slag mill appears to have been the former Moor Mill which took advantage of the latter’s waterwheel for driving its blowing mechanism. The mill had a normal slaghearth until 1858 when Yorkshire’s only known example of a Castillian, or Spanish, slag-hearth was built.
The history of the mill’s last twenty years or so are a blank because the ledgers from 1856 to May 1882, when the Cupola closed, are missing. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that any more major changes were made at the Cupola Mill.
Further information and references can be found in:
- Gill, M.C. Yorkshire Smelting Mills Part 2, Northern Mine Research Society Memoirs 1993, British Mining No 48, pp 132-151