Stonebeck Down – SE 143664

This mill was on the side of Ashfold Beck, a few metres to the south-west of the New Mill, which is now the office for a caravan site. As noted above, it was described as a new mill in 1815 but, once again, we can only guess when it was built. It was still working in 1849, when the first edition of the Ordnance Survey 1/10560 sheet was surveyed, and it is shown without a flue and distant chimney. This suggests that it was built at the close of the 18th century, because mills built soon after that date usually had a flue. Nevertheless, this evidence must be treated with caution because the same map also shows the Cockhill and Providence Mills without flues when, as shown above, they almost certainly had them. Bearing in mind the known rise in output from the Appletreewick and Stonebeck Down liberties in the last twenty years or so of the 18th century, however, it is reasonable to propose a date of around 1790.

The old mill was probably built on, or near, the site of the 17th century mill and when it was pulled down (c1855), a stone lead mould was found inverted under the foundation. The cavity in which the piece was cast was about 762 mm long by 150 mm broad, narrowing suddenly at each end to something like a handle.

Heathfield New Mill

Stonebeck Down – SE 143664

This mill was built by John Yorke in 1855 to replace the Old Mill. It was kept open to smelt ore from the Lolly Scar and Blayshaw Gill Mines and closed soon after 1909, making it the last of the Yorkshire Dales’ smelt mills.

Grainge states that it had two roasting furnaces and four smelting hearths, and that the smelting hearths were blown by a waterwheel-powered fan. The lead was cast into pieces of 112 lbs. A detailed drawing of the Heathfield Mill has been published in Clough’s second volume on Lead Smelting Mills. By 1907/8, however, the mill had a slag-hearth, two ore-hearths and two reverberatory roasting furnaces.81 Two roasting furnaces appear excessive for this mill and it may be that one of them was used for improving or softening pig lead before it was sent to the local rolling mills.

The hearths were blown by a double cylindered blowing machine, driven by a waterwheel. The fumes from each hearth were ducted from the building and forced through a condenser by two fans. The latter were driven by a thirty-foot diameter waterwheel, which also drove small pumps for lifting water into the condenser. On leaving the latter, the fume went up a flue around 2 Km long.

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