Marrick – SE 063987

The fourth mill at Marrick was the Cupola, at Reels Head. Dr Raistrick, faced with an absence of evidence, supposed that it was built around 1860 and worked for approximately twenty years. We now know, however, that building actually began late in 1700 and that the mill was smelting in 1701. It was the only cupola in Yorkshire until 1792, when the Duke of Devonshire built one at his Grassington mines.

The first successful cupolas in Britain were used, in the 1680’s, for lead and copper smelting near Bristol, and others, for lead, were built in Flintshire during the 1690’s, where they were also later used by the London Lead Company at its Gadlys works.98 In the north Pennines, the London Lead Company, in particular, had wide experience of the early use of cupolas for lead smelting. Nevertheless, they were never widely adopted and only Derbyshire and Flintshire became centres of cupola smelting. It was not until 1735, however, that the London Lead Company introduced them into Derbyshire, at its Bowers Mill. Two years later, Richard Bagshawe used them at his Olda Mill, where they initially proved disappointing. Nevertheless, the Bagshawe family and its associates were responsible for spreading the use of cupolas throughout Derbyshire where they superseded the ore-hearth by the 1780’s.

The Marrick Cupola was, therefore, the first in Yorkshire and one of the first in Britain. It is also interesting because unlike most Yorkshire mills,which served specific mines or liberties, it was a jobbing mill, which smelted parcels of ore brought from any mine. For example, in 1703 it smelted parcels of ore from Woodhall (in Wensleydale), Grinton How, Buckden Gavle and Kell Pasture. The Cupola was owned and worked by a company which included: John Blackburne, Emmanuel Justice, Reuben Orton, Mr Langstaff and Ralph Rowlings. Justice and Blackburne were partners in the Blew Groves Mine, at Buckden, and, contrary to the terms of their lease, which stipulated that their ore was to be smelted at the Earl of Burlington’s Grassington mill, they carted ore to Marrick. Nevertheless, the Cupola mill only worked for a few years before a dispute amongst the owners forced its closure. The mill was in ruins by 1725, when it was demolished.

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