Muker – NY 912012


Swinnergill Mill
Copyright © Adie Jackson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

There is some confusion about the date that this mill was built. For example, Dr Raistrick quoted apparently unassailable evidence from the Beldi Hill dispute to propose that Swinnergill mill was built in 1769. Nevertheless, this evidence was not specific and the witness simply stated that:

“he carried ore across to the east side of the beck [Swinnergill] where Lord Pomfret is now building a mill”.

There is, however, ample evidence that Swinnergill mill was built by Thomas Hopper and Co., who leased the adjoining mines in 1804. Some of Hopper’s lead was smelted at the Beldi Hill mill in 1806 and 1807, but Swinnergill mill was also working by the end of the latter year.

The mill was already abandoned in 1830, when Edward Broderick visited it, and in 1832 James Littlefair, the AD agent, reported that it:

“has not been in use for most part of 20 years. The horizontal chimney is much out of repair, also the roof of the mill”.

This suggestion that the mill closed around 1812 is wrong, however, and Swinnergill mill worked until at least 1818, when it was noted as Mr Hopper’s mill, and probably 1819. In support of Littlefair’s statement, it seems certain that only part of the Swinnergill ore was being smelted there after 1814. Messrs Hopper worked the mine until 1832 and presumably carted their ore to the Lownathwaite and Blakethwaite mills for smelting.

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