Bowland Forest High – SE 641511

The history and precise location of this mill, at Smelt Mill Clough, near Sykes, are unknown. Smelt Mill Clough is shown on the Tithe Map for the Upper Division of Bowland, dated 1841. It has been suggested that the site of the mill was later occupied by a group of cottages. On both the tithe map and the first edition of the Ordnance Survey 1/10560 sheet, however, these houses, known as Smelt Mill Cottages, are not marked, nor is any reference made to them in the schedule attached to the tithe map.

The mill is clearly an old one, therefore, and there is some, admittedly tenuous, evidence for smelting in the early 17th century, when Bevis Bulmer was working the King’s Silver Mines on Brunghill Moor, near Newton. Although we know little of his operations, it is probably safe to surmise that a blanket lease was held by the Company of Mines Royal and, as such, Bulmer may have worked at Sykes, Brennand and Ashnott. It is not known if Bulmer had a smelt mill on his mines, but, in 1630, Charles Coare, the smelter at Thieveley Mine, was from Bashall Eaves, which is on the edge of Bowland Forest.

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