Smelting of Lead from Greenhow Hill

Smelting of Lead from Greenhow Hill

Thies indentours maide the 12th day of September in the 19 yere of the reigne of our soveraynge lorde Kynge Henry the Eight [1527] betwixt the Reverende Father in Godde Will yam th’abbot of Fontaunce of the one partie, Marmaduke Bayn of Brygehouse in Nidderdaill, gentilman, John Parkynson ande William Luptone of the Byshopesyde in Nidderdaill aforesaide of that odre partie, witnessith ande recordith that it is convenaundyt ande fully agreade betwixt the seide parties that the seide Marmaduke, John ande Willyam shall, durynge the plesor of the seide abbot, well ande trewly burne ande make in cleyn ande sufficient leede all suche leede ure as is or shalbe delyverde unto theme by the seide abbot or his assignes at the more of Grenehow from tyme to tyme after trown weight, ande thei, at ther own proper costes ande chairgies, shall cary away frome the seide more all as is delyverde to theme unto ther baill hyllis in the Bishopesyde; also it is covenaundit ande agreade that the seide Marmaduke Bayn, John Parkynsone ande Willyam Lupton shall have alloued for every fader of thame delyverde of leede unto the seide abbot or his assignes at their foreseide bayll hylles eight loodes of ure, providet alway that all the seide leede shalbe weide after it be burnede at the sight of the seide abbot or his assignes, also providede that the seide Marmaduke, John ande Willyam ande every one of theme shall at eny tyme hereafter, whensoever it shall please the seide abbot to discharge theme or eny of theme of the occupacion or burnenge of his seide ure, peayable to leiffe of, further occupyenge therof or eny dame makynge therto; also the seide Marmaduke, John ande Willyam covenaundith, grauntith ande by theis presentes byndeth themeselfe trewly to delyver all the lei de that shall cum be of the seide ure in goode ande sufficient weight unto the seide abbot or his assignes, ande no parte nor parcell therof to eny odre persone or persones, nor also of the blake warke if he wyll pay therfore as odre wyll, providet alway that the seide Marmaduc, John ande Will yam shall take no maner of wodde of the seide abbotte’s for the burnynge of his ure or eny odre, excepte it be solde ande delyverede unto theme by the seide abbot, his officers for the tyme beynge or assignes, ande for trew performaunce of the premissies as shall apperteyn unto ther partis the seide Marmaduke, John ande Willyam standeth boundon by obligacion to the seide abbot ande his convent in 40 poundes sterlynge, in witnes wherof the parties aforeseide hath enterchaungeable put to ther sealles to theis indentors. Y even the day ande yere above written.

This agreement has been summarised by Dr Raistrick and Professor Jennings and was referred to by the latter.

Fountains was granted the right to mine all metals in the forest of Nidderdale by Roger de Mowbray, the iron and lead there being confirmed to the abbey by Roger’s wife, Alice de Gant. The lead which formed the subject of this agreement had probably been mined on Greenhow Hill in the area of SE 1163, where many early bell-pits survive, and was to be transported to the other side of the Nidd to Bishopside for smelting, perhaps at the field called Bale Hill.

The process of smelting lead in a bole has been described by Dr Raistrick and Professor Jennings. It is not certain what size of fother is referred to in this agreement, although it would certainly be in excess of 2,000lbs.  The black work mentioned in the agreement refers to the resmelting of slag.

From: The Fountains Abbey Lease Book, No 203. Published by the Yorkshire Archaeological Society 1981