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Viewing swaag.org website implies consent to set cookies on your computer. Full details Swaledale and Arkengarthdale Archaeology Group
Registered Charitable Incorporated Organisation Number 1155775
SWAAG Honorary President:
Tim Laurie FSA

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 *****SWAAG_ID***** 282
 Date Entered 04/10/2011
 Updated on 18/11/2012
 Recorded by Alan and Judith Mills
 Category Mining Related
 Record Type Mining
 Site Access Private
 Record Date 29/09/2011
 Location Fremington Edge on the south side of the wall separating the moor from the enclosed land
 Civil Parish Grinton
 Brit. National Grid SE 053 996
 Altitude 410m
 Geology Limestone (Main Lime?)
 Record Name Bale sites (for smelting lead ore)
 Record Description Prior to the introduction of water-powered smelt mills ca.1580, bales were used to smelt lead ore. A bale was little more than a simple wind-blown structured bonfire, fuelled with wood, peat and sometimes coal.
There are a large number of bales in this area extending along the top of the fields above Hagg Plantation and below the track which runs along the top of Fremington Edge from Reels Head (known as Wayne's Way)- see Google Earth image. In addition to the bale sites there are also several small limestone quarries, possibly to make lime for use in the smelting process.
Two bale sites were recorded by Stephen Eastmead & Alan Mills in September 2011 and are noted here; one at SE 06039 99272 (site 1), the other at SE 05983 99333 (site 2). Both sites have small amounts lead ore (Galena) present. Site 2 seems to be situated on a small natural limestone outcrop. This would be unusual - see below.
The site was revisited in March 2012 by Alan Mills & Richard Smith who identified a number of other bales. The bales are located on two sandstone benches with a band of limestone in between. Smelters seemed to prefer sandstone as it would not crack as readily as limestone, which would allow molten lead to escape. The bale sites were identified by the visible presence of lead silicate, lead prill and splatter and occasional glazed stones. Examination of the sites found no barytes or calcite, although the latter would probably have burnt off to form quick lime which would be washed away by rain. This suggests high quality dressed ore was smelted here. It is difficult to identify precisely where the bales were located. The spread of material and the presence of a number of shallow pits suggests the bales were dug out to recover any remaining lead and slag. This was probably ca. 1660 when Les Tyson (see - A history of the manor and lead mines of Marrick; British Mining 38; 1989; p23) notes that 925 horse loads of slag were removed from the old bale hill sites on Fremington Edge to be re-smelted in the slag hearth of the Low Mill, Marrick.

The site is probably medieval in date and potentially of national importance. Photos 1 - 6 by Stephen Eastmead & Alan Mills. All others by Alan Mills. Note that the field notes are by Richard Smith.
 Image 1 ID 1058         Click image to enlarge
 Image 1 Description Google Earth image of Hagg high fields showing bale / quarry / scree area
 Image 2 ID 1059         Click image to enlarge
 Image 2 Description Hagg bale site 1
 Image 3 ID 1060         Click image to enlarge
 Image 3 Description Hagg bale site 1
 Image 4 ID 1061         Click image to enlarge
 Image 4 Description Lead ore (galena) at bale site 1
 Image 5 ID 1062         Click image to enlarge
 Image 5 Description Hagg bale site 2; note the natural limestone base
 Image 6 ID 1063         Click image to enlarge
 Image 6 Description Small pieces of lead ore (galena) at bale site 2
 Image 7 ID 2538         Click image to enlarge
 Image 7 Description Lead and lead silicate attached to a stone indicating it had been in a bale during smelting
 Image 8 ID 2539         Click image to enlarge
 Image 8 Description Lead glaze on a stone indicating it had been in a bale during smelting
 Image 9 ID 2540         Click image to enlarge
 Image 9 Description Lead silicate run-off indicating that the stone had been in a bale during smelting
 Image 10 ID 2541         Click image to enlarge
 Image 10 Description A line of shallow pits with spoil below, including stones similar to above - two of the pits are marked out. It is likely that these mark the sites of the bales which were later dug out to recover any remaining lead and/or slag.
 Image 11 ID 2542
 Image 11 Description The following images are of Richard Smith's field notes and provide details of the bales identified
 Image 12 ID 2543
 Image 12 Description Richard Smith's field notes page 2
nb the NGR for entry 591 should read SE 06040 99282 not as shown
 Image 13 ID 2544
 Image 13 Description Richard Smith's field notes page 3
 Image 14 ID 2545
 Image 14 Description Richard Smith's field notes page 4
 Image 15 ID 2546
 Image 15 Description Richard Smith's field notes page 5
 Image 16 ID 2547
 Image 16 Description Richard Smith's field notes page 6
 Image 17 ID 2548
 Image 17 Description Richard Smith sitting by one of the bales
 Image 18 ID 3692
 Image 18 Description Marrick Priory land map
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