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Home > Mines, Quarries & Sites > Rookhope Old Lead Smelt Mill

Rookhope Old (Rispey) Lead Smelt Mill (United Kingdom)


This was the first smeltmill in the Rookhope Valley. The remains of the early mill can still be seen tucked into the hillside near the Rookhope Burn. There would have been one orehearth with an air blast powered by a small watershed. A slightly larger mill was built in 1700 and operated till 1740 when Lintzgarth Mill was built.

The old smelt mill at Rookhope was seriously damaged in 2000 by an emergency operation to contain polluted minewater from the recently closed Frazer's Complex just upstream.

According to press reports, the Environment Agency, in their haste, failed to check their own lists of protected ancient monuments before constructing lagoons to contain the minewater which was about to come out of the Tailrace Level into Rookhope Burn. Apparently the agency had failed to consult the county archaeologist and had not responded to his telephoned attempts to intervene. Sadly 60% of the site was destroyed.

A full dig was later carried out to see what could be saved and the Agency agreed to continue work at the site from mid-February under the supervision of an archaeologist.

While the Agency would be acting with the best of motives in an emergency, one can't help but wonder why they shouldn't have checked their lists in any case. Let us hope that something was learnt from this sorry affair.


Photos of Rookhope Old Lead Smelt Mill

Photographs Of Rookhope Old (Rispey)
Photographs Of Rookhope Old (Rispey) (0 photos)
Last updated October 29th 2009 by Jimbo
Historic Photographs Of Rookhope Old (Rispey)
Historic Photographs Of Rookhope Old (Rispey) (0 photos)
Last updated October 29th 2009 by Jimbo

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Major Mining Region

Rookhope Old Lead Smelt Mill belongs to the Durham Dales region.

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