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´╗┐Title: Iron Making in the Olden Times - as instanced in the Ancient Mines, Forges, and Furnaces of The Forest of Dean
Author: Nicholls, H. G. (Henry George), 1825-1867
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Iron Making in the Olden Times - as instanced in the Ancient Mines, Forges, and Furnaces of The Forest of Dean" ***

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                         [Picture: Frontispiece]


                      AND EXACT LOCAL INVESTIGATION:

                      BY REV. H. G. NICHOLLS, M.A.,




The remarkable revival and development that has recently taken place in
the Iron Works of the Forest of Dean, and the consequent improvement
which has accrued to the district, proves conclusively that its condition
and prospects are largely dependent upon such manufacture.  Impressed
with this fact, it has occurred to the Author that a more particular
account of them than has been given in his former work on the Forest
might prove interesting to the numerous individuals with whom they are

For several years past this subject has been upon his mind, during which
time he has fully availed himself of the contents of the Forestal
Archives belonging to the Middle Ages, and appropriated all the
information, as he believes, which the neighbourhood itself affords.

He respectfully submits the produce to the perusal of those gentlemen and
friends who may favour these pages with their attention.

In coming before them for the third time, he cannot retire from so
interesting a neighbourhood without requesting them to consider this as
his final mark of appreciation and gratitude for the invariable kindness
they have so long shown him.

                                                                  H. G. N.

_April_, 1866.


If there be one circumstance more than another that has conferred
celebrity on the Forest of Dean, it is _the remote origin_,
_perpetuation_, _and invariably high repute of its iron works_.  Uniting
these characteristics in one, it probably surpasses every other spot in
Great Britain.

In the author's former "historical account" of this neighbourhood, he
gave all the information he had then collected relative to the mining and
making of iron therein.  Since that time, he has greatly extended his
investigations, especially {1} amongst the records of the Court of
Exchequer.  The result is, that he believes he is now enabled to present
to the public the most complete description that has yet appeared of the
manufacture of iron during the Middle Ages, detailing, in the first
place, all the particulars he has gathered of the operations of the
primitive miner, or iron worker, and proceeding, in chronological order,
to the present time.

In the year 1780, wrote Mr. Wyrrall, in his valuable MS. on the ancient
iron works of the Forest:--

    "There are, deep in the earth, vast caverns scooped out by men's
    hands, and large as the aisles of churches; and on its surface are
    extensive labyrinths worked among the rocks, and now long since
    overgrown with woods, which whosoever traces them must see with
    astonishment, and incline to think them to have been the work of
    armies rather than of private labourers.  They certainly were the
    toil of many centuries, and this perhaps before they thought of
    searching in the bowels of the earth for their ore--whither, however,
    they at length naturally pursued the veins, as they found them to be
    exhausted near the surface."

Such were the remains, as they existed in his day, of the original iron
mines of this locality; and, except where modern operations have
obliterated them, such they continue to the present time.

The fact of their presenting no trace of engineering skill, or of the use
of any kind of machinery, is conclusive of their remote antiquity.  Nor
are there any traces of gunpowder having been employed in them; but this,
Mr. John Taylor says, was not resorted to for such purposes earlier than
1620, when some German miners, brought over by Prince Rupert, used it at
Ecton, in Staffordshire.

It is the unanimous opinion of the neighbourhood that these caves owe
their origin to the predecessors of that peculiar order of operatives
known as "the free miners of the Forest of Dean;" a view which the
authentic history of the district confirms.

They have the appearance either of spacious caves, as above Lydney and on
the Doward Hill, or of deep stone quarries, as at the Scowles, near
Bream.  Or they consist of precipitous and irregularly shaped passages,
left by the removal of the ore or mineral earth wherever it was found,
and which was followed down, in some instances, for many hundreds of

                 [Picture: Ancient Mine Work near Bream]

Openings were made to the surface according as the course of the mine-ore
permitted, being softer to work than the limestone rock that contained
it, thus securing efficient ventilation.  Hence, although they have been
so long deserted, the air in them is perfectly good.  They are also quite
dry--owing, probably, to their being drained by the new workings adjacent
to them, and descending to a far greater depth.

In the first place, they were excavated as far down, no doubt, as the
water permitted; that is, to a vertical depth of about 100 yards, or, in
dry seasons, even lower, as may be seen by the watermarks left in some of
them.  Of these deeper workings, one of the most extensive occurs on the
Lining Wood Hill, above Mitcheldean, and is well worth exploring.  They
are met with, however, on most sides of the Forest--in fact, wherever the
ore crops out, giving the name of "meand," or mine, to such places.

Generally speaking, those spots where the ore lay exposed to view, would
be apt to secure the notice of the earlier miners, and become the site of
their more ancient workings.  Not until they were pretty nearly exhausted
would the severer labour involved in the lower diggings be resorted to.
The shallower but more capacious mine holes appear with greater frequency
on the south and west sides of the Forest, where, too, they were nearer
to the water carriage of the Severn and the Wye.  In most instances they
are locally termed "scowles," a corruption, perhaps, of the British word
"crowll," meaning cave.  Occasionally they are found adorned with
beautiful incrustations of the purest white, formed by springs of
carbonate of lime, originating in the rocky walls of limestone around.
Sometimes, after proceeding for a considerable distance closely confined
in height and width, they suddenly open out into spacious vaults, fifteen
feet each way, the site, probably, of some valuable "pocket" or "churn"
of ore; and then again, where the supply was less abundant, narrowing
into a width hardly sufficient to admit the human body.  Now and then,
the passage divides and unites again, or abruptly stops, turning off at a
sharp angle, or, changing its level, shows rude steps cut in the rock, by
which the old miners ascended or descended.

                    [Picture: Ancient Miners' Ladder]

In some of these places, ladders, made out of hewn oak planks, with holes
chopped through them for the feet, have been discovered.  Mattocks, such
as masons use, have likewise been met with, as well as oak shovels for
collecting the ore.  Shoe prints, and even shoe-leathers have also been
found, although the latter are supposed to have been seldom used, judging
from the more frequent occurrence of naked foot marks.  Long immersion in
the chalybeate water of the mine has blackened the oak, and corroded the
iron; nevertheless, these relics are surprisingly perfect.  The new road
over the Plump Hill exposed in its formation, in 1841, an ancient mine
hole, in which was found a heap of half-consumed embers, and the skull of
what appeared, from its tusks, to be that of a wild boar; the remains,
perhaps, of a feast given by our Forest ancestors.  Similar vestiges have
been met with in other spots.

             [Picture: Sole and Upper Leather of an old Shoe]

                         [Picture: Oaken Shovel]

                       [Picture: Iron Mattock head]

The earliest historical allusions to these underground works is made by
Camden, who records that a gigantic skeleton was found in a cave on the
Great Doward Hill, now called "King Arthur's Hall," being evidently the
entrance to an ancient iron mine.  The next refers to the period of the
great rebellion, when the terrified inhabitants of the district are said
to have fled to them for safety, when pursued by the troops with which
the Forest was infested.

            [Picture: King Arthur's Hall on the Great Doward]

But, whilst no previous mention of these caverns is to be found, nor
dates anywhere inscribed on their rocky walls, a clue, as to when and by
whom they were first wrought, is given in connection with their metallic
products, that abound near them in the state of iron cinders.  Thus it is
recorded by Mr. Wyrrall, in his MS. description of this subject, that--

    "Coins, fibulae, and other things, known to be in use with the
    Romans, have been frequently found in the beds of cinders at certain
    places.  This has occurred particularly at the village of Whitchurch,
    between Ross and Monmouth, where large stacks of cinders have been
    found, some of them eight or ten feet under the surface, and
    demonstrating, without other proof, that they must have lain there
    for a great number of ages.  The writer had opportunities of seeing
    many of these coins and fibulae, &c., which have been picked up by
    the workmen in getting the cinders, in his time; but especially one
    coin of Trajan, which he remembers was surprisingly perfect,
    considering the length of time it must have been in the ground.
    Another instance occurs to his recollection of a little image of
    brass, about four inches long, which was then found in the cinders in
    the same place, being a very elegant female figure in a dancing
    attitude, and evidently antique by the drapery."

Numerous other Roman vestiges, on every side of the Forest, may be
adverted to.  No great distance from Whitchurch, and immediately
adjoining this neighbourhood on the north, is the site of Ariconium,
marked by numerous traces of the hardware manufacture of that people.
Near Lydney and Tidenham, discoveries of Roman relics have been
extensively made.  At Lydbrook, and on the Coppet Wood Hill, at Perry
Grove, and Crabtree Hill, all within or near the Forest--the last being
situated in the middle of it--many coins of Philip, Gallienus,
Victorinus, and of Claudius Gothicus, have been brought to light.  We
possess indisputable testimony, from Mr. Lower's researches in the old
iron-making parts of Sussex, that the Romans there carried on
metallurgical operations at an early period, and we may claim a like
antiquity for our Dean Forest workings.  An examination of the
cinder-heaps that still occur, especially in the precincts of the mines
already described, reveals, beyond doubt, the antecedents of the mineral
operations of the neighbourhood.

Considering the _extent_ of the excavations from whence these metallic
relics were procured, it is not surprising that these mounds of slag
continue to be constantly met with.  Two hundred years ago, they were of
course much more abundant, having formed since that period a large part
of the supply to the iron furnaces of this district.  They are yet
numerous enough to catch the eye wherever the observer may direct his
steps, either along the retired lane, or in the secluded valley.  The
fields and orchards, gardens and precincts of the Forest villages, are
nearly sure to contain them.  Two localities, viz. Cinderford and
Cinderhill, no doubt derive their names from them.  In some places they
have proved so abundant as to have enhanced the value of the land
containing them.  They even occur on elevated spots, exposed to every
wind, and remote from human habitations.  Nor is their existence to be
limited to the Forest, or even to the Gloucestershire side of the Wye,
since the Rev. T. W. Webb states--

    "In many parts of the district of Irchinfield, in Herefordshire,
    cinders are found in the road, or dispersed in the fields; and in
    many places heaps of them have been discovered.  I would particularly
    specify the parishes of Tretire with Michaelchurch, Peterstow, great
    heaps at St. Weonards, and Llangarren.  In the last century, enormous
    heaps were found at considerable depth in 'the Brook End,' a street
    of Ross.  Near Rudhall, the roads were repaired with them."

Their _character_ is peculiar, exhibiting by no means complete fusion,
but rather semi-vitrifaction by roasting; the ore retaining, not
unfrequently, a large measure of its original weight and form, explained,
as Dr. Percy kindly informs me, by charcoal being the fuel employed, and
not necessarily arising from want of skill in the operatives.  They are
said to vary in richness according as they belong to an earlier or later
period--so much so, that some persons have ventured, on this data, to
specify their respective ages; but other causes may have produced this
difference.  They exhibit, however, some slight variation of character,
indicative, it may be--for so Mr. Wyrrall considered--of relative age,
according as they are found to have left in them less or more of the
metallic element.

It is impossible to mistake them for common cinders; nor do they resemble
the slag of the modern smelting furnace.  In fact, they are _sui
generis_, and can only be met with where the manufacture of iron was
anciently carried on.

Though the constant occurrence of wood embers with the old cinders is
conclusive proof that charcoal was the fuel invariably used, yet how it
was employed can hardly be determined with exactness, except from what is
known of the elementary plans in early use amongst other people, the
Egyptians, for instance, the natives of Central Africa, or the
iron-workers of Madagascar.  A strong draught must necessarily have been
made to pass through the ignited fuel, either by placing the furnace so
as to take the wind, or by forming it on the principle of the modern wind
furnace.  Or the required blast might have been created by means of
wooden cylinders, or leathern bags, alternately compressed by the hands
or feet.  Water-power was rarely, if ever, resorted to at this remote
date, since cinders are seldom found near brooks or streams.

In common with everything else relating to the manufactures of the
kingdom, Domesday Book is silent respecting the mines, iron works, and
miners of the Forest.  Adverting, however, to this otherwise invaluable
return, we learn from it that Edward the Confessor was accustomed to
demand from the citizens of Gloucester, "thirty-six dicres of iron, and a
hundred elongated iron rods for bolts for the king's ships,"--(xxxvi.
dicras ferri & c. virgas ferreas ductiles ad clavos navium Regis).  The
nearest, and indeed, the only locality, within a distance of many miles,
from whence the forgemen of Gloucester could have obtained their iron,
was this neighbourhood.  Hence the metal they used came from the Forest.

Less than a hundred years later, and all doubt on this point is removed
by a notification in the Great Rolls of the Pipe, that 16s. worth of iron
was sent, in 1158, to Wudestock (Woodstock) by the king's order, besides
8s. worth more for repairs at his palace.  An observation of Geraldus,
describing the tour he made through Wales in 1188, speaks of the "noble
Forest of Dean, by which Gloucester was amply supplied with iron and
venison." {11a}

The first charter granted to the Abbey of Flaxley, by Henry II., whilst
Duke of Normandy, and therefore previous to 1154, in which year he came
to the throne, specifies an iron work at Edlaud, now Elton, near
Westbury, on the eastern side of the Forest. {11b}  His second charter,
when king, is more explicit, and describes "an iron forge, free and quit,
with as free liberty to work as any of his forges in demesne," showing
that he possessed several.  The allowance of two oaks per week, wherewith
the monks might feed their forge, although not mentioned until 42 Henry
III. (1258), when they were commuted for the tract of land yet called the
Abbot's Woods, were granted most likely at this period, and afford some
data for determining the capacity of the Flaxley works.

At the commencement of his reign (1216), Henry III. commanded "John de
Monmouth to cause Richard de Eston to have his forge working in the
Forest of Dean, at Staunton, according to the Charter of Henry II." {12a}

In the same year, "the Constable of St. Briavell is ordered to remove,
without delay, all forges from the Forest of Dean, except the King's
demesne forges, which belong to the Castle of St. Briavell, and ought to
be sustained with trunks and old trees wherever they are found in the
demesnes in the Forest--excepting two forges belonging to Ralph Avenell,
concerning which he has the charter of King John, and excepting four
'Blissahiis;' Will. de Dene, & Robert de Alba Mara, & Will. de Abbenhale,
& Thomas de Blakencia, and excepting the forges of our servants of St.
Briavells, which ought to be sustained with dry and dead wood." {12b}

Under date 4 Henry III. (1220), "John de Monmouth is commanded not to
permit any forge to work, either with green or dry wood, in the Forest of
Dean, besides the demesne forges; and to let all those know who have had
forges, and who claim to have them by charter or letters patent of our
(the king's) ancestors, or our special precepts, that they are to come
without delay before H. de Burg, our justiciary, and our counsel, with
those letters and charters, that it may be known who may have forges and
who may not." {13a}

The inference to be drawn from such prohibitory investigations is, that,
owing to the remunerative character of the Forest iron works, they had
become undesirably numerous, causing an inexpedient waste of the
adjoining woods, besides hampering the rights of the Crown.

An immediate effect ensued, as the following memoranda show:--

In the same year as aforesaid, "John de Monmouth is commanded to permit
the Abbot and Monks of Flaxlegh to have their forge working in the Forest
of Dean, according to the charter of Richard I. (which they have
thereof), in the same manner as they had it in the time of King John,
notwithstanding that all forges are prohibited in the Forest except the
demesne forges." {13b}

In the same year, John de Monmouth is commanded "to permit Walter de Lacy
to have his forge (fabrica) in the Forest of Dean as he was accustomed to
have it, temp. Hen. II. and John, which was prohibited at the time of our
general prohibition."  Now, also, John de Monmouth received the king's
directions as follows:--"William Fitz-Warren has shown the king that
whereas Walter de Lacy gave him a forge, which the said Walter and his
ancestors have been accustomed to have, temp. Hen. II., Ric. I., and
John, and which was prohibited in our general prohibition--we command you
to allow the said William to have the said forge (fabrica) moveable in
the Forest; but that the forge which the said Walter erected without our
order shall remain quiet (remanenta otiosa)."

The next year, 1221, John de Monmouth is ordered to allow Philip de
Bantun, Rob. de Alba Mara, John de Lacy, Will. de Dene, Will de
Abbenhale, and Thomas de Blakeney, foresters of fee in the Forest of
Dean, and Nigell Hathway, Martin de la Boze, John Fitz-Hugh, Richard
Wither, Rob. Fitz-Warren, Will. Cadel, John Blund, Alexander de Staurs,
Roger Wither, John Fitz-Gadway, serventes de feods, to have their
"forgias itinerantes ad mortuum et siccum" as they were accustomed to
have them temp. Ric. I. and John. {14a}  A similar privilege was granted,
the same year, to Matilda de Cautilupe and Henry, Earl of Warwick--the
latter at Lidenie--to have their "forgia," as well as to Walter de Aure
to have his "forgia itinerans," and Richd. de Estun his "fabrica." {14b}
So, likewise, in 1223 (7 Hen. III.), the Monks of Flaxlegh were directed
to have "forgiam suam," as in the time of King John.

A document {14c} without a date, but unquestionably belonging to the
early part of the reign of Hen. III., to whom it seems to be addressed by
way of an official report on the state of the Forest, affords the
earliest compendium that has been discovered of the extent of its iron
works at this period.

Concerning the "Fabricis," these authorities say, that the Monks of
Flaxley have "unam fabricam arrantem" at Ardland, in the Forest of our
lord the King, and have, where they please, each week, two oaks, &c. &c.

Mabilia de Cautelup has one "fabricam arrantem," at Ettelaw, and three
"fossatas" of green wood and one oak for the same, &c.  They say, also,
that John Malemort (gruyer) holds one "fabricam," &c., and fells one oak
each week, where he pleases.

They likewise say that the constable of St. Briavel's Castle holds, in
the same place, "unam fabricam," which is sustained by what is felled for
the "fabricam" of the said John, and by other perquisites, &c.

Concerning the "Fabricis" which are situated in the vills of the forest.
They say that at Bicknour are sometimes four "fabrica," and sometimes
two, and sometimes three, from which the Constable takes for each "VIIs.
if they be 'arrantes continue' for one year; and the forester, who is
forsooth lord of each vill, receives IIId. any way per week from each
fabrica; and they are sustained by charcoal made in Wallea, and by
perquisites in the Forest."  They say, too, that at Ruwardin there are at
one time or other "V. fabrica arrantes," and sometimes less, in the same
way as the constable and lord of each vill take, as aforesaid.

They say also that at Magnam Dene are "VIIIto fabricae arrantes" of
charcoal, made without the Forest bounds; and the constable and lord of
Dene and of Abbenhal take of the above-named "fabricae" as is first of
all stated.

They say also that at Parvam Dene are "IIIIor. fabricae arrantes" of the
perquisites in the Forest, and sometimes also of charcoal made beyond the
Forest bounds, and from thence the constable and lord of the same will
take as has been already said.

They say also that Nigel of Lideneye holds one "fabricam," at Lideneye,
"arrantem" sometimes from the forest, and sometimes with charcoal made in
Wallea, from whence the constable receives VIIs. per annum.

They say, too, that Walter de Ewies holds one "fabricam arrantem at
Lideneye, from whence in the same manner the constable takes as has been
said before."

Peculiar interest seems to attach to the above return, not only from its
high antiquity, but also because it gives other instances besides that of
the monks of Flaxley, in which oak trees were granted to individuals for
sustaining their forges.  The wording of the report likewise indicates a
new meaning, and, no doubt, the correct one--of the term "arrantes," as
applied to the forges, which it proves to signify _fed_, _supported_,
_replenished_, &c., and not _moveable_, as has been heretofore
supposed--a term that seems singularly appropriate, considering how
rapidly charcoal fuel burns away when urged by a strong blast, and, in
consequence, the frequent necessity of renewing it.  Besides which, the
forge would have to be repeatedly fed with fresh charges of ore.

Gloucester was for ages doubtless the market to which a large portion of
the iron made in the Forest of Dean was sent for sale; and so superior
was its quality, that Gloucestria, or Glovernia, hardware was much sought
after.  The following letter--addressed by Simon de Surtiz to Ralph de
Wareham, Bishop of Chichester, 1217-1223, or Ralph Neville, who held the
see 1223-1245, relative to the purchase of iron, affords an instance of
this fact:--

    "I have inspected the letters of his Lordship H. de Kynard, sent to
    us by you, and which I transmit to your holiness, signifying that he
    has taken amiss your command respecting the iron to be bought,
    writing to you that x. marks for the one lot of iron, and c. shilling
    for the other lot, ought to do.

    "Wherefore since the same H. has not rightly understood your command,
    if it pleases you to write to him, you will that he have made for you
    x. marks of inferior iron, supposing he is able to do so.  But if
    otherwise, then that it be v. marks of the heavier and v. marks of
    the lighter sort, and that the kind made at Gloucester is what is

    "If it please you, write also to the Lord Abbot of Gloucester, so
    that he work with care for my Lord of Winchester, your guest, that he
    be as easy as he can about the iron, and without delay.

                                  * * * * *

    "Moreover, my Lord H. de Kynard consults you that the iron may be
    wanted at Bristol and not at Gloucester.  But if he yield to your
    wish I would recommend you that it be brought to Gloucester, as more
    easy, and without risk.  I await your convenience until you can be
    brought to Winchester."

Amongst the Patent Rolls of the 17th of this same reign (1233), is one
entitled "De Forgeis Levand," in Foresta de Dene.  And, in 1255, there is
another relating to forges in the same. {17}

The issues in money to the Crown, from the mining and making of iron in
the Forest, were stated by James Treysil, Custos of the Castle and Manor
of St. Briavels, to have amounted to the following sums for the year
commencing 13 Jan., 39 Hen. III. (1255), and ending 16 Nov., 40 Hen. III.

pounds         s.             d.
22             10             0                 from the king's
                                                great forge, placed
                                                out at farm for the
                                                time aforesaid.
8              4              6                 from foreign forges
                                                _i.e._, beyond the
                                                limits of the
                                                Forest, for the
                                                same period).
4              9              3                 from forges within
                                                the Forest.
23             1              4                 from the great and
                                                little mines.
58             5              1

The king's "great forge," mentioned above, yielded, in after years, 26
pounds 19s. 3d. to the Custos, but was ere long suppressed, as
detrimental to the Forest woods.  Its being named here suggests a
solution of the term "levantis," or small, generally given to the other
forges of the district.  They were urged, probably, with such bellows as
may be seen carved on an ancient tombstone in Newland Churchyard.

In the year 1841, when that part of the old road leading up to the
Hawthorns from Hownal was altered, near the brook, below Rudge Farm, the
hearths of five small forges, cut out of the sandstone rock, and
curiously pitched round the bottom with small pebbles, were laid open.
An iron tube, seven or eight inches long, and one inch and a half bore,
apparently the nozzle of a pair of bellows, was also found; as well as
scores of old tobacco-pipes, as they seemed, bits of iron, much rusted,
and broken earthenware, besides a piece of silver coin.  Unfortunately,
none of these articles were preserved, or they might have thrown some
light on the subject.

The Fabric Rolls of Westminster Abbey, under date 37 Hen. III. (1253),
contain the ensuing items:--

                        s.                      d.
To Henry de Pont, for   14                      0
iron bolts
To Richard de Celir,    21                      0
for four hundred iron
clamps from
Gloucester (4 lbs.)
For carriage of the     3                       4
same iron
To Richard de Celir,    16                      0
for rods of iron from
Gloucester (10 lbs.)
For carriage of the     6                       8

Thus widely spread was the good fame of the Forest metal.

By an Inquisition of the 52 Hen. III. (1268), to ascertain what
privileges the abbot and convent of Tynterne were accustomed to have in
the Forest, the jurors returned that--"the said abbot and convent, by
charters of the King's predecessors, are accustomed to have mines in the
Forest for their own forge freely, and have never given anything for the
said mines." {19}

They reported, also, that "by charters of the Earl of Hereford it was
granted to the said abbot and convent to have another forge in the said
Forest, which was in use in the time of the said jurors."

Ralph de Sandwico, Custos of the Castle and Manor of St. Briavels, in his
return of monies received on behalf of the Crown from the iron mines and
forges during the 4th of Edward I. (1276), {20a} states as paid:--

pounds         s.             d.
23             6              9.5               from the great and
                                                little mines of
                                                iron and coal.
11             6              0                 for rent of forges
                                                in the Forest.
5              15             0                 by sale of cinders

This last item seems to show that even then it was customary to use the
old cinders left from the still more ancient workings.

A regard of the Forest, {20b} taken the 10th Edward I. (A.D. 1282), "De
Forgeis in Foresta," records:--

    "It has been presented by the regarders that many 'forgiae errantes'
    have been and are still in the Forest, and that those who have held
    and still hold them commit many evils in the Forest, above the wood
    and beneath it, both by injuring the trees as well as by means of
    their forges, great detriment being done in the Forest by them and
    their wood colliers.  And these are the names of such as have held or
    still hold them, viz.:--

    "_Of Parva Dene_.--Ralph Page, William the sharesmith, Thomas Hewlin,
    William of Hereford, John of Hereford--in all 5.

    "_Of Blakeney_.--Hugo Textor, together with Walter of Blakeney, Adam
    of Erlyxforde (Ayleford), John Boyce--altogether 3.

    "_Of Ettelano_ (Etloe).--Richard Pole.

    "_Of Lideneye_.--John Scot, Stephen Edys.

    "_Of East Sancto Briavello_.--Roger Spore, Adam Betrech, Stephen
    Marlemort, Nicholas the Pichehere, John Hurel, Philipp Martin, Henry
    the Bole, Adam Fitawe, Richard Walensis, John Missor, Henry Fitz
    William of Tullic, William the jailer, William of
    Ruerdean--altogether 13.

    "_Of Staunton_.--Robert le Noreys, Godfrey le Stempore, William
    Dorby, Nigel de Staunton, Adam le Coliere, Thomas the jailer, William
    Cambel, Peter le Monner, Philipp the clerk, William Clayneberd--in
    all 10.

    "_Of Bikemore_ (English Bicknor).--Walter Pisum, another by the same.

    "_Of Hopo Malhoysel_ (Hope Mansel).--The Abbot of Gloucester, Henry
    Duke of Gloucester.

    "_Of Reruwardin_.--William, son of Matilda, Roger Fowel, Nicholas
    Charlemayne, Thomas Mone, Roger Kingessone, Thomas le Leye, William
    Baret, William Jordan--altogether 8.

    "_Of Magna Dene_.--Adam Simund, Robert le Paumer, Reginald Balloc,
    Hugo le Paumer, Robert de la Zone, Galfrid the Nailer, Robert Dun,
    Thomas Balloc, Hugo Godwyn, Phelicia Pecoe, John Geffrey, Nicholas
    Drayclasz, Galfrid Dobel, Richard Strongbowe--in all 14."

According to this return, there were 60 forges (fabrica) at work in the
district of the Forest at this period.  Of these, 19 were situated on the
east side, towards Gloucester; 6 were on the south, towards the Severn;
23 were on the west, towards the Wye; and 12 were on the north, towards
Herefordshire.  Hence, they were most numerous on the east and west,
especially the latter, in accordance with the greater extent of the
ancient mine holes on that side.

The annual charge levied by the Crown for each forge was usually at the
rate of 13s. 6d., or a mark.  When otherwise--for in certain cases it
amounted to 20s.--it arose, probably, from some local circumstances
connected with the quantity or quality of the iron made at that
particular work.

Taken altogether, the forges in the Forest now yielded the king more than
30 pounds every twelve months.

They were leased for periods varying from three months to twenty years,
although the general length approached much nearer to the shorter limit
than to the longer one.

By the same "regard," the iron mines are specified as follows:--

    "The jurors say that Ralph de Abenhalo hath a mine in the bailiwick
    of Abenhale.  And our Lord the King hath nothing except six semes
    (eight bushels) of mine ore each week, and giveth for it to the work
    people VId.

    "The Church of Michegros hath a mine in the bailiwick of Bikenore if
    it should be found (inventa).  Walter de Astune claims a mine in the
    bailiwick of Blackeneye, if it should be found.

    "Our Lord the King hath a mine in the bailiwick of Magna Dene, and he
    takes from each workman who shall gain every three days three semes
    of mine ore, 1d. per week.  And when a mine is first of all found,
    our Lord the King shall have one man working with the other workman
    in the mine, and hire him for 2d. a day, and he shall have such
    profit as he may find by the one workman.  Item, our Lord the King
    shall have from thence each week, six semes of mine ore, which is
    called 'Lawe ore.'  And he shall give for this to the workmen VId. a
    week. {22}

    "Our Lord the King hath in the bailiwick of the Birs, because there
    are there more mines than in the bailiwick of Dene, all as if in the
    bailiwick of Dene, this excepted, that he hath from thence each week
    XXIV. semes of mine, which is called 'Lawe ore.'  And he giveth for
    this to the workman, every seven days, 11s."

    "Our Lord the King hath in the bailiwick of Staunton a mine, and he
    takes from thence, all as if in the bailiwick of Magna Dene, this
    excepted, that our Lord the King shall have for each workman that
    gains each week three semes of mine ore, .5d. every seven days and
    not more.

    "Item, if our Lord the King shall have a 'forgeam arrantem,' the
    aforesaid workmen shall bring him mine ore for the supply of the
    aforesaid forge.  And our Lord the King shall give them for each seme

    "Item, our Lord the King shall have for each seme of mine ore that is
    taken out of the Forest, .5d.

    "And all that our Lord the King takes from the mine are put to farm
    for 46 pounds.

    "Item, in the bailiwick de Lacu is a mine, and our Lord Richard
    Talebat holds it, and it is unknown by what warrant.  And our Lord
    the King takes nothing from it.

    "Item, the Earl of Warwychiae hath a mine in his own wood of
    Lideneye, and our Lord the King takes nothing from it, except for the
    mine which is carried out of the Forest, a .5d.  The jurors say that
    the foresters take cooper's stuff out of the open woods from the
    miners to the inbondage of the miners, and work it for their own

From the above curious items it appears that the iron mines, in common
with the forges, were mostly situated on the Wye side of the Forest.  But
then the bailiwicks of Little Dean and Ruerdean are not included.

It would appear, too, that the ore was then measured by the bushel, as it
has been ever since, owing, of course, to its loose powdery nature, which
seems, therefore, to have been the sort preferred.

The other singular particulars descriptive of "lawe ore," &c., are
noticed elsewhere, in the second portion of this work, containing the
"Book of Dennis."

Another "Inquisition" exists, bearing date the 12th Edward II., {23} but
applying to the year commencing with Easter the 10th Edward II., or
thirty-five years later than the former return.  It was made at (Mitchel)
Dene, on the Wednesday before the feast of St. Nicholas (6th December),
by Lord Ralph de Abbendale and other foresters of fee, and by twelve

It assigns one "fabrica," consuming ten shillings' worth of wood-coal per
week, or 24 pounds yearly, to each of the following persons, located as

    "_At St. Briavel's_.--Nicholas Le Prichure (who makes ploughs),
    Philip Hurel (making 'grossum ferrum'), Richard Walencius, William
    FitzOsbert, Adam Betricz, Roger Spore, John Le Hayward, Stephen
    Malemort, William Bocod--in all 9.

    "_At Stanton_.--Philip Clerk, Thomas Jan,--Walding--total 3.

    "_At Ruwardyn_.--Roger Fowel, Peter de Obre, William Buysche, John
    Kole, Celimon Le Dine, with William Le Smale, William FitzMaud,
    Thomas de Leye, Adam de Leye (making ploughs), Robert Smart, Peter de
    Huwale, Walter de Wyteling, Thomas de Leye--in all 12.

    "_At (Mitchel) Dene_.--Galfridus Dobel, Nicholas Draylax, John
    Geffray, Richard Stranglebowe, Richard de Gorstleye, Hugo Godewyne,
    Robert Down, Robert, son of Roger de Ponte, Hugo le Powmer, Margary
    de la Lond, Reginald Rouge, Robert Palmer, Thomas Bulloc--in all 13.

    "_Parva Dene_.--John Hereford, Thomas Lewelin--total 8.

    "_Erleyeforde_, i.e. Ayleford.--Adam de Erleyeforde, Robert Pote,
    Stephen Edy, John Schotticus--altogether 4."

If this list includes all the forges then at work in the Forest, a
diminution of seventeen had occurred during the last thirty-five years,
and apparently on the west side of the district.  Changes may also be
observed to have taken place in the owners, although several names are
met with a second time.

Considerable prosperity and steadiness continued to attend the mining and
making iron in the Forest, so as to render it eligible for the imposition
of tithes.  So, on the completion of Newland Church, at this period, the
Bishop of Llandaff, who presented to it, applied for and obtained from
Edward III., in the fourteenth year of his reign, A.D. 1341, a grant of
the tenth part of the ore raised in the neighbourhood, which, together
with the forest forges, yielded a rental of 34 pounds the same year.

To the Edwardian period, that has now, by the aid of the numerous records
already quoted, been so minutely substantiated, must be assigned the most
prosperous era of the Forest of Dean iron works.  A large portion of such
success is to be traced to the celebrity at this date of the great fair
in Gloucester.  It began annually on the eve of St. John Baptist's day,
and continued for the five days following.  Agricultural implements were
in much request at it, and even noblemen are said to have attended. {25b}

Other places, such as Caerleon, Newport, Barkley, Monmouth, and Trellech,
obtained their supplies of iron, or at least the mine-ore, from this
neighbourhood, the Forest miner having a certain status of his own, and
constituting, with his partners or "verns," a guild of considerable local
influence. {25c}

The heraldic crest (p. 67) forming part of a mutilated brass of the
fifteenth century, within the Clearwell Chapel of Newland Church, gives a
graphic representation of the iron miner equipped for his work, if not
actually engaged in it.  He is represented as wearing a cap, and holding
between his teeth a candle-_stick_, an appurtenance still in use amongst
the miners about Coleford, as may be observed by examining the
frontispiece to this volume, thus illustrating the primitive use and
significance of the phrase candle-_stick_.  With the small mattock in his
right hand, he would loosen the fine mineral earth lodged in the cavity
within which he worked, as occasion required, or else detach the metallic
incrustations lining its sides.  A light wooden mine hod, covered,
probably, with hide, hangs at his back by a shoulder-strap, fastened to
his belt.  His attire is completed by a thick flannel frock and leathern
breeches, tied with thongs below the knee.  The feet most likely were

          [Picture: Representation of Miners' and Smiths' Tools]

             [Picture: Representation of Iron Miners' Tools]

Other contemporary representations of the mining implements in use at
this time in the Forest occur at Abbenhall, where the west side of the
church tower, and also the font, exhibit panels carved with hammers,
shovels, &c.

Some persons of considerable experience have concluded that the ore was
washed ere placed in the forge.  The mounds of deep red earth that occur
in some parts of the Forest are supposed to establish this practice.  If
ever such was the custom, no other trace of it appears, and it is quite
unknown now.  In parts of South Wales, water may be used with advantage,
but were it applied to the mineral here, much would be washed away,
because of its finely divided state.

An interval of two centuries and upwards intervenes at this point.  No
data for determining the state of the Dean Forest iron works again occurs
until the reign of Elizabeth.  For the mean time, however, there seems
every probability that operations went on without intermission, although
some decline had apparently taken place.  Perhaps the dissolution of the
monasteries interrupted the works at Flaxley and Tintern, by causing the
discharge of the old hands and the employment of unskilled operatives in
their stead.

The domestic series of the State Papers enable the clue to be resumed
under date 30th June, 1566, when one William Humfrey, upon information
derived from some German miners, addressed a letter "to Sir Wm Cecill abt
the plenty of good iron contained in the Forest of Dean."  It was, no
doubt, the general rumour of this fact that rendered it an object of
spoliation to the would-be invaders from Spain in 1588.  At this date,
wire, drawn by strength of hand, is said to have been made at Sowdley.
For such kind of manufacture the Forest iron, from its toughness and
ductility, was admirably fitted, without requiring any essential change
in the mode of reducing the ore, although improved methods of doing so
were being adopted in other parts of the kingdom, particularly in Sussex.
That the old way of working lingered long in the northern counties
appears from a statement of Mr. Wyrrall's, to the effect that "The father
of the late Mr. James Cockshut of Pontypool found, some years ago, an old
man working by himself at a bloomary forge in a remote part of Yorkshire.
Being himself well acquainted with every branch of the iron trade and
works, he stayed with the man long enough to investigate and comprehend
his mode of working, and saw him work, with his own hands, a piece of
iron from the ore to the bar."

The earliest intimation of any decided alteration being adopted in the
manner of operating on the raw metal occurs in the terms of a "bargayne"
made by the Crown "wth Giles Brudges and others," {28} on 14th June,
1611, demising "libertye to erect all manner of workes, iron or other, by
lande or water, excepting wyer workes, and the same to pull downe,
remove, and alter att pleasure," with "libertye to take myne oare and
synders, either to be used att the workes or otherwise," &c.  By
"synders" is meant the refuse of the old forges, but which, by the new
process, could be made to yield a profitable per centage of metal, which
the former method had failed to extract.

Early in the year following (17 Feb. 1612), a similar "bargayne" was made
with no less a person than William, Earl of Pembroke, elder brother of
Sir Philip Herbert, one of James I.'s earliest favourites.  His high
position did not prevent him, therefore, from engaging in manufacture and
trade, only in the prosecution of them he would be made to pay
accordingly.  Thus, whilst the former party paid 3s. for each cord of
wood, the earl was charged 4s. for 12,000 cords yearly for twenty-one
years, or 200 pounds per annum, with 33 pounds 6s. 8d. besides, all for
fuel only.  He was, however, "to have allowance of reasonable fireboote
for the workmen out of the dead and dry wood, and to inclose a garden not
exceedinge halfe an acre to every howse, and likewise to inclose for the
necessity of the workes the number of XII. acres to every severall worke;
the howses and enclosures to be pulled downe and layd open as the workes
shall cease or remove."

Similar appreciation of the remunerative character of iron making occurs
in connection with a still more illustrious person.  There exists a
letter, dated 7 May, 1611, addressed by Sir Francis Bacon to Cecil, Lord
Salisbury, endorsed, "Ld Lisle, Sir F. Bacon, and others, to be preferred
in the sale intended in the Forest of Deane for some reasonable portion
of wood, for maintenance of their Wire-works, paying as any others."

The letter itself runs in these words:--

          "It may please your good Lordship,

    "Understanding that his Majesty will be pleased to sell some good
    portion of wood in the Forest of Deane, which lies very convenient to
    the Company's Wire Works at Tynterne and Whitebrooke, we are enforced
    to have recourse to your lordship, as to our Governor of the said
    Company, humbly praying your lordship to afford us some reasonable
    quantity thereof, the better to uphold the said works, whereof by
    information from our farmers there, we stand in such need, as without
    your lordship's favour we shall hardly be able to subsist any long
    time.  We do not entreat your lordship for any other or more easy
    price than that your lordship directs the sale of it to others; only
    we humbly pray for some preferment in the opportunity of the place
    where the woods lie, and in the quantity, as it may answer in some
    portion to our wants.  Herein, if your lordship will be pleased to
    favour us, then we humbly pray your lordship to direct us to some
    such persons as your Lordship resolves to employ in the business.
    And as we humbly take our leaves of your lordship,

                                       "Your lordship's humbly at command.


What success attended this application, or the enterprise which it was
intended to promote, does not appear.  Wealth flowed in from other
quarters, so that the great philosopher was relieved from the necessity
of trying to make money by making iron.  Tyntern, however, and also
Whitebrook, have ever since been connected with that kind of manufacture.

A third "bargayne," and corresponding with the two previous ones, was
agreed to on the 3rd May, 1615, with Sir Basil Brook, from whom rent in
kind was thus retained:--"iron, 320 tons p. annum, wch att xiill xs the
tonn, cometh to 4000 per an.: the rent reserved to be payd in iron by 40
tonns p. month, wch cometh to 500ll every month; so in toto yearelye

A proviso was added that--"The workes already buylt, onlye grantted wth
no power to remove them, but bound to mayntayne and leave them in good
case and repayre, wth all stock of hammers, anvils, and other necessarys
received att the pattentees' intyre," as also that "libertye for myne and
synders for supplying of the workes onlye, to be taken by delivery of the
miners att the price agreed uppon."

Great confidence was reposed in Sir Basil Brook, since he, with Robert
Chaldecott, obtained a contemporary grant of the office of clerk or
overseer of the iron works in the Forest for fifteen years. {31a}  But so
much did they abuse it, that ere three years had elapsed, a commission
was issued, 17 July, 1618, to Sir Thos. Brudnell, Sir John Tracy, Sir
William Cooke, and others, {31b} "to survey and examine the wastes made
in the Forest of Dean by Sir Basil Brooke and others, farmers of iron
works there."  In their report, one item states that "His Majestie, since
the erecting the iron works, had received a greater revenue than
formerly."  They were to proceed on interrogatories prepared by Sir Wm.
Throgmorton, Bart., who was himself engaged in the like manufacture,
{31c} being associated therein with Sir Sackville Crowe, Bart., John
Taylor, and John Guernsey, of Bristol, merchant farmers of his Majesty's
iron works.  Sir Edward and Sir John Winter, of Lydney, and Henry, Lord
Herbert of Ragland, had iron works as well.

In April, 1621, {31d} Messrs. Richd. Challoner and Phil. Harris, tenants
to Lord Robartes, appear to have succeeded to the works formerly held by
Sir Basil Brook.  Within four years, however, one Christ. Bainbridge
obtained judgment against them for cutting down 1200 trees for their own
purposes, but they were ultimately pardoned, as likewise their
predecessors, who had become liable for 33,675 pounds 16s. 8d.

The name of Sir Edwd. Villiers now appears {32} as renting iron works in
the Forest; then that of Sir Richd. Catchmay, having Wm. Rowles and Robt.
Treswell for his overseers.

Amidst these successive changes, the only person who seems to have
continued in uninterrupted possession of his works for making iron, was
William Earl of Pembroke, Lord Steward.  In 1627 he had the lease of them
renewed to him for twenty-one years.  By him, probably, the 610 guns were
cast, as ordered by the Crown for the States General of Holland, A.D.
1629.  The spot where they were made was, it would seem, ever after
called "Guns Mills," and by which name it is still known.  Guns Pill, on
the Severn, was the place, doubtless, where they were afterwards shipped.

An inventory, unique, probably, in its singularly explicit description of
the buildings and machinery used by the above-named manufacturers, and
bearing the date of 1635, happily came under Mr. Wyrrall's observation,
and was by him carefully transcribed.  We learn from it that the stone
body of the _furnace_ now used in the neighbourhood was usually about 22
feet square, the blast being kept up by a water-wheel not less than 22
feet in diameter, acting upon two pairs of bellows, measuring 18 feet by
4, and kept in blast for several months together.  Such structures
existed at Cannop, Park End, Sowdley, and Lydbrook.  Besides which, there
were _forges_, comprising chafferies and fineries, at Park End,
Whitecroft, Sowdley, and Lydbrook.

IN 1635.

"_Canop Furnace_.--Most pt new built, the rest repaired by the Farmers,
22ft square, wheel 22ft diamr.  Furnace box built years since by the
Farmers.  Bridge-house 48ft by 21, 9 high, built 4 years.  Bellows boards
18ft by 4.  Clerk's house and stable built by the Farmers.  A cottage
built by the Workmen belonging to the Works, now occupied by the Filler.
Built before the Farmers hired.  Founder's house, Minecracker's cabin, a
Mine Kiln.

"_Park Furnace_.--Same dimensions, repaired 4 years since by the Farmers,
Wheel and almost all the houses built by the Farmers.

"_Park End Forge_.--2 Hamrs, 3 Fineries, 1 Chaffery, repd 2 years since,
one of the Fineries new.

"_Whitecroft Forge_,--built abt 6 yrs since by the Farmers, do do

"_Bradley Forge_.--do do do

"_Sowdley Furnace_, built 3 years--Qu. if rebuilt?  Bridge house, pt
built by the Farmers, pt old and decayd, Trow leading to the wheel, .5
made new 5 years since, decayd, 5 Cottages, 1 built by the Farmers.  A
dam a mile above Sowdley built by the Farmers.  A dam half a mile still
higher, built long since.

"_Sowdley Forge_, 2 Fineries, 1 Chaffery built 2 years, in the place of
the old Forge.  Trows and Penstocks made new by the Farmers, decayed.

"_Lydbrook Furnace_, 23ft long, 9 bottom, 23ft deep, new built 3 yrs
since from the ground, 3ft higher than before, much cracked.  A great
Buttress behind the Furnace to strengthen it.

"_Lydbrook Forge_.--1 Chaffery, 2 Fineries, House built 4 years, being
burnt by accident."

Besides the above, Mr. Wyrrall transcribed the following additional
particulars from a MS. dated 23 September, 1635, and endorsed,--"The
booke of Survey for the Forest of Deane Iron work, and the Warrant
annexed unto yt."

"_Cannope Furnace_.--Now blowinge, and likely to contynue aboute 3 weeks.
The most part new built, and the rest repaired by the Farmers about 4
years since.  Stone walls, about 60lb, consistinge of the stone body
thereof 22 foote square, wherein are:--

     "In the fore front 4 Sowes of Iron )

                                        )  7 Sowes.

      and the Tempiron Wall 3 Sowes     )

"A Wheele, 22 Foote diamr, 7 Iron Whops, one the Waste, made about three
years since.  With shafte and all things belonging about 20lb, in good

"The Furnace Howse half tiled, built with timber 4 years since by the
Farmers, cost about 80lb, in repaire.

"The Bridge House, 21 foot broad, 48 foot longe, and 9 foote heigh, built
about 2 years since, the bridge about 4 years, covered with bords
bottomed with Planks.

"5 bellow bords ready sawed, 18ft longe, 4ft broad.  A Watter Trowe lft
at bottome and 15 ynches high, 75 yards long, leadinge the water to the
Wheele, cut out of the whole tymber, and ledged at the top, newe made
within 4 years, and now in repaire, cost about 20lb.

"The Hutch leading the Watter from the Wheele, 5 foot square, 85 foote
long, not mended by these Farmers, in repaire.

"In doinge of the saied Workes, besides the Hutch used by estimate about
150 Tonns, at VIIIs, and the Hutch about 40 Tonns, being trees only slitt
and clapt together at 5s the Ton.

"_Outhouses_.--The Furnace Keeper's Cabbyne built of timber covered with
bords built by the Farmers, cost 3lb, 4 tonns.

"A Cottage neare the said Furnaces built by the workmen of the said
Works, now enjoyed by the Filler there, and not belonging to the Workes.

"A Howse wherein the Clarke dwells, built by the Farmers wth a stable, 20
Nobs 6 Tonns.

"Another howse adjoyninge for the founder, built before the Farmers'

"Another little cabbyne for the Myne Cracker, built before the Farmers'

"8 dozen of Collyers' Hurdles, 13s 4d.

"A Myne Kilne not in repaire, built before the Farmers' tyme, with 5
piggs of Iron in the walls, 20s will repaire.

"Cole places.

"_Implen__nts_--one paire of Bellowes furnished with Iron implemnts,
somewhat defective in the lethers, valued at 15lb, made by the Farmers,
the repaire whereof will cost 6lb 13s 4d.

"6 cambes of iron in Wheele Shaft waying about 4cwt.

"3 water Trowes for the Worke.

"1 Grindstone, 19 longe Ringers, 1 short one, one Constable, 7 Sinder
Shovells, 1 moulding Ship, 2 casting ladles, 1 Cinder-hooke, 1 Plackett,
2 buck stoves, 1 Tuiron hooke, 1 Iron Tempe, 1 Sinder plate, 1 dame

"4 Wheele barrowes, 1 great Sledge, 1 Tuiron plate cast, 1 Shamell plate,
1 Gage, 1 crackt wooden beam and scales, furnished, and triangles, 1 ton
of Wtts, Pigs used for weights upon the bellows poises.  3.5c of Rawe
Iron, 1 new firkett in the Backside, 1 lader of 14 rungs, 1 dozen of cole
basketts, 2 Myne hammers, 2 Myne Shovells, 2 Coale Rakes, 2 Myne Rakes, 2
baskes to put myne into the Furnace.

"_Parke Furnace_.--The stone body thereof 22 foote square in the Front, 2
broken Sowes, one taken thence, 2 sowes in the Wall.

"Repaired 4 years since by the Farmers, viz., the backe wall from the
foundation to the top, and parte of the wall over the Bellows, 40lb it

"The Water Wheele 22 feet heigh, wth a Shaft whereon 7 whops, 2 Gudgions
and 2 brasses, built about the same tyme, in repaire, valued at 20lb.
The Furnace Howse tiled, built with stone wall 9 foot heigh, 22 foote
square, the Roof good, built about the same tyme, in repair, saving a
Lace by the Bridge.  The stone worke valued at 10lb.  The Carpenter's
worke one the roof at 20s, the tilinge valued at 6lb 13s 4d.

"A Pent house under the Furnace, 10s.

"The Bridge House 42ft longe, 22ft broad, the said walles, 8.5 foot,
covered with boards, double bottomed with plancke, upon stronge sleepers,
valued at 40lb.

"Fence Walls all built by the Farmers about 4 yeares since.

"100 foote of trowes made of square timber, hollowed and covered with
plancke, valued at 10lb, made by the Farmers.

"Another Water course, built with stone one both sides and covered wth
planckes 2.5 foot broad, 46 foot, in repaire, 5lb.

"An Iron cast grate one the same watercourse.

"A watercourse of half a mile one the North of the Furnace, at the head
thereof a dam and a small breach, wants soweringe, otherwise good, cutt
by the Farmers, and cost them 20lb, and will cost 3lb.

"A Water course of above .5 mile to the South, made before their tyme.

"The Hutch built with stone and covered with plankes of 6 foot heigh, 3
foot broad, 70ft, saving about 11 foot at the vent which is timber,
repaired by the Farmers, in repaire, but the Courant stopt below with
cinders, 13lb 6s 8d; the cutting of a newe will cost 8lb.

"The Fownder's howse built before the Farmers' tyme.

"A Cottage adjoininge.

"A Cabbyne for the bridge-server, covered with boards, built by them
about a yeare since, 3 tonns, 18ft longe, 11 broad, valued at 5lb.

"A Cabbyne adjoining to the Furnace for the Furnace Keeper, about a Tonn,
built by the Farmers, and valued at 2lb.

"A Faire Howse, the ends stone built, the rest with Timber 50 foot longe,
16 broad; in it is a crosse building ? stories heigh, in repaire, tiled,
built before the Farmers now granted, with stables belonging, of tymber.

"A smale cottage, now William Wayt's.

"A myne kylne, the inside in decay, the piggs of iron taken out of the
draught thereof, the repaire will cost 2lb.

"Tymber in doeinge of )

                      )  150 tonnes, VIs  VIIId the tonne.

  the saied worke     )

"_Implem__nts_.--1 pr bellowes open with the furniture of iron thereto
belonging, defective in the lethers, valued at 13lb 6s 8d, the repaire
will cost 10lb.; 2 buckstaves, 1 dam-plate, 2 cinder plats, 1 tuiron
plate, 1 plackett, 1 gadge, 1 tuiron hoocke, 1 dam hoocke or stopinge
hoocke, 4 iron shovells, 9 ringers, 6 cole baskets, 2 wheel barrows, 2
myne hammers, 1 coale rake, 2 cinder raks, 1 great sledge, 1 ringer
hammer, 1 constable, 1 shammell plate, 6 iron cambs.

"A beame with scales, hoocks, triangles and lincks, with about .5 a ton
of rawe iron for a wt, in repaire: 1 sowe of iron of 16cwt. which was in
the front wall, soe now lyes before the doore, 5lb).

"1 Grindstone, 2 bellowe boards, never used, and 4 old ones, 1lb  10s.

"Collyers' Hurdles.

"The tymber ymployed about the said worke estimated at 140 tonns, and
valued at 8s the tonn, 56lb.

"The Repaire of the body of the furnace and the buildings, beames thereto
belonginge, and other defects, to make it fit to blowe, estimated at

"_Park End Forge_--consistinge of 2 hamers, 3 Fyneryes and 1 chaffery,
repayered about 2 years since by the Farmers, viz., 2 newe drome beames,
2 great hamers, shafts with wheeles and armes all newe, the body of the
forge repaired in sundry places, one of the fyneryes built newe with the
whole and shafts.

"The harmes to the great hamers newe and in repaire valued at 12lb.

"One other finerye chimney, made within the yeare, 5lb, 3 newe trowes
through the bay, 26ft longe a piece, covered with planke one the west
side, 13lb 6s 8d.

"The hamer hutch one the west side, heigh and broad one the one side,
plancked in the bottome ranges of tymber with spreaders conteyninge 150
foote in length, 40lb.

"The chaffery wheele in the west side, old and decayed, 3lb to repaire

"One longe trowe one the est side leading the watter to the fynerye, 66
foote longe, 6lb 13s 4d; another great trowe with a penstocke, 32 foote,
cost 3lb 6s 8d; 1 great penstocke in the hamer trowe, 14 foot longe, 2
foote square, 40s.

"2 Water Pricke Posts with his laces, 4lb.

"The Hamer Hutch one the west side, 4 foote square, bottoms and sides
with plancks, 2 ranges of timber 150 foote longe, 10lb.

"The bodye of one Fynerye wheele all newe, made within 2 yeares last past
by the Farmers.

"One little house for the carpenter to work in one the bay.

"Two ranges of tymber worke in the lower side of the bay, consistinge of
sils, laces, and posts, built by the Farmers within 2 yeares, 120 foote,
12 heigh, 80lb.

"The front of the bay where the water is led to the west side and
drawinge gates built about 2 years since.  Stone walls on each side, 5lb.

"A flowd gate with 6 sluices, strongly tymbered, built with stronge wall
one either side thereof, 160 foote longe, 3ft heigh, 3 foot thicke,
aproned and plancked on the top for a bridge 3 years since, 44 foot
longe, 22ft broad, 50lb.

                                * * * * *

The same careful investigator (Mr. Wyrrall) of every particular relating
to the iron works of the Forest, formed a glossary of the terms used in
the above specifications, which not only sufficiently explains them, but
also shows that very similar apparatus continued to be used in this
neighbourhood up to the close of the last century.  It proceeds thus:--

"_Sows of Iron_ are the long pieces of cast iron as they run into the
sand immediately from the furnace; thus called from the appearance of
this and the shorter pieces which are runned into smaller gutters made in
the same sand, from the resemblance they have to a sow lying on her side
with her pigs at her dugs.  These are for working up in the forges; but
it is usual to cast other sows of iron of very great size to lay in the
walls of the furnaces as beams to support the great strain of the work.

"_Dam Plate_ is a large flat plate of cast iron placed on its edge
against the front of the furnace, with a stone cut sloping and placed on
the inside.  This plate has a notch on the top for the cinder or scruff
to run off, and a place at the side to discharge the metal at casting.

"_The Shaft_ of a wheel is a large round beam having the wheel fixed near
the one end of it, and turning upon gudgeons or centres fixed in the two

"_The Furnace House_ I take to be what we call the casting-house, where
the metal runs out of the furnace into the sand.

"_The Bridge_ is the place where the raw materials are laid down ready to
be thrown into the furnace.  I conceive that it had its name (which is
still continued) from this circumstance--that in the infancy of these
works it was built as a bridge, hollow underneath.  It was not at first
known what strength was required to support the blast of a furnace
bellows; and the consequence was that they were often out of repair, and
frequently obliged to be built almost entirely new.

"_Bellows Boards_--Not very different from the present dimensions.

"_Water Troughs_--scooped out of the solid timber.  This shows the great
simplicity of these times, not 150 years ago.

"_The Hutch_, or as it is now corruptly called the Witch, a wide covered
drain below the furnace-wheel to carry off the water from it, usually
arched, but here only covered with timbers to support the rubbish and
earth thrown upon it.

"_Cambs_ are iron cogs fixed in the shaft to work the bellows as the
wheel turns round.

"_Cinder Shovels_, iron shovels for taking up the cinders into the boxes,
both to measure them and to fill the furnace.

"_Moulding Ship_, an iron tool fixed on a wooden handle, so formed as to
make the gutters in the sand for casting the pig and sow iron.

"_Casting Ladles_, made hollow like a dish, with a lip to lade up the
liquid iron for small castings.

"_Wringers_, large long bars of iron to wring the furnace, that is to
clear it of the grosser and least fluid cinder which rises on the upper
surface, and would there coagulate and soon prevent the furnace from
working aright.

"_Constable_, a bar of very great substance and length, kept always lying
by a furnace in readiness for extraordinary purposes in which uncommon
strength and purchase was required.  I suppose this name to have been
given to this tool on account of its superior bulk and power, and in
allusion to the Constable of St. Briavel's Castle, an officer heretofore
of very great weight and consequence in this forest.

"_Cinder Hook_, a hook of iron for drawing away the scruff or cinder
which runs liquid out of the furnace over the dam plate, and soon becomes
a solid substance, which must be removed to make room for fresh cinder to
run out into its place.

"_Plackett_, a tool contrived as a kind of trowel for smoothing and
shaping the clay.

"_Buckstones_, now called Buckstaves, are two thick plates of iron, about
5 or 6 feet long, fixed one on each side of the front of the furnace down
to the ground to support the stone work.

"_Iron Tempe_ is a plate fixed at the bottom of the front wall of the
furnace over the flame between the buckstaves.

"_Tuiron Plate_ is a plate of cast iron fixed before the noses of the
bellows, and so shaped as to conduct the blast into the body of the

"_Tuiron Hooke_, a tool contrived for conveying a lump of tempered clay
before the point of the tuiron plate, to guard the wall from wearing away
as it would otherwise do in that part, there being the greatest force of
the fire.

"_Shammel Plate_, a piece of cast iron fixed on a wooden frame, in the
shape of a [Picture: Symbol], which works up and down as a crank, so as
for the camb to lay hold of this iron, and thereby press down the

"_Firketts_ are large square pieces of timber laid upon the upper woods
of the bellows, to steady it and to work it.

"_Firkett Hooks_, two strong hooks of square wrought iron fixed at the
smallest end of the bellows to keep it firm and in its place.

"_Gage_, two rods of iron jointed in the middle, with a ring for the
filler to drop the shortest end into the furnace at the top, to know when
it is worked down low enough to be charged.

"_Poises_, wooden beams, one over each bellows, fixed upon centres across
another very large beam; at the longest end of these poises are open
boxes bound with iron, and the little end being fixed with harness to the
upper ends of the firketts are thus pressed down, and the bellows with
it, by the working of the wheel, while the weight of the poises lifts
them up alternately as the wheel goes round."

                                * * * * *

As to the length of time these works continued in operation, the late Mr.
Mushet, who knew the district intimately, in his valuable papers on iron,
&c., considered that they were abandoned shortly after the date of the
inventory, _i.e._ 1635, since, "with the exception of the slags, traces
of the water-mounds, and the faint lines of the water-courses, not a
vestige of any of them remains."

He adds,--

    "About fourteen years ago I first saw the ruins of one of these
    furnaces, situated below York Lodge, and surrounded by a large heap
    of slag or scoria that is produced in making pig iron.  As the
    situation of this furnace was remote from roads, and must at one time
    have been deemed nearly inaccessible, it had all the appearance at
    the time of my survey of having remained in the same state for nearly
    two centuries.  The quantity of slags I computed at from 8000 to
    10,000 tons.  If it is assumed that this furnace made upon an average
    annually 200 tons of pig iron, and that the quantity of slag run from
    the furnace was equal to one-half the quantity of iron made, we shall
    have 100 tons of cinders annually, for a period of from 80 to 100
    years.  If the abandonment of this furnace took place about the year
    1640, the commencement of its smeltings must be assigned to a period
    between the years 1540 and 1560."

The oldest piece of cast iron which Mr. Mushet states he ever saw,
exhibited the arms of England, with the initials E. R., and bore date
1555 (?), but he found no specimen in the Forest earlier than 1620.  A
few cast-iron fire-backs have been noticed in some of the old houses in
the vicinity of the Forest, but none have an earlier date on them.  The
cast-iron grave-slabs found in the ancient iron-making districts of
Surrey and Sussex do not occur here.  He also observes that "although he
had carefully examined every spot and relic in Dean Forest likely to
denote the site of Dud Dudley's enterprising but unfortunate experiment
of making pig-iron with pit-coal," no remains had been found.  It was the
same with the like operations of Cromwell, Major Wildman, Captain Birch,
and other of his officers, doctors of physic and merchants, by whom works
and furnaces had been set up in the Forest at a vast charge.

The troubles of the civil wars, in which the country surrounding the
Forest was so much involved, materially disturbed its iron manufactures.
Sir John Winter's large works at Lydney were wholly destroyed, and
probably such others as continued in operation were limited to the
casting of cannon and shot, similar to what was used in the siege of
Goodrich Castle by Colonel Birch in 1646.  Otherwise iron making was for
the time suppressed.

When matters had become somewhat settled, the attention of the
Commonwealth was directed to them.  They were placed under the general
supervision of Major John Wade, who was assisted in their management by
John a Deane.

A document exists giving a debtor and creditor account from 13th
September, 1653, to 20th August, 1655. {42a}  During these two years,
upwards of 12,607 pounds 16s. 9.75d. was laid out by the Council of State
and the Commissariat of the Admiralty, whilst only 10,705 pounds 14s. 3d.
was received, leaving a deficit of 1902 pounds 2s. 6.75d.

Another paper states "what iron in pigs, barr, and shott have beene cast
and made, sold, or otherwise disposed of, or remaining in stock," between
28th February, 1653, and 2nd August, 1656.

There remains also "a true inventory of all the tooles and utensils
belonging to the forge at Whitecroft, this 13th August, 1656," divided
into "all the chaffery, for the upper finery, for the lower finery."

John a Deane died in 1655, and was succeeded by Mr. John Roades. {42b}
From 2nd August, 1656, to 15th September, 1657, the Government account
stood thus

                  pounds            s.                d.
Dr. side          10,135            15                10.75
Cr.               8,023             15                3.25
Balance           2,112             0                 7.5

Hardly had the king's return been effected when, amidst the innumerable
petitions which instantly greeted him, is one from Sir Hugh Middleton,
Bart., for "the place of Overseer and Receiver of Profits of His
Majestie's Iron Works in the Forest of Dean." {42c}  He strengthened his
application with the timely remark that the appointment for which he
sought was held by Major John Wade, "put in by Cromwell; an officer of
which Wade, in July last (1659), robbed him of horses, arms, &c., kept
him four months in close imprisonment for adhering to His Maty, & has
several times ransacked his house."

A contemporary petition, to much the same end, but from a different
quarter, was presented by Sir Edward Massey.  He stated, truly enough,
that "he had formerly held the works for which he now applied, but they
and all his stock were taken from him by the Rump Parliament for his
loyalty."  But he suppressed saying, how they were formerly voted to him
by the House of Commons for defeating the staunch royalist Sir John
Winter, to whom they previously belonged.

Sir John, himself, was a third, and reasonable applicant for the
restoration of his patent for the same, which was as justly restored him;
the other, but unsuccessful candidate, being Sir Baynham Throckmorton.

In an elaborate return, {43} addressed to the Barons of the Exchequer,
and dated the 12th April, 1662, the question is mooted, "What advantages
will yearly accrue to His Maty by his furnace and forge, if taken into
his owne hands?"  The answer is worked out in the following manner:--

    "Imprimis.--Fower Long Coards of Wood will make two Loads of Coles
    wch two Loads of Coales will make one Tunne of Sowe Iron.

                     "Charges to make a Tunn of Sow Iron.
                  _li._             _s._              _d._
For cutting and   00                14                00
coarding of
Four Long
Coards genrlly
will cost
For Coaleing at   00                07                00
3s 6d  per
For carrying it   00                07                00
to the Furnace,
For Mine and      00                05                00
For Cinders       00                03                00
To the Founder    00                02                06
or Caster
                  01                18                06

"Price of a Tun of Sow Iron.

"Which Tune of Sow Iron will yield coib annis, although now debased by
the late mispending of the Stock, but wil bee brought up agn to 6li 10.

"What Quantity the Furnace will cast yearly.

"The Furnace may wth the Expence of 100li to pr serve & pcure a greater
ppcon of water, cast Were Thirty Tunn p weeke, but to reduce it to a
greater certainty we will compute at 26 Tunne p weeke, wch at 6li 10s 6d
p Tunn amounts to 1248 Tunn p An., wch at 6li 10s Od p Tunn amounts to
8112li.  But the Charges to be deducted at 1li 18s 6d p Tunn amounts to
2402li 8s deducting wch out of the generall pfitt there remains 709li 12s

"Other Charges to be deducted and alowed out of the
Furnace profits.

                  _li._             _s._              _d._
To a Stock        16                00                00
Taker p An.
To a Clerk        40                00                00
To a Carpinter    6                 13                04
Other Reprs of    12                00                00
the Furnace
(coib annis)
For travelling    05                00                00
Charges to the
Clerk to sell
To two Wood       20                00                00
Clerks p An.
And for Sacks     20                00                00
and Hurdles p
Totall            119               13                04

"Charges of Product of the Forge.

"The Forge will make Coibus Annis 150 Tunn wch will yield genrally 16li
10s p Tunn, although now debased by the late mispending of the Stock.

"Charges to make a Tunn of Barr Iron.

"Three Load of Coales will make a Tunn of Barr Iron, whereof one may be
brasses, but sett it at three Loade,

                  _li._             _s._              _d._
The Cutting,      02                02                00
Coaling, and
Carriage will
amount unto
And 2650 weight   08                12                00
of Sow Iron
will make one
Tunn of Barr
Iron, wch said
2650 weight of
Sow Iron at 6li
10s p Tun
amounts unto
And to the        01                00                00
Workmen (viz.)
Raffiners and
                  11                14                00

Produce 150       2475              0                 0
Tunn at 16li
10s 0d p Tun
amounts p an.
Charges at 11li   1740              0                 0
14s 0d p Tun as
amounts to
Remaynes cleare   735               0                 0

"Other Charges to be allowed out of the yearly
pfitts of the Forge.

                  _li._             _s._              _d._
To a Clerk p      25                0                 0
To a Stock        16                0                 0
To a Carpinter    09                13                4
For other         20                0                 0
Reprs, as Oyle,
Greese, &c.,
Coibus Annis
                  64                13                4

                  _li._             _s._              _d._
Totall of the     5609              18                8
deducting the
Officers' Fees,
&c., is
Totall of the     0667              06                8
deducting the
Officers' Fees,
&c., p An. is
                  6277              5                 4

So considerable a balance each year, from one furnace and a single forge,
admits of comparison with the profits made by ironmasters now.

The Commissioners further report that all necessary appliances existed on
the spot:--

    "One excellent Furnace called the Park Furnace, and one Forge called
    Whitecros Forge.  The later is in good repre, but the Furnace wants a
    Roofe to ye Cole hous, and some other Reprs, wch we compute may cost
    us circa 40li, and care must be taken whensoever his Maty shall take
    them into his own handes, that all the Implemts the late psons
    intrusted wth the managemt thereof had deliv'd to them by inventory
    or otherwise, be forthcoming, or else it will be a great prjudice to
    his Maty."

It was also pointed out that, besides "the greate yearely pfitt" likely
to accrue to the King, should he take the Iron Works into his own hands,
they were "capable to serve his Navey both wth beter Iron and at much
Easier Rates then now he payes for all sorts, and wee conceive that Iron
Ordinance might be cast here for ye Service of ye Navey also at ye same
rates."  Some of the Forest iron, in the form of iron hoops, had already
found its way to the navy store at Woolwich. {46}

Even the last winter's great storm (18th of February, 1662) is made to
support their counsels, for the Commissioners affirmed that--"500li,
together with the young beechen timber lately blowne downe in the Lea
Bayley, will sett the workes a goeing."

Lastly, the same officials suggested that a check should be put to the
practice of sending iron ore and cinder out of the Forest, lest the
supply to the king's works, as proposed, should run short.  They suggest
a tax "6d. at first, for fifteen bushells," adding "that they were
informed that there is carryed out yearly at least 4000 dozen; and there
is now lying at Newnham a small vessell to transport some for Ireland.
There must needs be a Prohibition to carry out of the Forrest any
cinders, least his Maty's owne works should need them in tyme." {47a}

Reasons so carefully analyzed for inducing the Crown to take in hand iron
making at Park End, deserved a better fate.  But the king had irons
enough in the fire, without becoming a manufacturer of iron in the Forest
of Dean.  Its timber was rather wanted for the navy, which the Duke of
York longed to render more effective.  Besides, places more convenient of
access, in Surrey and Sussex, were supplying the iron trade.  Hence, when
in 1683 the above-named proposal was renewed by Sir John Erule, the
Forest supervisor, it was rejected, although he promised a profit of 5390
pounds per annum. {47b}

The authorities went further than this, in refusing, as they thought, to
sacrifice the timber for the iron.  They even directed, about this time,
the demolition of the Forest furnaces, thus reducing its iron works to
such a degree as almost to annihilate them for the next hundred years.

What their recent state of prosperity had been, Andrew Yarranton, in his
book of novel suggestions for the "Improvement of England by Sea and
Land," printed in 1677, describes as follows:--

    "And first, I will begin in Monmouthshire, and go through the Forest
    of Dean, and there take notice what infinite quantities of raw iron
    is there made, with bar iron and wire; and consider the infinite
    number of men, horses, and carriages which are to supply these works,
    and also digging of ironstone, providing of cinders, carrying to the
    works, making it into sows and bars, cutting of wood and converting
    into charcoal.  Consider also, in all these parts, the woods are not
    worth the cutting and bringing home by the owner to burn in their
    houses; and it is because in all these places there are pit coal very
    cheap. . . .  If these advantages were not there, it would be little
    less than a howling wilderness.  I believe if this comes to the hands
    of Sir Baynom Frogmorton and Sir Duncomb Colchester, they will be on
    my side.  Moreover, there is yet a most great benefit to the kingdom
    in general by the sow iron made of the ironstone and Roman cinders in
    the Forest of Dean, for that metal is of a most gentle, pliable, soft
    nature, easily and quickly to be wrought into manufacture, over what
    any other iron is, and it is the best in the known world; and the
    greatest part of this sow iron is sent up Severne to the forges into
    Worcester, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Cheshire, and
    there it's made into bar iron: and because of its kind and gentle
    nature to work, it is now at Sturbridge, Dudley, Wolverhampton,
    Sedgley, Wasall and Burmingham, and there bent, wrought, and
    manufactured into all small commodities, and diffused all England
    over, and thereby a great trade made of it; and, when manufactured,
    into most parts of the world.  And I can very easily make it appear,
    that in the Forest of Dean and thereabouts, and about the material
    that comes from thence, there are employed and have their subsistence
    therefrom no less than 60,000 persons.  And certainly, if this be
    true, then it is certain it is better these iron works were up and in
    being than that there were none.  And it were well if there were an
    Act of Parliament for enclosing all common fit or any way likely to
    bear wood in the Forest of Dean and six miles round the Forest; and
    that great quantities of timber might by the same law be there
    preserved, for to supply in future ages timber for shipping and
    building.  And I dare say the Forest of Dean is, as to the iron, to
    be compared to the sheep's back as to the woollen; nothing being of
    more advantage to England than these two are. . . .

    "In the Forest of Dean and thereabouts, the iron is made at this day
    of cinders, being the rough and offal thrown by in the Romans' time;
    they then having only foot blasts to melt the iron stone; but now, by
    the force of a great wheel that drives a pair of bellows twenty feet
    long, all that iron is extracted out of the cinders, which could not
    be forced from it by the Roman foot blast.  And in the Forest of Dean
    and thereabouts, and as high as Worcester, there are great and
    infinite quantities of these cinders, some in vast mounts above
    ground, some underground, which will supply the iron works some
    hundreds of years, and these cinders are they which make the prime
    and best iron, and with much less charcoal than doth the ironstone. .
    . .  Let there be one ton of this bar-iron made of Forest iron, and
    20 pounds will be given for it."

The 4th "Order" of the Mine Law Court, dated 27th April, 1680, fixes the
prices at which twelve Winchester bushels of iron mine should be
delivered at the following places:--St. Wonnarth's furnace, 10s.;
Whitechurch, 7s.; Linton, 9s.; Bishopswood, 9s.; Longhope, 9s.; Flaxley,
8s.; Gunnsmills (if rebuilt), 7s.; Blakeney, 6s.; Lydney, 6s.; at those
within the Forest (if rebuilt), the same as in 1668; Redbrooke, 4s. 6d.;
the Abbey (Tintern), 9s.; Brochweare, 6s. 6d.; Redbrooke Passage, 5s.
6d.; Gunnpill, 7s.; or ore (intended for inland) shipped on the Severn,
6s. 6d.

Most of these localities present traces of long continued iron
manufacture, especially St. Wonnarth's, Whitchurch, Bishopswood, and
Flaxley, where the energetic proprietress, Mrs. Boevey, is said by Sir R.
Atkyns to have had (c. A.D. 1712) "a furnace for casting of iron, and
three forges."  Charcoal is the only fuel of which any indications
remain, the coppice woods being in several instances preserved from which
it used to be obtained, and the furnaces are shown to have been
invariably situated where waterpower was at command.

The prices affixed to the ore, including delivery, indicate a
discontinuance, in a measure, of the mines on the north-east edge of the
Forest.  Those adjoining Newland and in Noxon Park, both on the opposite
side of the Forest, appear to have formed the principal sources of
supply.  The records of the Court of Mine Law, belonging to this date,
allude oftener to these works than to others, for the same reason.

Its "order," dated 8th December, 1685, in providing that "the one-half of
the jury of 48 should be iron-miners, and the other half colliers,"
manifests considerable decay in the influence and number of the former
operatives, once so much otherwise.  It is remarkable that the later
orders are silent as regards iron, owing to the suppression of the Forest

With respect to the mode now in use of reducing the mine ore, there is
preserved so explicit an account, from the pen of Dr. Parsons, the county
antiquary and naturalist of that age, as to call for its verbatim
insertion here:--

    "The ore and cinder, wherewith they make their iron (which is the
    great employment of the poorer sort of inhabitants), 'tis dug in most
    parts of the Forest, one in the bowells, and the other towards the
    surface of the earth.

    "There are two sorts of ore: the best ore is your Brush ore, of
    blewish colour, very ponderous, and full of shiny specks, like grains
    of silver; this affordeth the greatest quantity of iron, but being
    melted alone, produceth a metal very short and brittle.  To remedy
    this inconvenience, they make use of another material, which they
    call cinder, it being nothing else but the refuse of the ore, after
    the melting hath been extracted, which, being melted with the other
    in due quantity, gives it that excellent temper of toughness for
    which this iron is preferred before any other that is brought from
    foreign parts.

    "After they have provided their ore, their first work is to calcine
    it, which is done in kilns, much after the fashion of our ordinary
    lime kilns; these they fill up to the top with coal and ore untill it
    be full, and so, putting fire to the bottom, they let it burn till
    the coal be wasted, and then renew the kilnes with fresh ore and
    coal.  This is done without any infusion of mettal, and serves to
    consume the more drossy part of the ore, and to make it fryable,
    supplying the beating and washing, which are to no other mettals;
    from hence they carry it to their furnaces, which are built of brick
    and stone, about 24 foot square on the outside, and near 30 foot in
    hight within, and not above 8 or 10 foot over where it is widest,
    which is about the middle, the top and bottom having a narrow
    compass, much like the form of an egg.  Behind the furnace are placed
    two high pair of bellows, whose noses meet at a little hole near the
    bottom: these are compressed together by certain buttons placed on
    the axis of a very large wheel, which is turned round by water, in
    the manner of an over-shot mill.  As soon as these buttons are slid
    off, the bellows are raised again by a counterpoise of weights,
    whereby they are made to play alternately, the one giving its blast
    whilst the other is rising.

    "At first they fill these furnaces with ore and cinder intermixt with
    fuel, which in these works is always charcoal, laying them hollow at
    the bottom, that they may the more easily take fire; but after they
    are once kindled, the materials run together into an hard cake or
    lump, which is sustained by the furnace, and through this the mettal
    as it runs trickles down the receivers, which are placed at the
    bottom, where there is a passage open, by which they take away the
    scum and dross, and let out their mettal as they see occasion.

    "Before the mouth of the furnace lyeth a great bed of sand, where
    they make furrows of the fashion they desire to cast their iron: into
    these, when the receivers are full, they let in their mettal, which
    is made so very fluid by the violence of the fire that it not only
    runs to a considerable distance, but stands afterwards boiling a
    great while.

    "After these furnaces are once at work, they keep them constantly
    employed for many months together, never suffering the fire to
    slacken night or day, but still supplying the waste of fuel and other
    materials with fresh, poured in at the top.

    "Several attempts have been made to bring in the use of the sea coal
    in these works instead of charcoal; the former being to be had at an
    easy rate, the latter not without a great expence; but hitherto they
    have proved ineffectual, the workmen finding by experience that a
    sea-coal fire, how vehement soever, will not penetrate the most fixed
    parts of the ore, by which means they leave much of the mettal behind
    them unmelted.

    "From these furnaces they bring the sows and piggs of iron, as they
    call them, to their forges; these are two sorts, though they stood
    together under the same roof; one they call their finery, and the
    other chafers: both of them are upon hearths, upon which they place
    great heaps of sea coal, and behind them bellows like those of the
    furnaces, but nothing near so large.

    "In such finerys they first put their piggs of iron, placing three or
    four of them together behind the fire, with a little of one end
    thrust into it, where softening by degrees they stir and work them
    with long barrs of iron till the mettal runs together in a round
    masse or lump, which they call an half bloome: this they take out,
    and giving it a few strokes with their sledges, they carry it to a
    great weighty hammer, raised likewise by the motion of a water wheel,
    where, applying it dexterously to the blows, they presently beat it
    into a thick short square; this they put into the finery again, and
    heating it red hot, they work it under the same hammer till it comes
    to the shape of a bar in the middle, with two square knobs in the
    ends; last of all they give it other heatings in the chaffers, and
    more workings under the hammer, till they have brought their iron
    into barrs of several shapes, in which fashion they expose them to

    "All their principal iron undergoes the aforementioned preparations,
    yet for several other purposes, as for backs of chimneys, hearths of
    ovens, and the like, they have a sort of cast iron which they take
    out of the receivers of the furnace, so soon as it is melted, in
    great ladles, and pour it into the moulds of fine sand in like manner
    as they do cast brass and softer mettals; but this sort of iron is so
    very brittle, that, being heated with one blow of the hammer, it
    breaks all to pieces."

As an instance of the considerable extent to which the old cinders
continued to be used in the iron furnaces round the Forest, the following
abstract of an indenture, found in Mr. Wyrrall's collection, and dated
20th October, 1692, may be quoted:--

    "Jephthah Wyrall, Gent., to Rd Avenant, Gent., and John Wheeler,

    "Articles for the Sale of 10 thousand dozn of cinders, in certain
    grounds near Mr. Wyrall's house, called the Correggio, the Limekiln
    Patch, the Long Sevens, and the Ockwal Field, if so many could be
    found there.  The Price, 10 Pence the dozen, or 12 Bushels; 6 to be
    heaped and the other 6 even with the top of the Bushel, or
    hand-weaved.  Such of them as should be taken to Bishopswood or
    Parkend to be measured by the Bushel used at Bishop's wood Furnace;
    and such as should be carried to Blakeney Furnace by the Bushel used
    there.  To be raised and fitted for carriage by Avenant and Whealer.
    To employ no persons in raising the cinders but such as Mr. Wyrall
    approves of.  Mr. Wyrall to carry yearly as many cinders as he should
    please, not exceeding 250 Dozens, to Parkend, at 4s a dozen.  Should
    carry to the banks of the river Wye, at 13d a Dozen such as should be
    used at Bishop's Wood Furnace.  Avenant and Whealer to get 800 dozn a
    year, and as many more as they shd please till the 10 Thousand Dozens
    should be raised: and pay for them yearly on the 1st day of May, and
    the 1st day of October; and should leave the ground as level and
    plain as usually is where cinders are gotten (which was promising
    nothing at all)."

According to a paper examined by Mr. Mushet, and referring probably to
the year 1720 or 1730, the iron-making district of the Forest of Dean
contained ten blast furnaces, viz., six in Gloucestershire, three in
Herefordshire, and one at Tintern, making their total number just equal
to that of the then iron-making district of Sussex.  In Mr. Taylor's map
of Gloucestershire, published in 1777, iron furnaces, forges, or engines
are indicated at Bishopswood, Lydbrook, the New Wear, Upper Red Brook,
Park End, Bradley, and Flaxley.  Yet only a small portion of the mineral
used at these works was obtained from the Dean Forest mines, if we may
judge from the statement made by Mr. Hopkinson, in 1788, before the
Parliamentary Commissioners, to the effect that "there is no regular iron
mine work now carried on in the said Forest, but there were about
twenty-two poor men who, at times when they had no other work to do,
employed themselves in searching for and getting iron mine or ore in the
old holes and pits in the said Forest, which have been worked out many
years."  Such a practice is well remembered by the aged miners, the chief
part of the ore used in the above-named furnaces having been brought by
sea from Whitehaven. {54}  Thus Mr. Mushet represents, "at Tintern the
furnace charge for forge pig iron was generally composed of a mixture of
seven-eighths of Lancashire iron ore and one-eighth part of a lean
calcareous sparry iron ore, from the Forest of Dean, called flux, the
average yield of which mixture was fifty per cent. of iron.  When in full
work, Tintern Abbey charcoal furnace made weekly from twenty-eight to
thirty tons of charcoal forge pig iron, and consumed forty dozen sacks of
charcoal; so that sixteen sacks of charcoal were consumed in making one
ton of pigs."  This furnace was, he believes, "the first charcoal furnace
which in this country was blown with air compressed in iron cylinders."

Flaxley was one of the very last places where iron was made in the old
way.  The Rev. T. Budge, writing at the commencement of the present
century, says of it:--

    "The iron manufactory is still carried on, and the metal is esteemed
    peculiarly good; but its goodness does not arise from any
    extraordinary qualities in the ore, but from the practice of working
    the furnace and forges with charcoal wood, without any mixture of

    "The quantity of charcoal required is so considerable that the
    furnace cannot be kept in blow or working more than nine months
    successively, the wheels which work the bellows and hammers being
    turned by a powerful stream of water.  At this time (28th Oct. 1802)
    a cessation has taken place for nearly a year.  Lancashire ore, which
    is brought to Newnham by sea, furnishes the principal supply; the
    mine found in the Forest being either too scanty to answer the
    expense of raising it, or when raised too difficult of fusion, and
    consequently too consumptive of fuel, to allow the common use of it.

    "When the furnace is at work, about twenty tons a week are reduced to
    pig iron; in this state it is carried to the forges, where about
    eight tons a week are hammered out into bars, ploughshares, &c.,
    ready for the smith."

Though these operations have been long given up, the furnace buildings
removed, and the pools drained in which the water accumulated for driving
the machinery, yet the old people of the neighbourhood still recollect
when the Castiard's Vale, now wholly devoted to the picturesque,
resounded with the noise of engines.  A solitary heap of Lancashire iron
mine alone remains to show what was once operated upon at this spot.

The year 1795 marks the period when the manufacture of iron was resumed
in the Forest by means of pit-coal cokes at Cinderford, the above date
being preserved on an inscription stone in No. 1 furnace.  "The
conductors of the work succeeded," in the words of the late Mr. Bishop,
communicated to the author,--

    "As to fact, and made pig iron of good quality; but from the rude and
    insufficient character of their arrangements, they failed
    commercially as a speculation, the quantity produced not reaching
    twenty tons per week.  The cokes were brought from Broadmoor in
    boats, by a small canal, the embankment of which may be seen at the
    present day.  The ore was carried down to the furnaces on mules'
    backs, from Edge Hill and other mines.  The rising tide of iron
    manufacture in Wales and Staffordshire could not fail to swamp such
    ineffectual arrangements, and as a natural consequence Cinderford

    "Attempts still continued to be made from time to time in the
    locality, but the want of success, and the loss of large capital,
    placed the whole neighbourhood under a ban.

    "Moses Teague was the day-star who ushered in a bright morning after
    a dark and gloomy night.  Great natural genius, combined with a rare
    devotion to the interests of the Forest, led him to attempt a
    solution of the difficulty.  In this he so far succeeded that he
    formed a company, consisting of Messrs. Whitehouse, James, and
    Montague, who took a lease of Park End Furnace about the year 1825,
    erected a large water-wheel to blow the furnace, and got to work in
    1826.  Having started this concern, Mr. Teague, who from
    constitutional tendencies was always seeking something new, and
    considered nothing done while aught remained to do, cast his eye on
    Cinderford, which he thought presented the best prospects in the
    locality; and after making arrangements with Messrs. Montague,
    Church, and Fraser, those gentlemen with himself formed the first
    'Cinderford Iron Company,' the writer joining the undertaking when
    the foundations of the buildings were being laid.  The scheme
    comprehended two blast furnaces, a powerful blast engine still at
    work, finery, forge, and rolling-mill, designed to furnish about
    forty tons of tin-plate per week, with collieries and mine work.
    Before the completion of the undertaking it was found that the outlay
    so far exceeded their expectations and means that the concern became
    embarrassed almost before it was finished, which, with the then great
    depression of the iron trade during the years 1829 to 1832 inclusive,
    led to the stoppage of the works, which had continued in operation
    from November, 1829, till the close of 1832, in which state they
    continued to 1835, when Mr. Teague again came to the rescue, and
    induced Mr. William Allaway, a gentleman in the tin-plate trade, of
    Lydbrook, to form, in connexion with Messrs. Crawshay, another
    company.  Mr. Teague having retired from the management of the
    furnaces, that important post was filled by Mr. James Broad, a man of
    great practical knowledge, who for twenty years succeeded in making
    iron at Cinderford Furnaces of quality and in quantities which had
    never been anticipated.  There are now four blast furnaces, three of
    which are always in use, and a new blast engine of considerable power
    is in course of erection, in addition to the old engine, which has
    been puffing away for twenty-eight years."

As narrated in an earlier part of this account, Park End long since
possessed a furnace and forge, though afterwards suppressed in 1674, and
not resumed until 1799, the date of the oldest iron furnace there.  It is
situated about half a mile lower down the valley than the former one, and
was carried on by a Mr. Perkins.  The Works were eventually sold to Mr.
John Protheroe, and by him disposed of to his nephew, Edward Protheroe,
Esq., formerly M.P. for Bristol, who was likewise the possessor of
several collieries near.  In 1824 Mr. Protheroe granted a lease of the
furnace and premises, and also sundry iron mines, to the Forest of Dean
Iron Company, then consisting of Messrs. Montague, James, & Co. This
arrangement continued until 1826, when Messrs. William Montague, of
Gloucester, and John James, Esq., of Lydney, became the sole lessees.  A
second furnace was erected by these gentlemen in 1827, as well as an
immense water-wheel of 51 feet diameter and 6 feet wide, said at the time
to be the largest in the kingdom.  Two extensive ponds, still observable,
were formed higher up the vale, and connected with the Works by a canal
yet remaining.  Little use was made, however, of these appliances, owing
to the general introduction and superior advantages of steam power.  A
steam-engine was consequently put up for creating the necessary blast.
Not being found sufficiently powerful to keep two furnaces in operation,
each being 45 feet high, 9.5 feet diameter at the top, 14 feet across at
the boshes, and 5 feet diameter at the hearth, another steam-engine of 80
horse power was erected in 1849; but owing to a depression in the iron
trade, and other causes, the two furnaces were not then worked together.

A few years after the decease of Mr. Montague, in 1847, Mr. James bought
all his interest in the Works and became the sole lessee, until the year
1854, when he purchased from Mr. Protheroe the fee of the property,
together with all the liabilities of the lease.  Since that time the two
furnaces have been occasionally worked together, under the
superintendence of Mr. Greenham, one of the proprietors, the firm still
continuing as "The Forest of Dean Iron Company."  They produce upwards of
300 tons of pig-iron per week, consuming in the meantime 350 tons of
coke, and 600 tons of iron ore, obtained from the neighbouring mines at
Oakwood and China Eugene; and from the Perseverance and Findall Mine, on
the eastern side of the Forest.  These operations give employment to
something like 300 men; and the foundation is now being laid for another

Besides its iron furnaces, Park End is the site of Messrs. T. and W.
Allaway's extensive Tin-Plate Works, erected at a large outlay by Messrs.
James and Greenham in 1851.  They find employment for some 200
work-people, by whom 500 boxes of tinplate are made per week.  Two-thirds
of the iron so used is obtained in the Forest.

Similar works, only on a larger scale, are carried on at Lydney by
Messrs. W. Allaway and Sons.  These are five in number, and bear the
names of The Lower Mill, The Lower Forge, The Middle Forge, The Upper
Mill, and The Upper Forge.  About 400 hands are engaged at them, and turn
out about 1,000 boxes of tin-plate every week, besides a quantity of
sheet-iron.  The materials supplied to these works from the Forest of
Dean are pig-iron, coal, fire-bricks and clay, fire-stone and fire-sand,
and cordwood for conversion into charcoal.  Lydney has long been famed
for its ironworks, which at one time belonged to the Talbot family.

_Sowdley_, in spite of its natural beauties and retired situation, has
been occupied by ironworks since 1565, the ancient family of the Joneses
of Hay Hill conducting them as wire-works drawn by power of hand.
Messrs. Parnell and Co. then took to them; from 1784 to 1804 Dobbs and
Taylor carried on the works; Browning, Heaven and Tayer followed in 1824,
and Todd, Jeffries and Spirrin in 1828, converting a part of the premises
into paint and brass works.

In 1837 they were raised to the dignity of blast furnaces by having two
of them erected of the usual size, by Edward Protheroe, Esq., and worked
by him for four years.  The late Mr. Benjamin Gibbons purchased them in
1857; and in 1863 his representatives sold them to Messrs. Goold, by whom
they are conducted.  At present but one furnace is in blast, yielding
about 20 tons of Forest iron each casting, South Wales coke being the
fuel employed.  Eighty hands are engaged at these works.

_Lydbrook_ has long been the site of several busy ironworks.  They may be
specified as the Upper and Lower; the last of these, situated near the
Wye, was once the property of the Foleys, by whom so many of the iron
works of the beginning of the last century were carried on.  More
recently they were in Mr. Partridge's hands, and were worked in connexion
with the furnace at Bishopswood.  In 1817 Mr. Allaway leased them, at
which time they comprised three forges, rolling and bar mills, and
tin-house complete, capable of producing from 100 to 150 boxes of tin
plates per week.  Now, however, under the able management of the late Mr.
Allaway's sons, the Works yield 600 boxes, sent off by the Wye.  The iron
used is chiefly that from Cinderford, as being the best suited for the

The Upper Works, formerly the property of Lord Gage, at the time when the
High Meadow Estates belonged to the family, are now owned by Messrs.
Russell, the late Mr. Russell having bought them from the Crown in 1818.
His son, Mr. Edward Russell, writes:--

    "We have since then considerably improved and enlarged them, and are
    now employing about 100 hands.  We manufacture wire for fencing, as
    also for telegraph purposes, of which we can roll from 40 to 50 tons
    per week.  We likewise make charcoal iron for horse-nails and smith's
    work, besides that for agricultural purposes, using the Cinderford,
    Shropshire, and Staffordshire iron, especially the former."

Other works, resembling those just described, are being carried on by Mr.
James Russell at the Forest Vale Iron Works, near Cinderford.  When
perfected, they will employ not less than 60 pairs of hands, and will
supply considerable quantities of iron rods for telegraphic and other
wire, as well as chain-cable iron, the adjoining furnaces affording the
requisite metal.

All the iron ore supplied from this neighbourhood to these different
works is derived from one or other of the following iron mines, whose
present extent may be thus particularized. {61}

The _Shake-mantle_, _Buckshraft_, and _St. Annal's_ pits, on the
_eastern_ side of the Forest, constitute that exceedingly important range
of mining operations, from which the Cinderford furnaces have long
obtained their chief supply of iron ore.  These are four in number,
having a height of 43 feet, an extreme breadth of 14 feet, that of the
hearth being 6 feet.  They make 500 tons every week of the finest
hot-blast iron.

A peculiar interest attaches to the first of these three pits, owing to
its being the oldest mine still at work in this vicinity, though it dates
no earlier than 1829, so recently has iron mining been resumed in this
part of the district.  Buckshraft was begun in 1835-7, and that at St.
Annal's in 1849, each originating in the increasing demand for iron ore
at the adjoining blast furnaces.  They all descend to the same vein of
red hematite, as well as to one common "level."  This runs from one to
the others, almost in a direct line two miles long.  The shafts are
severally 70, 160, and 221 yards deep.

Upwards of 36,000 tons of rich ore have been annually obtained from these
iron mines for many years, leaving a transverse area of cavernous
workings about 70 yards wide.  But a far greater void was formed by the
old miners, whose holes occur immediately above, and in which a few
scattered tools have been discovered, left behind when operations were
abruptly stopped in 1674, but not before the men had burrowed down some
150 yards.

The natural drainage of these mines being towards the Shake-mantle pit, a
very powerful pumping engine has been put up there, capable of raising
250 gallons of water to the surface at every stroke.

As many as 250 hands are employed in working these valuable iron mines.

The _Westbury-brook_ iron mine, so called from its situation near the
head of that stream, is one of the most productive pits on the _eastern_
side of the Forest basin.

It was begun about the year 1837, immediately below "the old men's
workings."  These proved to be remarkably extensive and searching, all
the ore having been cleared out to a depth, in some places, of 160 yards.
They were also found to contain many ancient mining implements, such as
plank-ladders, shovels, helves, &c., all of ash, besides leather shoes
and mattock heads, left behind probably when the iron furnaces of the
district were suppressed in 1674.

Since 1843 this mine work has been very prosperously conducted by the
agents of the Dowlais Iron Company, whither most of its ore is sent to be
mixed and smelted with the ore there, much to the improvement of the iron
so made.

Nearly 200 hands are employed at the Westbury-brook mine pit.  The
excavations run north and south for upwards of a mile and a half, their
breadth averaging about 16 yards.  They are reached by a shaft 186 yards
deep, to the top of which a plunging pump raises 33 gallons of water at
each stroke.

For several years past this iron mine has yielded many thousands of tons
yearly of the finest red hematite ore.  A steam-engine of 36 horse power
brings it to the surface.

The _Old Sling_ iron mine, begun in 1838, on the Clearwell Mean, has long
been considered one of the principal mine works on the western edge of
the Forest.  Its chief access is by a shaft that descends 105 yards to
where the deepest workings begin.  These gradually rise, in accordance
with the upward slope of the mine train, until they attain an area of
about 20 acres, leaving some 33 acres unwrought above them, to where "the
old men's workings" are reached.  Such is the case about 50 yards below
the surface, after they had worked over upwards of seven acres of the
mine ore.  These excavations were found to contain some ancient picks and
wooden shovels tipped with iron, an addition not met with elsewhere, but
rendered necessary in this instance by the harder nature of the matrix of
the mine ore.

This iron mine has yielded for several years past 1,000 tons of red
hematite ore per month, and employed nearly 100 hands.

Another remunerative iron mine, opened on the western side of the forest,
is the _Easter_ iron mine.  It has three shafts sunk upon it, 100, 113,
and 118 yards deep respectively.  The first of these, and the only one in
work, at which a light steam-engine of 14 horse power is used,
communicates with "the old men's workings," though none of their tools
have been found in them.  About fifty men and boys are employed in this
mine, from which upwards of 1,000 tons of ore are procured each month.

The table here appended, by the kind permission of the deputy gaveller,
Mr. T. F. Brown, exhibits the proceeds of each of the Dean Forest Iron
Mines during the years 1864-5:--


NAME OF IRON     Half-year     Half-year     Total.     Half-year     Half-year   Total.
MINE.            ended Mid     ended                    ended Mid     ended
                 Summer 1864.  Christmas                Summer 1865.  Christmas
                               1864.                                  1865.
Perseverance     5,199         4,217         9,416      5,742         7,126       12,868
and Findall
New China        123           66            189        240           170         410
New Dun Pit      1,255         985           2,190      ...           ...         ...
Buckshraft       21,400        18,370        39,770     22,245        23,882      46,127
Tingle's Mine    548           ...           548        ...           405         405
Crow's Nest      1,893         2,975         4,868      ...           ...         ...
Old Ham          514           ...           514        89            456         545
Oakwood Mill     2,923         2,222         5,145      1,723         4,761       6,484
Westbury Brook   10,180        9,773         19,953     7,756         11,293      19,049
Old Sling        8,889         7,051         15,940     6,267         6,113       12,380
Easter           5,584         3,911         9,495      1,788         2,760       4,548
Yewtree          173           67            240        ...           ...         ...
Dean's Meend     7,540         7,228         14,768     8,192         6,176       14,368
Clearwell        1,277         3,416         4,693      ...           ...         ...
Shraves          731           364           1,095      367           186         558
Scar Pit         524           ...           524        ...           ...         ...
Staunton         ...           ...           ...        543           941         1,484
Wigpool          ...           ...           ...        ...           402         402
Scar Pit         ...           488           488        ...           ...         ...

    Forty other gales of iron ore have been awarded to various parties,
    and will no doubt be shortly opened.

No account of the production of iron in the Forest of Dean can be called
complete which does not include some description of the "laws and
privileges," the "customs and franchises" of the original operatives by
whom the mine ore was obtained.  As the miners themselves invariably
refer to the "Book of Dennis" and the seventeen orders of their court of
mine law for all authoritative information respecting their guild, or
fraternity of free minership, the reader is furnished with the following
summary of their contents.

Thus the first-named document begins by specifying the franchises of the
mine locally and personally, meaning its liberties or privileges, as not
to be trespassed against, and consisting apparently in this, that every
man who possessed it, _though it is not stated how_, might, with the
approval of the king's gaveller, dig for iron ore or coal where he
pleased, not limiting him, as in later times, to the Hundred of St.
Briavel's, but giving as his range the whole county south-west of
Gloucester and as far south as the Severn.  There was, too, a right of
way awarded to every mine, although in certain cases "forbids" to sell
might be declared.

One-third part of the profits of the undertaking belonged to the king,
whose gaveller called at the works every Tuesday "between Mattens and
Masse," and received one penny from each miner, the fellowship supplying
the Crown with twelve charges of ore per week at twelve pence, or three
charges of "sea coal" at one penny.

Timber was allowed for the use of the works above and below ground.

Only such persons as had been born and were abiding in the Forest were to
frequent the mines, in working which the distance of a stone's throw was
always to be kept, and property in them might be bequeathed.

The miners' clothes and light are mentioned, as likewise the standard
measure called "bellis," and carts and waynes are prohibited.

It alludes to the "court of the wod" at the speech before the Verderers;
but more particularly to the debtor court at St. Briavel's castle or
gate, and to the mine court, as regulated by the constable, clerk, and
gaveller, with the miners' jury of twelve, twenty-four, or forty-eight,
where all causes relating to the mines were to be alone heard.  Three
hands, or three witnesses, were required in evidence, and the oath was
taken with a stick of holly held in the hand.

The miners of Mitcheldeane, Little Deane, and Ruer Deane are called
"beneath the wood."  It also appears that at Carlion, Newport, Barkley,
Monmouth, and Tulluh, the manufacture of iron was carried on by "smiths,"
who were connected with smith holders living in the Forest, and supplying
the ore.

For many ages the mining operations of the Forest and the action of the
miners' court seem to have gone on so smoothly, and as a matter of
course, that no notices regarding them occur in the documents of those

With the Restoration, however, and the revival of the ancient rights of
the crown, it was found necessary to resume the sessions of the court of
mine law, under the presidency of Sir Baynham Throckmorton.  Thus it
first of all met again on the 16th November, 1663, and continued so to
do, from time to time, for the ensuing Hundred years, passing at
different periods its seventeen "orders."  These verdicts are chiefly
remarkable for reducing the area of the miners rights to the Hundred of
St. Briavel's, though they fail to say what constituted _free minership_
beyond the old definition given in the "Book of Dennis," viz., "beene
borne and abiding within the castle of St. Brevill's and the bounds of
the Forest as aforesaid."  In 1834 the Government commissioners were
informed that it involved birth from a free father, and working a year
and a day in the mines.  They are still a numerous and important
fraternity, without whom no new mine works can be commenced.

                 [Picture: Effigy of a Forest Free Miner]

Their aspect when accoutered for work is given in the frontispiece.  If
compared with their mediaeval appearance, as displayed in the miners'
crest, the interval of four hundred years is scarcely discoverable.
Every mining appurtenance is retained, only somewhat altered in shape,
and that, perhaps, not for the better, be it cap, "bellis," or general
attire.  Only the beard is absent, but then there are the shoes.

           [Picture: Forest of Dean Iron Miners ready for work]

On several occasions they conferred their freedom on the leading gentry
of the neighbourhood.  By their orders they also sanctioned the sinking
of _pits_, as distinguished from _levels_, extending the interval between
mine and mine from "within so much space that ye miner may stand and cast
ridding and stones soe farr from him with a bale as the manner is," to
five hundred yards.  At the present time the deputy gaveller, Mr. T.
Forster Brown, is the resident official under the Commissioner in charge
of Her Majesty's Woods, &c., and he, with his respected predecessor, have
at all times most obligingly facilitated the author's inquiries by giving
the desired information.  It was during the deputy gavellership of the
late Mr. John Atkinson at Coleford that the writer chanced to meet with
the original transcript, here presented to the reader, of the "Book of
Dennis."  The first printing and publication of it took place in 1687, by
William Cooper, at the Pelican, in Little Britain, and it has been
frequently but imperfectly reprinted.

Finding on examination that the reign of the first of the Edwards, and
not the third, was the period to which it assigned the confirmation of
the Forest of Dean Mine Laws, and that it contained many other
inaccuracies, he determined to prepare, in accordance with the valued
suggestion of Mr. Smirke, Judge of the Stannaries of Cornwall, a true
copy of so ancient and curious a document.

From the note which is appended to it, the existing MS. is evidently the
only authentic copy of the original "parchment roll," out of which it was
transcribed by the gaveller, Richard Morse, A.D. 1673, of the penmanship
of which period it is a good specimen.

It seems to be a presentment of the Court of Mine Law, duly signed by the
jury of forty-eight free miners.  Although its early date, and one or two
forms of expression, may seem to indicate that it was first of all
written in Latin, yet so many of its words and phrases, together with its
concluding signatures, are so thoroughly old English, as to show that it
was most probably composed in our own language.  There are no paragraphs
nor punctuations.

In character it is "sui generis," though it exhibits traces of
resemblance to the laws and customs of the old mining districts of
Somerset and Derbyshire, and even with those of Germany, as the
accompanying notes show.  The words between brackets do not occur in the
original MS., having been inserted by modern printers.  Those in italics
give the corrections needed in modern copies.


_Bee itt in minde and_ [in] Remembrance what the Customes and [the]
Franchises _hath_ been that were graunted tyme out of Minde and after in
tyme of the Excellent and Redoubted Prince King Edward {71a} [the Third]
_un_to ye  Miners of the Forrest of Deane and the Castle of St Bridvills
and the bounds of the said

Perambulations of the Mine.Forrest (That _is to say_)  First {71b}
betweene Chepstowe Bridge and Gloucester Bridge the halfe _deale_ of
Newent Ross Ash Monmouth_s_ bridge and soe farr in_to_ the Seasoames as
the Blast of a horne or the voice of a man may bee heard  Soe that if any
did Trespasse Miners' power to sue trespassers.against the Franchises of
the Min_ers_ [that is to say] that pass[ing] by boat {71c} Trowe Pinard
{71d} or any other Vessell without gree {71e} made for the Customes due
to the King and also to the _said_ Miners for the Myne {72a} then hee
that passe_th_ _ought_ [passed out] to come by the noyse of the horne or
_the_ cry  And if hee will not come again Then his Boate or Vessell and
all his Cattell Forfeiture.within forth beene forfeit _un_to the King for
the Forbadment {72b} broken the which is attachmet in the Franchises of
the said Miners [and] Also {72c} that the said Their power to mine in any
place.Myners may myne in any place that they will as well without the
bounds as within without _the_ Forebodment of any man  But if so [be]
_that_ a_ny_ Smith {72d} have a Smithman at Karleton {72e} Newport or at
Barkley th_en such_ [which] Smithman is occupied {72f} in Smith _craft_
[work] and in Covenant with a Smith holder within the Covenant servant a
fugitive.said Bounds  Then the Smith holder [that is] within shall goe to
the said Townes to prove his Covenant and after _his_ [the] proffe _he
may_ [made] not have his Smithman  Then ye Smith holder shall forbidd all
the Myne that _ought_ [might] to be carryed of the said Strainger that
occupied the said Smithman unto the tyme that hee answereth as right is
Then the [said] Smith holder within shall not forbidd the Myne of no
other [man] but only of him that occupieth [occupied] the said Smithman
Also in the said manner if any Smithman bee in Monmouth or Trellich then
the Smith holder _within_ shall come to St Briavell's Gate {73a} and
there with three hands {73b} shall prove his Smithman and the prooffe
made a precept shall bee delivered by the Constable to the Gaveller the
which is Bayliffe of the said Myne to Gaveller is bayliffe of the
mine.forbidd the Mine of him that occupieth the said Smithman till hee
bee restored and only of him and [of] noe other  Also {73c} the Miners
have such libertyes and Franchises that for catelo {73d} to them due for
their Myne that they beene Bayliffs to take the Cattle of their Miners
and bayliffe may arrest cattle for their debts.debtors and to arrest them
without _the_ leave of any man till gree bee made if hee bee within the
bounds aforesaid  And if the Debtor bee without the bounds in what place
that hee bee Then the Miner shall forbidd all the Myne that ought to bee
carryed to the place in wch the debtor bee abiding till Gree bee made to
the Miner  And after the forbodment if any carry [mine] to Forbode for
debt due without the mine.the place aforesaid against the forbidd The
Carrier shall be accountable and debtr to the Miner as the principall was
And alsoe the beasts that carry the Myne shall be forfeit to the King for
the forbodd broken  _And_ [Also] if a Smith holder or any other bee
debtor for _the_ Myne _un_to a Myner the wch Smith holder or other bee
within Then the Myner is Bayliff in every place (Except his own close) to
take the horse of the _said_ debtor if hee Distreyning a horse.bee
saddled of a work saddle and of noe other saddle bee it that the horse
bee halfe within the door of the Smith soe that the Myner may take the
tayle of the horse  The debtor shall deliver the horse to the Myner  And
{74a} if hee [so] doe not the Myner shall [make and] levy _and_ Hue and
crye._make_ huy and cry agt the horse and then the horse shall bee
forfeit to the King for the hue and cry made and levied  And yet ye Miner
shall present the debtor in the Mine Law _the_ wch is Court for the Myne
And the_re_ the debtor before the Constable and his Clarke the Gaveller
and the Miners and none other Folke to plead right _but_ onely the
Miner_s_ shall bee there and hold a Holly sticks, &c.sticke of holly and
then the said Myner demanding the debt shall putt his hand upon the
[said] sticke and Swears his debt.none others with him and shall sweare
_upon_ [by] {74b} his Faith that the said debt is to him due and the
prove made the debtor in the same place shall pay the Myner all the debt
proved or els hee shall be brought to the Castle of St. Briavell's till
gree bee made and also hee Amersement.shall be amersed to the king in two
shillings and the same manner Myner to Myner and Myner to all other folke
Also if a Distresse bee taken in like manner _as_ aforesaid And the
Debtor lett the distresse dye or bee impaired within ye Ward of the Myner
for fraud or for malice and after the Myner shall distreyne and take
Distresse.more distresse if any bee till Gree bee made  And bee it that
the distress dye or bee impaired within the ward of the Myne[r] the
debtor shall not have right to implead the Miner neither noe right to
grieve him for the Trespasse done  But at all tymes the Myner ha_ve_
[hath] right to take other distresse till gree be made  Also for the Myne
of an horse as is aforesayd the Miner Horse girth and halter.shall take
the foregirth for three half-pence and for one penny the halter  Also the
Myner hath such franchises to enquire the Myne {74c} in every soyle of
the Kings of which it may be named {75a} and also of all other Folke To
dige in ye king's soyle or any other.without the with saying of any man
and also if any bee that denyeth any soyle whatsoever hit bee bee hit
sowed or noe or what degree hit may be named {75b}  Then the Gaveller by
the strength of the King shall deliver the soyle to the Myners with a
convenient way next Wayes to ye pitte.stretching to the King's highway by
the wch Myne may be carried to all places and waters that been convenient
to the sayd Myne without withsaying of any man {75c}  For the wch Soyle
in [the] wch the myne is within found The Lord of the Soyle at the first
time if hee will enter The lord of ye soyle, &c.into the said myne freely
hee shall and shall have a dole {75d} without paying anything at his
first coming and shall be the last man of the Fellowship, but moreover
hee shall doe coste as the Fellowship doth  And if after it please the
Lord to voyde he may well and if after that hit please him to come againe
he may well  But hee shall make Gree for the coste done in the meantyme
for his pte as the Fellowship can prove at the pitts mouth afterwards as
another  And _at_ all tymes the King's Man shall come in_to_ ye Myne
without any King's man. Costs asking of him and shall bee the third {76a}
better man of the Fellowship in mayntenance and in helping of the Myne
and of the fellowship  But the King's Man _nor_ [neither] the Lords man
ought not to enter into the Myne till the pitt be gavelled (that is to
say) for every dole _one_ [a] penny to the King at the first [time] and
after if the Fellowship doe make a new [any other] Pitt gavelled.Dole
after the First Gavelling without the King's Leave wherefore for every
Dole soe delivered the King shall King's dutyhave another Dole of the wch
Mine of every Miner travelling with the said mine the king shall have
every weeke a penny if soe bee that the Myner _winn_ [wine] three Seames
of Myne measured by the Standard _of the standard_ of the King[s] of old
tyme used at the least and bee it the King shall have noe more  _Also_
[And] the King shall have every Quarter of _a_ [the] year of every Miner
travelling wth in the Myne at Seame of Mine the wch is Gaveller's duty in
receiving ye king's customes.called Lawe oare {76b}  And every weeke the
Gaveller shall visitt the Tuesday the whole Mine or at [the] least within
two weeks to receive the customes due to the King aforesaid  And if not
the Miner for the said tyme shall not bee accountable  But if the Gavellr
come in the quarter to visit the Mine as is aforesaid and find not the
Miner at that tyme the Gaveller shall receive soe much of [the] Mine as
[it] is due to the King without leave of any  Also if the Gaveller come
in due tyme to receive the Customes aforesaid and the Debtor will not at
that time pay then the Gaveller shall forbode soe much of myne there as
hitt is due to the King by witnesse of the Miners and underneath hee
shall putt a sticke of holly and after [if] the Miner carry the said Mine
without gree made to the King then the Miner shall be amersed in twoe
shillings and also [he] shall make Gree to the King for the Debt and if
any such Mine bee forbad for Lawe Oare  Then the Miner shall measure
[out] soe much of the Mine that is due to the King to make Gree and the
Remnant they shall carry at their own pleasure and that by the witnesse
of another Miner and if hee _doth_ not hee shall have the pennance
aforesaid  And if the Gavellr come in due time to visitt the Mine (that
is to say) Betweene Mattens and Masse {77} and finde not there the Miner
at the end of twoe weekes (that is to say) the Tuesday in his working
place as the manner is the Gavellr shall take him that as is due  And if
hee bee not there present or any other for him and at what tyme the
Gaveller cometh to prove if the Miner been ready to pay the Customes
aforesaid or noe and they deny  Then the Gavellr by the strength of the
King shall make the Miner sweare by his Faith  And if the Miner bee found
by his fellowship forsworne then the Miner shall be attaint A foresworne
miner.against the King and shall never bee believed more agst any man and
after if hee bee found with Mine within the Mine _in_ [with] his cloathes
pertaining to the Mine every week he shall pay to the King _one_ [a]
penny  And the Miners of _the_ beneath the wood (that Beneath the wood.is
to say) Mitcheldeane Litele Deane and _River_deane [Riverdeane] every
week the which the Miners travelleth in the Mine _hee_ [they] shal pay
_unto_ the King Twelve charges of Mine by a certaine measure if they have
soe much gotten by the weeke  And the Gaviller shall pay the Miner there
Twelve _pence_ [D]  Alsoe the Constable shall bee attendant by the reason
of his Constable to keepe courts on Tuesdayes.office for Two weeks (that
is to say) the Tuesday to hold the Court [of the Mine] that is called
Myne Lawe and there to heare and [to] trye the right of our Souverigne
Lord the King and of Miners and of pty and pty if any bee  And at ye same
Mine Lawe shall not be Noe foreignr to be present.more sitting [but the
Miners] wth the Constable but himself the Gavillr and the Castle Clarke
and the Miners before being and noe others  But if soe bee [that] any
other _have_ [hath] to doe _with_ [in] the said Mine Lawe [he shall
answer for himself] and _in the said Mine Lawe noe man shall plead
neither mayntaine noe cause but onely the Miners_  _But if soe any bee
attached to answer in the said Mine Lawe_ Pleading in no other court.he
shall answer for himself and shall be judged by the Miners of all things
touching the Mine and in noe other Court and _then_ hee that is found
guilty Miner to Miner or any other man shall be amersed to the King in
two shillings  And bee it _if_ [that] any will plead with any Miner for a
thing touching the Miner in any other Court before a Justice or any other
Man whatsoever hee bee then the Constable by the strength of the King
shall require and bring the plaint into the Mine Lawe and there hit shall
be tryed by the Constable and the Miners and then the party guilty shall
be amersed to Manner of tryall by jurys by 3 degrees.the King as [is]
aforesaid  And if any plaint bee in the [said] Myne Lawe at the first day
hit shall be put upon twelve Miners the wch shall give the prove the
first day the Second day upon Fower and Twenty and ye third day upon
eight and forty wch eight and forty shall give judgment the wch shall be
affirmed firme and stable {78} wthout calling again for evermore  And if
any Miner Miner foresworne.bee found forsworne by his faith as hit is
aforesaid in the proofe against any Man in the Mine Lawe Miner or Miner
or Miner against any other man and the said Eight and Forty have given
for judgmt that hee is forsworne then the guilty shall be attaint against
the King and shall have the pennance aforesaid and shall restore the
other _of_ all his _loste_ [losses] in all points and never [shall] prove
more  Also {79a} every Miner in his last days and _at_ Miner may sell or
bequeath his dole.all tymes may bequeath and give his Dole of the Mine to
whom hee will as his own catele  And if hee doe not _the_ [his] dole
shall descend to his heire and if hee to whom the dole is soe bequeathed
or given by Testamt eyther otherwise hath need to prove _his_ [the] dole
in ye Mine Lawe he shall come there and show the Testamt _and_ [or] bring
wth him twoe witnesses to testifie the Will of the Miner and then as
right is hee shall bee delivered without any cost made or asked  Also
{79b} for the customs that ye Miners done to the King the Constable that
is for the time shall deliver the Miners in six weeks at the speech that
is the Court for the wood before the verderers by the woodwards that
keepeth the place (that is to say) Sufficient of Tymber [and] to
mayntayne the King's advantages Timber for ye pitts and manner of haveing
it.and profitts as also for _the_ Salvaton of his Miners as they did in
tyme out of mind without hurt or attachmt made of the King's Officers
(that is to say) Free the Forrest unto the Miners  And also bee it that
ye Miner carry tymber from the woods into his place or _into_ [unto] any
other the whych tymber is made and cut for the boothes for the Mine That
for that _noe_ [none] attachment shall be made of any man  And if the
Constable will deliver noe tymber as aforesaid and the Miner _of_ [by]
his owne authority fetch tymber in ye Forrest for the Mine and carry hit
to ye Mine and after that the [said] Timber bee in _the_ [their] place
that is called Gavell place the wch is knowne by the old Custome  Then is
the tymber as their owne catele and none attachment shall be made for
that  Alsoe the Sea Cole Mine Sea cole.is as free in all points as the
Oare Mine  But if the fellowship Mine by ye weeke three charges the King
shall have of every of the Fellowship a Penny  Alsoe [that] noe Stranger
of what degree soever hee bee but onely that beene borne and abideing
within the Castle of St Brevills and the bounds of the Forrest as is
aforesaid shall come wthin the Mine to see and A stranger not to pry.[to]
knowe ye privities of our Souvaigne Lord the King in his said Mine  Also
that noe Smith holder neither Myner neither _any_ [no] other shall make
carriage of the said Myne _neither_ by cart _nor_ [neither] by waine but
onely by the measure called Billeyes by ye wch the Custome of the King
bee measured  Soe that the Gaveller may knowe and _soe_ [see] that the
King have right in every _pointe_ [place done]  And if any such
Measure.unreasonable measure shall be found then _the_ [every] Miner by
the strength of the King is Bayliffe to arrest the Beaste and whereof the
beaste shall be forfeit to the King and ye measure burnt  And bee it that
the Miners for duty or for wretchedness will such wrong suffer and alsoe
ye Gavellr for his owne Lucre  Then the Constable by ye reason of his
office shall pursue by the strength of the King to take and to doe as is
aforesaid  Alsoe that noe Smith holder after he holdeth Smith or become
partner to hold Smith hee shall not have none of the Franchises aforesaid
within a year and a day  Also by the Franchises aforesaid the Constable
shall deliver _Tymber_ to the Miners [Timber] sufficient to make a Lodges
for pitts.lodge upon their pitt to keepe and to save _the_ [a] pitt [and
the mine] of the Kings and ye Miners  And {80} Bounds of pitte.the pitt
shall have such liberties and franchises that noe man shall come within
so much space that ye Miner may stand and cast [so far from him] ridding
and stones _soe farr from him_ with a Bale as the manner is  And shall
have his marks apperteyning to his said pitt  Also Marks.shall have a
Bold place in the wch the Miner make and performe the tymber to build the
said pitt  And if any other come to travel and to work within the places
aforesaid hee shall be forbode of the Fellowship of the pitt and if after
hee come againe hee shall loose to the King two Shillings  Alsoe ye pitt
shall have a winde way {81a} soe farr from him as is aforesaid pertayning
to the said pitt  Also the Partie that is amersed in twoe shillings shall
avoid the place by the Law of the Miners  Also if a pitt bee made and
_upon_ [be] adventure cometh another up[on] another way within the ground
and drulleth {81b} to the said pitt at what tyme hee drulleth to ye said
pitt he shall abide till the other Fellowship of the said pitt bee
present at the wch tyme if the other Fellowship will not receive him he
shall _re_turne again by the forbods and by the Lawe of the Mine  But if
he Drulling a pitt.drulleth to the said pitt in certaine Myne then the
said Mine shall bee free to both parties _which hit_ [while is] dureth
and afterwards [every] each one shall come agen to his owne place  Saving
to [every] each one ye place of others and after if one or the other doe
hurt to ye other he shall restore again soe much to him if hee dig and
make ye pitt fall he shall build it again and if hee distrouble the other
_soe_ that he may not travaile to _win_ [wyne] his proffitt and the
Customes of the King hee shall restore all the lost of the king and the
Miner  Alsoe if any bee wrongfully forbode by the Miner or by Wrong
forbode.any other Then hee that is forbode shall come to ye pitt and
shall bring wth him his Instruments pertaining to ye Mine with his light
as another of ye Fellowshipp and the_re_ [then] hee shall abide so long
as the fellowshipp and then by _the_ judgment of eight and forty he shall
receive so much as any other of the Fellowship &c.

The miners' names.John Garron, Stephen Preest, John Clarke, Thomas Wytt,
Thomas Norton, John Hathway, Thomas Michill, John Mitchill, John Smith,
John Lambert, Nicholas Orle, John Barton, Richard Haynes, John Armiger,
Walter Rogers, Richard Hathen, Walter Smith, William Miller, Thomas
Cromhall, Walter Dau, [John Loofe, Roger Shin, Henry Norton, Thomas
Forthey, Walter Waker,] Richard Timber, William Baker, Thomas With, John
Baker, Phillip Dolewyer, John Adys, William Hynd, William Tallow, John
Brute, John Mitchill, Richard Hopkins, Thomas Baster, John Laurence,
Thomas Tyler, Walter Dolett, William Callowe, Richard Holt, Walter Warr,
John Robert, Henry Doler, John Parsons, William Holder, Thomas Clarke.

Be it knowne to all men that shall see _or_ [and] heare this writing that
the Inquest of fforty and eight Miners witnesses and confirmeth all the
Laws comprized in ye said Roll for witnesse whereof they have put their

Written out of a parchmt roll now in
   ye hands of Richard Morse of Clownwall
   7 Jany 1673

                                                  THO. DAVIES.

          Memordm this was afterwards printed for Wm
          Cook at the Pelican in Little Britain
             hoc Titulo

                 The Laws & Customes of the Miners
                 in ye Forest of Dean

                 The Rules & Orders of St Brevaills


                 Written 7 Jany 1673.


{1}  Aided by the skilful labours of Stuart A. Moore, Esq.

{11a}  Hoare's Itinerary of Abp. Baldwin, vol. i. p. 102.

{11b}  Rudder's Appendix. pp.25, 26.

{12a}  Rotuli Litterarum Clausarum.

{12b}  Ibid.

{13a}  Rotuli Litterarum Clausarum.

{13b}  Ibid.

{14a}  Rotuli Litterarum Clausarum.

{14b}  Ibid.

{14c}  Exchequer Department, Forest Rolls, No. 418.

{17}  Inquisition of 15 Edw. III., Exchequer Records, No. 75.

{19}  Exchequer Records, No. 29, Chapter House.

{20a}  Inquisition of 15 Edw. III., Exchequer Records, No. 75.

{20b}  Exchequer Records, Chap. V. f. 18, No. 18, Col. I.

{22}  "Dominus Rex habet mineriam in Balliva de Magna Dene.  Et capit do
quolibet operaris qui poterit lucrari per septimanam tres summas minea 1.
denarium per septimanam.  Et quando minea primo invenietur Dominus Rex
habebit unum hominem operantem cum aliis operantibus in mineria, et
conducet illum pro duobus denariis per diem, et habebit partem lucri
quantum eveniat uni operaris.  Item, Dominus Rex habebit unde per
septimanam sex summas mineae quae vocantur 'Lawe ore.'  Et dabit propter
hoc operariis VI. denariis per septimanam."

{23}  Chapter House Records.

{25a}  Inquisition of 15 Edward III., Exchequer Records.

{25b}  Fosbrooke's Gloucester, p. 44.

{25c}  Book of Mine Law.

{28}  Lansdowne MSS., No. 166, f. 365.

{31a}  State Papers.

{31b}  Ibid.

{31c}  Ibid.

{31d}  Ibid.

{32}  State Papers.

{42a}  State Paper Office, Domestic Series, No. 835, fos. 675-710.

{42b}  Ibid., Domestic Series, Int., No.  816.

{42c}  State Papers, Domestic Series.

{43}  Brit. Mus., Harl. MS. 6839, fol. 332.

{46}  State Papers, Domestic Series.

{47a}  On similar principles, the eighth Order of the Free Miners' Court
enacted that "no iron ore intended for Ireland should be shipped on the
Severn or Wye for a less sum than 6s. 6d. for every dozen bushels."

{47b}  Commissioners' Report of 1788.

{54}  To these works Mr Thoresby alludes, in his diary, 7 Sept., 1694,
recording that near Egremont he passed "by the iron mines, where we saw
them working, and got some ore."

{61}  There are other important Iron works at Tintern, Redbrook, &c., but
it does not appear that Dean Forest iron is used at them.

{71a}  It is difficult to explain the bold introduction of so important
an insertion, unless we attribute it to the over-wisdom of some modern
printer, who regarded Edward III. as the only excellent and redoubted
prince of the Edwardian category.

{71b}  These comprehensive limits mark an early age; but in mining
matters they were hardly more than nominal--the mineral district
comprising only a third of the land thus circumscribed.

{71c}  The proximity of the Severn, and particularly the Wye, to the mine
works of the age is here shown.

{71d}  Printed "pichard," meaning, possibly, the Wye coracle.

{71e}  The French word "gree," for agreement or composition, is familiar
among our early poets and writers, and occurs in the old statutes.

{72a}  In this and in several other passages of this document, "myne " is
used for mineral or ore.

{72b}  This word and its variations is technical, and is nearly
equivalent to a prohibition or injunction.

{72c}  This general liberty of mining, without apparent restriction as to
surface ownership, is to be found in the earliest charters of the
Stannaries, and was and still is extensively prevalent in Germany and
elsewhere.  The authorities are collected in Mr. Smirke's volume already
referred to.  It was this remarkable liberty that Lord Nelson noticed
when visiting the Forest in 1802.

{72d}  In very early times the smith ranked very high among artificers,
and was honoured in proportion.

{72e}  Probably carbon, old iron cinders, are still found at these

{72f}  The gate being the spot where justice was administered, in
accordance with remote practice.

{73a}  Or Court of the Mine held in the castle.

{73b}  "Tertia manu," with a third hand; that is, with three witnesses or

{73c}  In allusion to this rude and arbitrary process of distress, Mr.
Smirke states that it is abundantly countenanced by ancient usage,
especially in the Hartz Mines.  Haltaus says--"Olim pignoris captio ex
debitoris rebus moventibus diu privatorum arbitrio permissa."

{73d}  The "cattle" here must not be understood as exclusively applicable
to live stock, it refers to all personal "chattels" or goods.

{74a}  However whimsical this claim may appear, observes Mr. Smirke, it
is almost exactly paralleled in the law ascribed to Rob. I. of
Scotland:--"Si debitor per vim a parte creditoris namos abstulerit,
creditor cum secta vel huesis persequatur ablatorem."

{74b}  A copy of the Holy Gospels was eventually used on such occasions.

{74c}  This phrase, "to enquire the myne," Mr. Smirke considers of Latin
origin, "libertatim inquirendi mineam"--in which language he thinks the
whole of the document was probably first composed.

{75a}  The German miners, Mr. Smirke says, enjoyed a similar liberty.
See former liberty on this head.

{75b}  According to Mr. Smirke, the corresponding demand made upon the
Bergmeister, by the German miners, is equally imperative, unless
conflicting claims are put in, when the first finder and not the first
claimant is entitled to preference.

{75c}  Mr. Smirke has discovered that a like obligation was imposed on
the Irons, or Iron Miners, of the forests in the ancient Earldom of
Namur.  He very plausibly suggests that the appellation, "Verus," by
which the Dean Forest Miners designate each other, is derived from the
word Firon.

{75d}  Mr. Smirke has traced the giving of similar doles in the ancient
constitutions of the Miners of Bohemia, Saxony, and the Hartz.

{76a}  The proportion of Profit to the Crown is found to vary in
different places, sometimes being no more than a tenth part or even a
twentieth or less.  These provisions respecting the right of the lord of
the soil, whether king or subject, have their counterparts in the old
summary laws, which regulate the participation of the landowner in the
discovery and working of mines; the _droit de partage_, or "mit-bauhalf,"
&c. of the German miners.

{76b}  See the Regard of 10 Edw. I., &c., which contains a similar

{77}  The occurrence of these pre-Reformation terms, more especially the
latter, proves the original of this document to be of earlier date than
that event.  The portion of the day, as thus defined, would seem to
answer to our forenoon.

{78}  An expression that indicates a Latin original--"judicium firmum et
stabile remanebit in perpetuum absque ulla appellatione."  No appeal or
"calling" lies further.  This appeal to successive inquests is
remarkable.  It resembles the process of reversing a verdict of twelve
jurors by a verdict of twenty-four by the old writ of attaint.  (See
Blackst. Com, vol. iii.)

{79a}  The German Miners Mr. Smirke found to possess these rights also.
The tin-bounders of the Stannaries also bequeath their dormant liberty of
mining, which is in Cornwall regarded as personal property, and passes to
executors, and not to the heir.

{79b}  This claim to timber, at least where the forest is a royal one,
has also been generally admitted into the continental mine codes.  King
John granted it to the tinners of Devon and Cornwall, but such a grant is
now inoperative except as against the Crown.

{80}  The Mendip Miners are observed by Mr. Smirke to determine the
intervening distance of their pits by a throw of "the hache" two ways,
the miner standing up to the girdle in the mine groof.  In Bohemia the
arrow-flight fixes the limits of the work.

{81a}  It is presumed that "winde" in this place, and "win" or "wyne" a
little further on, is the same word, viz., "win," and refers to the area
or space round the pit which circumscribes the working ground of the
miner, within which he is to win his ore.

{81b}  An original and local word.  It seems to be allied to drill a
hole.  (I do not think the word strictly local.  Thrull, drill, thrill,
thirl, and thurl, are all current elsewhere--all from Saxon [Greek

{82}  Of course there should be forty-eight signatures, as appended,
doubtless, to the original document.  Probably some of them had become
illegible, and therefore were omitted altogether by the copyist of 1673.

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