Frodingham Iron Company

Frodingham Iron Company Lease

Much guess work and a fair bit of stupidity has gone into pinpointing the first ironstone mine on the Frodingham Ironfield. In the latter category must be the hand-drawn map published in Scunthorpe’s Industries, published in1999.

Without recourse to any sort of research the authors attempt to establish the location of the first mine. The result is a piece of what can only be described as nonsense. They place the mine in the middle of the Frodingham Iron Company’s lease. Joseph Cliff the lessee, was an astute business man: he knew what he was about, even when going into, what for him, would be uncharted waters. Would he, do you suppose, agree to take a lease of ironstone where a few thousand tons of that commodity has been mined, despatched and sold?

The same authors then go on to flog the old chestnut regarding the discovery of the ironstone field itself, by a shooting party in 1859. At least it makes a change from the usual nonsense about gamekeepers.

I refer readers to the page on Roland Winn for the facts regarding both the discovery and the location of the first ironstone mine.

In the meantime, I publish below the Frodingham Iron Company’s lease, 93 acres, most of which was in Frodingham Parish:

The annotations are shown above.

The Santon lease was a much larger area:

There are no annotations on this part of the plan, but you will note the comments at the bottom: Pink shading (on the original, LRW) lease of stone underground.

The lease is bisected by Ermine Street (the old Roman road,) the present B1207.

The Trent Ancholme and Grimsby line runs across the southern edge of the lease

The plans are part of the Lord St Oswald Mining Deposit held at the North East Lincolnshire Archive Office, Grimsby and I am grateful to the staff there for access to those deposits.

As part of the agreement with the Winn’s, the Frodingham Company were contracted to sink shafts in the Appleby lease to mine the stone during the second and third years of the lease. Rent charge on the two leases were fixed at nil for the first year, £500 for the second and third years and £650 for subsequent years.

Royalty payments on mined stone were fixed at 1shilling 3pence per ton from the Frodingham lease and 9 pence per ton from the Appleby lease.1

Following the satisfactory outcome for Winn of Lord Beauchamp’s claim to the right to the ironstone on Brumby Common in 1870, the Cliff’s leased a further 186 acres on Brumby Common.2 The agreement stipulated that rents and royalty’s were as per the Frodingham lease and that ironstone mined was for Cliff’s works only.

Joseph Cliff was planning for the future, as letter from Roland Winn to his Father, Charles illustrates: “Cliff plans to erect two more furnaces on the Frodingham lease, estimating the stone to be at an average of 12feet thick and weighing approximately one and a half tons per cubic yard it will take 190 acres to supply the four furnaces for 40 years”

More details from the Brumby Common lease required Cliff to construct the two additional furnaces within 9 months, and within 15 months the two original furnaces were to be rebuilt to match the hearth diameter of the two new furnaces which was stipulated to be 19 feet or upwards: within 6 months to start sinking two shafts at Appleby for mining the stone3 and that within a period to be agreed you erect two more furnaces of a similar size on the River Ancholme.

Cliff was though rather uncertain as to the best option for getting the most out of his leases. At the end of January Roland Winn wrote to his father “I saw old Cliff (sic) yesterday. He has a good deal changed his views. He does not now want to build near the Ancholme, but to make a line of railway for his use from his present works to the Ancholme so as to get his coke from Durham by that route without having to use the Trent and Ancholme line at all. He has the power to do that under the present terms of his lease…I think in time he plans to do more with Lord Yarborough over the Appleby stone if it proves suitable. He is ready to commence sinking (shafts at Appleby) within the next 18 months, if not sooner…”4

After a great deal of pushing by the Winn’s the Cliff’s finally got round to doing this in the late 1890’s. It is probably fair to say that they held back from that expensive project because of the Dawes’s failure to extract stone from their own shaft-sinking exercise to the west of the Frodingham lease

1 Nostel Priory Muniments NP C3/32/10

2 Lord Beauchamp claimed that as he was awarded the land through enclosure: however Charles Winn as Lord of the Manor was the owner of all minerals under the land.

3 A note on the original lease of 11th December 1864 states” and during the second and third years of the agreed term either sink shafts in the Appleby Royalty for working the stone and pumping water with the necessary machinery for that purpose and erect two more blast furnaces and to complete such sinking and erection of blast furnaces before the fourth year of the said term. In NP C3/5/4

4 NP A1/8/1

. The plan below shows the location of the Frodingham shafts

In the centre of the plan the dotted line leads to the Appleby Mill. Continuing northwards from this line is the rail link to the Frodingham Iron Co’s shafts.

The 1887 25inch Ordnance Survey sheet ‘Appleby’ gives a better idea.5

5 A copy for examination is held at Scunthorpe Central Library.


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