Ironstone working in Northumberland

In the course of reviewing the Resource Assessment for iron mining, part of the Research Framework for the Archaeology of the Extractive Industries in England, Mike Gill drew my attention to the extensive iron workings in Northumberland to the north-east of the North Tyne river.

In Redesdale in Northumberland, centred on Rochester and Ridsdale to the south, are two groups of extensive ironstone workings, exploited from at least the Roman period through to the 19th century. Those within the Otterburn ranges have been catalogued as part of 'An Archaeological Survey of the Ministry of Defence Training Area' (Charlton & Day 1977, 126-27). Apart from one or two smelting sites, most sites are recorded without comment in the Northumberland HER and, despite their extensive nature, no archaeological investigation has been carried out nor has there been any detailed published historical research.

It is surprising that no historical accounts of the iron workings turned up in my searches – perhaps someone with local knowledge can point me in the direction of published / unpublished work on these mines. The Ridsdale or Corsenside Ironworks are a scheduled ancient monument with Grade II listed structures and someone must have research the mines and quarries on which the ironworks sources its ore.

Hope someone can help


Dr Peter Claughton,
Blaenpant Morfil, nr. Rosebush, Clynderwen, Pembrokeshire, Wales  SA66 7RE.
Tel. +44 (0)1437 532578; Fax. +44 (0)1437 532921; Mobile +44 (0)7831 427599

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