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Monument record MDR6116 - Foxbrooke Furnace and associated buildings, Old Furnace Wood, Eckington

Type and Period (3)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

George Sitwell built Foxbrooke furnace near Renishaw in 1652. Foxton Dam in Renishaw is listed as one of the places where Farey (6) observed slag and remains of old furnaces and bloomeries. (1) Area centred SK 4255 7738 - The area of this furnace is probably indicated by the embayed pond of Foxstone Dam [see SMR 4929] and the small wood Old Furnace Wood. The area of the latter is occupied by the spoil heaps of an old drift-mine. Only one fragment of slag/cinder was found in perambulation of the area and no other evidence of an iron-working site was seen. (2) Blast furnace built 1652 by George Sitwell. Leased to Foleys in the 1690s, then to Spencers. Abandoned 1749, and converted to a sickle mill. Powered by a large dam in Foxstone Wood [SMR 4929]. (4) By 1653 George Sitwell had built Foxbrooke Furnace, which made use of locally mined ironstone. This is indicated in an agreement of 1658 between Sitwell and four labourers from Eckington who undertook to get all the ironstone in the close "above the furnace" and to continue to provide a specified amount every year "whilst there is ironstone to be gotten". They were to get any wood necessary for their work from nearby Foxstone Wood. However, the furnace was abandoned in 1749 and converted the following year into a sickle-grinding wheel. A map of 1766 shows the wheel and a small dam, fed by a long head goit which crosses adjacent fields from Foxstone Dam. It may already have gone out of use by the end of the 18th century, as suggested by the fact that, although two buildings are shown on a Parliamentary Enclosure map of 1795, a schedule which normally recorded the number of troughs at Eckington's sickle grinding wheels only states 'Paul Smith for Land' at the Foxbrooke site. A map drawn in 1855 shows neither pond nor buildings on the site, nor does it show the long head goit. (7) In 1996 an archaeological evaluation was carried out on the furnace/sickle mill site prior to opencasting. The evaluation located a number of features associated with the use of the site for ironworking. These included the remains of watercourses and significant deposits of blast furnace slag, lining and other residue. (8) Further work was carried out on the site in 1997. This located the headrace, impounding pond, drainage and waste residues from both the sickle wheel and the blast furnace. It also indicated that structural remains survived on the site at great depth. A final season of work was therefore undertaken in 1998 immediately prior to site stripping for opencast mining. Over the three periods of excavation, 1996-8, the remains of the water power system, including substantial structural remains of the wheelpit, tailrace and overflow systems, were found, together with the in situ remains of an 18th century water wheel. The excavation also encountered the remains of the blast furnace, including the hearth, bellows and casting areas, and the remains of the grinding complex and working areas associated with the sickle wheel. Finds included post-medieval pottery, window glass, glass from 17th and 18th century wine bottles, clay tobacco pipes and a quantity of metalwork that directly related to the manufacture of hooks or sickles. (9) During excavations in 1996, a number of assocaitated structures were found dating to the same period as the furnace. The watercourse and tailrace were also noted. (10)

Sources/Archives (9)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: V.C.H. Derby 2 1907 359 & 360 (J H Lander & C H Vellacott).
  • <2> Personal Observation: F1 WW 10-MAY-60.
  • <3> Index: NDAT. 0802. 0802.
  • <4> Bibliographic reference: Riden, P. 1985. A Gazetteer of Charcoal Blast Furnace Sites in Great Britain in use since 1660.
  • <6> Bibliographic reference: Farey, J. 1811. A General View of the Agriculture and Minerals of Derbyshire, Vol. 1. p396.
  • <7> Unpublished document: Stroud, G. 1996. The Value of the Fairbank Collection as a Resource for the Study of Landscape Change (in) Eckington. p 63, p 77.
  • <8> Unpublished document: Belford, P (ARCUS). 1996. An Evaluation at Old Furnace Wood, Renishaw, Derbyshire. SMR Doc. No. 249.
  • <9> Unpublished document: Belford, P (ARCUS). 2003. Excavations at Old Furnace Wood, Renishaw, Derbyshire. SMR Doc. No. 1043.
  • <10> Unpublished document: ARCUS. 1998. Project design for further archaeological excavations at Old Furnace Wood (Renishaw Tip Open Coal Site), Derbyshire.



Grid reference Centred SK 4254 7730 (412m by 273m) Centre

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (6)

  • EDR3477
  • EDR3449
  • EDR3463
  • EDR2456
  • EDR2457
  • EDR965

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Record last edited

Oct 10 2023 11:29AM

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