Farndales and Mining








On this page we explore the many Farndales who mined, mainly for ironstone, in Cleveland





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General Sir Martin Farndale KCB




Dates are in red.

Hyperlinks to other pages are in dark blue.

Headlines are in brown.

References and citations are in turquoise.

Context and local history are in purple.


This webpage is divided into the following sections:


·         Farndales and Mining

·         The Kilton Mines

·         Ironstone mining at Great Ayton

·         Mining in Cleveland

·         Mining Life

·         Alum Mining

·         Jet Mining

·         Whinstone quarrying



The Farndales and Mining


William Farndale was a mine labourer in the Loftus area and an ironstone miner (FAR00260). Thomas Farndale was a miner in Bishop Auckland (FAR00280). William Farndale was a jet miner at Eston (FAR00283). John H Farndale was a miner of West Hartlepool who was killed aged 37 by a fall of iron stone at the Poston Mines, Ormsby, Middlesbrough (FAR00302). John Farndale was an ironstone miner in Ormesby (FAR00328). George Farndale was an ironstone miner of Loftus (FAR00350C). Martin Farndale of Tidkinhow was a miner for a time (FAR00364). John Farndale was a miner of Egton (FAR00387).


The Kilton Mines


Further research to follow.


The Kilton Mines


The Kilton mines were sited to the south of Kilton Thorpe and were opened in 1871. A large spoil tip continues to dominate the skyline. Both Kilton and Lumpsey mines were served by railways and the abandoned embankments and cuttings of the railways are still visible. The mines finally closed in 1963.


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                                                                                                                                                          Kilton Mines, south of Kilton Thorpe in 1893


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The establishment of an ironstone mine in this area in the late nineteenth century led to the destruction of the farm and no buildings survive. The Lumpsey mine was opened in 1881, after the shafts were first sunk in 1880. The ironstone companies had followed the veins south and east from the Eston hills. The mine occupied the former site of Lumpsey farm and consequently no traces were left of the farm. The mine closed in 1954 but a number of the mine buildings still survive.


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Lumpsey, 1853                                                                                                     Lumpsey Mines by 1893                                                                                                                   Lumpsey Mines in 1913


Ironstone mining at Great Ayton


There were three ironestone mines around Great Ayton by the time of World War 1. Griddale or Ayton Banks was a small concession operated from 1910 to 1921 by Tees Furnace Company (OS Grid NZ 586110). The mine worked the Peckten seam of ironstone was named after the type of fossil found in the ore. The site was not accessible even for a narrow guage railway, so an overhead cable way was constructed, carried on metal pillars supported by concrete bases, some of which can still be seen.


The ironstone was mined by drifts (“adits”) in Ayton, almost exclusively from the main seam, which was the last of the beds to be laid down. Three mines operated in the first thirty years of the twentieth century – Rosebury, Ayton Banks and Ayton (Monument) Mine. They used the pillar and board method of working. The Ayton mine workings were extensive, sgtretching as far as a second entrance north of Ayton Banks Farm. The ore from Roseberry and Ayton mines was taken by tramway to the main railway line. Ayton Banks ironstone was sent by aerial ropeway to the railhead.


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The mines at Great Ayton



Mining in Cleveland


Ironstone comprises iron-bearing minerals in which other elements, such as silicon, are in chemical combination. The iron content is generally low at about 30%. Two major minerals are siderite (iron carbonate) and bethierine (iron silicate). The minerals were formed biochemically on the sea floor from iron either dissolved or suspended in seawater, which was in turn derived from a nearby shore.


The economic value of ironstone depended on (1) the iron content; (2) the thickness of the seam; (3) the presence of shale within the seam; and (4) the content of deleterous elements, particularly sulphur.


Between 206 and 150 Million Years, in the Jurassic era, the rocks forming the Cleveland Hills were deposited in a warm, shallow sea, which was later the site of a river delta. Over geological time, these sediments were compacted to form mudstones, shales, siltstones and sandstones. Of importance to us is the Cleveland Ironstone Formation, in the Lower Jurassic, which is around 29 metres of shales with silty shales and with hard beds of sideritic and chamositic ironstone. There are five main iron-rich horizons, or seams, as follows from the lowest upward: Avicula, Raisdale, Two Foot, Pecten and Main Seam. Higher parts of the Jurassic sequence include the Jet Formation, Alum Shales and sometimes coal seams, all of which had an economic value.


The Cleveland Orefield extends over 1,000 square kilometres. The most important Main Seam was up to 5 meres in thickness at Eston and then thinned southwards. The Loftus Mine is less then 3 metres. The shale line where shale first appears extends across the Loftus lease, so that as mining proceeded it became necessary to separate this out as waste. The typical iron content of Loftus was about 28%, which was distinctly less than the Eston mines.


The Tees Valley was the powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution and the British Empire. At its peak, eighty three ironstone mines dispatched iron worldwide, to make railways and bridges across Europe, America, Africa, India and Australia (including the Sydney Harbour Bridge).


The Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum is situated on the site of Loftus Mine, the first mine to be opened in Cleveland.


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Ironstone had long been exploited in the area. There are, for example, extensive heaps of slag around Rievaulx Abbey, which was supressed in December 1538. The abbey and its ironworks were acquired by the earl of Rutland who continued working the ironworks. By 1545, four furnaces were smelting iron ore under the management of John Blackett, the vicar of Scawton. The vaulted undercroft of the refectory was used to store the charcoal used as fuel. A blast furnace was added in 1577 and a forge was re-equipped between 1600 and 1612. Local supplies of timber for charcoal were all but exhausted by the 1640s, however, and the ironworks closed. Other remains from this period are found in Bilsdale, Bransdale, Rosedale and near Furnace House in Fryup Dale. Many of these early working appear to have concentrated on the Dogger Seam.


There were various attempts to mine ironstone in the early nineteenth century, with ore being quarried on the coastal outcrops. The Pecten seam was discovered at Grosmont during the making of a cutting for the Whitby and Pickering Railway and the newly formed Whitby Stone Company sent a cargo of ironstone to the Birtley Iron Company in 1836. It was rejected as being of poor quality, and it took the company some time to get its product right. Nevertheless, the following year the two companies agreed a sales contract.


On 7 August 1848, the first mine in Cleveland opened in Skinningrove.


It was not until August 1850 that Bolckow & Vaughan made a trial of the Main Seam by quarrying near Eston. Soon the workings moved underground, using pillar and stall, and became very large scale with over half a million tons of ironstone was raised annually in the mid 1850s.


John Farndale wrote in 1870: Long live Messrs Bolcklow & Vaughan, the first high spirited gentlemen, and others also, who by their skill and capital are bringing out resources of this greatly favoured district, and thus giving employment to thousands.


Bolckow, Vaughan & Co Limited was an English ironmaking and mining company founded in 1864 with capital of £2.5M, making it the largest company ever formed up to that time.


It was founded as a partnership in 1840 by Henry Bolckow and John Vaughan. In 1846, Bolckow and Vaughan built their first blast furnaces at Witton Park, founding the Witton Park Ironworks. The works used coal from Witton Park Colliery to make coke, and ironstone from Whitby on the coast. The pig iron produced at Witton was transported to Middlesbrough for further forging or casting. In 1850, Vaughan and his mining geologist, John Marley discovered iron ore, conveniently situated near Eston in the Cleveland Hills. Unknown to anyone at the time, this vein was part of the Cleveland Ironstone Formation, which was already being mined in Grosmont by Losh, Wilson and Bell. To make use of the ore being mined at Eston, in 1851 Bolckow and Vaughan built a blast furnace at nearby South Bank, Middlesbrough, to make use of the ore from nearby Eston, enabling the entire process from rock to finished products to be carried out in one place. It was the first to be built on Teesside, on what was later nicknamed "the Steel River".


Middlesbrough grew from 40 inhabitants in 1829 to 7,600 in 1851, 19,000 in 1861 and 40,000 in 1871, fuelled by the iron industry. The firm drove the dramatic growth of Middlesbrough and the production of coal and iron in the north-east of England in the nineteenth century.

By 1864, the assets of the business included iron mines, collieries, and limestone quarries in Cleveland, County Durham and Weardale and had iron and steel works extending over 700 acres (280 ha) along the banks of the River Tees.


Vaughan died in 1868. The Institution of Civil Engineers, in their obituary, commented on the relationship between Vaughan and Bolckow: "There was indeed something remarkable in the thorough division of labour in the management of the affairs of the firm. While possessing the most unbounded confidence in each other, the two partners never interfered in the slightest degree with each other's work. Mr. Bolckow had the entire management of the financial department, while Mr. Vaughan as worthily controlled the practical work of the establishment."

Chris Scott Wilson has written more about Bolckow, Vaughan & Co.


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Around 35 mines opened between Eston, Great Ayton and Hinderwell on the coast. There was a small group of mines at Grosmont and others in Rosedale. Railways were extended to the mines, and settlements built for the labour sucked into what had been a very rural area. After the initial rush of companies opening mines, a period of consolidation was needed as iron companies absorbed smaller ventures and workings were rationalised. Marginal mines closed. This process was helped by a down-turn in trade in the early to mid 1870s. Soon, a new generation of iron works was being built on Teesside. These used Bessemer convertors to turn the iron into steel, which was increasingly in demand. By 1883, therefore, production of Cleveland iron ore peaked at six and three-quarter million tons.


The quarter century before World War I saw many older mines close, further consolidation of companies and some new sinkings. Rock drills and mechanised haulages were used to increase efficiency and trim costs. Around twenty mines closed in the inter-war years. Many of the old companies were absorbed by Dorman, Long & Co. Ltd, which dominated the industry at the start of World War II. Only nine mines, all in the area between Guisborough and Brotton, survived the war. Efforts were made to make mining more efficient, diesel haulage was introduced below ground, as were compressed air loading shovels. The mines could not, however, compete with imported ore or that worked by opencast around Scunthorpe and Corby. North Skelton Mine was the last to close in January 1964.


Cleveland Ironstone Mines:


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Mine                                                                            Location                                 Opened                                   Closed                        Comments

Ailesbury Mine                                                            Whorlton                                  1872                                        1887   

Aysdalegate Mine                                                       Lockwood                               1863                                        1880                            Closed 23/10/1880.

Ayton Banks Mine                                                       Great Ayton                            1910                                        1929                            Abandoned July 1929.

Ayton Mine                                                                  Great Ayton                            1908                                        1930   

Bagnall and Co Mines                                    Eskdaleside cum Ugglebarnby           1862                                        1864   

Beckhole Mine                                                            Egton                                       1857                                        1864   

Belmont Mine                                                              Guisborough                           1854                                        1928                            Abandoned 11/11/1886. Reopened in 1907. Abandoned 20/02/1933.

Birds Mine                                                       Eskdaleside cum Ugglebarnby           1858                                        1866   

Birtley Mine                                                     Eskdaleside cum Ugglebarnby           1858                                        1878   

Blakey Mine                                                                Farndale East                         1873                                        1881   

Boosbeck Mine                                                           Skelton                                    1872                                        1901   

Boulby Mine                                                                Easington                                1903                                        1934                            Abandoned July 1934. Boulby Potash Mine sunk here in the late 1960s.

Brotton Mine                                                               Brotton                                    1865                                        1921   

California Mine                                                Eskdaleside cum Ugglebarnby           1863                                        1881   

Carlin How Mine                                                         Kilton                                       1873                                        1924                            Part of Lumpsey until 1946.

Chaloner Mine                                                            Guisborough                           1872                                        1939                            Part of Eston.

Cliff Mine                                                                     Brotton                                    1866                                        1881                            Abandoned October 1887.

Coate Moor Mine                                                        Kildale                                     1866                                        1876                            Abandoned 19/07/1876.

Cod Hill Mine                                                              Guisborough                           1853                                        1865   

Commondale Mine                                                     Commondale                          1863                                        1876   

Craggs Hall Mine                                                        Brotton                                    1871                                        1893   

Easington Mine                                                           Saltburn                                   1877                                                                            See also: Port Mulgrave

East Rosedale Mine                                                   Rosedale East Side                1866                                        1926   

Esk Valley Mine                                                          Egton                                       1859                                        1883   

Eskdale Mine                                                  Eskdaleside cum Ugglesbarnby         1906                                        1908   

Eskdale Mine                                                  Eskdaleside cum Ugglesbarnby         1856                                        1870   

Eskdaleside Mine                                           Eskdaleside cum Ugglesbarnby         1871                                        1876   

Eston Mine

Guisborough                                                                                                               1856                                        1950   

Farndale Mine                                                             Farndale East                         1872                                        1897                            See Blakey.

Fryup Mine                                                                  Danby                                     1863                                        1874   

Farndale Mine                                                             Farndale East                         1872                                        1897                            See Blakey.

Fryup Mine                                                                  Danby                                     1863                                        1874   

Glaisdale Mine                                                            Glaisdale                                 1879                                                                            Abandoned 30/03/1875.

Goldsborough Mine                                                    Lythe                                       1912                                        1915   

Grinkle Mine

Hinderwell                                                                                                                   1872                                        1934                            Abandoned 1934.

Grosmont Mine                                               Eskdaleside cum Ugglesbarnby         1858                                        1892                            West Side – Abandoned 15/05/1886.

Hays Mine                                                       Eskdaleside cum Ugglesbarnby         1836                                        1866   

Hinderwell Mine                                                          Hinderwell                               1854                                        1862   

Hob Hill Mine                                                              Marske                                    1864                                        1874                            Abandoned 17/04/1875.

Hollin Hill Mine                                                            Lockwood                               1864                                        1880   

Hollins Mine                                                    Eskdaleside cum Ugglebarnby           1863                                        1879   

Hollins Mine                                                                Rosedale West Side               1856                                        1879   

Huntcliffe Mine                                                            Brotton                                    1872                                        1905                            Abandoned 1906.

Hutton Mine                                                                Hutton Lowcross                     1854                                        1867   

Ingelby Mine                                                               Ingleby Greenhow                  1858                                        1865   

Kildale Mine                                                                Kildale                                     1866                                        1878   

Kilton Mine

Kilton                                                                                                                           1871                                        1963                            Sinking in 1871. Closed 31/12/1963.

Kirkleatham Mine                                                        Tocketts                                  1873                                        1885                            Abandoned 31/12/1886.

Lane Head Mine                                                         Rosedale West Side               1876                                        1881   

Lease Rigg Mine                                             Eskdaleside cum Ugglesbarnby         1837                                        1850   

Leven Vale Mine                                                         Kildale                                     1864                                        1871                            See Warren Moor.

Levisham Mine                                                           Levisham                                1863                                        1874   

Lingdale Mine                                                             Moorsholm                              1877                                        1962   

Liverton Mine                                                              Loftus                                      1866                                        1921                            Abandoned 1923.

Loftus Mine                                                                 Loftus                                      1848                                        1958                            Abandoned 1959.

Longacres Mine                                                          Skelton                                    1873                                        1954                            Closed 17/07/1915 and reopened from 1933 until 27/11/1954.

Lonsdale Mine                                                            Kildale                                     1865                                        1874   

Lumpsey Mine                                                            Brotton                                    1880                                        1954                            Sinking in 1880. Closed 27/11/1954.

Margrave Park Mine                                                   Skelton                                    1863                                        1874   

Mirkside Mine                                                 Eskdaleside cum Ugglebarnby           1856                                        1861   

New Bank Mine                                                          Guisborough                           1850                                        1950   

Normanby Mine                                                          Normanby                               1856                                        1898                            Abandoned in 1899.

North Loftus Mine                                                       Brotton                                    1872                                        1905   

North Skelton Mine

North Skelton                                                                                                              1865                                        1964                            Closed 17/01/1964.

Port Mulgrave Mine

Hinderwell                                                                                                                   1856                                        1893   

Postgate Mine Glaisdale                                                                                             1870                                        1876   

Raithwaite Mine                                                          Newholm-cum-Dunsley          1854                                        1858   

Roseberry Mine                                                          Great Ayton                            1880                                        1924   

Rosedale East                                                            Rosedale Abbey                     1866                                        1925                            Abandoned 1928.

Rosedale on Coast Mine                                            Hinderwell                               1854                                        1876   

Rosedale West                                                           Rosedale West Side               1860                                        1911                            Abandoned March 1911.

Sheriffs Mine

Rosedale West Side                                                                                                   1874                                        1911   

Skelton Mine                                                               Skelton                                    1860                                        1938                            Abandoned November 1938.

Skelton Park Mine                                                      Skelton                                    1868                                        1938                            Abandoned April 1938.

Slapewath Mine                                                          Lockwood                               1864                                        1899   

Sleights Bridge Mine                                                  Sleights Bridge                        1856                                        1859   

South Belmont Mine                                                   Guisborough                           1863                                        1875   

South Skelton Mine                                                    Stanghow                                1870                                        1954   

Spa Mine                                                                     Stanghow                                1864                                        1904                            Standing in 1903. Abandoned in 1904.

Spawood Mine                                                            Guisborough                           1865                                        1930                            Closed 28/06/1930. Abandoned April 1934.

Staithes Mine                                                              Hinderwell                               1838                                        1860   

Stanghow Mine                                                           Boosbeck                                1872                                        1926   

Swainby Mine                                                             Whorlton                                  1856                                        1868   

Tocketts Mine                                                             Tocketts                                  1874                                        1877                            Abandoned in 1880.

Upleatham Mine                                                         Marske                                    1851                                        1923   

Upsall Mine                                                                 Upsall                                      1866                                        1927                            Merged with Eston from 1870.

Warren Moor Mine                                                      Kildale                                     1864                                        1874   

Waterfall Mine                                                             Tocketts                                  1892                                        1901   

Wayworth Mine                                                           Commondale                          1866                                        1867                            Sinking 1866 to 1867.

West Rosedale Mine                                                  Rosedale West Side               1856                                        1911   

Whitecliffe Mine                                                          Loftus                                      1871                                        1884   

Wintergill Mine                                                            Egton                                       1871                                        1883   

Wreckhills Mine                                                          Hinderwell                               1856                                        1864   


Mining Life


More work to follow




Alum Mining


John Farndale, ‘Old Farndale of Kilton’ (FAR00143) was an alum house merchant. As John Farndale (FAR00217) wrote: ‘My Grandfather, who was a Kiltonian, employed many men at his alum house, and many a merry tale have I heard him tell of smugglers and their daring adventures and hair breadth escapes.’


There is a separate page about alum mining.


Jet Mining


Another extractive industry was jet mining. William Farndale (FAR00283) was a jet miner at Eston.


Jet mines although numerous were small and individual mines and tended not to acquire names or documentary records. During the nineteenth century hard jet fetched a good price and it was mined extensively in East Cleveland and along the edge of the moors between Roseberry and Kildale. The mines typically took the form of parallel drifts into the side of hills, with headings also driven at right angles to the original drifts at regular intervals, so that the plan of the mine looked like a chequerboard, with square pillars of rock left in place as support.


The semi precious mineral is found in thin lenses in the jet rock generally at some depth below the alum shales. It was extracted in Victorian times from numerous small drifts driven into the hillside. There are spoil heaps at Gribdale Gate and evidence of some open cast mining.


Whinstone quarrying


When the local quarrying of whinstone first started is not known but it was well under way by the late eighteenth century. Running through Cleveland, roughly east to west, there is a ridge which marks the line of igneous dyke. This is composed of very hard rock called dolerite or whinstone. This stone has been extensively mined and quarried since the mid eighteenth century. The production of cuboid setts occupied many men and boys. These, with their regular shapes, can still be seen around Ayton for instance./ Most of the whinstone was taken out of the area by rail and much of it was used for road surfacing in places such as Leeds. Extraction had ceased by the 1960s. See for instance Cliff Rigg Mines.