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The Forest of Dean by H. G. Nicholls

Deputy gaveller of the said mines


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 beatings 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 sale.

"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."

No. VI. Being Minutes, &c., of the Court of Mine Law.

"Forest of Deane to witt.Att a Court of Mine and Miners of Our Sovereign Lord the King, held att the Speech-ouse, in and for the Forest of Deane, on Tuesday the 13th day of December, in the year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred and forty-eight, before Christopher Bond, Esqr, and Thomas James, gentleman, deputyes to the Right Honourable Augustus, Earl of Berkeley, Constable of the Castle of St Briavels, in the County of Gloucester, Christopher Bond, Esqr, gaveller of the said mines, and Phillip Elly, deputy gaveller of the said mines.

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