The history of Mousehole Forge

Mousehole Forge
Mousehole Forge
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Re Mousehole Forge, this site has the most complex history of any in Rivelin Valley.

As early as 1628 there were lead smelting mills on the site, owned by the barber family of Wadsley and probably supplied with ore from mines at Bitholmes in the Don Valley.

Smelters at Mousehole were paid a gratuity in July 1635 when the mills supplied lead towards repairs at Bradford church.

By the time of the will of Edward Barber in July 1664 the leadmills at Mousehole had been converted into an iron forge.

This and S Y thewheels at Wisewood were sold to George Bamforth of High House in 1671 and became part of Owlerton manor.

Decendants of former lead smelters at Mousehole the Lord family became cutters and erected a small cutters wheel called Mouse Wheel which existed in 1699.

A lease at the forge was considered by the master Samuel Short but posibly not taken.

In the 18th century John Cockshutt of the Wortley Iron Works had Mousehole, probably introducing anvil manufacturing there.

Son Edward Cockshutt took William Armitage as partner and from around 1820 the Armitages were in sole charge, eventually buying the forge.

The Armitages were able to live a life of gentry, being noted for their livestock.

Educated in Sheffield, with coal mines in Dungworth, Wisewood and Owlerton forges, casting places at Main Bridge.

They lived at Woodlane House and nearby “Woodville”.

They were ruthless in their demands for water power, not least to supply the demands of the four water wheels at Mousehole Forge.

DJ Smith

Wilcox Road, Sheffield, S6