This record is held by Lambeth Palace Library

Details of MINES.
Title: MINES.

1557.--An abstract for the setting forth of the King and Queen's Majesties' mines in Barristoune by Clamyne, in the county of Waxfforthe.


If it please their Majesties to let the said mines in farm, it is sufficient for them to take of the lessees, as annual rent, "the thirteenth part gotten in the said mines in byng ore, crayple ore, and water ore, ready dressed to the melting," or at most the twelfth part. The lessees to have "free and large liberty everywhere over their Grace's woods next adjoining unto the said mines, for their commodity for the carriage of their timber either by land or by water at their will and pleasure, to their profit," and to cut timber and wood for the timbering of the pits and drysties, for making charcoals, and for melting ore into lead, and fining the same into silver. Also, to have large commission to engage workmen and labourers at their Majesties' wages, at the discretion of the overseer of the works. The overseer to purchase iron, steel, tallow, candlewick, ropes, pitch, tar, and stone coals for the smythes (smithies), with horses for carriage.


II. "The charges of certain necessary officers, workmen, and laborers.


One clerk overseer, a man expert and of good knowledge, having experience in the said mines," 18d. a day. The overseer to have under him a discreet wise man, to take charge in his absence, at 10d. a day. 12 miners: two of them to be able to take charge in the grove or pits, for finding of the veins and timbering of the pits, at 12d. a day each; the other ten, "if they be natural men of this country," at 6d. 4 labourers attending on the 12 miners in the grove, to carry and take away from the miners the dead work and ore, and convey it to the shaft mouth, 4d. each. 6 labourers at the two windlasses upon the two pits, to draw up the ore and dead works, and to keep the pits dry and free from water, 4d. A smith to make the miners' tools and sharpen the same, and to do other work, 10d.; the smith to have a labourer to blow the bellows and to smite before him, at 4d. 2 labourers to dress and break the ore after it is taken out of the grove, and to make thereof byng ore, at 4d. each. 2 women to wash the ore after it is broken small, and to make the same into crayple ore and water ore; if they be English, to have 6d. each. ("Nota. These dressers of byng ore and washers of crayple ore must you have of force, unto your stamping mill be made, which will discharge both the breakers of ore and washers, and do more in one day than the other in ten days.") A cooper to make buckets for the drawing up of the ore and dead work, "and also at times water," 6d. Other charges for steel, iron, tallow, candlewick, pitch, tar, ropes, and stone coals, will amount every week at least to 20s. Timber, 40l. a year.--Total yearly charge, 359l. 12s. 8d.


The said 12 miners will get or break out of the rock every day one hundred weight of grove ore, which amounts every week to 8 thousand 4 hundred weight; and that will make in byng ore, crayple ore, and water ore, 5 thousand 5 hundred [weight]. Every thousand weight of the said ore is worth 50s., so that the miners every week will obtain ore worth 13l. 15s., or yearly 715l; profit, 353l. [Sic.] 7s. 4d.


Whereas a special good master of mine, and a proved and a very trusty friend when I was desolate of friends, and wrapped in divers sorrows and miseries, being in despair even of life," together with the Lord Deputy, moved me to declare my knowledge of mineral affairs, I have "drawn out this little and short abstract, wherein he may taste and feel what is the profit of the mines if they be well overseen and wrought.


If the mines be rich in sight, in the sinking thereof, you shall find a certain stone, white in colour, and very hard, wherein silver is engendered, and it is called abaxanoo. There is also marchasyties in mines, which sheweth the goodness of the mines, and these marchasyties are tinctures of mineral exhalations, which also declareth and sheweth the goodness of the mines. Further, if they approach in colour white as much as may be, and to consist in small grains and not great in quantity; for how more the narrower they be, the more they show the goodness of the mines. There is also oftentimes in a mine of silver a vein found great in quantity and small in quality, not able to bear the charges of the digging thereof. Therefore it is very expedient that you take of every vein newly found in any mines the say thereof, to try the goodness of the vein, lest your labour and painful travail in the same be to your great hindrance and damage.


III. "The order and charges for the melting of ore into lead in a bole with the wind, after the manner of the bollars in Derbyshire in England.


Two men of good knowledge in that work are sufficient, the one a bollare and the other a smelter, after it be burned; each to have 12d. a day.


These men must have divers workmen, to cut great timber and divers sorts of wood for the boyle; and labourers for the carriage of the said timber both by water and land to the boyle hill. "It is not only painful and tedious, but also chargeable; it is uncertain to make an estimate thereof. The cause is, the workmen must patiently abide for a south-west wind for the burning and melting of the ore into lead by the said boylle. Other wind will none serve, for this wind is most steadfast. There may be made and molten in one boyle in two days and two nights, if the wind serve, six fother lead, and every fother is 20 hundred in weight; but yet, in mine opinion, it is better and the less labour and pain, and also more for the profit of the surveyor, who shall have the great burthen and charges thereof, to melt in a close furnace; for I have the knowledge and practice in both kind of meltings.


IV. "The order and charges for the melting of ore into lead is a close furnace, and for the fining of the same into fine silver.


If you will melt your ore into lead in a close furnace, it must be blown with very great bellows, and by violence of water by the means of a certain instrument called a sleagyll, for the which instrument all the timber and stuff is in a good readiness made and lying in the King and Queen's Majesties' storehouse at Bosse. And this instrument will not only serve to blow the bellows for the melting of the ore into lead, but also it will serve to stamp and break the grove ore, and wash it also, and it will serve to blow the bellows for the fining; which is not only very commodious and great case for the melters and finers, but also very profitable for the head and chief officers or general surveyor of the mines.


Six men of good knowledge will serve this work, both for the melting of the ore into lead in the close furnace, and also for fining; and one carpenter with his man will keep the mill in good temper, and the sleagyll in reparations, and also will break and wash the ore in the said mill. This is a necessary instrument, which of necessity must be had and made.


These six men will be chargeable in wages, for the labour is both great and painful, by reason of the much occupying of the fire. Wherefore the master and head workman, if he will take the charge both of the melting of the ore into lead, and the fining of the same into fine silver," will have 2s. a day. Two other workmen at 12d.; and three at 10d. 2 colliers to make charcoals for the melting, one of them at 10d., the other at 8d. The carpenter at 12d., and his man at 6d.


The carriage of coals and also wood by land and water to the melting house, and fining, will mount every year 100l. Howbeit the lead will bear the charges, and the silver clearly reserved, with some more advantage to the surveyor.


The whole charge thereof will amount yearly to 272l. 13s.


If the mines be thoroughly set forth and wrought according this abstract, it will mount to the greater profit in fine.


V. "Mint.--An abstract for the order to be taken for the setting forth of a mint, and the sum of the wages of the head officers, with the other inferior officers and workmen, with all other necessary furnitures thereunto appertaining or belonging, according the order of the last mint at Dublin, set forth by Mr. Thomas Agard.


The head officer is the Treasurer, at 6s. 8d. a day; the Comptroller at 5s.; the "Say Master," at 3s. 4d.; the Surveyor of the melting house 18d.; two melters under him 9d. each; the clerk of the irons 2s.; the teller 2s.; the graver 2s.; the master blancher 12d.; two other blanchers 9d. each; the master finer 12d; another finer 9d.; the master smith 12d.; two smiths 10d. each; the porter 9d.; the collier 12d.--Total per annum, 594l. 20d.


Wages of 40 workmen 8d. a day each; victualling of the whole house, as well officers as workmen, 30s. a day; the carriage of charcoals and cutting wood for the coals, "and the necessary occupying of the house," will extend to 120l. a year at least; steel, iron, candle, smythe (smithy) coals, &c., 54l. a year; saltpeter, sandyever, sal ammoniac, salt, alum, arguell, verdigris, and copperas, with other necessary furnitures for fining and blanching, 30l. a year.-- Total per annum, 1,236l. 6s. 8d.


For the entertainment of divers men, to travel about from place to place "to buy and make provision for bullion for the furniture of the mint, with the surmounting of the price of the bullion over and above 5s. the ounce," 10s. a day. "There was also certain [Sic. A word omitted.] made by Mr. Agard and Mr. Peire, comptroller of the mint, with divers merchantmen of London, who hath great acquaintance and in good credit in Flanders with the Fullkers, who hath great store of bullion at all times in their hands, and the said merchants had for their charges per diem 10s." To men conveying the said bullion from London to Chester, and from Chester to Dublin by sea, 10s. a day. --Total per annum, 547l. 10s.


The charges of copper every day, 75 lb. at 8d. a lb.; total yearly, 780l. Every day you will spend and melt 25 lb. fine silver, which amount in tale to 100l.; total yearly, 31,200l. Annual rent to the King and Queen, 10,000l. Other charges, 100l., a year.


Total of the whole mint yearly, 44,377l. 18s. 4d.


Now let us see how this sum made be made by the mint and discharged." If the overseers of the shop see that nothing go to waste, the 40 workmen "will make five journeys every day they work in ready money, and every journey is in tale 48l.; so the five journeys mounteth in tale 240l. every day; so that in every week the said 40 workmen will make in ready money, after six days to the week," 1,440l.; total per annum 74,880l. After deducting the above-mentioned sum, 44,387l. [Sic.] 18s. 4d., there remain 30,492l. 20d.


Finis. Quod T. B.



Date: 1557
Held by: Lambeth Palace Library, not available at The National Archives
Language: English
Extent: 8 Pages.
Unpublished Finding Aids:
  • Calendar of the Carew Manuscripts preserved in the Archiepiscopal Library at Lambeth, ed. J. S. Brewer & W. Bullen (6 vols., 1867-73), vol. I, document 213.

Former Reference Department: MS 603, p. 1

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