John Maxfield of BLACK RIGG MINE  (Greenhow)   

  Taken from the book The Greenhow Mines (British Mining No 60)

BLACK RIGG MINE                                                                                            SE113633

Another group of mainly Grassington adventurers took Black Rigg Mine. in Simpsonís Pasture on Galloways. They were George Bradley, George Fletcher, George Morley, William Morley, William Bayne, Michael Houseman and John Maxfield. Their 21 year lease ran from January 1783. but it was extended in 1793 and eventually expired at Michaclmas 1814. 64 A list of the partners made by the mineral lordís agent around 1813 is an indication of how inaccurate such information might be. On that list, Jacob Bailey and George Gouthwaite had replaced George Fletcher, John Maxfield and William Morley, hut Bailey and Bradley died in 1794 and 1799 respectively. Fletcher died in 1791 and his share went to his daughter. Elizabeth. Bradley, the Grassington Barmaster, was father-in-law to Fletcher, the curate of Linton, and uncle to Bailey, a mining agent.

On November 15th 1792, Maxfield sold his 1/16th share to George West, a miner of Coldstonefold, for £70 to be paid over ten years at seven pounds per year. Bayne, an innkeeper from Pateley Bridge, was a member of the Ehenezer Lodge of the Freemasons in that town.65

The lease stipulated that the company was to employ a sufficient number of miners, giving preference to Taylor Whiteís tenants, and they were to he paid at Pateley Bridge or on Greenhow twice a year on November 22nd and May 12th, or within 21 days thereof. The company also undertook to sink two new shafts on the line of Blue Rigg Vein and to drive a crosscut north to the boundary of their ground within 18 months or pay a penalty of £500. 

From its name, one of the new shafts was probably Covenant Shaft. The other was East Shaft, which was 21 fathoms deep by September 1805, when sinking was resumed. The north crosscut began a little west of Deep Shaft.

The workings between Woodhouse and Engine Shafts followed the vein down into the limestone and found it disrupted by a gulf near the latter shaft. Deep Shaft was sunk onto a north string and, in 1811, a new shaft was being sunk on a south string to the west of Woodhouse Shaft. Production figures are only available for the mineís last 18 years. when it produced nothing in 1803, 1810 and 1812-13. In the other 14 years, output averaged 28 tons per year.

The mine stood until the late 1830s, when the eastern end of Blue Rigg Vein was sought by the South Level from Cockhill Level. A vein, thought to he Blue Riggs, was found in 1839. The trial was given up, however, despite finding some encouraging samples of ore, and it is likely that, at adit level, the vein runs out of the limestone and into shale as it goes west.

At a later date, the Sunside Company drove a crosscut, called the Blue Rigg Low Level, south from Moss Vein. It began at adit level, but after 220 yards it was continued to Blue Rigg Vein at a higher horizon. Other than its failure to find new veins between Moss and Blue Rigg Veins, it is not known what, if any, success this trial had.



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