Tyne and Wear HER(3432): Blaydon Burn, Massey's Forge - Details
Blaydon Burn, Massey's Forge
Metal Smelting Site
On the Blaydon Burn are the remains of a water-powered forge which had probably been used as a corn mill before being converted into a forge. Originally called Massey's Forge, the works later became Smith Patterson's Pioneer Foundry and Engine Works and may also have been known as Dockendale Steel Forge c.1823. The site, excavated by Peter Brown and Stafford Linsley c.1982, is dominated by a large curved dam of sandstone blocks. Documentary evidence suggests the possibility of a late 18th century corn mill, but by the early 19th century the site was occupied by the forge. The structural evidence would fit either date, although the presence of two wheel pits, one much narrower than the other, and set in the tail race, suggest modification to the forge's power source. A large extension building containing waggon porches was also added to the complex. In its penultimate phase the site was used as a foundry, with brick ovens constructed against the base of the dam. Black-lead crucibles were recovered and there is one slight piece of documentary evidence supporting steel-making activity on the site. The forge/foundry had been abandoned by 1896 and the final use of the buildings seems to have been as animal shelters.
<< HER 3432 >> 1st edition Ordnance Survey Map, c.1855, 6 inch scale, Durham, 2 Tyne & Wear HER, Blaydon Burn File Wheel Turns for Mill... Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 3 August 1982 W. Bourn, 1896, History of the Parish of Ryton, p 155 G Egan, 1983, Post Medieval Britain in 1982, Post Medieval Archaeology, Vol 17, 1983, p 201-2; Northern Counties Archaeological Services, 2009, Blaydon Burn Festival - Dig at Massey's Forge