Surrender Mill smelt mill MYD4250 (c) YDNPA, 2023
The first ore from the profitable Surrender Mines was smelted in 1797 after protracted disputes over ownership which lasted nearly 100 years. The mineral lords fought each other through the courts while their miners fought and sabotaged each other’s work on the ground. One incident involved one faction sinking a shaft which was then filled in by the other side, nearly killing the men still underground.
The present Surrender smelt mill replaced two earlier ones on the site in 1841 and is interesting for its symmetrical layout. A huge waterwheel powered the bellows for the furnaces and its wheel pit can still be seen.
The main fuel for the hearths was peat and the remains of a fine open sided peat store house can also be seen on the site. It would once have had a heather-thatched roof.
Lead produced here would have been taken by pack-horse or cart to markets in Stockton-on-Tees or to Richmond once the railway station opened. It would have had many uses including paint, water pipes, weights, roof covering, lead shot and water tanks.
We have installed two interpretation panels inside the building with reconstruction drawings of the mill and peat store.