صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

being of the first-rate importance, necessarily became an object of immedirate consideration. The general destruction of these religious houses was occasioned by Henry's quarrel with Pope Clement VII. in consequence of his divorce from Catharine of Arragon, and his subsequent marriage with Anne Boleyn*; an event which, though it proceeded from the basest motives on his part, may notwithstanding be considered as having paved the way for that more extensive degree of religious liberty which the people of England enjoy in the present day. Cromwell, the secretary of Henry, visited the monasteries, and is said to have detected the most flagrant disor. orders, among which are mentioned whole convents of women abandoned to the greatest profligacy, infants mordered, and every species of crime which the imagination can suggest. By an act of parliament passed about the 25th year of his reign, 376 monasteries were suppressed, 10,000 monks were expelled, and £32,000 added to the royal revenue.

About the year 1538, after the execution of Aone Boleyn, and the death of Jane Seymour, his third queen, who expired two days after the birth of his son, afterwards Edward VI., the demolition of the monasteries was completed. From a motive of avarice, rather than an inclination to promote the interests of religion, all those superb edifices to which the holy brotherhood had resorted, po doubt with rirtãous intentions and pious zeal, were utterly demolished, and the noblest erections which perhaps Britain ever boasted, presented nothing to the eye of the spectator but one continued scene of ruin and dilapidation. The better to reconcile the people to these sudden alterations, many objects of veneration were exposed to ridicule, among which it will be suficient to enumerate, the pairing of St. Edmund's nails, and the pretended blood of our Saviour, which, it was said, was invisible to the eye of any one till he had received absolution. The shrine of St. Thomas-a-Becket was also pillaged and destroyed. This was indeed an object worthy of demolition, but, as in all other instances, the King was incited to the act by avaricioas motives. At Canterbury, devotion to this man was offered in preference to the Virgin Mary, and even to that of God himself; for the sums offered at his altar in one year amounted to £832, while those at the Virgin's were £63, and at the altar of God only £3 2s. 63. !

In all, it is estimated that the number of monasteries suppressed during this reign amounted to 645; of colleges to 90; of hospitals to 110, and of chantries to 2374, which brought an increase of £161,100 to the revenne of the king.

Previously, however, to the adoption of these rigorous and arbitrary measures, the Abbey of Fountains had been subject to many deteriorations which threatened its natural extinction, as appears from a letter written by Henry Percy, the sixth earl of Northumberland, to Thomas Arundel, esq. one of Cardinal Wolsey's gentlemen of the privy chamber. • The abbot of Fountains," says he*, does not bebave like a discreet father towards the said convent and profits of the house; but, against the same, sells

[blocks in formation]

and wastes the greater part or all of their store of cattle, as also their woods in divers countries.” It appears that the abbot at that time was one Thurst, or Thirsk, of whom Layton wsites in the following manner :

6s Please your worship to understand that the abhot of Fountain bath greatly dilapidated his house, wasted the woods; notoriously keeping six prostitutes ; and six days before our coming, he committed a theft and sacrilege, confessing the same, for at midnight he caused his chaplain to steal the keys of the sexton, and took out a jewel, a cross of gold with stones : one Warren, a goldsmith of the Chepe, was with him at the hour; and there they stole out a great emerald with a ruby. The said Warren made the abbot believe the ruby was a garnet. (Subscribed,)

6. Your poor priest, and faithful servant, “ From Richmont

R. LAYTON. “ in Com' Ebor' the 20 Jan."!

This abbot, as well as some others, was executed at Tyburn up on an accusation of being concerned in the iosurrection in Yorkshire. Some have been supposed to suffer on false charges, but Burnet says, 6 It was believed that most of the great abbots cherished it.”

In the days of Camden* the abbey must have been in a state of great dilapidation, for he only mentions it as being delicately situated in a fruitful soil, whereiñ are veids of lead."

The last abbott was Marmaduke Bradely, suffragan-bishop of Hull, who surrendered the convent on the 26th Nov. 1540, the revenue at that time amounting to the sum of £1125 18s. 13d. To those who know Fountains Abbey, any further description would be unnecessary; and we would recommend its inspection to those of our readers who are yet unacquainted with it, as an object calculated to inspire the mind with the most profound contemplation, and at the same time furnishing the most delightful subjects for the pencil of the painter, and the imagination of the poet.

J. C. W.

History of Trades and Manufactures.

HISTORY OF THE ALUM TRADE.

[Continued from p. 110.] LIST of Alum-works established in England.--After the art of alummaking had been introduced, and its profits had begun to be realised, many embarked in the concern, and new works were opened from time

• Boswell's Antiq.

† Vide Britannia, ii. 1093.

See Boswell's Antiq.

to time. The following list of these works will perhaps be found tolerably correct:

1. Belinan-Bank, near Guisborough, began, as has been noticed, about the year 1595, or soon after; and seems to have been wrought for 10 years or upwards, when owing to the exhaustion of the mine, or rather its becoming difficult of access, the work was transferred to another spot, where it was carried on for 15 years, or more; after which that place also was abandoned for the same reason.

2. Lord D'Arcy's family opened a work near Guisborough, on the Whitby-road, A.D. 1600, or soon after. It seems to have continued for 15 or 24 years.

3. The work at Sandsend Ness, which still prospers, commenced about 1615; the alum-house being then, as now, at the village.

4. Old Peak seems to have started next; the period of its continuance is uncertain.

5. Boulby, which is still a respectable work, was erected about the same time.

6. Lofthouse, formerly called Lingberry, ought perhaps to be placed pext. It is now a flourishing establishment.

7. Peak is supposed to have been erected by Sir Bryan Cooke, about the same era. It is still carried on by Messrs. Cooke.

8. Saltwick was begun by Sir Hogh Cholmley, in 1649, Sir Henry Cholinley and Sir Richd. Crispe, taking part in the undertaking. This work was laid down in 1708, revived again in 1755, and finally given op in 1791,

• 9. Littlebeck is supposed to have started about 1660. It continued, with several interruptions, till 1809, when it was given up by Messrs. Jackson, Dagby, and Ridley.

10. Carleton is thought to have been erected by Capt. Pressick, about the year

1680. It was abandoned 43 years ago. 11. Holmes, near the present castle of Mulgrave, commenced about 1680, or a few years earlier. It has been reckoned a very good mine; but seems to have been laid down at an early period. The liquor was boiled at Sandsend alum-house.

12. Ash Holme, near Old Mulgrave castle, began about the same time, and appears to have been wrought about 25 years.

13. Rock Hole, between East Row and Rock Head, may be placed next. It seems to have been kept up only 5 or 6 years.

14. Selby Hagg, near Skelton, is thought to have been established about the year 1680, or soon after. The work was discontinued about 1720, revived in 1765 by John Hall, esq., and finally given up in 1776. alum-house was at Saltburn.

15. Hobb Wood, near Upleatham, may be placed on the list, as it presents the vestiges of a mine heap: yet it is doubtful whether alum was made here or pot.

16. The erection of the work at Kirkby in Cleveland is also involved in obscurity. It is thought to have been given up about 1730.

17. Kettleness was set on foot abont 1728, was laid down before 1736,

[ocr errors]

The

revived again in 1742 by Mr. Ambrose Newton, discontinued a second time in 1754, and lastly re-established by Lord Malgrave in 1767; from which period it has continued to prosper.

18. Osmotherley, or Thimbleby, the most westerly of the alam-works, began in 1752; and was laid down about 1772.

19. Stoupe Brow commenced the same year, and is still kept up.

20. Eskdale Side was set on foot in 1764, by John Yeoman, esq. and Mr. R. Jackson, and is still carried on.

21. Godeland Banks, near Sleights, was erected in 1765, by Messrs. Scarth and Thornbill, and given up about 1805.

22. Ayton in Cleveland was also established in 1765, and was discontinted about 1771.

23. Guisborough was established, perhaps we should say revived, by Wm. Chaloner, esq. about the year 1766; and was laid down about 13 years ago.

We may add, that in 1764 an attempt was made to erect an alumwork at Hawsker Bottoms, which, after costing about 1000l., proved abortive.

An alam-work commenced at Pleasington, in Lancashire, about the year 1680. After experiencing mạny interruptions, it was finally given up about the year 1771.

About the year 1736, an alum-work was set on foot in Wales, but it did not succeed. Within these few years a work has been carried on at Purlett Mine, near Glasgow; where alum is found native, in silky fibres, or in clusters of small crystals.

PROCESS OF ALUM-MAKING. The alam of commerce is a triple salt, composed of sulphuric acid, alumine, pot-ash and water. The method of preparing it from the aluminous schistus has undergone various alterą. tions, having been much improved within the last 30 years. The following is a brief sketch of the usual process.

The top of the alum-rock being laid bare, by removing the alluvial soil and covering strata, the rock is hewed with picks, &c.; the hewing or eutting being continued downwards in different floors, or desses, as they are called, till the rock becomes too unproduetive to be wrought any deeper. The schistus, when hewn out and broken, is conveyed in barrows to the calciding place, where it own on a bed of underwood, furze, &c.; and when the rock has been heaped over this fuel, to the height of about four feet, the pile is set on fire ; after which, fresh rock is gradually added, 80 as neither to extinguish the fire, por produce imperfect calcination. New piles of the same kind are successively annexed to the first, until the calcined heap rise to the height of 90 or 100 feet, and extends from 150 to 200 feet in length and breadth. Some of these heaps of calcioed mine will contain 100,000 solid yards ; they are often 8 or 9 months in forming. They are coated with small schistus moistened, to prevent the escape of the sulphureous acid gas : the latter, by absorbing oxygen from the atmosphere, is converted into sulphuric acid, which is essential to the formation of alam. The barrows used in the above operations project over

[ocr errors]

the wheel, so that the centre of gravity falls on the axle; a contrivance which greatly diminishes the toil of the workmen.

The next stage of the process is to extract the alum liquor, or sulphate of alamine. This is done by steeping successive portions of the calcined mine in square or oblong pits, capable of holding about 60 cubic yards each. The impregnated water is drawn off into cisterns, to be pumped up again upon fresh calcined mine ; an operation that is repeated till the liquor is concentrated to the specific gravity of 1:15, or 12 pennywts. of the alummaker's weight, at which strength it is conveyed into cisterns, to deposit the lime, iron, and earth, which would prevent the crystallization. That there may be no waste, the calcined mine in the pits undergoes repeated macerations, till the saline matter is all extracted. Liquors of different strengths, called strong liquor, seconds, and thirds, are thus obtained; and the weaker are raised to the proper strength, by being pumped on fresh miae. These operations have been called working the liquor-turn. At some of the works, the deposition of the superfluous matter is accelerated by boiling the liquor for a short time, previous to its being conveyed into the cisterns in which the extraneous substances are deposited. These eisterns are placed behind the alum-house,

When the liquor has been thus extracted, and more or less clarified, it is conveyed into the alum-house, into leaden pans, 10 ft. long, 4 ft. 9 in. wide, 2 ft: 2 ir. deep at the back part, and 2 ft. 8 in. at the front; the bottom having a gentle slope to facilitate the running off. Here the liquor is mixed with mothers, the old liquor that has been left from former crystallizations, and the whole is boiled 24 hours, fresh liquor being conveyed into the pans from time to time, in proportion as the evaporation goes on ; that the strength of the boiling fluid may thus be concentrated. The pans are kept continually boiling, to prevent the alumine, &c. from being precipitated, a circumstance which would cause the pans presently to melt.

The whole contents of the pan are run off every morning into a věssel called a settler ; at the same time, there is mixed with the liquor a quantity of alkaline lee prepared from muriate of potash, of a specific gravity from 1•0375 to 1.075. The alum-maker, having previously tried the strength of the liquor in the pans, which is sometimes so high as 1•45 or 1.5, 80 proportions the quantity of lees as to reduce the whole mixture to the specific gravity of 1:35; for if it exceed that strength, the liqour, instead of crystallizing, would only present a thick magma, or unctuous mass. Having remained in the settler about two hours, to deposit the sediment, the liquor is conveyed into coolers ; where it is stirred about for some time, or roused, as the term is, and then left to crystallize.

After standing four days, the remaining liqour, which is called the mathers, is drawn off, or scooped ont, to be pumped into the paps again the succeeding day. The crystals of alum, which chiefly adhere to the sides of the coolers, are carefully collected and put into a tub, where they are washed with water; after which they are conveyed into a bin, with holes in the bottom, to allow the water to pass through; which water, like the mothers, is reserved for further use. They are then put into a pan, twice

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »