Keswick - Lake District
Copyright Marcus Roberts (with additional material by Dr Yaakov Wise (also with special thanks to Ian Tyler for his expertise on local mining history)


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Gaunse was also active in the production of lead (which was used to abstract the silver from the copper in a separate process) and may have been able to smelt using peat as fuel, rather than the scarcer commodity of wood. He was also able to use lower quality ore from the Calbeck Fells, rather than the superior 'G-d's Gift Mine.' It is also thought that he may have used some type of reverbatory furnace.

Gaunse effectively rescued production of copper at Keswick. The smelters at Keswick enjoyed a second peak of production, between 1581 and 1584, after a sharp falling off of production between 1577 and 1580. However, despite his uncomplimentary remarks about the techniques of his predecessors, Hochstetter, or the Stembargers, father or son, the greatest peak of production of copper and silver had actually been between, 1569 and1576.

Gaunse's services were very well thought of, and his skills were also employed at 'the Great Works' at Neath in South Wales, which were being founded at this precise time and where it would appear his services were regarded as indispensable and it is also recorded that in 1586, it was possible to smelt 24 cwt of ore in 7 hours and spend not above 8 or 9 sacks of charcoal and three horse loads of sea coal. Therefore, Gaunse may also be regarded as a significant figure in the emergence of the smelting industry of South Wales.

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