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Kirkby Overblow

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Kirkby Overblow

Pit Site at Kirkby Overblow To Sites Index Forges at Kirkby Overblow

The Kirkby Overblow Local History Group has invited Iron-Age (Nidderdale) to carry out investigations in the village because, despite the fact that the derivation of "Overblow" from "Orblauers" (iron smelters) is well known, very little archaeological evidence of the iron industry has emerged apart from slag that is to be found in many places within and around the village. The main reasons for the lack of evidence of structures associated with the iron industry are the extensive modern agricultural and residential developments that have taken place in Kirkby Overblow since the demise of iron smelting in the area that was likely to have been around the beginning of the 17th century or even earlier.


The village is not in Nidderdale but it shares some landscape and geological features with sites that have been investigated there and the experience is proving to be very useful. In particular, the centre of the village of Kirkby Overblow is on a plateau at the edge of a glacial valley and it is likely that iron ore was mined and quarried on the plateau, on the escarpment of the valley, on the lower slopes and the valley floor as we have seen in Nidderdale and as shown in diagrammatic form on the Technical Aspects page.


Some likely locations of water powered forges are being investigated and it seems likely that Park Beck on the north side of the village has been used for this purpose. There are certainly several locations along the beck within Kirkby Overblow where there is evidence of wheel pits and ponds and further downstream in Spofforth a dam and pond have been discovered close to a slag heap.


The steep slope below the village in the photograph below is likely to have been the source of much of the ore that was smelted locally although gardens, paddocks and improved fields are seen there today.