Spanish iron

1) Iron was imported from Spain by Sheffield cutlers, as the high-grade Spanish ores were preferred to the local ironstone.

When we read that the Sheffield cutlers argued in favour of importing Spanish iron in the 1660s that may seem to signal a new departure but it is known that in the Tudor period high-grade Spanish ores were preferred by the Hallamshire cutlers to the local Tankersley ironstone. It was a move encouraged by the Earl of Shrewsbury whose steward was responsible for their importation via the river port of Bawtry, some twenty or so miles to the east. In 1537, Henry Rensha’ of Chesterfield had Speynyshe yron unwroight worth Ł9 recorded in his inventory. There is proof of much earlier imports: 1377-8 In ferro de Spayne empto de Johanne de Gysburn, Bolton Priory

1454 iij libris Spanysyren, precii petre viijd, York

1490 two hundreth of Spanyssh iren, York. The term is recorded in the Customs accounts for Hull from the same period: 1453 5 ton-t’ [ton-tight] ferri ispanie. Iron from other countries is listed in the same Hull records. ‘Osmunds’, for example, were imported on a large scale, and the word is dealt with separately.

dates 1377-1378 1453 1454 1490 1537

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