History of Rockley Engine Tower & Furnace
c.1700 – Rockley Blast Furnace is completed standing at 18.4 ft (5.6 m). The site was chosen for its proximity to the rich Tankersley seam of iron, the abundance of trees, which provided charcoal, and the Warren Dike, which provided water for powering the bellows. The Rockley mine was located nearby to extract iron from the seam . Ironstone had been mined and worked in this area from at least the 16th century when the method of extraction was in the form of bell-pits, which were shallow holes that were abandoned when flooded before new pits were dug .
1717 – The furnace is recorded as producing 400 tonnes of iron.
1742 – The last reference to the furnace in use was recorded this year .
1813 – Rockley Engine Tower was erected to hold a Newcomen atmospheric steam engine used to pump water out of Rockley Mine, which had now become a deep mine accessed via a shaft. The engine cylinder was reported to be 28 inches in diameter and the pumping shaft measured 171 ft in depth.
1823 – The mine was closed, and the engine was dismantled and sold to Hesley Park Colliery near Chapeltown where it was reported to still be in use in 1872.
1957 – The engine tower and furnace were purchased from the Wentworth Estate by the Sheffield Trades Historical Society (now the South Yorkshire Industrial History Society).
1969 – Restoration on the engine tower and furnace is completed by the Sheffield Trades Historical Society .