There are a few medieval references to iron working in Medieval Salford Hundred, some iron may have come from local “ironstone”.
We have a 14thC. mention of a dispute over iron in Whitworth, invloving Whalley Abbey, mentioned in Fishwick’s History of Rochdale. There is also a 15thC. Blackley reference to a shortage of wood for charcoal and associated iron working.
It would appear that iron ore could be found in Hundersfield (near Walsden):
” it shall be lawful for Robert and Alice, and the heirs of Alice to assart the whole of that wood, which is on the north side of Lichitheselegh, and there to make meadow or arable land at their will, and to put up forges, and dig for iron and steel ore to supply those forges, wherever they will on the moors and in the woods which belong to the town of Hunewrthefeld. ”
‘Lancashire Fines: 12-19 Henry III’, Final Concords for Lancashire, Part 1: 1189-1307 (1899), pp. 54-74. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=52533&strquery=iron Date accessed: 16 July 2012
For research in Castleshaw, see this document here.
Fishwick mentions (History of Rochdale p.44) iron working and slag associated with the Ashworth family at Cutler’s Green in what was the north of Spotland township, Rochdale.
A probable medieval bloomery was discovered on a bank of the Spodden river above the ruins of Broadley Mill near Healey by a William Grindrod. The site was excavated by JL Maxim from 1917-9
Medieval iron working (“tap slag”) was revealed in excavations by Norman Tyson of the Bury Archaeological group at Meadowcroft Fold, Pilsworth 1983-4. Further evidence of iron working and associated medieval pottery was found during field walking in 1997.
Maxim J L 1917-19 ‘Discovery of a Bloomery at Birches, Healey’ Transactions of the Rochdale Literary and Scientific Society 13, 136-56.
Cutler’s green “bloomery” Lancashire and Cheshire Historical Society, XXIV, 64.