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In the mid 16th century Lord Mountjoy attempted to make alum here and acquired a patent to do so, though the enterprise was unsuccessful. In the first half of the 17th century Sir William Clavell made several unsuccessful efforts to turn Kimmeridge into an industrial venture. He tried boiling seawater to make salt, using the shale as fuel as the Romans had done. He then followed in Mountjoy's footsteps and founded an alum works, though he failed to secure a patent and ran foul of alum merchants in London who had sole rights (granted by Charles I) to produce alum in England; the merchants took Clavell's property and demanded £1,000 per year, then destroyed the works and stole Clavell's cattle. Clavell took legal action but was unsuccessful. He then tried to turn Kimmeridge into a port, and finally tried to manufacture glass with assistance from Sir Robert Mansell and Abraham Bigo, but both these enterprises failed; the pier which Clavell built for the port became ruinous and was destroyed by a storm in 1745.

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