Shropshire History

North Shropshire

Coalfield

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The North Shropshire Coalfield is actually a southern extension of the Denbighshire Coalfield and was in two parts. To the west was the small Oswestry Coalfield that was very active for a time and north of St Martins was another mining area, with Ifton Colliery being the largest. Ifton was a very large colliery for Shropshire, being connected underground to the old Brynkinallt and Black Park Collieries, and it closed in 1968. Most of the mines around Oswestry were worked by gangs of men controlled by a Chartermaster, who contracted the labour to mine owners. Chartermasters used to pay the men in rooms at local pubs and these still exist at the old Efel Inn at Trefonen (SJ259267) and Hen & Chickens Inn at Morda (SJ282277), even though both are now private houses.

 

Allmands Pit, Morda (SJ276277)

See British Colliery

 

Barnfield Pit, Trefonen (SJ276264)

See Gronwen Pit

                       

British Colliery, Morda (SJ276277)

Coal  (aka Allmands, Bryn Aber, Clay’s, Coed y Go, Dog, Dongey, Gate, Gwerni, New, New British, Old British, Old Dog, Partridge, Roger’s, Savin's & Speedwell)

 

british.jpg

 

There were a number of shafts sunk around Coed y Go by the Croxon family in the 1820s and these originally worked separately.  Eventually, however, the Croxons abandoned them to concentrate on Drill Colliery so the lease was acquired in 1860 by Thomas Savin, a well-known railway contractor. The shafts were called different names at various times, ie Allmands, Bryn Aber, Clays, Coed y Go, Dog, Dongey, Gate, Gwerni, New, New British, Old British, Old Dog, Partridge, Rogers. Savin's and Speedwell.

morda_1831

 

Coed-y-Go (aka Savin’s) Shaft was recorded as being 343ft deep. Savin was quick to realise that transport was a problem and the Morda Tramway, which had been built in 1813, used horses to pull trucks laden with coal from Coed y Go to the Montgomery Canal at Gronwen Wharf. This was not very efficient so, in 1860, Thomas Savin constructed a railway from the mine down to the main line of the Cambrian Railway at Whitehaven to carry coal and bricks. There were three locomotives in use named "Plasfynnon", "Milford" and "Little Tiny". About 20 trucks of coal per day were despatched to Whitehaven. Savin bought the minerals outright in 1861, appointing his brother William Savin as mine manager. He then sank the New British or Gate Colliery, so called because it was opposite the entrance to Chain Lane with its turnpike gate. In order to obtain the necessary funds for the new workings, he handed the deeds of the colliery to the North & South Wales Bank. Savin linked up the underground workings into a complex called British Colliery, which was run on more up to date methods than most others in the area.

 

image023

 

As there were no shops in the vicinity of the colliery, Savin opened a Tommy Shop and a butcher shop (where provisions and meat could be purchased) and a Tap Room for the supply of liquid refreshment. These were situated in a row of houses now called "Eunant" and these institutions were managed with complete satisfaction to the workers. Savin also built a number of cottages near the colliery and named them "British Row".  In 1866, the financial crash of his railway schemes came about and the British Colliery was closed down in 1869.  The Bank later sold the deeds to the Lees family. Mrs Shaw, grand-daughter of Mr Latham the underground manager, has told how as a little girl the colliers after receiving their last pay when the colliery was closed threw pennies into her lap as they passed. After the colliery closed down, the miners living in these cottages went to work in the North Wales pits but their wives refused to leave Coed y Go. For some time after the financial crash, coal and bricks continued to be sent to a large firm of Staffordshire colliery owners and brick manufacturers and, when the concern was closed down, the machinery also went to them.  Old miners who worked in the British Colliery have said that there is still plenty of good coal left in the workings. 

 

SJ271277

Tommy shop (C19)

SJ272276

Shaft (filled)

SJ276277

Shaft (filled)

 

In its day, the Brickworks at Coed y Go was an important undertaking, employing upwards of 60 men and boys.  A speciality of the works was firebricks and also a buff-coloured pressed brick. Several houses in Oswestry are built of these latter including some in Morda Road, Victoria Road and Queens Road. In addition to the above, chimney pots, drain pipes and other products were made in considerable quantities.

 

british_1875.jpg

1875

british_1901.jpg

1901

 

british_1938.jpg

1938

 

british_2010.jpg

2010

From the map above :-

1)   Old British Pit

2)   New British Pit

3)   Dog Pit

4)   Unknown pit

5)   Unknown pit

6)   Dongey Pit

7)   Speedwell Pit

 

Current Remains

The building that housed the former Tommy Shop, Butcher's Shop and Tap Room still exists (SJ271277) and is called Eunant.  There is also an old house that may have been a machine house (SJ278277).

 

img027   eunant.jpg

Eunant Tommy Shop

 

The cottages built by Savin for his workers on British Row also still exist nearby (SJ271276).

 

british row.jpg

 

The old railway line started at British Colliery in Coed y Go and travelled in a curve west, then south, to the bridge at Brook House (SJ272270). The old rail bridge at this point is still a fine monument to the line, and was high arched to take the tall stacks of the light locomotive used by Savin.  It joined the main line near to Nuttree Bank Farm and most of the formation can still be traced today.

 

image013

Railway bridge built over the Nant-y-Caws stream at Brook House

 

 

image014

Cambrian main line passed over the tramway at Whitehaven

 

image015

Abutments of a rail bridge at Nuttree Farm in Whitehaven

 

Bryn Aber Pit, Morda (SJ276277)

See British Colliery

 

Brynkinallt Colliery, Chirk (SJ296382)

Coal

Sunk during the 1860s by a Mr Blakewell, an eminent mining engineer, who owned the Brynkinallt Coal Co Ltd.  The mine was purchased in 1893 by Mr William Young Craig (formerly the MP for North Staffordshire) of Alsager. From the beginning, Mr Craig had a very good relationship with his workmen and disputes and strikes at the pit were a rare occurrence. In 1912, when all the mines in Denbighshire were out on strike, Brynkinallt colliers continued working. Soldiers were sent to Brynkinallt to protect the working miners and the mine property during the 1912 strike.  The Brynkinnalt miners feared that the pit might be 'boxed up', ie wagons and other items might be thrown down the pit shaft by the striking miners to prevent repairs being carried out to roadways and water being pumped out of the mine. If this occurred, there was a danger that the pit would not re-open when the dispute was over.

 There were 600 men from the Royal Suffolk Regiment, 400 men from the Royal Fusiliers and the Royal Welch Fusiliers, 50 men of the King's Shropshire Light Infantry as well as 50 additional police from Caernarfon and Merioneth assisting the local police at the colliery and they camped in Brynkinallt Park.  On one occasion, demonstrators from Cefn Mawr marched towards Brynkinallt Colliery, described in the national press as an armed mob but the smiling faces (of both miners and policemen) and the presence of youngsters in photographs suggests that this was an exaggeration. As the crowd approached the colliery, they were met by the elderly owner, Mr William Craig. He explained to them that his workmen already had the concessions which the remainder of the North Wales miners were on strike for and as he was not a member of the North Wales Coal Owners Association, his men were not in dispute and were continuing to work. He urged the crowd to return to their homes; at which point the crowd dispersed.

In 1913, when the Gertrude Shaft at Ifton was sunk, the Brynkinallt shaft became the ventilation shaft for the new colliery. In 1937, the wooden headgear on No.1 Shaft was replaced by the steel headgear from the Queen Pit at Brynmally, the work being supervised by Bert Johnson, the Surveyor at Brynmally. It closed in 1968 when Ifton Colliery ceased. 

 

Current Remains

Mine truck and coal cutter memorial (SJ304377)

                                    

Bryn-y-Castell Pit, Gobowen (SJ304342)

Coal                                                                                                                              

 

The shaft was sunk sometime between 1890-1901, as on the 1902 map it is described as “old”, ie disused.  That probably means that it was during the 1890s.

 

bryn-y-castell_1889.jpg

1889

 

bryn-y-castell_1902.jpg

1902

bryn-y-castell_1928.jpg

1928

 

brynycastell_2010.jpg

2010

Cern-y-Bwlch Pit, Tyn-y-Coed (SJ2629)

Coal

                                                                                                                                           

Chirk Bank Colliery, Chirk (SJ293371)

Coal

                                                                                                                                       

 

Chirk Bank Colliery was recorded as early as 1801 and closed in the 1880s.  There was a rail link to the Glyn Valley Tramway.  It is believed to have been the scene of a canal embankment collapse in 1816, which dammed the river downstream causing the flooding of many pits in the valley. No lives were lost but the horses perished.

 

chirkbank_1881.jpg

1881

 

chirkbank_1899.jpg

1899

chirkbank_1901.jpg

1901

 

chirkbank_2010.jpg

2010

Features on map

1)   Chirk Bank Colliery

2)   Railway Line

 

Clay’s Pit, Morda (SJ276277)

See British Colliery

 

Coed-y-Go Pit, Morda (SJ276277)

See British Colliery

                                                             

Coed-yr-Allt Pit, St Martins (SJ322392 & SJ323397)

Coal

                                                                                                                                       

 

 

coed-yr-allt_1873.jpg

1873

 

coedyallt_1889.jpg

1889

coed-yr-allt_1899.jpg

1899

coedyallt_2010.jpg

2010

 

There is one filled shaft (SJ32413963) with a series of earthworks representing extraction running in a straight SW-NE line from the shaft to SJ32844033. This would suggest all depicted features forming this group were exploiting the same coal seam.  In addition to this shaft, a further shaft at SJ32413963 is shown on the same alignment as the other extractive features. Both shafts are shown as disused, together with the other extractive features to the NE, depicted as earthworks

 

Daywall Colliery, Gobowen (SJ295346)

Coal

                                                                                                                                       

 

Two shafts were sunk in 1875-76 to a depth of 330ft deep but it is believed that they never produced coal. Several borings for coal in the area never came to anything.

 

image006.jpg

1881

image007.jpg

1901

daywall_1928.jpg

1928

 

daywall_2010.jpg

2010

 

Dog Pit, Morda (SJ276277)

See British Colliery

 

Dongey Pit, Morda (SJ276277)

See British Colliery

 

Drenewydd Pit, Oswestry (SJ3130)

Coal

                                                             

Drill Colliery, Morda (SJ286277)

Coal  (aka Roberts)

                                                                                                                                       

 

Drill Colliery, commonly known as the "Gronwen", was sunk in 1836 and, according to the Geological Survey, Thomas Ireland & Co carried out the work. However, very shortly afterwards Croxon and Co were working the colliery.  This colliery was probably the most important in the district, for all the seams of the coalfield could be worked here, which was not the case with any of the other pits.  Indeed this fact decided the Croxons to gradually close down their other undertakings. Bricks were made here from the clay raised and, for some 50 years, Morda was the scene of much activity. In order to transport the coal to the canal at Maesbury, a tramway was laid down. In 1872 the colliery was purchased by a group of Lancashire business men, the Oswestry Coal and Brick Company Ltd. In 1897 the Drill Pit was abandoned following the decline in the Morda coalfields.

http://northwalesminers.com/sites/mineshrop/drill/drill_files/image007.jpg

Route of Tramway

 

This crossed the fields to Nantycaws and, after running up the valley for some 200 yards, the track descended again and ran across the fields to the Welshpool road at Pwllycwra, going thence to the Gronwen wharf at Redwith.  The latter was built specially for the coal traffic and named after the colliery. In addition to the coal sent by canal, a considerable business was done by direct sales to farmers and others.  During the winter months, large quantities of coal were used throughout the district for lime burning. It is not possible to give details of the colliery's output but this would, of course, be small when compared with modern coal-mining. When the collieries were working, coal was in a way plentiful and cheap; in fact, during the 1860s it could be bought for the low price of 4d per cwt. From a paysheet for Drill and Sweeney Collieries for the fortnight ended September 23rd 1874, it is possible to obtain a rough idea of the output at that time. The return gives a total of 427 tons of coal and 112 tons of clay raised during the period.  At this time, however, the colliery was not raising as much as had been the case some years previously. When the British Colliery at Coed y Go also was operating, the annual output of the coalfield must have been many thousands of tons.  Some particulars from the paysheet quoted are given below as they furnish information as to some of the miners, what was earned and other details. It should be explained that the names mentioned are those of the Chartermasters, who each had up to eight men and boys working with them in their respective companies. The average of No.1 company would be about £1 5s per week but the boys employed would modify this figure. The usual custom was for the Chartermasters to settle with their company at the nearby Hen and Chickens Inn.

 

 

Amount Raised

T      C  Q

Rate

Wages

£  s  d

No.1 Company

William Evans

Coal

Clay

122  4  2

18  13  0

3/4d

7¼d

   20  7  5

        11  2

No.2 Company

John Lewis

Coal

Clay

Yards

  55  2  0

  8  13  0

4/2½d

7¼d

11  11  11

         5   3

   1   8    0

No.3 Company

Thomas Lewis

Coal

Clay

Yards

  56  0  0

  18  7  0

4/2½d

7¼d

11  15  8

       11  4

         5  0

No.4 Company

Pryce Francis

Coal

Clay

Yards

 51  17  2

 18  18  0

4/2½d

7¼d

11  10  9

       11  5

         6  0

No.5 Company

George Dykes

 

Coal

Clay Yards

   63  2  0

   13  2  0

4/2½d

7¼d

 13  5   7

       7  11

        6   0


No.6 Company

John Edwards

Coal

Clay Yards

   76  2  0

   19  4  0

4/2½d

7¼d

   16  0  3

       11  6½

          6  0

No.7 Company

John Fields

Clay

Days

   15  2  0

            

7¼d

4/1d

          9  2

    1  11  8

 

In addition to the actual miners, the wages sheet of course includes the subsidiary men of which the following represents some of those employed. This colliery and Coed y Go were the only two in the district at which ponies were used and the Drill ponies were kept at Llwynymapsis when not in the pit.

 

Work

Name

Days

Rate

Wages

Hooker

Pony Driver

On the Road

Air

Air Road Man

Pony Driver

4 Foot Coal

Main Road

Fireman

Pit Scales

Office Scales

Banking

Carting

Carpenter

Smith

 

Pit Engine

 

Pump Engine

Thomas Fields

Thomas Evans

George Jones

Thomas Evans

William Rider

Edward Jones

John Francis

Jos Francis

William Samuels

Thomas Evans

Ishmael Evans

Robert Morris

Thomas Evans

Robert Morris

Michael Conlan

Thomas York

James Griffiths

Edward Jones

William Howell

Richard Sailey

James Humphries

Evan Evans

William Jones

John Lloyd

 

Samuel Evans

Thomas Evans

Cleaning Flue & Boiler

William Hughes

Cleaning Boiler

12½

4

1

4

7

11

12

11

10

10

11

11

12

12

12

12

12

11

11

1

14

9

7

 

14

 

2

12

1

3/3d

4/0d

 

2/9d

1/9d

2/0d

2/9d

1/9d

1/9d

4/1d

2/6d

3/2½d

6/0d

5/6d

4/0d

1/16/0d

3/0d

3/0d

3/0d

 

2/0d

3/0d

2/4d

3/4d

 

3/6d

 

2/0d

2/8d

2/0d

2  0  7

  16  0

    4  6

  11  0

  12  3

1  2  0

1  13 0

   19  3

   17  6

2  0 10

1   7  6 

1  19  10½

3  12  0

3  6  0

2  8  0

    3  0

  16  0

1  13  0

1  13  0

     2  6

1  8  0

1  8  6

1  1  0

1  3  4

 

2  9  0

2  9  0

    4  0

1  12  0

    2  0

 

A number of men employed for a portion of the period, as well as the manager (Mr. Hawkins), the clerks and Cadwallader Evans the farm bailiff, are not given here but with those included the colliery must have employed about 100 men at this time. The total wages for the fortnight were £177 11s. 9d, equivalent to £4,620 for the year, and when Coed y Go and Trefonen collieries are added to this total, the importance of the collieries to the industrial life of the district is seen.  Young children used to work in the pits and in 1850 Joseph Probert of Morda started work at the age of 7 years in the Drill Pit. His work was to walk before a pony drawing a coal trolley for about one-third of a mile, with a lighted candle on his shoulder, 30 times a day. For this work be received 1d per day but this case may have been exceptional as his father was underground foreman. It was, however, customary to employ boys from 8 to 9 years in the pit up to about 1840, when legislation was passed raising the age at which boys might start work/  During the 1850s and 1860s, the pit manager was Mr. Edward Jones who lived at Llwynymapsis and he was familiarly known as "Jones the Coal". He was reputed to be the biggest man in the neighbourhood, turning the scales at 22 stone; and at his funeral, so big was his coffin that it had to be taken through the window.

 

An incident typical of collieries and the times is related by Mr Thomas Evans of Gronwen, an old Drill collier. It seems that a new manager came to the Drill and he became very unpopular. One day, after an altercation with some of the men, they decided to duck him in Morda brook. Accordingly, one dark evening while this manager was upstairs in the colliery office which stood near the road, the men along with the Trefonen band gathered quietly outside. When the office light was extinguished and the manager came out he was seized from behind by two men and led down the road followed by the band playing suitable music - possibly the Death March - and a crowd of colliers bringing up the rear. But just as the procession reached the row of houses near the bridge at Morda, the victim of the drama suddenly wrenched himself free, and dashed into a house (now Mr. Hammond's shop), in those days occupied by a man named Miles with whom he lodged. Fortunately for the manager, someone in the house realised the situation for, as he reached the door, it flew open and, after the hunted man disappeared inside, it was immediately closed and bolted. Baulked of their prey the miners, after some shouting, gradually dispersed.  This is not the only occasion when the Trefonen band figured for there are other stories told of "playing off" unpopular managers.

img025

Drll Brickworks

This photograph was taken during the occupation of

Mr W H Thomas after the winding gear had been removed

 

In 1872, the concern was transferred to a group of Lancashire businessmen who formed the Oswestry Coal and Brick Co Ltd. At the outset they were very active, deepening the pit and making other changes by which it was hoped that a large increase in output and number of men engaged would eventuate. It was also hoped to arrange with the railway authorities for a branch line to be laid linking up the colliery with the main line. By this time, however, coal getting in the Oswestry coalfield had begun to decline owing to several causes, chief of which was the building of the Cambrian Railways which brought coal from the larger collieries of North Wales and Staffordshire to the district served hitherto by the Oswestry Collieries. At Drill the arrangements for raising and lowering the coal were primitive even for those times. At the signal that the tubs were ready the men would shout to the top. There were no conductors for these tubs, but three men would hold the rope. The same thing applied to fire precautions. Thomas Evans has related how on one occasion in the Drill Pit, a man threw a lighted candle on to a pile of waste which blazed up, burning the man and extinguishing all the lights. His father grasping the situation crawled to where his clothes lay for a match to re-light his candle, and take the burnt man to the pit bottom.

 

Whereas in 1835 the average wages were 1s 8d. per day, by 1870 this had increased to 4s 6d, and the same applied to the employment of boys who then did not go down the pit until 13 years of age. In 1860 Joseph Dyke, Trefonen, began working on the pit bank at the Drill Pit, when under ten years and Joseph Meredith several years later, at twelve years. The hours were 10 per day and these were reduced later to 9, the shifts being from 6 am to 3 pm and 10 pm to 7 am. One. of tile customs in the Oswestry coalfield was that a collier was allowed to take home as large a lump of coal as he could carry.  There is no evidence of strikes or lockouts in the locality until 1874. About this time conditions were very unsettled in the industry owing to a general fall in prices and the accompanying drop in wages. The miners at Drill and Trefonen collieries were out on strike for a week during February 1874, on a question of wages, but the dispute was soon settled and the men resumed work.  It seems also that one of the causes for the last colliery to close in 1891 was a dispute about wages.  In spite of their re-organisation, the new company did not succeed and, after struggling for a few years, coal working ceased at Drill and the pit was abandoned in 1879 after a period of over forty years' working. Whether the final decision came suddenly is not known but old miners state that all the tools were left in the pit.  After the closure, there was much unemployment in the district with consequent poverty and hardship; to quote from a publication of the time "many a poor person finds it difficult to procure the bare necessities of life for his family". Efforts were made to alleviate the distress, and these included gifts of bacon and other foods from Mr. Lees of Woodhill for sale at reduced prices. Brick making was continued for several years, after which the site was abandoned. In 1896, Mr W H Thomas, builder of Oswestry, bought the concern from the mortgagees, Manchester & District Bank, and he resumed brick making for some years. On taking over, Mr Thomas sold the winding gear and this familiar landmark, which had stood at the Drill for sixty years, finally disappeared.

 

drill_1875.jpg

1875

drill_1901.jpg

1901

drill_1928.jpg

1928

drill_2010.jpg

2010

The site is now completely built over with houses.  The location of the main shaft (1) and Roberts’ Shaft (2) are shown on the map above.

 

Efel Inn, Trefonen (SJ259267)

 

This was once a popular inn for miners and was located on the junction of Bellan Lane and Treflach Lane in Trefonen.  Chartermasters, with men working at the local mines, would pay them here every Saturday night.  Since it was open until midnight, a lot of the money was spent on drink and an old Trefonen collier, Joseph Dyke, related how as a small boy he could remember the crowd of colliers' wives waiting outside the Efel Inn for their share of the proceeds, which frequently would not amount to much after all the dues were paid.

 

01.jpg

 

There used to be two Chartermasters’ rooms situated on each side of a small bar where the men were paid. These two rooms received the nicknames of "The Rogues' Hole" and "The Devil's Nook" - a fact which speaks for itself.

 

 efel_1874.jpg

1874 

efel_OS.jpg

2010

 

Now a private house and remaining evidence of the Chartermasters’ rooms unknown.

 

Flannog Colliery, St Martins (SJ325397)

Coal

 

Flannog Colliery was the most northerly mine in Shropshire.

 

flannog_1874.jpg

1874 

flannog_1902.jpg

1902

flannog_1914.jpg

1914

 

flannog_2010.jpg

2010

There is a line of workings with 7 probable sites of shafts as shown on the above map.

 

Furnace Colliery, Weston Rhyn (SJ293363)

See Preesgwyn Colliery

 

Gate Pit, Morda (SJ276277)

See British Colliery

 

Gertrude Colliery, St Martins (SJ321374)

See Ifton

                                                             

Gronwen Pit, Trefonen (SJ276264)

Coal   (aka Barnfield, Old Gronwen)

                                                                                                                                       

 

Some sources claim that Gronwen was another name for Drill Colliery at Morda but it appears to have been a completely separate undertaking.  There were leases for an Old Gronwen Colliery in 1730 (described vaguely as south of Llywnymapsis Farm) and it was still working in 1808.  Official records show that a Gronwen Colliery was sunk around 1836.  No other information is known and the site has not yet been visited to check.  There is no indication of mining on maps and the site is covered by trees. Coincidentally that location is adjacent to the railway line that ran from the British Colliery to Whitehaven.

 

gronwen_1874.jpg

1874

gronwen_1888.jpg

1888

gronwen_1928.jpg

1928

gronwen_2010.jpg

2010

There are 2 filled shafts with spoil mounds.

 

Gwerni Pit, Morda (SJ276277)

See British Colliery

 

Hall Colliery, Weston Rhyn (SJ293357)

See Moreton Hall

 

Hen & Chickens Inn, Morda (SJ282276)

                                                                                                                                       

 

This was once a popular inn for miners and was located at the junction of the Coed y Go and Gronwen roads in Morda, opposite to a smithy.  Chartermasters, with men working at the Drill Colliery and other local mines, would pay them here every Saturday night.  Since it was open until midnight, a lot of the money was spent on drink and it was common to see a crowd of wives waiting outside for what was left of their wages.

 

01.jpg

 

One local character was an ex-soldier who had been in the Crimean War, who had a weakness for drink and would do anything to "whet his whistle". He always made sure that he was in the Hen and Chickens on pay night. This man had lost the lower part of his back, which had been blown off by a cannon ball, and doctors had fitted a steel plate to cover the wound. The colliers knew all about it, so once they made a wager with him that if he got through a window of the kitchen at the Hen and Chickens they would pay for a gallon of beer. The window was narrow and the soldier was a big man but, being thirsty, he decided to have a try. In the meantime the colliers, knowing that it was impossible for him to succeed, went out into the road to watch events. The soldier, after getting his head and one arm through, became tightly wedged in the window. When the colliers saw that he could not get in or out, some of them got fire irons and played a tattoo on his steel plate!

 

hen&chickens_1875.jpg

1875

hen&chickens_2010.jpg

2010

 

Now a private house and remaining evidence of the Chartermasters’ activities unknown.

 

Hen & Chickens Pit, Morda (SJ281277)

Coal

 

Official records list a Hen & Chickens Colliery located near the inn of that name. 

 

henchickens_1875.jpg

1875 

henchickens_1902.jpg

1902

henchickens_1938.jpg

1938

 

henchickens_2010.jpg

2010

There was an area of rough ground next to the inn, although no shaft as such is shown on old maps, so this may be where the workings were located.

                                                             

Ifton Colliery , St Martins (SJ321374)

Coal  (aka Gertrude, St Martins)

 

Ifton Hall Pit, St Martins (SJ328385)

Coal

 

Fields to the north east and east of Ifton Hall are named Pit Field and Coalpit Meadow on the 1838 Tithe Map.  Some shallow working must have taken place here.

 

iftonhall_1874.jpg

1874

 

iftonhall_1900.jpg

1900

iftonhall_1938.jpg

1938

 

iftonhall_2010.jpg

2010

There is a feature that has been walled round in the middle of a field.

                                                             

Ifton Rhyn Pit, St Martins (SJ324373)

Coal

 

The first recorded surface mining of coal locally was in the 16th century but it is not known where exactly this was.  In 1771, a shaft was sunk at Ifton Rhyn sloping to the East at 30°.  By 1868 it was known as Lord Trevor’s Colliery & Brickworks.  In 1891 the colliery was not being worked and Shafts 1 & 2 were 210ft deep. By 1912, the company that operated Brynkinnalt Colliery in Wales (W Y Craig & Son) were working towards Ifton Rhyn and decided to develop it further. The Ifton Rhyn Company already had 5 shafts and the most westerly of these was the 135 yards deep Gertrude Shaft, about 1½ miles South East of Brynkinnalt Colliery.  It was decided to take this over and deepen it in order to connect the workings in Wales and England.  This subsequently became the main shaft for Ifton Colliery. There was a mineral line and a 0-4-2 saddle tank locomotive, built by Henry Hughes & Company and named Salome, was supplied new in 1874.  It did not work there for long as in 1877 it was moved to the Cambrian Railways’ workshop in Oswestry and then sold to Snailbeach Mine.

 

ifton rhyn_1874.jpg

1874

ifton rhyn_1900.jpg

1900

ifton rhyn_1902.jpg

1902

iftonrhyn_2010.jpg

2010

1 – Main Shaft  2 – Main Shaft  3 – Air Shaft  4 – Air Shaft

 

The tips and deposits of waste from the later Ifton Colliery have obscured the original land surface and only one fragmentary wall from the earlier colliery survives. These wall footings were constructed from red brick in a header bond, bonded with buff sand mortar. The two footings are 5m apart and almost certainly relate to the westernmost building shown within the colliery complex on the 1891 OS map. The considerable thickness of the walls may suggest that the overlying structure was large, perhaps a chimney or explosives store.

 

Leeches Old Pit, Oswestry (SJ2729)

Coal

                                                             

Little Common Pit, St Martins (SJ326381)

Coal

 

The shaft was sunk sometime after 1874 as it is not shown on that map.  By 1902 it was abandoned.

 

 little common_1874.jpg

1874

 

little common_1902.jpg

1902

little common_1938.jpg

1938

 

little common_2010.jpg

2010

                                                             

Llwynymaen Pit, Morda (SJ266281)

Coal

 

In 1789, one of the proprietors of the Oswestry Old Bank - Mr John Gibbons, purchased a portion of the Llwynymaen estate, and started this colliery in partnership with Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, the vicar of Oswestry Rev Turner and a man named Ireland. The first pit to be sunk was situated on the western side of Trefonen Road, nearly opposite the entrance to Chain Lane, and the cottage nearby was the machine house of the colliery.  When the National Loan for combating Napoleon was raised in 1798, included amongst subscribers for Shropshire were “Llwynymaen colliers, in number 140, £4 6s.0d”.  This indicates a reasonably large undertaking with 140 workers and it was twice the number at the neighbouring Trefarclawdd Colliery.  In 1801, during the scarcity of corn, Sir Watkin supplied his colliers Llwynymaen and Trefarclawdd Collieries grain at a reduced price for nearly 12 months.

 

When John Gibbons died in 1811, the colliery was sold by the old partnership and acquired by a new one - Thomas, Ireland & Co.  Note that Ireland was a partner in both.  Thomas Savin, who later owned Old British Colliery at Coed-y-Go, was born at Llwynymaen in 1826 and lived there until he got married in 1852.  He would have been too young to have been involved with these workings but it may have encouraged him to follow his subsequent career in mines and railways.  The workings west of the road became flooded and another pit was sunk east of Llwynymaen. The old map is a bit confusing as it appears to show the shaft east of Penylan Lane whereas it is in fact to the west.  A shaft in this position would actually be on top of the Penylan Colliery workings.  However, the bendy arrow on the map may indicate that the position was only shown as approximate.  By 1833 the  firm had the field situated above the Chain Lane, adjoining the Trefonen Road, where they carried out further mining operations.  They continued until about 1840, when the workings suffered the usual fate of flooding.

 

Following this, it was found that water from the nearby Penylan Colliery was draining into the lower workings of Llwynymaen Colliery. Attempts by the owners of the latter to cope with the flooding failed and they approached the Penylan Colliery owners with a view to a joint effort in stemming the water.  Being met with a refusal, the Llwynymaen Colliery was accordingly closed down.  When this occurred, the Penylan Colliery ceased to enjoy the benefit of the other colliery acting as a drain for their water and in due course it too had to be abandoned.

 

lyn-y-maen_1831.jpg

1831

 

lyn-y-maen_1879.jpg

1879

 

lyn-y-maen_1888.jpg

1888

 

lyn-y-maen_1901.jpg

1901

 

lyn-y-maen_1928.jpg

1928

 

lyn-y-maen_OS.jpg

2010

From the map above :-

1)   Original shaft and machine house

2)   New Colliery” shaft on spoil tip in field

3)   Gibbons’ trials in 1831 in small wood

 

The machine (engine) house was converted into a house now called Ashfield.  It is not known if traces of the original shaft(s) exist.  Other workings are now only collapsed shafts on spoil tips. 

 

   5156-0.jpg   5157-0.jpg

Spoil Tips

 

There are also the remains of a waterwheel.

 

5158-0.jpg

Waterwheel Remain

 

SJ267282

Machine house (C19)

SJ265282

Shaft (filled)

SJ276283

Shaft (filled)

                                    

Llwynymapsis Pit, Morda (SJ285272)

Coal

 

It is not known when the colliery was first sunk but it was in existence in 1835, when it was leased from the owner of the estate, Mr G. Dorsett Owen.  The colliery was on the south side of the Coed-y-Go Road, near to the present farm buildings of Llwynymapsis.  Richard Croxon, part of the family that was to have extensive mining interests in the area, was living at Llwynymapsis in 1833 as an estate agent to Sir Watkin Williams Wynn.  It is thus likely that his family were the ones that took over the colliery.  This is further borne out by the fact that the ponies from their Drill Colliery were kept at Llwynymapsis when not in the pit.  During 1850s and 1860s, the Drill Colliery manager was Edward Jones who lived at Llwynymapsis and he was familiarly known as "Jones the Coal". He was reputed to be the biggest man in the neighbourhood, turning the scales at 22 score; and at his funeral, so big was his coffin that it had to be taken through the window. The colliery had ceased by 1875 when it was described as an old shaft on the Ordnance Survey map.

 

llwyn-y-mapsis_1875.jpg

1875

llwyn-y-mapsis_1901.jpg

1901

llwyn-y-mapsis_1928.jpg

1928

llwynymapsis_OS.jpg

2010

In 1996, pipe laying revealed a section of tramway at SJ28582718.  The only other trace is the spoil tip.

 

Lodge Colliery, Weston Rhyn (SJ293363)

See Preesgwyn Colliery

                                                             

Morda Colliery, Morda (SJ287287)

Coal

 

Old maps show a coal shaft but no other information is available.  The 1888 map even shows a chimney which, if it is associated with the shaft, many indicate an engine. 

 

morda_1875.jpg

1875

 

morda_1888.jpg

1888

morda_1928.jpg

1928

 

morda_2010.jpg

2010

It is now built upon by houses.

                                                             

Moreton Hall Colliery, Weston Rhyn (SJ293357)

Coal  (aka Hall)

 

The earliest reference discovered so far is on April 7th 1866, when William Clark of Moreton Hall Colliery, Chirk was elected as a member of the North of England Institute of Mining & Mechanical Engineers.  By 1869 it was being operated by Woodcock, Sons and Eckersley. There were two shafts either side of the main railway line, which were 160 yards deep to the Main Seam.  The colliery was connected to both canal and railway by tramway.

 

moreton hall_1875.jpg

1875

moreton hall_1901.jpg

1901

image010.jpg

1914

moretonhall_2010.jpg

2010

1 - No.1 Shaft    2 – No.2 Shaft

 

The colliery was next to, and probably served, by the GWR with a tramway/railway connecting it to the Shropshire Union Canal at SJ299357. 

 

Nant-y-Caws Pit, Morda (SJ282269)

Coal

 

The earliest known legal document about a coal pit in the district is a lease granted by Dame Mary Charleton, widow of Sir Ffrancis Charleton, to Edward Howell of Trevelock and dated July 22nd 1730 “for the full term of nine years from.... next ensuing and fully to compleat and ended in his or their workmen and labourers or other persons at his own cost and charges dig and sink for Coals in and upon those the parcel of land situate lying and being at Sweeney, County Salop and commonly callled Cay Draw and Cay Brown”. The yearly rent for this privilege was £4 10s and “one full fifth share of ye coals or 6s for every dozen horse loads of coal in lieu thereof”.

 

The situation of this coal working is not known but it must have been in the neighbourhood of Gronwen where the coal outcrops. Several coalpits were worked at this early period for there is another document dated 1761 which grants a lease for 99 years to John Palmer, Henry Onions and William Adams of “all that colliery or coal work situated at Nant, Sweeney”, at a yearly rent of £40.  The method adopted was a bellpit with the use of horse whimseys for raising the coal and this practice continued until the early years of the 19th century.  

 

nantycaws_1875.jpg

1875

nantycaws_1888.jpg

1888

nantycaws_1928.jpg

1928

nantycaws_2010.jpg

2010

From the map above :-

1)   Location of filled bellpits

2)   Disturbed ground shown on 1888 map

 

There appears to have been early mining activity by bellpits in an area near Nant y Caws (see photo and maps) and this is probably the area referred to.  The 1888 map also shows two features that appear to be the cuttings of drifts and, since the coal outcrops around here, this may have been the case.

 

nant bellpits_Brian Goodger.jpg

Filled Bellpits

 

SJ28152685

Bellpit (C18)

SJ28352700

Tramway (C19)

 

New Barn Pit, Trefonen (SJ2527)

Coal

 

New British Pit, Morda (SJ276277)

See British Colliery

 

New Pit, Morda (SJ276277)

See British Colliery

 

New Trefonen Colliery, Trefonen (SJ262270)

See Trefonen Colliery

 

Old British Pit, Morda (SJ276277)

See British Colliery

 

Old Dog Pit, Morda (SJ276277)

See British Colliery

 

Old Gronwen Pit, Trefonen (SJ276264)

See Gronwen Pit

 

Old Trefonen Colliery, Trefonen (SJ262270)

See Trefonen Colliery

 

Parker’s Pit, Nant y Caws (SJ2827)

Coal

 

Partridge Pit, Morda (SJ276277)

See British Colliery

                                                             

Pen-y-Banc Pit, St Martins (SJ314377)

Coal

 

In 1838 it was recorded that coal was being mined at Pen-y-Banc above Prices Dingle.

 

pen-y-banc_1873.jpg

1873

pen-y-banc_1889.jpg

1889

pen-y-banc_1902.jpg

1902

penybanc_2010.jpg

2010

1 – Pen y Banc Shaft   2 – Shaft   3 – Air Shaft

 

Pentre Pit, Pentre (SJ3238)

Coal

                                                             

Penylan Colliery, Morda (SJ278283)

Coal

 

Edward Croxon, who lived at Trefarclawdd House, was apparently the one most intimately connected with the colliery undertakings and in 1840 the firm was trading as Edward Croxon & Co.  Edward's brother, Richard Croxon, was living at Llwynymapsis in 1833 and at that time was estate agent to Sir Watkin.  This fact may have some connection with their setting up as coal masters. The first pit to be sunk by them was at Penylan and, in 1833, they were trading here under the name of Leach and Croxon. It is thought that Mr Leach, who lived at Llanforda Issa, was the son of John Leach, steward of Sir Watkin's collieries mentioned above. The shaft was situated in the field between the lane and a house and the latter was formerly the machine house of the colliery. The spoil tip extended onto the other side of the road.  Another shaft linking up those workings was sunk on the other side of the valley In the field at the junction of Penylan and Chain Lanes, and the old cottage in Chain Lane is still called Machine House. Further pits were sunk along both sides of the Trefonen Road nearer Morda.

 

When the adjacent Llwynymaen Colliery workings went deeper in the 1840s, water from Penylan Colliery drained into their workings. Attempts by the Llwynymaen owners to cope with the flooding failed and they approached the Penylan owners with a view to a joint effort in stemming the water.  This met with a refusal, however, and the Llwynymaen Colliery accordingly closed down.  When this occurred, the Penylan Colliery ceased to enjoy the benefit of the other colliery acting as a drain for their water and, in due course, it too had to be abandoned.  Penylan Colliery is actually included in the HM Mines Inspectorate List of Mines for 1869 owned by Messrs Croxon but it was probably just standing.

 

penylan_1875.jpg

1888

penylan_1901.jpg

1901

penylan_1928.jpg

1928

penylan_OS.jpg

2010

 

From the map above :-

1)   Original shaft on soil tip

2)   Later shaft on spoil tip

3)   Shaft of Llwynymaen Colliery

4)   Site of shafts either side of road

 

The spoil tip of the original shaft (1) still exists next to the road.  On the other side of the road, the house used to be the machine (engine) house.  The spoil tip of later shaft (2) can still be seen and the nearby house called Machine Cottage may have been the original machine house.  At present no trace has been found of the shafts supposed to have been sunk either side of the Trefonen Road towards Morda.

 

SJ273279

Machine house (C19)

SJ278284

Machine house (C19)

SJ274280

Shaft (filled)

SJ278284

Shaft (filled)

                                    

Preesgwyn Colliery, Weston Rhyn (SJ293363)

Coal  (aka Furnace, Lodge)

 

It was listed by HM Inspector of Mines in 1860 as having two shafts, 525ft and 354ft deep.  It was ventilated by a furnace and used ponies and donkeys for haulage. It was connected to the adjacent main railway line by a spur.  One source claims it closed about 1890 but the 1902 map shows that the tip had covered an air shaft shown on the 1895 map.  This indicates that it was still working after 1895.

 

preesgwyn_1875.jpg

1875

preesgwyn_1895.jpg

1895

preesgwyn_1902.jpg

1902

preesgwyn_2010.jpg

2010

1 – Main Shaft   2 – Air Shaft

 

Pwll-y-Glouge Pit, Trefonen (SJ262276)

See Trefarclawdd Pit

 

Quinta Colliery, Weston Rhyn (SJ285367)

Coal

 

In 1869 it was being operated by Quinta Colliery Company.  The presence of kilns suggests that there was a brickworks on site as well.  The 1900 map shows the colliery as a working concern but the 1901 map shows that all buildings and other traces have been removed.  There was a rail link to the Glyn Valley Tramway, which took coal to a wharf on the Llangollen Canal.  There was also a link, via Trehowell Colliery to the main railway line.

  

quinta_1881.jpg

1881

 

quinta_1900.jpg

1900

quinta_1901.jpg

1900

 

quinta_2010.jpg

2010

 

Radfield Pit, Morda (SJ281272)

See Tynytwmpath Pit

 

Rhoswiel Pit, Weston Rhyn (SJ291362)

Coal

 

rhoswiel_1875.jpg

1875

 

rhoswiel_1901.jpg

1901

rhoswiel_1914.jpg

1914

rhoswiel_2010.jpg

Today

 

Rhyn Pit, Rhyn (SJ3137)

Coal

 

Roberts Pit, Morda (SJ286277)

See Drill Colliery

 

Rock Farm Pit, Ddol (SJ3239)

Coal

 

Roger’s Colliery, Morda (SJ276277)

See British Colliery

 

Savin’s Colliery, Morda (SJ276277)

See British Colliery

 

Sir Watkin’s Pit, Trefonen (SJ262276)

See Trefarclawdd Pit

 

Speedwell Pit, Morda (SJ276277)

See British Colliery

 

St Martin’s Colliery , St Martins (SJ321374)

See Ifton

                                                             

Sweeney Colliery, Morda (SJ289274)

Coal

 

Croxon family of colliery proprietors sank the Sweeney Colliery around 1836, shortly after sinking the Drill Colliery (PRN 06625). The Geological Survey suggests a date of c. 1836 for the Sweeney Shaft. Coal pits are recorded on the 1837 OS map at the site. The earliest reference to Sweeney Colliery is in a newspaper article of 1838.  “In the month of November 1836, Drunkenness having to a Deplorable extent prevailed amongst the men at this Work, several of them voluntarily entered into engagements entirely to refrain from the use of Intoxicating Drinks as the only effectual means of making themselves sober men, and 29 of them, some of whom were before notorious drunkards, have, it is confidently believed, consistently adhered to their pledge.  The Proprietors of the Colliery, not approving of the proceedings of the men in this respect, have lately issued a handbill notifying that as “a duty which they owe to the Agricultural Interest of the country, as well as the Welfare of the Public in general,  they had come to the resolution not to employ any Teetotallers, therefore none need apply”. In accordance with such notification the pledged men, after having had a week's notice to retract their pledge, have, in consequence of their refusing to do so, been discharged; and thus, with their families, altogether 80 in number, been exposed in this inclement season to all the miseries of privation and want.  An appeal is, therefore, earnestly and affectionately made to the humane and benevolent, to assist in affording some temporary relief until other employment can be found for them.  Subscriptions will be received by the Rev. T. Salwey, Vicar of Owestry, Mr. T. Minett, Morda; at the North and South Wales Bank; at Mr. Price's, Printer, Beatrice Street, Oswestry.” The plot is known as 'the coal wharf' on the 1839 Tithe map. During the 1840s/50s period two shafts were on the site; the northernmost was the pumping engine pit and the southern shaft raised ore from Nos 1 & 2 levels, worked about 200yrds by 1859. Several minor building stand in the area of the shafts together with stores, smithy and a weighbridge house fronting the main road. Work continued into the mid 19th century, with both shafts extracting coal from the south and north of the site. The colliery encountered considerable problems with flooding , and since all the coal seams could be worked by Drill Colliery, Sweeney was soon abandoned as a colliery site. The site continued to work as a Brickworks (PRN 06626) under the Croxon's and later companies.

 

The colliery was acquired by Edward Croxon in 1842 but considerable difficulty with flooding was experienced.  As all the seams could be worked from the adjacent Drill Colliery, after some years' operations Sweeney was abandoned.  An important brickworks was maintained here, however, where red and blue bricks, tiles, pipes, and other products were manufactured.  Authorities have said that the clay obtained here is eminently suitable for bricks and that it compares favourably with the best Ruabon clay.  It was owned by Stanley Leighton and in 1872 it was put up for auction as a going concern and the particulars of sale included condensing engine, boilers, grinding and tempering pan, elevators, brick ovens and other plant, showing that even at that time it was an important concern. The sale was afterwards withdrawn and the site was leased to a group of Lancashire businessmen who formed the Oswestry Coal and Brick Co Ltd. At the outset they were very active, deepening the pit and making other changes by which it was hoped that a large increase in output and number of men engaged would eventuate. It was also hoped to arrange with the railway authorities for a branch line to be laid linking up the colliery with the main line. By this time, however, coal getting in the Oswestry coalfield had begun to decline owing to several causes, chief of which was the building of the Cambrian Railways which brought coal from the larger collieries of North Wales and Staffordshire to the district served hitherto by the Oswestry Collieries.

 

From a paysheet for Drill and Sweeney Collieries for the fortnight ended September 23rd 1874, it is possible to obtain a rough idea of the output at that time. It is not known if Sweeney Colliery had been re-opened by the new owners but it may be that the entries refer only to the brickworks. The return gives a total of 427 tons of coal and 112 tons of clay raised during the period.  At this time, however, the colliery was not raising as much as had been the case some years previously. When the British Colliery at Coed y Go also was operating, the annual output of the coalfield must have been many thousands of tons. Some particulars from the paysheet quoted are given below as they furnish information as to some of the miners, what was earned and other details. It should be explained that the names mentioned are those of the Chartermasters, who each had up to eight men and boys working with them in their respective companies. The average of No.1 company would be about £1 5s per week but the boys employed would modify this figure. The usual custom was for the Chartermasters to settle with their company at the nearby Hen and Chickens Inn.

 

 

Amount Raised

T  C  Q

Rate

Wages

£  s  d

No.1 Company

William Evans

Coal

Clay

122  4  2

18  13  0

3/4d

7¼d

20  7  5

11  2

No.2 Company

John Lewis

Coal

Clay

Yards

  55  2  0

  8  13  0

4/2½d

7¼d

11  11  11

5  3

1  8  0

No.3 Company

Thomas Lewis

Coal

Clay

Yards

  56  0  0

  18  7  0

4/2½d

7¼d

11  15  8

11  4

5  0

No.4 Company

Pryce Francis

Coal

Clay

Yards

 51  17  2

 18  18  0

4/2½d

7¼d

11  10  9

11  5

6  0

No.5 Company

George Dykes

 

Coal

Clay Yards

   63  2  0

   13  2  0

4/2½d

7¼d

13  5  7

7  11

6  0


No.6 Company

John Edwards

Coal

Clay Yards

   76  2  0

   19  4  0

4/2½d

7¼d

16  0  3

11  6½

6  0

No.7 Company

John Fields

Clay

Days

   15  2  0

     

7¼d

4/1d

9  2

1  11  8

 

In addition to the actual miners, the wages sheet of course includes the subsidiary men of which the following represents some of those employed.

 

Work

Name

Days

Rate

Wages

Hooker

Pony Driver

On the Road

Air

Air Road Man

Pony Driver

4 Foot Coal

Main Road

Fireman

Pit Scales

Office Scales

Banking

Carting

Carpenter

Smith

 

Pit Engine

 

Pump Engine

Thomas Fields

Thomas Evans

George Jones

Thomas Evans

William Rider

Edward Jones

John Francis

Jos Francis

William Samuels

Thomas Evans

Ishmael Evans

Robert Morris

Thomas Evans

Robert Morris

Michael Conlan

Thomas York

James Griffiths

Edward Jones

William Howell

Richard Sailey

James Humphries

Evan Evans

William Jones

John Lloyd

 

Samuel Evans

Thomas Evans

Cleaning Flue & Boiler

William Hughes

Cleaning Boiler

12½

4

1

4

7

11

12

11

10

10

11

11

12

12

12

12

12

11

11

1

14

9

7

 

14

 

2

12

1

3/3d

4/0d

 

2/9d

1/9d

2/0d

2/9d

1/9d

1/9d

4/1d

2/6d

3/2½d

6/0d

5/6d

4/0d

1/16/0d

3/0d

3/0d

3/0d

 

2/0d

3/0d

2/4d

3/4d

 

3/6d

 

2/0d

2/8d

2/0d

2  0  7

16  0

4  6

11  0

12  3

1  2  0

1  13 0

19  3

17  6

2  0 10

1   7  6 

  1  19  10½

3  12  0

3  6  0

2  8  0

3  0

16  0

1  13  0

1  13  0

2  6

1  8  0

1  8  6

1  1  0

1  3  4

 

2  9  0

2  9  0

4  0

1  12  0

2  0

 

A number of men employed for a portion of the period, as well as the manager (Mr. Hawkins), the clerks and Cadwallader Evans the farm bailiff, are not given here but with those included the colliery must have employed about 100 men at this time. The total wages for the fortnight were £177 11s. 9d, equivalent to £4,620 for the year, and when Coed y Go and Trefonen collieries are added to this total, the importance of the collieries to the industrial life of the district is seen. The brickworks later passed through several proprietorships, including the Sweeney Brick Co Ltd and New Sweeney Brick and Tile Company Ltd (composed of a number of local gentlemen of whom Mr C. E. Williams was managing director).  This company obtained a large contract with a firm in Holland for the supply of blue bricks and the "Advertiser", in commenting on the good news that an order for two million bricks had been obtained, stated that as it required so many bricks to make a ton the contract was equivalent to so many tons. Unfortunately double the correct number of tons was given and Punch Magazine copied the paragraph, pilloried it and added "This estimate allows for the straw".  It was finally leased to Kay & Hindle Ltd and in 1885 it was known as the Sweeney Brick & Terracotta Works.

 

 sweeney_1875.jpg

1875

sweeney_1901.jpg

1901

sweeney_1928.jpg

1928

sweeney_2010.jpg

2010

The site is now completely built over with houses.  The old stores is believed to still exist but this not been confirmed. The location of the shaft is marked with an X on the map above and the site of the clay excavations remain as a small lake.

 

Tanycoed Pit, Trefonen (SJ262276)

See Trefarclawdd Pit

                                    

Trefarclawdd Pit, Trefonen (SJ262276)

Coal  (aka Pwll-y-Glouge, Sir Watkin’s, Tanycoed, Trefor Clawdd, Tynycoed)

 

The first shafts are believed to have been dug during the 16th Century and from the 1780s the concern was known as Sir Watkin’s Collieries, after the local landowner Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, who was associated with the enterprise. One of the earliest shafts was also called “Pwll-y-Glouge” and it may be one of the more northerly ones. The Oswestry Parish Registers contain reference to the death in 1792 of “John Leach, steward at Sir Watkin’s Collieries” while in 1801, during the scarcity of corn, Sir Watkin supplied for nearly twelve months to his colliers at Trefarclawdd and Llwynymaen grain at a reduced price.  When the National Loan for combating Napoleon was raised in 1798, amongst the subscribers for Shropshire were “Trefarclawdd colliers, in number 70, £2 11s 6d”. 

 

An old map shows these workings south of Trefarclawdd House and it is possible that they are now hidden by the wooded area. This may explain why the early Ordnance Survey maps show no trace of mining for 1879 and 1888.  Between 1820-51, Edward Croxon was living in Trefarclawdd House.  He was part of a family who had several mining concerns in the area so it is reasonable to assume that he would be involved with mines on his doorstep.  One of the coals obtained here was called “Garden Coal” from the fact that the seam ran underneath the garden of Trefarclawdd House. The Tynycoed pit on the right of the Trefonen-Llansilin road also belonged to the Trefarclawdd group of mines.  Throughout its working life, horse-power was used to power drainage and winding machinery at the mine. It is believed that the shafts were abandoned during the 1830s, when they could no longer cope with the flooding.  This does not explain why the Ordnance Survey maps did not show any workings west of the road (albeit disused) until 1901.  The Clwyd-Powis Archaeological Trust say that the last shaft closed as late as 1891 but their evidence for this is not known, possibly it is based on the map evidence.   Perhaps the early map makers were not so bothered about showing disused features as much as later ones.

 

trefarclawdd _1790.jpg

1831

 

trefarclawdd _1879.jpg

1879

trefarclawdd _1888.jpg

1888

 

trefarclawdd _1901.jpg

1901

trefarclawdd _1928.jpg

1928

 

trefarclawdd _os.jpg

2010

From the Today map above :-

1)   Shaft on spoil tip in field

2)   Shaft on spoil tip in wood

3)   Shaft on spoil tip in field

4)   Tan-y-Coed Shaft on spoil tip

5)   Possible shaft in small wood

6)   Possible site of 18th Century workings

 

In connection with the colliery an extensive brickworks was operated and the field at the junction of Trefonen and Pentreshannel roads was known as Pottery Field. The row of cottages on the right hand nearer Trefonen, now known as Pottery Row, were the drying sheds for a Pottery where tiles, pipes, steins and other articles were made. The kilns were situated on the site now occupied by the cottage gardens and it is likely that the pool at Trefarclawdd is the result of digging for clay. About 1813 the products of this pottery were highly recommended by the Society for Bettering the Poor which was interested in the improvement of housing conditions of the poor. As far as can be ascertained only one product of the Pottery can be traced today, and this is a jug reputed to come from Trefarclawdd, belonging to Mr Samuel Williamson, late of Oswestry.  The pottery was closed down prior to 1833 for the survey of that year describes the building as Old Pottery.”

 

 

img024

Pottery Row, Trefarclawdd

formerly the drying sheds of the old pottery which

was worked in conjunction with Trefarclawdd Collieries

trefarclawdd pottery cottages.jpg

 

Visible remains include a number of well-preserved shaft mounds with associated spoilheaps and earthworks. The mounds are typically 2m high and 7m wide, with a central depression surrounded by a collar of spoil. In some cases, notably on a a mound in the centre of the site, this collar forms a flattened 2m wide surface or 'gin circle' (SJ262277) on which the horse would walk around the shaft, powering the drainage or winding gear. A smaller shaft mound in the south of the site is thought to be a ventilation shaft, cut to encourage the circulation of air in deeper workings. There are spoil heaps of varying size and shape in all areas, including a large dispersed heap of around 2m in height in the eastern part of the site. Running roughly NNE-SSW in the western part of the site, a 1.5m wide flat area between the mounds represents a trackway and is further defined by shallow linear spoilheaps along its north eastern edge. Spoil heaps are also visible around deep curving drainage cuts in the northern and south eastern parts of the site. These cuts are part of a water management scheme which took water from a nearby spring, diverting it, and surface water, away from the mine workings to a brick works and pottery.  The pottery drying sheds still exist as “Pottery Cottages”. Further shaft mounds are visible to the east.

 

SJ261282

Shaft (filled)

SJ262276

Shaft (filled)

SJ265276

Shaft (filled)

 

Treflach Pit, Treflach (SJ263256)

Coal

 

Trefonen Colliery, Trefonen (SJ260270 & SJ262270)

Coal  (aka New Trefonen, Old Trefonen)

 

The Oswestry Parish Register indicates that mining was taking place around Trefonen in the 17th century, with two entries being 

 

1671   Richard, son of Richard Hughes Trevonnen, collier, baptised

1675   Edward Bowen, son of John ap Edward ap Bowen of Trevonnen. who fell by accident, the rope breaking when he went down to the coalpit, buried.

 

These were probably simple bellpits worked by 2-3 men.  In 1869 a pit (subsequently known as Old Trefonen Colliery) was sunk on a field immediately behind the rectory at Trefonen by a group who styled themselves the Trefonen Coal Company. The project was well received in Trefonen, and there was much enthusiasm at the ceremony of cutting the first sod which was performed by the rector's wife, Mrs. Lloyd.  Two of the men associated with the concern, Hawkins and Walmsley, were also connected with the Drill Colliery, the former being manager. The colliery was later taken over by Mr R. S. France, who used a considerable portion of the output from the pit for his lime quarries at Nantmawr, where he had an extensive business. The colliery was operated for eleven years until August 1880, when it had to be abandoned owing to continued flooding. A month later work was commenced on the sinking of a new pit (New Trefonen Colliery) on the other side of the road nearer Trefarclawdd, in ground which had been worked considerably over a century before.  Mr France died in 1882 and the concern was carried on by his executors until 1891 when, owing to a dispute with the men and other difficulties, the proprietors decided to close it down. The plant and machinery was sold by auction on May 21st 1891, by C. E. Williams and Co, auctioneers, Oswestry, and the sale particulars included Winding Engine and Fly Wheel, Portable Engines and Boilers, Pumps, Weighing Machines and Garbs and Trams, two Pit Heads and gleaning and other effects.

 

This was the last pit to close in the Oswestry Coalfield and marked the end of a century of great activity. With the closure of the various pits, the workers migrated to other colliery districts including North Wales, Staffordshire and Yorkshire.  Just before Trefonen Colliery closed, on 18th June 1890, Geoffrey Dyke (42) was killed by a fall of roof at the working face in a 4ft seam.  The incident was investigated by HM Inspector of Mines and he probably has the dubious distinction of being the last miner to be killed in the Oswestry Coalfield. The colliery clerk was George Francis, who for many years was secretary to the Trefonen Friendly Society. This club was founded in 1847 and the subscriptions were 1s 3d per month, and sick pay allowance was 7 shillings per week. At its best, this society had about 60 members. The Trefonen Friendly Society was transferred to the Druids Society in 1910.

 

trefonen_1881.jpg

1881

trefonen_1901.jpg

1901

trefonen_1938.jpg

1938

trefonen_2010.jpg

2010

From the Today map above :-

1)   Shaft at New Trefonen Colliery

2)   Shaft at New Trefonen Colliery

3)   Shaft at Old Trefonen Colliery

4)   Shaft at Old Trefonen Colliery

5)   Shaft at Old Trefonen Colliery

6)   Shaft at Old Trefonen Colliery

 

The shaft mounds at Old Trefonen Colliery are quite obvious.  There used to be an engine house and the foundations of this will still exist.  A mining truck has been placed at this site as a memorial.

Old Trefonen Colliery

 

SJ26152735

Lamp Room

SJ261273

Shaft (filled)

SJ262270

Shaft (filled)

 

Trefor Clawdd Pit, Trefonen (SJ262276)

See Trefarclawdd Pit

 

Trehowell Colliery, Weston Rhyn (SJ289365)

Coal

 

 There was a rail link via Quinta Colliery to the Glyn Valley Tramway, which took coal to a wharf on the Llangollen Canal.  There was also a link to the main railway line.  It was listed by HM Mines Inspector in 1860 as being 37 yards down to the Main Seam.

  

image014.jpg

1881

 

image016.jpg

1900

image017.jpg

1912

 

trehowell_2010.jpg

2010

 

Tynycoed Pit, Trefonen (SJ262276)

See Trefarclawdd Pit

                                                             

Tynytwmpath Pit, Morda (SJ281272)

Coal  (aka Radfield)

 

There was a deed of lease and release of Tynytwmpath dated 27th May 1820, from Sir John Kynaston Powell of Hardwick to Samuel Leach, Llanforda Issa, Richard Croxon, John Croxon and Edward Croxon. There is no mention of minerals on this deed however, and the property was disposed of in 1833.  The Croxons were active in running several collieries elsewhere so it can be supposed that they at least sunk trial workings here.  By a deed dated 1st June 1844, William Roberts (Solicitor from Oswestry), David Bennion (Surgeon from Summerhill) and his wife Sarah leased Tynytwmpath Colliery to Edward Croxon, John Croxon (from Llanforda), Michael J. Croxon (from Oswestry), John Howell (from Erofol, Salop) and Edward Jones (from Sweeney). The royalty agreed upon was one-ninth share or 1/6d per ton on all coal conveyed on the tramway to the Ellesmere Canal.  The colliery was near the road leading to Gronwen from the Hen and Chickens pub and shafts were sunk on both sides of the road (see 1 and 2 on map below). The cottages near to Prynmapsis farm were formerly the machine house of the colliery. It is not certain when the Croxons abandoned this working but, in 1873, the owners granted a lease of the colliery for 20 years to Joseph Brewin of Birkenhead, although he did not operate the colliery for many years.

 

tynytwmpath_1875.jpg

1875

tynytwmpath_1888.jpg

1888

tynytwmpath_1902.jpg

1902

tynytwmpath_OS.jpg

2010

 

The machine house has been converted to a cottage.

 

SJ281272

Machine house (C19)

SJ282272

Shaft (filled)

SJ283272

Shaft (filled)