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A List of Mines in Pembrokeshire and the adjoining parts of Carmarthen and Ceredigion.


Introduction

This list has been prepared using file information collected over the last twenty years and is intended as a guide only; more detailed information, not available in the sources listed in the bibliography, can be supplied on request. The list for metalliferous mines is comprehensive but will be updated as new information comes to light; that for collieries and Coal Measure iron workings (Part Two) requires further research and will be made available at a later date, in the meantime a short bibliography is given below.

The Pembrokeshire coalfield, stretching from Amroth, on Carmarthen Bay, in the east to Newgale, at the northern end of St Brides Bay, in the west, has been extensively worked and once fully researched will account for the majority of the mines listed. The high grade anthracite found there has been exploited since the late medieval period and its proximity to navigable water ensured a steady demand throughout the early modern period and into the early 19th century. However, the geology of the coalfield is such that the majority of the seams are heavily faulted and many are folded such that the bedding now lies near vertical, with some sections badly crushed, making large scale mining difficult. Of the numerous small pits working in the 18th and early 19th centuries only a handful were developed as large collieries in the late 19th century. Despite a number of attempts to exploit the anthracite during the early part of the 20th century only one colliery survived through to nationalisation, closing two years later; with a small private working outlasting it by only a few years.

Metalliferous mining in the area was, with the exception of the Llanfyrnach Silver Lead Mine and the coal measure ironstone workings around Saundersfoot, confined to a scattering of small producers and trials. Llanfyrnach was a major producer of silver-lead ores in South Wales, second only to Nantymwyn, having a recorded 19th century production of nearly 16,000 tons of lead ore yielding 94,751 ounces of silver in the thirty years to 1890.

Of the smaller mines, some in the west were at work at a early date. The silver-bearing deposit at St Elvis, near Solva, where the outcrop of the lode in the cliffs is easily seen, was identified in the 1520s. However the first working of the Llanfyrnach mine, and its neighbour Llwyncelyn, straddling the Afon Taf in the northeast of Pembrokeshire, is somewhat hazy. The first hard evidence comes in the mid 18th century when the mine was set on tribute; but an as yet unidentified mine in the area was reportedly in hand as early as the 16th century.

The 18th century working at Llanfyrnach reached its climax towards the end of the century before problems with drainage resulted in abandonment. It was well into the nineteenth before working was resumed and, again, production peaked in the latter part of the century.

With the odd exception, the scattered and intermittent nature of the small metalliferous workings around Pembrokeshire prevent us establishing a link with production trends within the industry as a whole. Inevitably a producer of the size of Llanfyrnach would stimulate a number of mirror ventures in its shadow. However, as the 19th century production peak came at a time of falling lead prices, such ventures were few in number.

Certainly lead prices played a role in decisions as to Llanfyrnach's future but were not crucial. If any one factor was in that category it was drainage. Throughout its life the mine was plagued with water problems and the immense cost of removing it was to close it for ever in 1890.

The public had little chance to invest in Llanfyrnach's success for, apart from a short period in the 1850s, it remained in private hands. Consequently details of the late 19th century working are poor compared with similar mines worked by public companies. Publications such as the Mining Journal seldom mention the mine, except in the period 1858 - 60. Some accounts have survived from the 18th century, but for the late 19th century we have to rely on a few sparse sources linked to an interpretation of the surface remains.

The Llanfyrnach site has remained relatively undisturbed since abandonment, although prospected with a view to reopening on a number of occasions, and the mine cottages are still inhabited. Examination reveals ample evidence of mining technology. A wide range of motive power was employed, particularly for pumping. The water intake of the mine was such that any working in depth was beyond the capability of water wheels alone. Therefore steam power dominated after 1860. By the time closure came the mine was a model of late 19th century technology, with great lengths being taken to utilise water once again as a partial source of motive power.

Elsewhere in Pembrokeshire, outside the coalfield, the power of man alone. or a small horse whim, had generally to suffice; few of the small mines justified much in the way of motive power, never venturing far below the water table. A small steam engine was in use at Greenhill in the early years of the 20th century and just across the county boundary from Llanfyrnach at Trelech a pair of water wheels in tandem were used for pumping and crushing, their masonry housings still standing as monuments to the skill of the 19th century mine engineer.

The range of metals worked ranged widely from hints of gold, through copper and lead, to iron. The lead / zinc mineralisation at Llanfyrnach and nearby Trelech probably belongs to that affecting the Cardiganshire mining field, whereas that seen in the far west might be linked to more local igneous activity. Other minor occurrences could be the result of low temperature ground water movements during folding (See the recent publication, Bevin, Mineralogy in Wales, for more information ?) In the limestones of the south iron and ochre deposits occur as secondary replacements; possibly derived from the overlying coal measures, the ironstones of which have themselves been extensively worked in the area of Saundersfoot. Those coal measure ironstones supplied the ironworks at Kilgetty and it was to supplement, and add variety to, those ironstones that deposits in the limestones were first investigated in the 1860s.

There is plenty to see at Llanfyrnach but many of the smaller sites are well hidden. One site on the outskirts of Haverfordwest is in the process of being built over. Only on the cliffs of the west are the smaller sites clearly visible and then access to some can be a little tricky. The majority of sites lie on private land and permission to visit must be sought from the landowner.

The metalliferous mines here listed are ordered by parishes; whereas the collieries are provisionally listed by name pending sorting into parishes, a process which may prove difficult due the widespread and small scale nature of some workings. Each mine is provided with an identification number for future reference and named using that by which they are commonly known along with alternative names; the location where known is then given using the National Grid Reference (or in the case of some collieries the County 6" reference from the Catalogue of Abandoned Mines) and brief topographical details. An outline of the mine's history is followed by a note of surviving features, where significant, and reference to detailed studies where published (see bibliography)


Bibliography (metalliferous mines)


Bibliography (collieries)


Part One, Section A

Pembrokeshire; Metalliferous Mines (excl. Coal Measure iron working.)

St Dogmaels

028 Possible working Exact location not known; copper ore reportedly discovered at St Dogmaels in 1851. Not necessarily worked.

Moylegrove

001 Un-named mine. SN 115.449. Shaft in field on southwest side of Cwm Trewyddel, above sewage treatment works. No historical detail available. No surface features remain; filled 1940-45.

002 Un-named mine. SN 123.448. Three trial adits on south bank of Nant Ceibwr, 400 yards upstream from old smithy. No historical detail available. Two of the adits have collapsed; one is open, driven as a crosscut through mineralised fault fissure and a short distance along fissure east and west.

Nevern

003 Un-named mine SN 096.387. Three trial adits in river bank below wood north of main A487 road, 500 yards south west of Felindre Farchog.. No historical detail is available. Adits remain open although one is very wet. (Oldham)

Newport

027 Possible working Exact location not known; copper lode reported near the alum deposits on the coast. No necessarily worked.

Bridell

023 Un-named Mine Exact location not known; copper and gold working, active in 1865, probably located near Ty gwyn.

Llanwnda

038 Un-named Mine SM 886.378. Cave in cliff top below Carn Ogof could be mined; steel / iron shovel and pick found there by local boys.

039 Un-named Mine SM 888.386. Copper trial on landward side of Dinas Mawr on north side of Pwll deri. No historical detail available. Adit (open) in cliff above high water mark at Aber Twn.

Treffgarne

024 Un-named Mine Exact location no known; various rumours and legends of gold working in area south of gorge - no documentary evidence - presence of alluvial gold in Cleddau confirmed by panning.

Ambleston

030 Possible working Exact location not known; slags from ancient iron smelting reported. Possibly iron mining in the area.

Llanstinian

004 Fishguard Manganese Mine SM 96..34.. Reported locally to be those workings on south side of Esgyrn Bottom (at SM 96913426), 500 yards north east of Pantywrach, where a level approx. 10 ft wide by 7 ft high is driven south with a small spoil heap on the hillside below; although the level has all the appearance of a slate trial and the spoil heap is composed of poor slates and shale with no trace of manganese ores. At work from 1889 for a short, unspecified, period. Underground features yet to be investigated fully; some minor plant (tram wagons) believed to survive.

Llanfyrnach

006 Fronlwyd Mine SN 177.336. and 177.340. A small silver-lead mine comprising two adits (both open) and an associated shaft, 500 yards west of Crymych village. Worked as a trial circa 1864 and in 1874. No structures survive.

005 Llanfyrnach Mine SN 225.316. Includes the Llwyncelyn Mine. Extensive silver-lead workings on either side of the Afon Taf 700 yards north east of Llanfyrnach Church, partially within Clydey parish.

The earliest documentary evidence of working on this site is for the setting of tributes on the Llandre section west of the river in 1752. At that date Llandre and the Llwyncelyn section, east of the river, were under separate ownership and worked independently. Amalgamated as one working and eventually brought under one owner, the mine was at work until the 1790s when drainage difficulties caused its abandonment. Reworking commenced in about 1840 and continued unbroken until 1890. Peak production came late in its life at a time of falling lead prices when the output of silver-lead ores was supplemented by a moderate amount of zinc ores. The mainstay of output at that time was a rich orebody, on the Water Lode, confined to the Llandeilo beds and dipping under the north western hill. This was worked from North Shaft (at NGR SN 22373185) to a depth of 96 fathoms below adit. When the lode was displaced by a crosscourse and not immediately relocated heavy drainage costs caused final abandonment in 1890 and the sale of the plant in the following year. A number of schemes for reworking the mine have been put forward but never implemented.

The Llanfyrnach site is relatively undisturbed, there having been no reworking of spoil or tailings, and it is one of the better examples of a late 19th century silver-lead mine in South Wales. Although in a ruinous state it displays a wide range of 19th century mining and dressing technology underlying which will be evidence of 18th century working. Any development or landscaping of the site should be monitored to prevent disturbance of sub surface stratigraphy, or at lease record the evidence before it is lost.

The main features of the site are as follows -

  1. 18th century shallow shaft workings along outcrop of two veins on hillside to west of the river (NGR 22273168 to 22473174) remain undisturbed. Other 18th century workings to the east covered by 19th century operations comprising three engine / winding shafts, various minor shafts and two adits all now filled or collapsed.

  2. Boiler house (ruin) with round chimney (intact) at No.2 Engine Shaft (NGR 22543148), circa 1850.

  3. Cornish style beam pumping engine house (ruin), originally housing a 40" cylinder engine, erected in 1860 (NGR 22483165); adjacent to No.1 Engine Shaft.

  4. Waterwheel pit (intact), pumping and winding, (NGR 22473166) adjacent to No.1 Engine Shaft.

  5. Pumping and winding engine sheds (foundations only) adjacent to North Shaft (NGR 22383186).

  6. Masonry lined pit for drawing machine circa 1860 (intact) adjoining Chain Shaft (NGR 22433169).

  7. Ore hoppers and loading platform (substantial walling and support columns remaining) adjacent to North Shaft (NGR 22363185).

  8. Tramway system (earthworks only) from North Shaft to spoil heaps and dressing floor; from Chain Shaft to spoil heaps east of river; and from dressing floors to tailing heaps.

  9. Dressing floors (central point NGR 22483169) including ore hoppers (ruin); four round buddles with associated waterwheel pit and settling tanks (earthworks); dressing waste heaps.

  10. Spoil heaps, comprising extensive heaps from North Shaft on western hillside, 1880s; and from Chain Shaft on the east side of the river, 1860 - 70, all displaying indications of temporary tramway system.

  11. Tailings heaps, with earlier heaps around dressing floor and extensive later heaps at southern end of site.

  12. Leat system - comprising leat from stream to south east of site feeding pumping waterwheel to west of, and connected with, No.2 Engine Shaft, probably of 18th century origin (feeding stamps mill), with later compensation dam at NGR 229308 (earthworks); engine leat from Afon Taf to area of No.1 Engine Shaft, plus compensation dam two miles upstream at NGR 198331 (substantial earthworks); and late 19th century turbine feed, leat system originating near Bwlch Stop to the west of Hermon with storage ponds on hill top to west of mine and pipeline under spoil heaps south of North Shaft (earthworks plus some in-situ pipes).

  13. Offices and housing - including a building (NGR 22433164) with flue system, possibly used as drying room, to west of No.1 Engine Shaft (ruin); mine captain's hose and offices at NGR 22563160 (ruin); worker's housing, Brick Row (NGR 22593158) formerly 12 back to back cottages (intact but much altered, inhabited) and Storehouse (NGR 22513143) (ruin); lessees house, now known as Carregwen (NGR 22553139) (intact and inhabited).

Return to account of history and archaeology of Llanfyrnach Mine.

040 Un-named Mine SN 20163304 (approx.) Adit reportedly discovered near Glantaf. No historical detail available. Not yet positively identified on ground.

Clydey

041 Un-named Mine SN 234.324. Shaft adjacent to old lane 300 yards south south west of Llwyn yr hwrdd. Lead trial late 19th / early 20th century. Disturbed ground only visible.

042 Cottage Mine Exact location not known; reportedly in the hands of Llanfyrnach Mine lessee in 1860s.

043 Un-named Mine SN 232.314. Trial adit 300 yards east north east of Llwyn celyn isaf. No historical detail available. Probably 19th century trial for lead. Open and used as water supply to farm.

044 Un-named Mine SN 229.308. Trial adit actually within the compensation dam area 500 yards west south west of Llwyn celyn lan. No historical detail. Adit still open.

Llanfair nant gwyn

025 Un-named Mine Exact location not known; trials carried out in south eastern part of the parish at some date prior to 1875.

Mynachlogddu

007 Un-named Mine SN 171.340. Trial adit 250 yards south of Fron las uchaf farmhouse, probably for silver-lead. No historical detail. Adit appears to have collapsed; source of water for farm.

008 Un-named Mine SN 165.339. to 165.342. Four trial adits on east side of valley quarter mile west of Fron las isaf. No historical detail. All collapsed, although that at southern end appears to be used for water abstraction.

Llanycefn

026 Possible working Exact location not known; a lead vein is reported to have been discovered on the bishop of St David's land in the parish in 1771, probably in the Llwydarth (Forest) area in the north.

St. Davids

009 Un-named Mine SM 726.260. Short trial adit in base of cliff on west side of Porthselau; probably for copper. No historical details available. Adit remains open.

010 Treginnis Copper Mine SM 715.235. and 717.232. A small copper mine on cliff tops opposite Ramsey Island, 1000 yards south west of Treginnis Isaf farmhouse. Unsubstantiated reports of working circa 1820; worked intermittently up to 1883, abandoned after fatal accident. Openwork, shaft and shallow adit (all open) on Penmaenmelyn, called Cuba on tithe award, with small structure, purpose unknown (ruin - now believed to have collapsed completely), adjacent to shaft. To the south east at Porth Taflod was a shallow shaft on cliff top (now filled). Davies 1990.

011 Ogof Mwn SM 780.243. Trial for copper in an inlet 600 yards west of Porth y rhaw. No historical detail available. Adit (partially filled with tidal debris) in base of cliff at head of inlet. Steps cut in cliff for access.

St Elvis

012 St Elvis Mine SM 813.231. Small silver-lead / copper mine on landward side of Dinas Fawr, 1000 yards south of St Elvis Farm. Documentary reference c. 1528; intermittent working c. 1623 to end 17th century; attempted reworking mid 19th century. Much disturbed ground from Aber west eastwards along line of east-west vein. Remains of openwork on cliffs; depressions from shallow shafts; and two adits, one immediately south of vein, probably 17th century, (partially open) another from cliff edge, of later date (collapsed). Davies 1990.

Brawdy

013 Un-named Mine SM 818.231. Trial shaft on cliff top, copper / silver-lead, 900 yards south south west of Lochvane. Documentary references in 1690s and mid 19th century possibly attributable to this site. Only disturbed ground visible alongside coast path.

Haroldston St Issells

014 Greenhill Ochre Mine SM 951.140. Small ochre mine half mile south south east of Merlins Bridge. Worked 1911 until circa 1915; abandoned 1918. No.1 Shaft in corner of garden behind No. 35 Haroldston Close (at SM 95111411) where small shaft mound is in evidence. No. 2 or Upcast Shaft, on new housing site (at SM 95101400) immediately north of Venns Close, had been backfilled but was recently (1994) excavated to bed rock preparatory to capping. No. 3 Shaft is no longer in evidence but lies beneath the site occupied by Nos. 59 and 61 Pembroke Road (at about SM 94911408). Claughton 1976.

Haverfordwest, Hamlet of St Thomas

045 Un-named Mine Exact location not known; ochre working near Cinnamon Grove Gate, probably opencast working.

Minwear

015 Un-named Mine SN 040.128. Iron / manganese workings, reputed to be silver mine, immediately south of Minwear church. Early iron / manganese working; trial for silver in late 18th century. Shallow trial adit driven north from stream to investigate shallow iron / manganese openworks, believed to by 'silver mine' (disturbed ground only).

Martletwy

029 Possible working Exact location unknown; lease of lead and copper granted along with coal at Ewton in 1798, probably only latter worked.

Narberth

016 Un-named Mine SN 103.136. Reputed silver mine at Eastwood Farm. No historical detail; fairly late, displays shot holes. Trial adit in quarry 200 yards north west of farmhouse (open). Hollow ground reportedly found during fencing operations in valley south east of Peter's Lake Bridge.

Herbrandston

017 Un-named Mine SM 865.064. to 870.054. Small lead mine at South Hook Point. At work intermittently from at least 1740 until end of 18th century. Workings now overlain by South Hook Fort and remains of Esso refinery; identified by field names only.

Dale

018 Un-named Mine SM 79..40.. Small copper mine on north side of Frenchman's Bay. Trial working 1769. Shaft on cliff top (now filled and overlain by debris from Kete Met. Station).

Castlemartin

031 Possible working Exact location not known; application for grant of mines royal in 17th century. Lead ores reportedly marked on early geological in Linney Head area.

Manorbier

019 Manorbier Iron Mine SR 05..98.. and 08..97.. Iron workings in and around Jameston village and alongside road to Lydstep Point south of Lydstep village. First opened up 1864-5; reworked 1908-9. Shafts all now filled, nothing visible at surface.

Penally

020 Un-named Mine SR 10..98.. Iron trials to north of railway east of Crackwell cottage. Opened up in 1864-5. Drift and shaft now filled, nothing visible at surface.


Part One, Section B

Pembrokeshire; Futile Trials for Coal (Outside the Coal Measures.)

119 Penffrwd On south eastern side of Esgyrn Bottom, three and a half miles south east of Fishguard. Coal reportedly discovered in 1861 near source of the Cleddau. Partnership of local gentlemen were to co-operate in the search.

120 Camrose Two trial adits; one driven south from fields west of Camrose House, the other north from near Morgan's Bridge. Northern adit has run in, the other not traced.

121 Rudbaxton Not yet traced.

122 Clynderwen Not yet traced.

123 Clarbeston Not yet traced.

124 Druidston Haven Level driven in search of coal. Not yet positively identified, but probably that level in cliffs 350 yards north of Druidston Villa at SM 862171.

125 Norton Shafts sunk in Millstone Grit shales to east of Norton, near Pembroke, in search of coal. Not yet traced.

126 Westhill Shafts sunk in Lower Limestone shales near Westhill, Lamphey, in search of coal. Not yet traced.

Part One, Section C

Western parts of Carmarthenshire; Metalliferous Mines.

Llandisilio, East.

127 Un-named Mine SN 141.217. Trial for copper 230 yards west of Rhydwen farmhouse. Carried out a few years prior to 1849. Small dump north of stream and water rises from what appears to be an adit driven north from head of gully.

Cenarth area

128 Un-named Mine Exact location not known Trial for silver-lead at Kynmortha, in the Lordship of Emlyn, in 1542.

Llanglydwen

129 Un-named Mine SN 175.269. Adit in south bank of brook below Minefields. Hall 1993.

Llanboidy

148 Un-named Mine Probably SN 186.254. Report of lead discovery at Tre hir Slate Quarry, August 1879.

130 Un-named Mine SN 178.262. Adit in wood west of Rosehill. No historical detail, probably connected with Rose Hill Mine.

131 Rose Hill Mine SN 180.264. Small lead mine immediately adjacent to Rosehill House 150 yards south of Pont Llanglydwen. Mine and plant for sale in 1872. Sizeable dump adjoins the shaft. Hall 1993.

132 Carmarthen United Mine SN 263. 282. also known as Trelech or Santa Clara. A small lead mine on the east bank of the Afon Cynig to the north west of Cwm farmhouse. Although undoubtedly on the site of a much earlier working the mine was opened up as Carmarthen United in about 1855/6 and worked until 1864. Trelech Lead Mining Co. Ltd. was formed in 1864 to continue operations with little evidence of success as it was followed in 1865 by Trelech Mines Ltd. Further attempts in 1870 and 1871 as the Santa Clara Silver-Lead Mining Co. and Carmarthen Silver-Lead Mining Co. also failed and from 1882 to 1891 it was in hands of L H Evans the lessee at Llanfyrnach. Two fine water wheel pits survive, on the hillside below the main shaft, fed by a leat from the mine pond some distance upstream. Hall, 1993; Claughton, 1994.

Meidrim

133 Mydrim Silver-Lead Mine Exact location not known. Active in 1857.

134 Un-named Mine SN 278.237. Trial adit on south side of stream adjacent to track leading to Fynnon Sheriff, Gelliwen, just within Meidrim parish. No historical detail available, although miner was resident at Fynnon Sheriff in 1861; possibly connected with Mydrim Silver-Lead. Adit remains open.

147 Un-named Mine SN 26..22.. / 27..23.. Workings reported on east side of Afon Cynin between Gelliwen and Corngafr.

Llanwinio

135 Un-named Mine SN 25822553 Adit on south bank of Afon Sien 600 yards south east of Cwmbach. No historical detail. Adit remains open.

Llanddowror and St Clears area

141 Un-named Mine Exact location unknown. Grant of mineral rights in area 1811 - 12.


Part One, Section D

Western part of Carmarthenshire; Futile Trials for Coal (outside the Coal Measures.)

140 Llanddowror Exact location not known. Level opened up in late 19th / early 20th century but soon abandoned.


Part One, Section E

Southern part of Ceredigion; Metalliferous Mines.

Llangrannog

136 Un-named Mine SN 310.542. Trial for lead on foreshore north of beach at Llangrannog, circa 1860. One of the caves on the north side of the beach shows evidence of being mined (shot holes).

137 Un-named Mine SN 316.542. Trial for lead on hillside north of parish church. No historical detail available. Adit (open) 100 to 150 yards north of church.

138 Un-named Mine SN 332.556. Trial for lead at Trwyn Crou, on coast one and a half miles north east of Llangrannog. Active in 1852. Adit (open) at head on inlet immediately south of Trwyn Crou; galena found disseminated in country rock.

139 Un-named Mine Exact location not known; trials for lead on land belonging to Fynnonlefrith farm. Davies 1978.

Llanyssiliogogo

142 Un-named Mine Exact location not known. Trial for lead in cliffs near Gaerwen.

Llanllwchaearn (New Quay)

143 Wheal Neptune SN 387.604. approx. Small lead mine reportedly on coast within 400 yards of Newquay harbour. Strata in quarry south and west of frozen food factory fits that illustrated in photograph of mine - see Hall, 1993 p. 56. Reportedly active in 1747, 1864 and perhaps again in 1870s. No features identified on ground, probably quarried away.


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Peter Claughton / Dept. of History
P.F.Claughton@exeter.ac.uk
Last modified 11 April 1999