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Clwyd Metal Mines Survey

Maeshafn Grosvenor Shaft

Maeshafn Grosvenor Shaft lies in the community of Llanferres in the county of Denbighshire. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SJ20406110. The mine is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 102803 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Lead/Zinc (Early 18th century-1903)

Carboniferous Limestone.

The rich Maeshafn Vein traversed the limestone outcrop and ran eastwards into the Cefn-y-fedw Sandstone, where it was worked by the Lisburn Mine (SJ20956060) and Cefn-hir (SJ21206190). Between 1853 and 1872, the mine was worked by Messrs John Taylor and Sons. There appears to be at least four main areas of workings allocated to Maeshafn Mine. The area of waste heaps alonside the East and West banks of the River Alun at SJ19306140, being the site of the two wheel pits (PRN 102915) that powered the flat rods, the dressing floors and the leat that emerges from a culvert in the field slightly to the south-west. The area referred to on the plan deposited in CRO Hawarden (D/GR/1775) being the main mine site, where No 5 and No 6 shaft would have operated at SJ19806110. The Grosvenor Shaft area remains at SJ20406105. where large stone structures are near destroyed. Earp (1958, 55) refers to the vein being worked from five main shafts, but the 1879 plan includes 9 shafts for Maeshafn. No 4 was Pen-y-graig, driven to 320 yds, being 5.50ft diameter, No 7 and 8 were sited to the south of the main mine site; No 7 was a detached shaft being used as a draw-well and No 8 is referred to as Bryn Sirion. No 9 shaft, referred to as East Maesysafn on the plan was to the east of the Grosvenor shaft and below Moel Findeg; this appears as a mound at SJ20786095 and was already filled in by 1897.

It is difficult to differentiate between the sites of the whim shafts and the workings that would have related to the old Jamaica Mine that ceased production in 1856. Later workings between 1896 and 1903 were carried out by Messrs. Brunner Mond and Co less successfully. Their explorations drove eastwards beneath Moel Findeg, to include Cefn-hir, Lisburn, America, Jamaica and East Maeshafn setts. In April-May 1978, a shaft capping programme was carried out by NKC Partnership, the photographs included in the report deposited at Hawarden CRO (NT 658) show the Cornish Engine House, with its dressed stone archway at SJ20386106, the Grosvenor shaft and the shaft at SJ20366098.

The 1871 Sale Catalogue mentions the use of and lists various horses and carts.

The Cornish Engine House, presumably Grosvenor Shaft, is illustrated with its winding wheel and chimney. A 85" cornish pumping engine was erected on this site in 1865, the standing remains of which only disappeared in the seventies. These stone structures are all that remains of engine houses assigned to No 1 Shaft and No 2 Shaft. No 1 or the Bull Engine Shaft was 7 ft diameter and driven to the 350 yd level. According to the report for the Halkyn Castle Estate Office, produced in September 1897 that accompanies the aforementioned plan; the Bull Shaft had ceased working in 1871, and was to be fenced off with a stone wall. The No 2 or Grosvenor Shaft linked with the Bull Shaft being directly north of it, being 8ft in diameter and driven to the 350 yd level, this too had ceased working in 1871 and was well fenced off with a stone wall. A horizontal pumping and winding engine with a frame and separate boiler house and chimney is illustrated on the same area,probably Bull Shaft. The Bull pumping engine was a variation on the Cornish Engine with an inverted cylinder, dipensing with the beam, devised by Bull, an engineer employed by Boulton and Watt. This 60" x 8ft engine was made by the Rhydymwyn foundry (1871 Sale Catalogue). The easternmost shaft, East Maeshafn, is depicted with a whim, an Engine house, A-frame, boiler house and chimney. A letter from Richard James at East Maeshafn, dated 3.8.1887, deposited at CRO Hawarden, states the proposed new workings at East Maeshafn being 300yds south of Jamaica Mine; two shafts were sunk, one being a whim shaft and the other a horse and pulley shaft, on the side of the mountain and 160 yds north of the whim shaft. A proposal of another shaft 120-130 yds to the east of the horse pulley shaft was also mentioned. A plan and section drawing deposited at Hawarden CRO (D/GR/1789) shows the horse pulley shaft, three whims and an incline. The shafts lie to the west of the pool (SJ20456055). The horse pulley shaft is possibly the mound lying to the east of the Youth Hostel, along the Maesysafn to Eryrys roadside at SJ20956055; the horse whims lies to the north of this road and below Moel Findeg, overlying the old Jamaica workings. Barrack housing appears to be adjacent to a whim shaft downhill from the area of Grosvenor shaft. A 36" Cornish Engine was sold in 1872 and in 1871 a 60" and 65" sold. A 64" x 8ft pumping engine was made for the site by Fairbairn of Manchester and in 1838 a 36" engine had been purchased from Harvey's of Hayle. This appears for sale in the catalogue of 1871 along with its 35ft x6ft Cornish boiler. The earthworks remain of two large reservoirs, which descend to the Grosvenor and Bull Shaft area at SJ20406110. There appear in fact to have been a system of at least five pools. When the Brunner Mond Company stopped working the mines in 1906, Ruthin County Council decided to utilise the water in the mines to supply the hamlet of Maesyhafn.

The large dressing floor areas lie on the east and west banks of the River Alun at SJ19306140.

Other features
Bryn Hyfryd house (SJ197566105) was apparently the mine office, with a smithy and stables nearby.

This HTML page is reproduced from the Powys and Clwyd Metal Mine Surveys which were undertaken between May 1992 and December 1993 by Mark Walters and Pat Frost of the Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust with financial support from Powys County Council, Clwyd County Council and Cadw: Welsh Historic Monuments. Further information about this site is available in CPAT's Regional Historic Environment Record.
Page produced by Rachel Stebbings and Chris Martin.

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