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Powys Metal Mines Survey

East Van

East Van lies in the community of Llanidloes Without in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SN94908850. The mine is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 5937 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

East Van, CPAT photo                Lead (1871-1880)

This mine lies on the eastern extension of the main Van lode in Silurian Gwestyn shales and beds of the lower Frongoch formation. Mineralisation includes galena.

3 shafts (SN94988846, SN95218855, SN95848775), a long adit (SN95258850) and 4 levels (SN94538832, SN95058864, SN95528880 and SN95668876) can be seen on the slopes to the north of Nant Gwden.

No evidence.

A horizontal engine was installed during 1871 and was in use by April 1872. The engine measured 24ins x 4ft with a 30ft x 7ft diameter boiler. The engine and boiler houses survive at foundation level with some interior detail and an intact chimney at SN94968848.

No evidence.

Other features
Some foundations of unknown use were seen in the field immediately west of Pwll Yr Ebol Farm SN94608832 and are probably associated with a disused level at the same location. (CPAT Metal Mines Survey)

1. Location

1.1 The mine site lies to the NW of Pen-y-Castell Hillfort, c.4km N of Llanidloes and E of the Llyn Clywedog Reservoir. The survey was restricted to the engine house and chimney site, located to the E of Pwll-yr-Ebol Farm. on the N bank of Nant Gwyden (see Plate 5).

2. Geology

2.1 Solid geology - Silurian Gwestyn shales. Shaft sunk to search for galena on the eastern end of the Van Vein.

3. The Survey

3.1 The rectangular engine house (PRN 18330), c.15 x 11m, is constructed of local shale with brick quoins and comprises the boiler house (PRN 18626) and bedding for a horizontal engine. The house survives only to the engine plinth level. Bick (1990, 45) documents the sinking of a shaft and the installation of a 24 x 4ft horizontal engine which was at work by 1872. The engine bed suggests a horizontal cylinder engine of rotative design. The interior detail reveals a flywheel pit alongside the engine seating. Four iron support rods remain embedded alongside the E wall of the engine house. The masonry remains of a bob-pit (PRN 18627) lie to the S and shaft side of the engine house. Power from the horizontal engine would have been transmitted to the winding wheel via a crankshaft.

3.2 The boiler house to the W of the engine bed was built to house a 30 x 7ft cylindrical boiler (Bick 1990, 45).

3.3 To the S of the boiler house foundations, a platform (PRN 18667) terraced into the slope may be the site of a coal store.

3.4 The brick chimney (PRN 18331) survives to full height. The octagonal stack is supported by a square plinth.

3.5 The engine shaft (PRN 18332), now filled with debris, lies to the S of the winding pit. There is no evidence to suggest the headgear arrangements for the shaft. The shaft is surrounded by considerable spoil tips.

3.6 To the W of the engine house, the former brick-built mine stables and possibly smithy (PRN 18333) remain intact with a modern extension, now having an agricultural use.

3.7 To the N of the engine house and chimney, a level (PRN 18329) runs northwards into the hillside.

3.8 The shafts and levels that formed part of the East Van workings remain outside of the survey area to the N and E of the engine house and chimney.

4. Conclusions

4.1 The site reflects entirely the mining activity of the East Van Mining Company Ltd from 1870-1882.

4.2 The intact chimney is a rare survival in the Powys ore-fields and this together with the engine house remains should be considered for statutory protection. (CPAT Metal Mines Survey - ground survey)

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.