CPAT Regional Sites & Monuments Record

PRN 18591 - Pen Dylife Mine (multiple site)

NGR :- SN85509350 (SN89SE)
Unitary authority :- Powys
Community :- Llanbrynmair
Prefered site type :- Multiperiod - Mine (Earthwork - Damaged )

Pre 17th to 1920. 1. Location

1.1 The workings are located on an E-W ridge south of the later 19th century mine workings on the Llechwedd du and Esgairgaled Veins at Dylife (PRN 5648), c.16 km NW of Llanidloes. Prior to the 19th century, workings in the area of Dylife Mine were mainly on the Dylife Vein, east of Dyfngwm Mine (PRN 5942) at Pen Dylife.

2. Geology

2.1 Solid geology - Silurian mudstones and shales of the Gwestyn and Frongoch formation. Mineralisation on the Dyfyngwn and Dylife Veins includes galena, chalcopyrite, sphalerite and gangue minerals.

3. The Survey

3.1 The survey is principally restricted to recording evidence of early hushing and other mining features on the Dylife Vein. The vein ran E-W along the crest of a ridge immediately S of the old coach road (PRN 18654), which now forms part of the long distance public footpath, Glyndwr's Way. The old coach road passes the Roman fortlet of Penycrocbren (PRN 1378) and the c.1700 Gibbet Mound (PRN 1379) W of it.

A modern farm track now leads into the area. The original entrance track is surveyed as PRN 18650 running to the line of shafts. It branches N of the boundary bank to a track (PRN 18649) leading to Boundary Shaft (see Plate 10).

3.2 Hushing Evidence

3.2.1 The main evidence for hushing consists of a substantial channel, PRN 18623, which runs into the site from the W. Water appears to have been gathered from an area of open moorland and collected along the line of a boundary bank (PRN 18614), before cutting through the bank and downslope to the SE. The substantial boundary bank is c.3-4m max. wide and up to c.1.2m high.

3.2.2 S of the boundary bank, the hushing channel is disturbed by a small irregular enclosure (PRN 18624).

3.2.3 The channel appears to be interrupted by a possible reservoir (PRN 18662) as it runs downhill towards the line of the vein. The channel is traced S of the modern fence-line, where it is disturbed by the line of collapsed shafts (PRN 18660). Having flushed out the vein in this area, the channel (PRN 18623) can be traced running S to the edge of the opencast.

3.2.4 The low earthwork banks of a small reservoir (PRN 18659) has a leat (PRN 186650 running off SW, which joins the hushing channel, PRN 18623.

3.2.5 Downhill of the line of shafts, possible hushing reservoirs (PRN 18657) are located on the moorland above the Dyfngwm opencast. Two hushing channels (PRN 18647 and 18648) run off into the opencast.

3.2.6 E of these channels, a substantial hushing channel (PRN 18625), which may be a continuation of PRN 18623, runs off further S into the opencast. A possible trial level on an exposed vein (PRN 18656) is located on the N edge of the channel as it enters the opencast. Track PRN 18646 runs downhill and crosses the line of the hushing channel.

3.2.7 N of the line of shafts, which now remain as large collapsed workings, three low-level earthwork banks (PRNs 18609-11) appear to have stored water by damming natural water channels. There is no evidence for associated leats or hushing channels.

3.2.8 To the E of Penycrocbren (PRN 1378), the earthwork banks of a reservoir (PRN 18603) c.27 x 7m survive as three sides of an enclosure retaining water on the upslope side. A leat, PRN 18600, runs W from the reservoir following the line of shafts. The remaining course of the leat is lost as it is cut by the later shafts and a farm track.

3.2.9 S of reservoir PRN 18603, a second large reservoir (PRN 18596) c.40 x 13m has two leats entering the NW and NE corners.

3.2.10 Several water channels (PRN 18651), appear as natural drainage channels on the hillslopes now, but were probably originally formed by water after it had flushed the vein.

3.3 Later mining evidence

3.3.1 The Dylife Vein has been worked by a line of levels, shafts and open-cuts (PRN 18660) of varying size and depth which run E-W across the mountain ridge. The workings are disturbed by modern farm tracks.

3.3.2 The deepest shaft is Boundary Shaft, located at the SE end of the boundary bank (PRN 18614). A modern fence-line now cuts through the complex, but the old boundary bank can be followed running N-S. The collapsed stonework of a Cornish Engine House (PRN 18607), which housed a 60" pumping engine remain on the N side of the shaft. The site of the boiler house (PRN 18606) is located to the E side of the engine house. NW of the engine house complex, a reservoir (PRN 18608), stored water for the boilers. A leat appears to have fed the reservoir from the W. Spoil tips fan out to the S of the complex, and fuel ash slag forms a large part of the eastern tip. The shaft was sunk by the Dylife Company in the mid-19th century on the W extremity of their workings on the Dylife Vein and worked until the 1880s. Track PRN 18649 leads to the complex presumably connecting with the other Dylife workings. The Dyfngwm Mine was successfully working the vein to the W of the boundary at this time. In 1873, the new Dylife Company deepened Boundary Shaft to c.900ft.

3.3.3 The line of a "pulley" (PRN 18710) is culverted beneath the coach road E of Penycrocbren. The cable was powered by a waterwheel in the valley at SN86329400 to wind at Boundary Shaft (PRN 18605) almost a mile over the hill.

3.3.4 To the E of Boundary Shaft, the workings are cut by the farm track. Three large shafts are located N of the track; Shaft PRN 18599 is a large circular depression, filled with debris, including a car; Shaft PRN 18598 is further E with surrounding tip; Shaft PRN 18597 is fenced off with the bed of a possible incline (PRN 18601) to the N. Building platform PRN 18602 is located N of the large shafts and to the east of them, a run of small shafts and trials are located south side of the modern track.

3.3.5 Immediately W of Boundary Shaft, a line of large opencuts and collapsed workings extend westwards for c.450km. Track PRN 18650 appears to be the old mine track to these workings.

3.3.6 In the area where the hushing channel (PRN 18623) cuts the shaft line, two large shafts (PRNs 18615 and 18617) have horse whim circles (PRNs 18616 and 18618) to the S of them.

3.3.7 S of the whim shafts, tracks run SW towards Dyfngwm, including the original mine track (PRN 18646) leading to Dyfngwm Lead Works (OS 1903 6" Mont. Sheet XXXIII.S.E.).

3.3.8 The "Dyfngwm Lead Works" site, as it appears on the OS 1st edition now consists of an area of collapsed building rubble (PRN 18619) to the S of a collapsed level (PRN 18620).

3.3.9 The concrete base (PRN 18666) that is located S of the level may have supported a winding drum for the incline (PRN 18658), which would have connected with the Dyfngwm works in the valley. A small area of quarrying (PRN 18669) for building stone, presumably for the mine, is located in this area.

3.3.10 The earthwork banks of a large enclosure (PRN 18621) c.33 x 31m with an entrance along the E side, lie on the S side of the hill between the run of shafts and the Dyfngwm valley site. The enclosure appears on the OS 1903 map with a track connecting it to the collapsed buildings area. Its function is not known, although several of these features have been recorded on remote mine sites and they may be corals for horses.

3.3.11 S of the line of shafts that now appear as collapsed workings, a shaft PRN 18612 with surrounding tips, has a level (PRN 18613) to the S of it. Tips suggest that ore was brought out via this level, sorted and separated. A large tip of jig waste is located S of the level and the platform PRN 18653, may have been the base for jiggers.

3.3.12 Level, PRN 18592 and adjoining spoil tip, remains E of the boundary fence.

3.3.13 NW of the line of shafts, the collapsed level, PRN 18594 appears to have been a trial on the W extremity of the vein.

3.3.14 A series of superimposed trackways (PRN 18595) were surveyed N of the boundary bank, running E-W along the ridge.

3.3.15 N of the tracks there remains an area of trial workings (PRN 18593) that appear as linear cuts and shallow depressions.

4. Conclusion

4.1 The earthwork remains provide evidence for mining activity over a considerable time period. The earliest activity is presumed to be that of prospective hushing at a number of locations within the site. The main evidence consists of small leats and reservoirs with associated hushing channels, much of which may have been lost to later activity. It is quite possible that the large open-cuts above Dyfyngwm were originally worked by hushing, although clear evidence is now lacking. These hushing remains are one of only two such sites within Powys, and as such are of considerable importance. The remains of other mining activity, while perhaps of less overall significance, are part and parcel of the mining landscape as a whole, and consideration should be give to the statutary protection of the whole area.

Excavation and sampling by Simon Timberlake in 2002 (PRN 49994).

CPAT visit form , 1906 , ,
Timberlake, S , 2002 , ,

Visit CPAT / 1906(/ /) - Pasture A
Excavation Timberlake, S / 2002(/ /) -

record created 19/10/96 , last updated 12/02/04
The above data are supplied by CPAT in partnership with its Local Authorities and the partners of END, CPAT SMR partnership, 2004 (and in part Crown, 2004)

SB - 12/02/04 ( 15:20:20 ) - HTML file produced from CPAT's Regional SMR
Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust, Curatorial Section, 7a Church Street, Welshpool, Powys SY21 7DL.
tel (01938) 553670 , fax (01938) 552179, email , website