Looking down the 535 feet deep North Henblas
Shaft Photo: Martin Poole
This page describes a disused lead mine site
that once occupied land to the west of the Glan-yr-Afon Inn at the hamlet
of Dolphin, a mile south of Holywell. The field contains a single deep
mine shaft originally described simply as ‘new engine shaft’, but which
later became known as North Henblas Shaft. It was sunk to intersect lead
ore deposits along the half kilometre long Pen-yr-Hwylfa vein, the eastern
end of which terminates beneath the Glan-yr-Afon Inn. At its western end,
the vein terminates near Pen-yr-Hwylfa Farm where the vein was worked by North Henblas
Mining Company, so-called to differentiate it from the 1850s Henblas Mine,
some 600 metres to the south.
The information here is the result of
research by this writer that formed part of a study funded by Cadwyn
Clwyd. I'm very grateful for their consent to reproduce it (somewhat
amended) on this web-site.
Working within the constraints of the
brief, documentary evidence specifically relating to North Henblas Mine
was found to be sparce. The full story is therefore incomplete.
Click on image to enlarge (then BACK button to
1 Geological notes
Lead ore (galena) was
the predominant mineral found at Halkyn Mountain. Zinc ore (blende) was
also worked to a large extent after the invention of the galvanising
process in 1837, although no production figures for this mineral were
provided by North Henblas Mine. Silver was a by-product of galena found
in small amounts of up to 18 ounces per ton at Halkyn Mountain and small
quantities were produced at North Henblas Mine.
The majority of ore
deposits (lodes, veins, rakes, pipes or flats) of Halkyn Mountain were
formed in cracks or fissures in carboniferous limestones and, on the
eastern boundaries overlooking the Dee Estuary, in overlying cherts. At
the time of deposition, molten ores rose up through these brittle and
fractured rocks, until their upward progress was halted by the more
flexible, and therefore unfractured, shale measures. Furthermore, the
mountain strata has been ‘tipped’ downwards to the east. Consequently at
North Henblas Mine, ore deposits were followed east through limestones
and then into cherts; the vein terminating upon encountering shale
measures where the vein lay at its deepest.
Unlike most mines of
Halkyn Mountain, the Pen-yr-Hwylfa vein (being worked by North Henblas
Mining Company), did not outcrop along the surface at any point. The
shallowest deposits lay at its western end where they were 240 feet
below the surface. The vein was therefore probably first recognised by
miners working at depth in Pant-y-Pydew (or Caeau) vein, which passes
Pen-yr-Hwylfa vein at its western end, beneath the property known as
Miners working lead
veins in limestone rarely if ever, encountered noxious gases, but at the
eastern chert-shale boundary, shales (described as being ‘a sulphurous
rock’), brought in flammable gases. An explosion occurred in the Beili
Gwyn vein half a mile north of Dolphin (Smith Pg 126) whilst being
worked from the Milwr Tunnel around 1903 in similar strata.
Chert is a pure form
of silica. As a result, miners drilling through chert rock at North
Henblas Mine were more likely to have contracted silicosis than miners
working only in limestone. The problem was virtually eradicated by the
introduction of wet drilling which was adopted throughout the industry,
but not until 1904, after the closure of North Henblas Mine.
North Henblas Mine
was typical of many mines working the eastern limestone-chert boundary
of Halkyn Mountain. Because the deposits tended to lie deeper than those
to the west, they were generally worked during the latter period of the
industry’s history. North Henblas Mine was not however, as rich as many
similar mines and had a comparatively short life of probably 21 years
(but certainly no longer than 60), of which the work based at North
Henblas Shaft kept the company busy for just 7 years.
by North Henblas Shaft:
Glacial till (boulder clays)
Pentre chert formation (glassy cherts and cherty mudstone)
Cefn Mawr limestone, thinly interbedded with dark argillacious
limestones and mudstones with units of pale shelly limestones
2 North Henblas Mine: Old site west of A55 (NGR: SJ 192 737)
North Henblas Mine worked a lead ore
deposit running approximately east-west, known as Pen-yr-Hwylfa vein. A
detailed map of the area (FRO:D/GR/1705) shows no shafts or workings along
the entire line of the Pen-yr-Hwylfa vein in 1825. In 1845 it became a
requirement for all mines to furnish annual production figures. The
earliest recorded production figures for North Henblas Mine however, date
from 1862. At this time the mine was based around a shaft that now lies
just on the western side of the A55 expressway (25” OS map 1869).
Ore was worked from a depth of about 240
feet below the surface at this location (Smith 1921). Several shafts were
sunk along the line of the vein, all of which are likely to have been of
“The belt of ground between the Caleb
Bell cross-course and the Lower Coal Measures includes the richest part of
the mineral tract of Halkyn Mountain”
(Smith 1921, Pg 63). This large area on the eastern side of the mountain
includes North Henblas Mine, Caeau Mine, Milwr Mine and many others.
Despite the promising statement by Smith, this western part of North
Henblas Mine only produced a total of about 1000 tons of lead ore and 4500
ounces of silver. The highest recorded output was in 1865 when around 200
tons of ore and 1000 ounces of silver were produced in the one year. This
is a reasonable figure fairly typical of the mines around Holywell at the
time, but small when compared with the annual figures of those such as
Maeshafn Mine (1000-2000 tons) and Minera Mine (5000-6000 tons).
By the end of the 1870s the vein at this
location appears to have been worked out, or become flooded.
The chief agent (overall manager) from
1866 until 1877 was William Francis of the famous and well respected
mining family. After this time Francis left North Henblas Mine to follow
his interest in other mines of the neighbourhood.
The above survey is produced with the permission of the
British Geological Survey (Sept 2009). All rights Reserved. Based upon BGS
Technical Report No: WA/88/2.
Please refer to BGS Terms and Conditions if reproduction is
3 North Henblas
Mine ‘New’ site east of A55 (NGR: SJ 1947 7376)
In order to reach deeper
potential deposits on the same vein, the company moved its operations 200
metres eastwards to a field behind the Glan-yr-Afon Inn after becoming a
limited company in 1877. At this new location, William Johnson was chief
agent until 1879, after which W.J. Bew took over the running of the mine.
The company cost-book
(FRO: D/DM/186/10) describes in its opening pages: “Sinking new engine
shaft”. This later became known as North Henblas Shaft, which first
reached ore-bearing ground at a depth of about 330 feet in 1879. It
reached its total depth of 535 feet below the surface in 1881.
The shaft cross-section
at its top measures 2.4m x 4 metres (8ft x 13ft); a large shaft when
compared with most in the area, although three or four others of similar
size are known to exist elsewhere on the mountain. A timber ‘ladder-way’
was constructed down the south-west side of the shaft. Although the
ladder-way no longer remains, it is evidenced by the existence of ‘bunton
hitches’ (locating holes for platform timbers) extending down the length
of the shaft. It seems likely that such a large shaft was sunk in
expectation of finding rich deposits at this end of the vein. The limited
extent of workings however, and the low production figures, suggest
optimism was misplaced. Passages were driven off the shaft at depths of
around 330 feet and at 500 feet (just above shaft bottom) and ore was
found, but not in any large quantities.
Another view down North
Photo: Glen Walker
North Henblas Mining
Company Limited produced ore at North Henblas Shaft from 1879 until 1884.
During this five year period several ‘runs’ of ore were exploited within
Pen-yr-Hwylfa vein. The nearby Roskell’s Day Level (details below) was
cleared out and repaired and the company also extended this level
southwards to where it was eventually connected to workings on Pant-y-Pydew
(or Caeau) vein. Although some further ore deposits were found along
Roskell’s Day Level, the mine lay idle after April 1884. A final effort to
find ore at this site occurred in 1887 when 19 were employed at the mine
(13 underground and 6 at surface) and a total of just 6 tons of ore were
In 1888, the company was
re-launched as Milwr Mining Company Limited under the same manager as at
North Henblas; Mr W. J. Bew. The new company worked several nearby veins
(most of which had been idle for 20 or 30 years) and continued to make
entries in the same cost-book used by the North Henblas Mining Co. Ltd.,
although no further mention is made of work on Pen-yr-Hwylfa vein after
Some time between 1888
and 1899 the mine buildings at North Henblas Shaft were removed, leaving
only the old engine house which was being used as a ‘mission room’ in 1899
(Second edition 25”:1mile Ordnance Survey map).
It's clear from the OS map above that no development had taken place on
the site by 1869
By 1899 a milling complex had been erected on the site and
then demolished after just seven years in operation. The disused engine
house was then used as a Mission Room
1897 Milwr Mining Company Limited became part of the Holywell-Halkyn
Mining & Tunnel Company who began driving the Milwr Tunnel from the
coast at Bagillt, reaching Herward Mine in 1903. This tunnel drained the
North Henblas Mine to sea level in 1904 when Pen-yr-Hwylfa vein was
identified at sea level in the Milwr Tunnel and a passage here was
driven along the vein for 48 yards. A little ore was found at this depth
and a rise was then driven upwards for 150 feet to the bottom of the old
workings at North Henblas Shaft. At this time, ore was carried in tubs
drawn by ponies to the dressing floors at the portal of the Milwr Tunnel
at Bagillt, each pony hauling out 25 tons a day. After this period, the
Milwr Tunnel continued its route southwards and Pen-yr-Hwylfa vein was
never worked again.
hoped that early records might still be held at Companies House, London.
Checks have been carried out for North Henblas Mining Company and North
Henblas Mining Company Limited, but no records under these names now
Roskells’ Day Level
Drainage of the ‘new’ eastern site at North Henblas Shaft was effected
by pumping to surface until the shaft reached the depth of 330 feet
where a connection was made to the old ‘Roskell’s Day Level’. This
tunnel was originally commenced in 1754 from a point nearly two miles to
the north. The first lease for the tunnel was granted by the Pennant
family in 1754. The lessees aim was to reach Hard Shaft (on Herward
vein), but the level had not reached this point by 1796 (Pennant Pg
255). Rich veins were found however, before this point providing over
£100,000 to lessees and lessors (Pennant Pg 256).
level ultimately drained the neighbouring lead veins of Milwr, Herward,
Beili Gwyn, Meadow, America, Pen-yr-Hwylfa and Dolphin creating
an inter-connected network of passages exceeding 6 miles in length. An
old map of Roskell’s Day Level describes Pen-yr-Hwylfa vein as “A
beautiful vein composed of sugar spar etc two feet wide” (FRO: D/GR/1799).
North Henblas Mining Co. Ltd. refurbished and repaired the old drainage
level which also allowed the company to prospect for ore in the areas to
the north (Herward and Milwr Mines) and to the south (Caeau and Henblas
Sinking North Henblas
It seems that work on sinking the shaft
began in 1877. Compressed air for drilling was a new innovation at this
time and was likely to have been used by the drillers in sinking the
shaft. Although compressed air permitted significantly faster drilling
than manual methods, water was not used to dampen down the resulting
clouds of dust. Hence when drilling through cherts at the bottom section
of the shaft, as already mentioned, miners will have significantly
increased their chances of acquiring lung disease in the form of
The method adopted probably involved a
team of 4 or 5 men working in the shaft. Work would have included the
frequent re-positioning of the pumps: raising (before blasting) and
lowering (as the shaft became deeper); drilling shot-holes and setting
charges. After drilling a ‘round’ of perhaps 20 shot-holes, each would be
‘charged’ (filled) with high explosives and a detonator. Wires from each
of the detonators would be connected together and wired to an exploder on
the surface. Drilling would re-commence after the poisonous fumes had
Water would have entered the shaft in
the form of heavy rain, particularly as the shaft became deeper, and the
team will have worn waterproofs whilst working. Some protection may have
been provided by sheeting fixed above the top of the lowered shaft cage.
On the surface, a steam engine initially operated a 14” lift pump to keep
the shaft ‘dry’. Another steam-operated winding engine operated a cage in
the shaft for lowering men. The cage may also have been used for raising
wagons loaded with waste rock. A steam capstan winch was also used at
North Henblas for installing heavy machinery and pump rods.
By 1879, the shaft had reached the depth
of Roskell’s Day Level (330 feet below surface), and levels were being
mined east and west along Pen-yr-Hwylfa vein. The pumping arrangement
would have been altered at this depth to discharge all water into
Roskell’s Day Level instead of raising it to surface; water in the Day
Level running north by gravity and discharging into a brook south of
In October 1879, the shaft sinking team
again continued sinking downwards at a cost to the company of £6 per yard
depth. The team finished sinking in June 1881 at the final depth of 535
feet below surface and were mining to the east and west along the vein
about 30 feet above shaft bottom.
It seems that mining at the deepest
levels was severely troubled by water: The 14” lift pump struggled to cope
and in November 1882 an additional 7” hose lift pump was installed. This
proved ineffective and in May 1883 a larger engine was installed in the
engine house and the following three months were spent installing an
additional 24” lift pump.
By early 1884 mining was still hampered
by water: Records suggest that a large Cornish engine was about to be
installed. In February of that year, masons strengthened the engine-house
wall and 23 men manoeuvered a huge cast-iron beam into place ready for the
new engine. It appears however that the Cornish engine may never have been
fitted as there is no mention of its installation in the cost-book and the
mine closed down just four months later in June 1884. The mines’ sudden
closure was probably due to a combination of high pumping costs and low
production figures at a time of falling ore prices.
The vein at North Henblas Shaft (east of
the A55) was not very productive. Mineral statistics indicate that only
about 200 tons of lead ore and 500 ounces of silver were produced in total
(about a fifth of that produced at the west end of the vein, west of the
Production figures for North Henblas
Mining Co. Ltd. held by the Grosvenor family (upon which royalties were
calculated at 20 shillings per ton) are even lower. This could suggest an
unwillingness by the company to reveal actual output in order to reduce
their costs. Conversely, it could also suggest a degree of leniency on the
part of the Grosvenors in a difficult mining climate.
4 The Mill at North Henblas Shaft
Ore mixed with waste rock
and mud was raised and processed at North Henblas Shaft. The processing
operation known as ‘ore dressing’ simply involved the separation of
waste rock from valuable ore. Ore dressing in the 1870s was to a large
extent, carried out by machines, particularly at the larger mines. Some
smaller mines however, still used manual labour for most operations.
Although no documentary evidence has been found describing the methods
used at North Henblas Mine, it seems quite possible that ore cleaning,
jigging and buddling were carried out using man- or boy-power, whilst
crushing was achieved by a steam-powered machine such as a 'Blake’s'
It appears the dressing
floors may have been covered to protect workers from rain, as the 1893
sale catalogue (for Milwr Mine) mentions “galvanised shedding on
pitchpine supports over dressing floors”.
A Blake's stone crusher,
manufactured by R. Broadbent & Son Ltd. (copied from a 1930s Halkyn
District United Mines catalogue) and typical of the crushers that may have
been in use at North Henblas
The dressing process:
Cleaning of the ore/waste mix achieved
by agitation in running water.
After large lumps of pure galena were
removed by hand, the mix would be placed into a jig. This is a simple
wooden box (approx. 4ft long x 2ft x 2ft deep) shaken by a long rocking
handle. By lifting the handle, the box is lowered into a water container.
By ‘leaping’ (Ure 1867) up and down on the lever, the box is
agitated or ‘jigged’ beneath the water, causing the heavier ore to sink to
the bottom and the waste to rise to the top where it can be removed.
The remaining material then needs to be
finely crushed in order to separate ore from waste rock using buddles. In
the days before crushing was carried out by machine, teams of workers
achieved the same results using bucking hammers; tools having a thick
steel plate about 4” x 4” with a handle about 2 feet long.
The crushed mix was then separated from
waste rock in buddles. Although buddles of many different designs have
been used at local mines, all buddles use a continuous flow of water to
wash the mix down a slightly inclined plane, the lighter waste material
being washed further than the ore, therefore becoming separated.
residue with very small amounts of ore was then carried by water to the
‘slime catch pits’ lower down the field. Here the finest ore pieces
settled into large tanks whilst surplus water and waste overflowed and
ran off down the valley.
Weighing and transport
ore was weighed, packed into barrels and loaded onto horse-drawn carts
to be taken away for smelting (the process of using high temperature
furnaces to produce pure metallic lead from galena).
from North Henblas was smelted (in 1864) by Newton, Keates & Company at
Bagillt, one of three Flintshire smelteries known to have been in
operation at the time. The coast here had well-established sea and rail
routes provided easy access to World markets. Empty carts would then
travel to one of the nearby coastal collieries to load up with coal for
the return journey back to the mine.
Plan showing the mill at North Henblas Shaft. Although
undated, it is thought to be around 1880 (courtesy of Flintshire Record
Office. FRO: D/M/5171)
not possible to say with certainty exactly what equipment was being used
at North Henblas Shaft, however, a prospectus issued by the new Milwr
Mining Company in 1888 (chiefly comprising the North Henblas machinery
used the previous year), describes the company’s equipment as including
a compound pumping engine (comprising a 30” high pressure engine and a
56” low pressure engine, capable of pumping about 1,100 gallons per
minute). An 1893 liquidation sale catalogue for Milwr Mine (FRO:
D/DM/244/73) describes this engine in more detail, together with
compound condensing pumping engine, by Hathorn, Davey & Co., 30 and 56
inch cylinders, 8 feet stroke, T bobs and pitchpine main pump rods, with
24 inch, 18 inch and 14 inch lifts; five Lancashire boilers; 18 and 14
inch winding engines; 18 inch air compressor and rock drills,
stonebreakers, crushing rolls and modern dressing plant; pit heads and
winding gear; a double cylinder portable engine and boilers; a 12 inch
capstan engine, steam winches; 2 vertical engines; one 14 inch geared
pumping and winding engine; three Cameron pumps; Haywood Tyler pump and
pulsometer; donkey pump; tubular boiler; a powerful team of two cart
horses” etc etc.
Mine buildings and
The following buildings
were erected around North Henblas Shaft as shown on the undated (around
1880) mine plan shown above:
Engine pool: A
small stream passing through the site supplied the engine pool. This
supplied water for the pumping engines boilers and for cleaning and
separating ore at the dressing floors.
Slime catch pits: After
crushing and separating of the ore, water carried off the waste material
with the smallest ore particles which settled in the ‘slime catch pits’
lower down the field.
Engine house: (Approx.
22ft by 16ft) Housed the steam engine which kept the shaft and workings
free from flooding.
Boiler house: (Approx.
28ft by 12ft) A room built onto the north side of the engine house to
supply steam power to the main pumping engine and also the capstan and
winding engines. It is likely that 26ft long ‘Lancashire boilers’ were
Changing house: (Approx.
22ft by 5ft) A long narrow room built onto the south side of the engine
house for miners to change into work clothes before and after their
underground shifts. Fitted with steam pipes from the boilers for drying
Winder: A steam
winch used for raising men and equipment.
used for lowering heavy equipment into place, particularly in shaft
work. Possibly the 12” cylinder capstan engine offered for sale in 1893.
sharpening drill steels and manufacturing mining tools and equipment.
Weighing machine: Where
ore production figures were recorded.
drill steels, candles, tools etc were sold to miners.
Powder magazine: Where
explosives, detonators and fuses were stored. Situated a safe distance
away in a field to the south.
Un-named building: The
undated mine plan also shows a small building placed behind the smithy
and stores. This may have been a miners’ toilet and could be that
described in the 1893 sale catalogue as “galvanised iron removable
5 Miners lives
The hamlets of Dolphin and Milwr grew in size as a direct
consequence of local lead mining. The Glan-yr-Afon Inn, being 450 years
old will have witnessed the building of new homes to accommodate the
growing work-force during the 1700s, particularly after the driving of
Roskell’s Day Level (begun 1754) which drained all the Milwr, Herward and
Dolphin area veins to a depth of 300 feet below the Glan-yr-Afon Inn.
Based on the company cost-book and the 1881 census, half of
the forty-strong workforce lived within about half a mile of the mine,
half of those living on the doorstep at Dolphin. Living closest was John
Edwards ‘lead miner’ who was living at the Glan-yr-Afon Inn and working at
North Henblas Mine where he was earning 3/1d a day as a tunneller on
‘tutwork’ (A system of payment whereby groups of miners contract to work
at previously agreed rates, usually for shaft sinking or driving levels).
Next door at Derwen Cottage lodged William James Bew aged
40 “Manager of lead mines”, the manager at North Henblas Mine.
Forty three people lived at Dolphin (cottages?) in 1881, of
which nine were miners. Two of those were Isaac Lloyd (47), labouring at
the surface, and Evan Evans (56) who worked ‘at the pool cleaning ore’ and
also spent time ‘watching’ (a watchman) at the mine. A father and
two sons from Milwr worked at North Henblas: Thomas Jones (59) worked on
tutwork and in painting boilers, whilst his sons Edward (32) and William
(30) were at the pool washing ore, also earning 3/1d a day. It appears
that although men at North Henblas Shaft may have specialised in certain
mining skills, they were also adaptable and undertook any work required.
The cost-book shows
that in 1881 men and boys were employed underground driving a
level leading off North Henblas Shaft. Documentary evidence of boys
employed underground is uncommon: At the Kinnaird Commission enquiry of
1842, local mine companies claimed that boys only worked on the surface,
usually washing ore.
Although women were
sometimes employed ore washing on the mountain, only men or boys are
recorded as doing so at North Henblas Shaft.
The long and narrow changing room next to the engine-house
engine and fitted with hot pipes would have been of great comfort to the
men on cold Winter days, particularly those washing ore which may have
involved standing in water for much of the day with little protection from
the weather except perhaps basic corrugated iron roofing.
Although shaft sinking
work was wet and dangerous, conditions for the average underground miner
were not too unpleasant. The normal temperature of the workings was around
8 degrees Centigrade and has been described by other Halkyn miners as a
good temperature in which to work. Lighting was provided by tallow candles
(purchased by each miner from the company store) which burnt with a warm
yellow tinge and provided far more light
than most modern-day wax candles. Miners wore felt hats with a lump of
clay pressed to the front to hold a candle, thus providing hands-free
lighting. The matter of health and safety did not of course, receive the
attention it does today, each miner being largely responsible for his own
safety. A strike did occur however at the Grosvenor’s nearby Pant-y-Go
Mine when the company were accused of saving money by cutting down on
timber for shoring.
Religion was an important aspect of daily life to
the local miner and his family in the 1870s and 80s, and most attended
chapel regularly. In a passage below North Henblas Shaft, a Celtic cross
has been hammered onto the wall, below which a lump of clay appears to
have once held a candle to illuminate the cross, as shown below.
6 Modern day
It appears the site may have been
landscaped to some degree after the last mine building was removed. Earth
from this work covered and obscured the concrete cap built over the shaft.
Following the re-discovery of the shaft by the land-owner, Grosvenor
Caving Club became interested in the site and first descended the shaft in
April 2002. A year or so later, the United Cavers Exploration Team also
began exploration work. Both clubs have a continued interest in the mine
workings and further discoveries are regularly being made. The clubs also
maintain good relationships with the land-owner.
Initial work by the club included
assisting the land-owner to install a new and stronger concrete cap
following instructions set out in an engineer’s report. A scaffold
platform was then erected beneath the cap to act as a safe point for
future descents. Passages along the Pen-yr-Hwylfa vein total just a few
hundred metres in length. Consequently, club activity has centred on the
workings that lead off Roskell’s Day Level which, to the south, encompass
workings of Caeau Mine. To the north, workings are currently being
explored in the area of Herward vein.
Landing platform 330 feet below surface at the depth of
Roskell's Day Level Photo Glen Walker
Photo Martin Poole
A sample of the items represented in the
explored workings include:
A tapering metal candle holder (?)
about 30cms long.
A ‘Celtic cross’ hammered onto a
A dozen sections of wooden launder
(water trough), some sections partially suspended from passage
ceiling (each approximately 18cm x 18cm x 4 metre long), in Roskells’
Day Level (south of Dolphin vein).
Further sections of wooden launder
along passage floor, in Roskell’s Day Level (Herward vein area).
Jack-roll lying on passage floor.
Originally part of a complete windlass (known locally as a
Several shovels and picks.
Wooden wheel-barrow (in poor
Wood and iron banded kibble (in
Numerous detonator tins.
Timber ladder with iron rungs.
Timber wagon. In area of Herward
today continues in extending Roskell’s Day Level northwards towards its
portal, and in exploring the remaining veins drained by Roskell’s.
Timber launder originally suspended from passage roof at
the south end of Roskell's Day Level
Iron kibble for raising ore and waste materials to surface
Old jack-roll or turn-tree, part of a hand windlass for
winding buckets up an internal 'rise'
Back-filled passage off Roskells' Day Level
Roskell's Day Level looking south and showing the dip of
If any reader has information or photos
they'd like to add to this page, please get in touch.
A Extracts from the company cost-book
List of North Henblas miners 1879-80
Pitman: Peter Griffiths at £5 a month; also John Price with pitman
Miners (on tutwork) at 3/1d a day: John Edwards, Evan Williams,
Thomas Jones, Thomas Edwards.
pool (washing ore) at 3/1d per day: William Bryn (puddler), Thomas
Edwards (labourer), Thomas Edwards (labourer), William K. Jones
(labourer), Edward Jones (labourer), Evan Evan (labourer), Evan Williams
(labourer), John Price (labourer), Charles Williams (labourer), John
Jones (boy) at 2/0d a day, Robert Evans (boy) at 2/0d a day
Road making to clay, lifting pumps etc at 3/1d a day: William
Bryan, Thomas Edwards
Watching (watchman) at 3/- a day: Evan Evans
Carpenter: Peter Lloyd
Striking in Smithy: Charles Williams
Painting boilers at 3/1d a day: Thomas Jones, Richard Jones
Shaft work: Six day weeks at 3/6 or 3/1d a day
Boys @ 2/- a week: Thomas Evans, Thomas Lloyd, Peter Lloyd, William
Mason: William Bryan
Lawyer: Josh Kenrick
Blacksmith: Robert Roberts
Striker: Robert Evans
Also two engineers and two stokers
Supplies were issued by the company at their Stores a few yards to the
south of North Henblas Shaft (where the property known as Dysgwylfa now
Candles: between 6d and 8d a pound
Powder: between 6d and 8d a pound
Dynamite: 2/1d a pound
Caps (detonators): 4/- per 100
Coils of fuse: 8d per coil
Areas being worked:
by the company was being carried out at several locations at one time
namely, on the Pen-yr-Hwylfa vein itself, extending the old Roskell’s
Day Level to the south, and at Herward Mine, 300 metres to the north.
The following are typical of the cost-book entries:
miners driving 110 yard Bagshaw’s level west: One at £1-10-0 per yard,
Two at £2-10-0 per yard:
Timbering Herward Shaft at 3/1d a day: Painting boilers.
Opening up Roskell’s Cross: Timbering Herward Shaft.
Roskell’s Cross: Sinking new engine (North Henblas) shaft.
Driving 110 west of upper shaft: Driving south vein of Roskell’s:
Clearing Roskell’s Cross; Sinking Engine Shaft at £6 a yard.
Sinking Engine Shaft at £7 a yard: Driving cross-cut from Bagshaw’s 110
west: Driving south vein: Miners in Roskell’s getting lead.
Sinking Engine Shaft: Driving cross-cut from Bagshaw’s 110 west: Driving
south vein off Roskell’s.
Sinking engine shaft: Driving cross-cut from Bagshaw’s 110 west: Driving
south vein off Roskell’s.
Sinking engine shaft: Rising in roof of Bagshaw’s.
Sept 10th 1881
men and boys driving a level west from Engine Shaft
B 1881 Census
Mining families living closest to
North Henblas Mine
John Edwards (head) lead
Sarah Edwards (wife)
William James Bew (40)
lodger: Manager of lead mines
Edward Jones (57) head:
Stoker in lead mines
Geeorge Jones (15) son:
Stoker in lead mines
Thomas Hales (24) lodger:
Store-keeper in lead mines
Richard Hughes (38) head:
Martha Hughes (340 wife
Elizabeth Hughes (24)
daughter: General servant
Benjamin Jones (26) head:
Catherine Jones (21) wife
Isaac Lloyd (47) head
Catherine Lloyd (49) wife
Elizabeth Phillips (66(
head: Miners widow
Geoge Kennedy (32) head:
Evan Evans (56) head:
Sarah Evans (36) wife
Robert Evans (17) son:
Edward Evans (16) son:
Francis Evans (13) son:
James Price (64) head:
Maria Price (70) wife
Ann Nuttall (49) head:
Lead miner’s widow
John Price (41) head:
Susannah price (42) wife
Most of the remaining 24
living at Dolphin were labourers or employed at local farms.
Pen-yr-Hwylfa (at west
end of vein)
Robert Bagshaw (41) head:
Lead miner (linked to ‘Bagshaw’s 110 yard level’ at North Henblas
Hannah Bagshaw (40) wife
James Bagshaw (19) son:
Sarah Bagshaw (12)
John Bagshaw (10) son:
Daniel Bagshaw (6) son:
Peter Bagshaw (3) son
Llewelyn Bagshaw (1) son
Jane Edwards (36) head:
Lead miner’s widow
Edward Williams (31)
head: Lead miner
Frances Nuttall (48) head
(with his large family): Lead ore miner
The respected mining
engineer Henry Vercoe (37) lived a quarter of a mile to the north at
Maes Gwyn with his wife and three children. Vercoe was born in Cornwall
but moved with his family from Cumberland to work in local mines.
C Main sources
Maps & plans
25”:1mile Ordnance Survey
sheets (first & second editions)
Geological Survey sheets
6”:1mile (1913 editions).
Tithe maps (Holywell &
Abandonment Plans AB
88-91 Milwr Mine
Abandonment Plans AB
77-79 Herward Mine
Books & articles
Pennant: The History of
the Parishes of Whiteford & Holywell 1796
Jones, Walters &
Frost: Mountains & Orefields 2004
Ellis, Bryn: The History
of Halkyn Mountain 1998
Ebbs, Cris: The Milwr
Burt, Waite & Burnley:
The Mines of Flintshire & Denbighshire (Mineral Statistics) 1992
North, F.J.: Mining for
metals in Wales 1962
Lewis, W.: Lead Mining in
Bevan Evans, M.: Gadlys &
Flints Lead Mining in the 18th Century. Flints Hist. Soc Vols 18-20
Ure's Dictionary of Arts,
Manufactures and Mines 1867
Quant, V:. Lead Mining in
Rhodes, J.N.: The London
Lead Company in Wales 1972
Smith, B. Lead & Zinc
Ores in the Carboniferous Rocks of North Wales 1921
Kinaird Commission Report
Strahan, A.: Geology of
the neighbourhoods of Flint, Mold and Ruthin. 1890
CPAT Mines Index: http://www.cpat.org.uk/projects/longer/mines/minesidx.htm
of the National Association of Mining History Organisations: http://www.namho.org/
Documents and other sources
Catalogue of HDUM manuscripts
Catalogue of Grosvenor Estate manuscripts
Catalogue of Mostyns (Sir Thomas Mostyn) manuscripts
Catalogue of Mostyn of Talacre manuscripts
Catalogue of Keene & Kelly manuscripts
Companies House, London
Journals 1871 (pg 697) and 1872 (pg 307)
D/DM/186 North Henblas Mine cost-book. 1879 to 1907
D/DM/219/29 Mining reports 1877 – 1905
D/DM/219/30 Engineers reports.
D/DM/219/72 Francis Francis, ‘Mining Engineers & Share Broker’. Reports
on several mines. 1878
D/DM/224/73 Sale catalogue, mining equipment. Milwr Mine 1893
D/DM/224/14 Milwr Mine cost-book 1880. Each page headed: ‘North Henblas
D/DM/224/18 Wooden model showing veins at Milwr and Dolphin.
D/DM/219/28 Section along Caleb Bell cross-course
D/HM/43 Shafts sections onto tunnel
D/HM/44 as above
Indentures & letters 1858: N. Henblas & Queen of the Mountain
Map of Dolphin area
D/DM/186/10 N. Henblas cost-book 1879-1907
D/DM/244 Collection of papers relating to Milwr Mine
D/M/5171 Plan of N. Henblas Mine showing named mine buildings and land
D/M/5186 Herward. Correspondence re trials
D/M/5210 Herward. Plan of mining ground at Milwr & Dolphin 1860
List of mine leases and royalties
List of mine leases and royalties
List of leases & takenotes 1710 to 1881
List of mine leases 1851 to 1882
Grosvenor papers showing tonnages from each mine, inc North Henblas
Sale poster (large) 1866. Mine equipment at Billins
Sale poster (small) 1886-7. Mine equipment at Prince Patrick
D/GR/1535 Mining Journals
D/GR/1543 Mining Journals
D/GR/1688 Map of area at Halkyn to north
1799. Copied from Badeslade’s map
D/GR/1705 Roskell’s Day Level & Dolphin
D/GR/1789 Mine section along part of
Roskell’s Day level
D/GR/1793 Milwr Mines sections 1846 at
D/GR/1799 Roskell’s Day Level and veins.
D/HM/48 6” OS map marked with veins
between Holywell and Hendre
Cris Ebbs July 14th 2009