NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 2003

TRUST WORKING WEEKEND AT CATHERINE & JANE CONSOLS MINE The WMPT held a successful working weekend at Catherine & Jane Consols Mine. The Trust is very grateful to the owners Tilhill Economic Forestry for granting access permission. Thanks are also due to Harold Morris for his help in preparing the weekend. Vegetation clearance work was carried out at four locations:1) The Engine House. Vegetation was cleared from the building remains. The building remains were also surveyed. The “Smithy” Vegetation was cleared from the building remains, the area around the building was also cleared. Underneath the ground cover we found and exposed two small flights of steps, and several walls. One of our group is skilled in dry stone wall building and has made a start at rebuilding the wall at the far end, hopefully this work will continue over the winter. The undergrowth screening the entrance to the Middle adit, just below the Smithy was left in place, so as not to tempt casual visitors to enter it. 3) 4) Wheelpit of Bigland’s 35ft pumping waterwheel. Vegetation was cleared from this structure and the walls of the pit exposed. Lower Dressing Floor area. A start was made clearing the area, the slate floor was found and several slabs were exposed. The area around the two wheelpits was cleared, several large pieces of rock from the wall of the lower wheelpit were removed from the stream, improving its flow. A flight of steps was also discovered and exposed.

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My thanks to the following members of the Trust and the Welsh Mines Society who attended over the weekend, Bob and Mrs Barnes, David Bick, Nigel Chapman, Lyndon Cooper, Bryan Grimstone, John Hopkinson, Simon Hughes, Tony King, Harold Morris, Dave Seabourne and Paul Smyth. There are some other interesting buildings and the upper dressing floors that still remain buried in undergrowth. It is hoped that we can arrange another weekend next year to carry on the work. The Trust will also be working with Tilhill Economic Forestry on the provision of an “interpretation board” at the mine to explain to visitors the history of the mine.

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The Engine House Remains following vegetation clearance.

Nigel Chapman carrying out a survey of the building.

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When we arrived the remains of the “Smithy” completely obscured by undergrowth.

Paul Smyth makes a start on rebuilding a wall, Lyndon Cooper takes a breather, after discovering a flight of steps buried beneath a carpet of undergrowth.

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Close up of the steps.

L to R Simon Hughes, Harold Morris, Nigel Chapman, Lyndon Cooper, Dave Seabourne and Bryan Grimstone.

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The “Smithy” building following the weekends work.

Bigland’s Wheelpit walls were exposed.

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Lower dressing floor area before work started.

Lower dressing floor after exposure of slate slab floor.

WEST FEDW TO ROOKHOPE.

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Thanks to Nigel Chapman for the following article. The recent working weekend at the Catherine and Jane Mine with its remains of a rotative steam engine house reminded me of another at a Welsh lead Mine. My story commences with the formation of the Tankerville Mining Company in 1870. Among the directors was a Samuel York of Shifnal later Wolverhampton, who became involved in the creation of the Rookhope Lead Mining Company in 1872. This company had taken leases of a large lead sett in County Durham and proposed to develop three mines in the Rookhope Valley. As several of the directors had links to the Tankerville Co. they employed Capt. Arthur Waters Manager of Tankerville Mines to produce a report on the Rookhope Mines. He compared them to the Tankerville and Roman Gravels Mines in Shropshire and was soon appointed as Manager at Rookhope. This company commenced by developing two mines under the names of Stotfieldburn and Brandon Walls in the Rookhope Valley with a capital of £60,000 in shares of £4 each. Most of the reports written by Capt. Waters were to find their way into the Mining Journal and make interesting reading. During July 1872 Capt. Waters suggested the purchase of a steam winding and pumping engine for the Stotfieldburn Mine, going so far as to suggest the 36 inch engine then standing at the West Fedw Mine in Radnorshire Mid Wales. This report was not only studied but acted upon as the West Fedw engine and a large Cornish boiler were purchased and transported to the Rookhope Valley. The construction of the engine house at Stotfieldburn was commenced by September 1872 and continued over the Winter and into 1873. At the same time the shaft for the engine to work was sunk to a depth of 42 fathoms and dressing floors were laid out. The engine was to wind and pump from the shaft and during quiet moments drive an ore crusher as well! On April 14th 1873 before an invited audience including Directors and staff the engine was steamed for the first time in its new house. It was stated to have “given every satisfaction.” Having raised and crushed lead ore and kept the mine dry, the engine was finally stopped early in 1882 when the mines closed and was mentioned as for sale in October. It probably stood on the mine until at least 1884, before its probable scrapping. N. A. Chapman.

- 8 MINING JOURNAL PROJECT Mining Journal project is on hold at the moment - our advances towards EU (InterReg IIIA and B) funding were rejected on the grounds that 1) the MJ covered a greater area than the Irish Sea border and 2), when approaching the wide Atlantic area was not addressing their interest in the physical environment. Will now approach independent funding trusts but probably with NAMHO, i.e. UK national, backing rather than as a Welsh / Irish consortium. Peter Claughton DAVID BICK’S FIELD NOTES I have commenced work on a project with David Bick to scan his Field Notes into a digital format. I am hoping every six months to place them on the Welsh Mines Society web site. The first edition will appear March 2004. These field notes formed the basis of David’s series of books “The Old Metal Mines of Mid Wales”, “Old Copper Mines of Snowdonia” and many other publications and articles, over the years. I must thank David for making his field notes available to a wider audience. NEW MEMBERS The Dyfed Archaeological Trust known as Cambria Archaeology have joined the Trust for 2004, Welcome.