Clwyd Metal Mines Survey
(also known as Holway United or Great Holway)
lies in the community of Holywell in the county of Flintshire. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SJ17907640.
The mine is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 102917 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.
Lead/Silver (Early 18th century-1906)
The Holway mines worked the northernmost veins of the Carboniferous Limestone Rocks of the Halkyn Mountain.
The early 18th century workings along the large vein that crossed the Holway Road and the strings that ran off it were opened up by the Quaker Company.
In the 19th century, the Holway United Mines, which incorporated Holway Consols and Great Holway worked in the vicinity of Holway, to the east of the old A55 or Holway Road in the wasteground that runs downhill from the Fire Station to the dressing floor
area in the valley lying south-west of Springhill Farm (SJ18207650).
The Holway Rake and the Holywell Level, working from 1845-72 are referenced for the area surrounding Holway Cottage Farm (SJ17407650), the site of the old whimsey shaft. A single shaft and mound is identifiable in this area in a field behind The Hetlands
at SJ17457644. Eyton's Shaft at SJ17427684 (PRN 103435) lies to the north of St Bueno's Church. The shafts that lie behind the housing to the south-west of the Holway in this area are associated with other mines.
Several large shafts run downhill eastwards, sloping away from the Holway Road. A shaft at SJ17867634 is immediately alongside the Holway Road.The shaft appearing as an overgrown grass mound at SJ17947630 is probably Garden Shaft and the former site of a
20" pumping and winding engine.A shaft remains as an overgrown grass mound at SJ17927640, probably Brammocks. A very substantially capped shaft at SJ17807646, lies behind the new housing directly under electricity pylons.
Roskells' Shaft was sunk by the Great Holway Mining Company in 1877 ( Roskell being one of the mine agents ) and, in 1919 pumps were installed to raise water to supply the town of Holywell. It is probably the main shaft in the valley being substantially
capped with a 3m square concrete slab at SJ18027644.
A second shaft remaining visible at SJ18157637 has been used as a household dump.
Holway East and Freehold also formed part of the late 19th century sett.
A mineral tramway ran east to west along the valley floor connecting the workings around Eyton's Shaft with the dressing floor areas and continuing westwards down the Greenfields Valley. The present public footpaths appears to follow the line of the
tramway which crosses the road east of St Winefred's Well.
Documentary evidence (Bayles 1969) refers to pumping engines in operation on the sett in 1877 as a 20" rotary pumping and winding engine on the eastern shaft, purchased in the 1860s from Spearne Moor Mine in Cornwall.
On Partridge Shaft a 10" horizontal pumping and winding engine; a 16" winding and crushing engine, which produced 200 tons of ore a day and a 65" 8 x 8ft pumping engine with 18" square main rods working New Engine Shaft with two 18" bucket lifts.
The 80" (12x10ft) with 22" pumps and 4 boilers was purchased from the New Pembroke Mine in Cornwall for œ1,200 in 1877. This semms to have been erected on Roskells' Shaft in 1878.
The shaft at SJ1802744 has stonework protruding from it with two small metal plates and bolts on its northern side. On its southern side, the stonework remains of a possible winding wheelpit and the foundation walls of a possible engine house. The feature
is cut by a well-used public footpath, which it probably underlies. Eight mounting bolts protrude from the stonework varying in height from inches to a metre, indicating machinery probably associated with winding. The stonework is barely visible, but a
boiler house foundation could lie to the east of it.
A little water remains in the pools alongside the public footpaths to the north-west of the engine house site, which would have served the dressing floors.
The mines were drained by the Holway 'boat level' which was begun in 1774. The level provided the main access to the mines for the workmen and was also used formerly as a canal for conveying ore out by barge. Late 18th century accounts (Pennant) refer to
the level being used as a tourist attraction, with picnics being laid out in caverns. By 1830, the boats had been replaced by a tramway. The portal for the 'boat level' stands at SJ18427637 fronting the lane that runs up from the old cotton mill and St
Winefred's Well. An iron gate blocks the entrance, one metre wide and set in a dressed stone archway. Stone steps descend to the level through an arched brick tunnel, which runs on to the natural rock roof.
The level was superseded in 1897 by the Milw Sea-level tunnel or the Holywell-Halkyn Drainage Scheme as it is known. The Holywell-Halkyn Mining and Drainage Company was formed in 1896 to unwater lodes in the Holywell District. The mines in this area at the
end of the 19th century were still having difficulty coping with the problems of flooding, despite the installation of expensive pumping-plant and machinery.
Roskell's Shaft was used from 1917 to raise water to supply the town of Holywell.
Considerable dressing floor waste lies in the vicinity of the stream and the pool which still holds water at SJ18257605.
A sunken area to the east of the shaft and household dump (SJ18157637) is the likely site of the buddles, further buddles and dressing floors lay to the west but the area is overgrown with dense vegetation.
Old stone walls survive to 2m in part alongside the track at SJ18417637. Generally lost in undergrowth and patched up with brick, they seem to form a two-roomed rectangular building, with each room approx 2 x 4m. The walls are substanstial, approx 2ft
wide. The building lies slightly to the west of the Boat Level portal.
At SJ18437637, three brick-built reservoirs lie alongside the track to the east of the portal. Sluices connect the three. The two west tanks are approx 6 x 8m with parapet walls approx 18" wide and the eastermost reservoir approx 30m x 10m, with two sluice
gates towards its eastern end. All three must relate to the mills in the Greenfield Valley and to date (June 1993) are full of slime and rubbish, although water is still running.
The valley area along the public appears to have been used until recently as a household dump, which has now been cleared of debris.
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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