Victorian Powys for primary  schools
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Llanwrtyd and district
Earning a living
  Mining in the area  

Under the windswept hills of North Western Breconshire lie veins of mineral ores, particularly lead. For a while in the late 18th and early 19th centuries men worked underground in shafts and tunnels to get at these minerals. Although these remote mines were on a small scale they were important to the area during the earlier years of Victoria's reign.

  map of two local minesThe lead mine at Nant-y-brain to the SW of Abergwesyn is typical of these remote mines. In the 1840s the lead the miners found looked very promising and hopes were high that a fortune could be made. The manager Mr Couch treated the miners to a roast bullock and six barrels of good ale at Christmas in 1846. Some of the miners were experienced men brought in from Cornwall especially. They lodged in local farms or lived in a building at Pengwaith nearby which was like a barracks. Living and working in this remote place must have been hard and fights were common. On one occasion a miner was killed after a quarrel!
The amounts of lead extracted were never as high as was hoped and transport was difficult and expensive in this area. The mine struggled on for a number of years but was eventually closed in 1876.
  The map above shows two of the local mines and gives us an impression of the mountainous landscape they were sited in. The mine at Cefn coch produced both lead and copper.
There were also mines at Nant Gyrnant, Cynnant Fach and over the mountain to the North East there were 3 mines in the remote Rhiwnant valley in Llanwrthwl parish.

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