Amlwch Industrial Heritage Trust

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The Parys Mountain penny was first struck in 1787 and continued in various forms (and a number of forgeries) until 1817.  Halfpennies were also made.  It is believed that altogether over 10 million coins were issued.
Parys Mountain - A Special Place

A Brief History of the Mines at Parys Mountain

It was not until the mid-eighteenth century that the first major ore deposit of the modern industrial era (the "Golden Venture Lode") was discovered by Jonathan Roose. His tombstone and eulogy may be seen today in Amlwch churchyard. At this time the mountain was divided between two owners leading to the development of adjoining mines, the Mona Mine to the East (owned by an ancestor of the present Marquess of Anglesey) and Parys Mine to the West.

The copper from these two mines dominated the world's markets in the 1780s. It was used to sheath the admiralty's wooden ships of war, in order to prevent the growth of seaweed and barnacles and to prevent boring by worms. This increased their manoeuvrability and made possible Nelson's victories. The post-war slump and diminishing accessible ore reserves, together with competition from cheaper ores from abroad, led to the decline of the mines and to the end of deep mining in the 1880s.

The ore was initially worked on the surface from shallow shafts and then by open-pit mining (Opencasts) and later underground from adits and from shafts up to 300m deep. The ore was broken into small lumps by hand, the best ore being transported by ship from Amlwch Port to Lancashire or South Wales for smelting. Copper was concentrated and extracted from the the remainder using kilns and furnaces on site and at Amlwch Port itself. It was also discovered that purer metal could be obtained efficiently, although in small amounts, by its precipitation from drainage water with scrap iron in purpose-built ponds.

Associated with the mines, other important chemical industries were established on the mountain based on by-products, such as ochre pigments, sulphur, vitriol and alum. The eighteenth century miners recognised that they were following in the steps of much earlier workers, an observation that was then linked to the discovery locally of copper ingots bearing Roman inscriptions. Recently, excavations have enabled surface debris to be dated to nearly four thousand years old, (the early Bronze Age), and access has also been regained to the sealed underground workings of Parys mine revealing evidence for this ancient mining. Parys Mountain is thus an addition to the very few sites in Britain, such as the Great Orme, where there is evidence for the prehistoric beginnings of our British metal mining industry. It is therefore internationally important both as a historic mine and as an archaeological site.

Parys Mountain - A Special Place

© 1996-2010
  Anglesey Mining plc
Parys Mountain, Amlwch,
Anglesey, LL68 9RE, UK
  Phone  +44 1248 361333