Parys Underground Group / Grwp Tanddaearol Parys

Old Maps of Parys mountain

A crude map from Queen Elizabeth I times (c1580)  is preserved at the Public records office. (PRO SP45/36 MPF11). The title of the map is "A ploote of the woorkes and havens now fit for that purpose.". It shows the havens of Amlwch and Dulas and gives distances to the copper works which would locate then on the eastern side of Parys mountain in the area now know as Hen Waith or old workings. 

It is known from the records of Sir John Wynn of Gwydir that "a great mineral works" was established by Medley on the mountain by around 1579. A smelting works had also been established at Neath in South Wales. It is likely that the map showed the location of safe havens for the export of copper ore from Parys and another mine close to Dulas.

In 1748 Lewis Morris published a small volume of 25 sea charts of the North Wales coast. He described Amlwch :-

"I do not think it worthwhile to publish a plan of this place as it is now, because it is no more than a cove between two steep rocks where a vessel hath not room to wind, even at high water. But a large vessel might be saved here in case of necessity , provided the mouth of the harbour can be discovered which is now difficult for a stranger ...  Two white houses for landmarks , one on each side of the harbour's mouth , would make the entrance conspicuous to any stranger , the eastern most Mouse , a small island near the place , being a good direction till you come close to the shore."

In the middle of the 18th Century Parys mountain was jointly owned by two great Anglesey estate families.  The Cerrig y bleddia farm on the eastern flank of the mountain was wholly owned by the Sir Nicholas Bayley of Plas Newydd. The Parys farm to the west was jointly owned by Bayley and William Lewis of Llys Dulas. The boundary between the two farms was indistinct and of little importance. In 1753 Bayly leased William Lewis's portion of Parys farm for 25 per annum.

In 1761 with the encouragement of Alexander Frazier, Sir Nicholas Bayley began to explore for copper at Cerrig y bleddia farm. Copper was discovered but the inflow of water soon meant that the workings had to be abandoned. The location of these early working may be indicated in a diagraph at Bangor University.

( MMS 3363). This shows two shafts, "First Adventures" and "Cornish Adventures"

A note on the map says " Does not this apply to the South Lode visible on the surface a little to the south of Hen waith."  The location of the shafts would appear to be close to land owned by Lord Buckly.

In 1764 Bayley decided not to work the mine himself but to lease it to Messers Roe and co of Macclesfield for an annual rent.

One of the first surviving maps from this period is that drawn by John Reynolds in 1764.(Harwarden record office D/KK/534  Plan of Parys Mountain, 1764). The location of the mountain between roads to Amlwch , Llanerchymedd and Llanelian can be determined. 

The map was drawn to show the lands belonging to Plas Newydd and indicate that Bayley wholly owned Cerrig y bleddia and a moity share in Parys farm. The map makes it clear that the CyB lands were leased to  "The Macclesfield company"  However the exact dividing line between the CyB and Parys farms is not shown.
About 150 yards east of the CyB farm house is an area marked "new works began 3 years ago" This covers an area of 150*50 yards and the map may indicate two shafts or buildings within this area.
Further east again about 600 yards, on the boundary between CyB lands and those of Lord Bulkely is another area marked " New works" with another area marked "Old works" just to the north west.
Sixty yards west of CyB farm is another area marked "Old workings". From the map this might be a shallow drift mine. Similar to that referred to by John Owen in 1761who reported to William Morris that a horse of the Steward of the Archdeacon of Merionydd also stumbled into some ancient workings on the mountain. There was said to be a deep gully made by horse hooves, ore like that John Owen and Alexander  Frazier were working at Rhosmanach and lumps of copper melted during the period of ancient workings. 

Two hundred yard further west is another area of "old workings" Two hundred yards further west again is an area marked "Old roman workings"
While 430 yard to the south west, in an area  near the present Mona yard  is an area marked " The old washing place". Just to the west of the this area is an area marked in red, indicating it's lease to  "The Macclesfield company".
This area extends 400 yards west and has a maximum breadth of about 50 yards. A mineral well is also marked which may have been the source for  Medleys experiments in 1579.

The Reynolds map hence shows a series of workings over a span of time stretching from "Old roman workings" or "Old workings" to those started in 1761 and the leased area for "The Macclesfield company" to work as off 1764. All of these workings were in the area of land held by CyB farm.

The workings of Roe and Co were said to have encroached onto the Parys farm land in1770. A few years later Thomas Williams became involved with the legal arguments between the two land owners.

A map showing the dividing line between the two estates was drawn for Thomas Williams by  John  Southern in 1776. This is said to have been based on the " Church footpath from Trysglwyn fawr" across the mountain. (MMS 405). The boundary line was a zig zag with a number of defined points marked on the ground. One of the marks was said to be just to the north east of the Smiths house at the mine. A second position marker was on a building in the Brimstone yard. Other marks on the ground were later destroyed by the digging of the great opencast. The John Southern map showed the position of the later named  "Boundary Shaft" to be 11 feet 6 inches into the Parys mine area.

The Archives at Bangor University have another map of the Mona  mine dated around 1786 (MMS31603).  The boundary between the Mona and Parys mines is marked This map shows that the Mona mine company had built a " new Yard" in the present position.. Just to the North of the yard building were the "Upper Iron Pits" these fed two reservoirs to the East and then run down into further iron pits. Both these features have now been covered by latter spoil and workings. 

Just to the North of the Iron pits 144 individual numbered shafts are shown.  Five of these shaft have markings to suggest some sort of horse whimsey in operation. This is the area which is now occupied by the Hillside open cast. The index on the map makes it clear that there have been a number of recent falls in this area some of which were being worked as open cast.. It is likely that these falls may have eventually created the western part of the Great Open cast and the Hillside open cast. One area of fall is noted as being "at the back of Mr Roose's house" The map shows a row of 6 building in this area which is 130 yds North of the Mona mine yard.

An assay office and Smithy are also recorded in this area. These two features line up with the Golden venture shaft which is indicated 300 yds NE of the smithy. To the South of the Mona Yard, just over the border with the Parys mine, buildings and Iron pits belonging to Hughes and co are recorded.  The buildings appear to be about the same size as the Mona yard but are now lost under rubble. Further Iron pits are shown in Dyffyn Coch together with a few more smaller buildings.

In 1801 William Morris produced a sea chart of the area around Amlwch. In contrast to the work of Lewis Morris 50 years earlier, Amlwch port was shown. The location of  "Parys Mountain Great Copper mines" are also shown.

Mona manuscript 31602 at Bangor University is a copy of a map of Parys mine drawn by Hugh Hughes and dated around 1815.
The location of the open cast is clearly marked. As is the boundary between the Mona and Parys mines and the Parys mine store yard. The building of Hughes and co shown on the 1786 map are still present, as are the precipitation pits in Dyffryn coch. A "pump for raising water for the pits" is shown in the position we now call the South engine or water whimsey shaft. The North rim of the open cast is shown to have 3 horse whimseys and 3 hand whimseys. They are also depicted in Havels paintings of the mine from 1802.

To the North of the open cast is an area which is marked as "ground for copper kilns" with the Mona and Parys mine brimstone yards just further north again. Just to the west of the brimstone yard an " old Roman shaft" is indicated as was shown in the Reynolds map of 1764. The map also indicates the  position of the air shafts on the joint level.

Mona Mines manuscript 3362 is an elaborate Illustration of the levels at Cerrig Y bleddia and Stephens shafts in 1816. Each of these shafts is shown with a horse whimsey in position. 
Four lower levels are shown for each shaft with the position of  ladders and hand whimseys shown.

The areas which were worked by the "Old Company" and the "New company" are marked as are the names of the lead miners for each " Bargain" illustrated.

A Surface plan showing the location of "The Anglesey copper mines" on Parys Mountain was made by Mr Dawson in 1818. A copy was said to exist in Mona Lodge in 1850. (MMS3675) A letter dated 14/1/1819 was sent by Mr Dawson to Sanderson asking for 20 Guineas  as payment for the surface map. (MMS 215)  He also offered to draw maps of the underground area. 

In November 1832 it was alleged by Mona Mine officials that some of the zig zags in the Southern map of 1776 had been straightened out by agreement between Thomas Williams, Jonathon Roose and John Price with a equal share of the new straight line boundary being divided between Mona and Parys mines. The "Boundary Shaft" now marked the position of the dividing line.(MMS405).

Steven Roose, who seems to have been a mine manager at the Parys mine was concerned that work being carried on a new underground section by Treweek of the Mona Mine had crossed over into the Parys Mine.  To try to establish the correct boundary line Roose commissioned a Capt William Francis to produce a new map based on the original work by Southern.

The layout of the mine had been dramatically changed from the time of the Southern map due to the creation of the Great Open cast.  There was much discussion between Sanderson of the Mona Mine and Roose of the Parys mine over the exact boundary for many months.(MMS 405). 
It was alleged by Roose that the Boundary shaft which had been built to give access to the underground Joint level drainage adit although built and paid for equally by Mona and Parys mines had been dig on the Parys side of the line. The matter was final resolved by a court case in September 1835 when Parys mine gained 2000 yd2 from the Mona mine.

There is another map in the British Library by J Brigs in 1824 (BL Maps Shelf mark 6135(1) ) which show the lands of Henry William Marquis of Anglesey. This map shows features very similar to the Francis map and includes the pearl engine house which was built in 1819.

The Mona manuscripts also refer to a map drawn by John Brown in 1835 (MMS 3675) His report on the mine's condition for 1852 is recorded in MMS 3358. Manuscript 3360 shows a small sketch of the working shafts in the Mona Mine.

By 1856 the underground operations at both mines were coming to an end. A final " abandonment plan" was produced which also showed the underground workings of the two companies. This was passed to the John Taylor company who took over operations at the Mona mine.

In 1859 a Henry Dennis of Rhiwabon draw a number of plans of operations at both mines. (MMS31584). He listed shafts which were no longer operational as Dinorben, Coronation, Hughes, South Engine, Old engine, Colonels, Boundary footway, Boundary, Shaft fawr.  

Shifts still being worked included, Hughes incline, Morgans, Buckeyes, Cerrig y doll, new open cast, Parys footway , Brimstone, Quarry, Dyers, Marias, Gwen and Western

In 1880 a new company managed by Thomas Fanning Evans and John Wynne Paynter took over the operation on the Mona mine. In 1889  Richard Bridstow was commissioned to produce a new map of both mines.(MMS 31590)

This map shows the location of both the "Old Tiddy" and Tiddy Newydd" shafts. It also gives the location of both Lemins shaft and "Old Lemins" shaft. neither of which are shown on the 1856 map. Another small shaft called "Cwt" was also operational close to the Francis shaft. All of these shafts were in the Mona mine area. The map also indicated the presence of a "New engine" at the top of the hillside incline plain.

The 1st edition OS map of the mountain was drawn in 1891 and show most of the features which are still visible today.