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Brymbo is well-known for having one really noteworthy archaeological find: Brymbo Man. However, we can assume that a lot of other interesting artefacts would have been dug up in the area before the 20th century, when such finds began to be well-recorded. There were, for example, the early burials that were supposed to have been uncovered at Adwy’r Clawdd in the 19th century. Another was the armour said to have been dug out of the mound (variously stated to be a tumulus or an early-mediaeval motte) at Plas Cadwgan  and which subsequently disappeared. R V Kyrke wrote to Alfred Palmer and said that workmen employed by his uncle, James Kyrke, had once uncovered a Roman altar at Ffrith. This had also gone missing, and although R V Kyrke had once owned a drawing of it, he had loaned it to an “antiquary” who promptly lost it. I suppose that we are lucky to have artefacts such as the Mold Cape at all, given how much was destroyed, thrown away, stolen or melted down in the period.

One interesting yet brief description appeared in Samuel Lewis’s Topographical Dictionary of Wales, first published in 1833. In describing Brymbo township, Lewis adds:

That remarkable monument of Saxon industry, Clawdd Offa or Offa’s Dyke, passes through this township, crossing near Brymbo Hall, where it has been levelled for the formation of rail-roads in connexion with the collieries and iron-works: in levelling a portion of it, a great quantity of the bones of horses, in a state of excellent preservation, and horse-shoes of rude workmanship, were found.”

Like all too many 19th century archaeological finds, these were all the details given.

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I have seen it written that before the arrival of John Wilkinson in Brymbo there was only one coal pit in the area. It is true that after 1790 there was a huge expansion of mining activity in the township, especially on Wilkinson’s estate, and even more so after he began smelting iron there. However, a closer examination of records provides a lot of evidence of other, earlier coal workings. Who worked these coal pits, and where exactly were they?
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This is site about Brymbo, a township once part of Denbighshire, and its history. You can read more about the site in general, start with the most recent posts or with the archives listed below.