Tuesday, 3 November 2015

A short move

We had another email from CRT today confirming the Llangollen winter stoppages have been delayed until late November. Consequentially we can take more time to reach Llangollen.  Today we moved all of 300 metres stopping just short of Chirk Aqueduct. 

Many of the public footpaths through the local countryside have not been recorded on the Open Street Map and today I went for a walk to add a few to the map.  This also allowed me to take further photos of the aqueduct from a different perspective.

IMG_8580  The Bridge Inn is located on a bend of the B5070 road leading to Chirk. In the background are the Chirk Aqueduct and Viaduct.

A better look in the next photo.

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And then a closer look.

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The majority of the walk was to the east of the canal around Ifton and St Martins.  The area looks very rural but when I passed this next building I knew there must be something more to the local history.

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The sign above the main door states ‘Ifton Miners’.  It’s a former social club for miners employed at the nearby Ifton Collery.  The collery was the largest underground coal mine in Shropshire employing over 1500 men.  It closed in 1968 due to underground fire problems and the loss of its markets.  The pit was subsequently converted into an industrial estate.  Apparently much of Shropshire has an association with mining.  Coal deposits dot the county, with coalfields around Oswestry, Shrewsbury, Coalbrookdale, the Wyre Forest and the Clee Hills.  Metal deposits were mined at Llanymynerch and in a large swathe of south west Shropshire, with copper mines at Clive and nearby Weston.  You may recall I mentioned the Weston Branch canal in a post several days ago.  Most of the mines were worked by gangs of men controlled by a Chartermaster, who contracted the labour to mine owners. Chartermasters used to pay the men in rooms at local pubs.  An earlier version of labour hire companies where the employees had very little job security.

On the western outskirts of St Martins a large set of gates appeared from the mist.

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It’s the entrance to Bryngwilla Lodge.   From what I can work out the lodge was built in the early 19 century for Charlotte, Lady Dungannon. It’s also the southern gateway to the great house of Bryn-kinallt, first built in 1612.  It’s shown on 19th-century maps to be surrounded by a large park, designed around 1808.  There was no large building near the gatehouse (lodge) but eventually I found Bryn-kinallt gardens in Google Earth on the other side of the River Celriog to the east of Chirk.  That information allowed me to find a website about the estate <here> where I was able to read more about the history.  A few interesting points.  The estate was owned by the Trevor family (the village of Trevor is further along the canal) who can trace their history back to 942.  they are also descendants of Llewellyn the Great, who was Prince of Wales (1194-1240) and the Kings of Ireland.

In 1662 Marke Trevor was created 1st Viscount Dungannon by Charles II for gallantry, after wounding Oliver Cromwell at the Battle of Marston Moor.  The canal passed by Marston Moor and on looking at the map it isn’t far from Bryngwilla Lodge.  Marke Trevor didn’t have to go far to find Oliver Cromwell!

Brynkinalt Hall is still owned by the family.

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