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Dyffryn Tanat and Region Development Trust
Chairman Ken Owen QGM
Consultant David Higman MBE

Sweeney Colliery

The Sweeney Pit was sunk by Thomas Ireland & Co. about 1836 and is shown on the 1837 Ordnance Survey map just to the right of the Oswestry to Llanymynech road (the current B5069) at Grid Reference 32893274). The pit was leased by Edward Croxon in 1842 who had also acquired the lease to the Drill Colliery a short distance north west from Thomas Ireland & Co. The coal seams worked by the Sweeney shafts were Rover at 419 feet, Black Shale at 435 feet, Upper Four Foot at 477 feet and Thick or Six Foot at the foot of the shaft at 499 feet. The Sweeney pit was however prone to flooding and from the mid 19th Century the coal seams were worked from the Drill Colliery.

1875 map showing the mine shaft in the Sweeney Brick Works site

Source Wilf Jones

Blown up image of the Sweeney Brick Works showing the mine shafts in 1875. Note that this map shows the two shafts to the right of the word shafts one above and one below.. At present the whole site has been sold for housing (November 2014)

Blown up image of the brickworks site in 1901 only showing one shaft and a chimney to the right of the building.

Source Ken Owen

Tracing of a document showing the underground workings leading out from the Sweeney Colliery about 1840.

Source Gordon Hillier

Tracing showing the underground workings of Sweeney Pit in the 1840/50's.

Source Gordon Hillier.

This document shows the extreme difficulty that the miners would have encountered as the dug down to find the coal seams. After digging down through various stratas, it was not until they reached 370 feet did they find the first coal seam (2 inches thick!!!) They continued down to 419 feet where they found a 2foot 3 inches seam. Down again to 433 feet to a 2 foot 9 inches seam. 435 feet to a 1foot 3 inches seam. 477 feet to a 2 foot seam and 499 feet to a thick seam ofr 3feet 4 inches..

Source Gordon Hillier.

Recent photo taken (May 2018) of the top of the south pit at Sweeney brickworks unearthed during excavation works by a contractor preparing the site for a housing development. This shows the corner of a brick cap covering the mouth of the pit (probably 27 feet in diameter). The development has been suspended until further exploratory work is carried out.

Source Ken Owen

Recent photo of a building south of the above photo of the capped pit at Sweeney brickworks site. This building is in a poor state of repair and was believed for many years to have been garages. However looking at the front of the building and the wooden slats above the doors has led us to believe that this building had housed the pit ponies which would have been taken down either of the two pits that have been identified on this historic site. It is hoped that the building will not be destroyed if and when the building development takes place.

Source Ken Owen
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