Esgair Hir Mine

Esgair Hir Mine
Grid Reference: 


52° 30' 16.164" N, 3° 52' 0.84" W

Esgair Hir and Esgair Fraith mines were usually worked in conjunction as they where both on the same vein. Esgair Fraith is where most of the copper production came from in the output figures. The first record of activity was in 1691 when it was developed by Sir Carbery Pryse (who died in 1704) and the mine continued to be worked until 1708, with a recorded production of over 2000 tons of lead ore 1702-08.

There is circumstantial evidence that Esgair Fraith was being worked about this time. Later some work was undertaken in 1760 when a level was driven under the old workings, and a little work was done in 1788. It was not until 1839 that the mine was reopened, this lasted to 1849, with only 321 tons of lead ore recorded. About 1850 the mine was reopend and although 1353 tons of lead ore was produced for no profit, it closed again in 1857. The mine was back at work the following year, which lasted untill 1868 and produced 700 tons of copper ore and 72 tons of lead ore. The mine was to be worked on at least 6 more occasions, which finally ended in 1904.

The mine is also of some significance as it was possibly used to break the monopoly of the crown on Mines Royal in 1692. The mines came under the crown ownership if the Ag/Au content of the ore was more than the cost of mining and smelting. Sir Cadbury Pryse was in dispute with the Mines Royal agent over the silver content, the agent saying that the ore from Esgair Hir contained 60lbs per ton of lead ore, whilst Sir Cadburys assayer claimed that the ore only contained a few pounds.