Sick as a Parrot Part 2

Postscript [Booksellers] at

are advertising a couple of mining books at a reduced price:

#33514 Subterranean Shropshire by Steve Powell was £11.99 now £4.99.  Remind 
me not to buy anymore books published by Tempus.

Here is a review I did earlier

SUBTERRANEAN SHROPSHIRE by Steve Powell 2002  128 pp  97 illus, photos, line 
drawings, surveys etc. SB £11.99 Tempus Publishing Ltd, Stroud, Glos.

This book describes an incredible collection of caves, both natural and 
man-made, mines, canal tunnels, and ice houses in and around the country of 
Shropshire.  Many of these sub-surface voids are in danger of disappearing 
for ever due either to the ravages of time or the whims of landowners who 
wish to sanitise their property.  The book, the result of ten years work is 
a timely record of sites, some which have been filled in, or are likely to 
be lost, either now or in the future.  Steve Powell has obviously put 
considerable effort into researching the subterranea and has uncovered many 
obscure references.

Upper Ceriog Cave was first mentioned by Balch and Baker in 1907, and then 
lost, only to be rediscovered by the Shropshire Mining Club in 1962 using 
old photographs.  The entrance has remained sealed for over 30 years as the 
landowner is very hostile to any exploration.

Shropshire had it own Robin Hood who robbed the rich and befriended the 
poor.  Not a lot of people know that!  His name was Humphrey Kynston and 
although of noble birth, he became an outlaw and lived in a cave with his 
horse.  The cave, which still bears his name today is situated in the Cliff 
of Ness, near the village of Nescliffe.

Bridgnorth is the cave capital of Shropshire.  In 1934 it is claimed that 
the total number of caves in the locality was around 250 and although this 
number cannot be substantiated today the area still resembles a piece of 
gorgonzola cheese.  The Hermitage Caves are said to date from Saxon times 
and it is reputed that between AD 912 and AD 924 Aethelward, the second son 
of King Edward the Elder and the grandson of King Alfred was the first 
hermit to seek refuge and sanctuary there.  During the 18th and 19th 
centuries these caves were inhabited by the poor people of the area.  Five 
generations of the Taylor clan lived in these cave until an unfortunate 
incident in November 1928.  Cyril Taylor lived in one of the rock houses and 
led a comfortable life, living off the land, until he had the misfortune to 
find a pheasant in his rabbit snare.  This in turn led to his eviction and 
the end of an era.

I thought I knew this area well, as it is right on my doorstep, but thumbing 
through this book, I find that I have visited fewer than 40 % of the caves.  
Needless to say I am very much looking forward to using this book to visit 
the rest in the very near future.



# 35626  The Copper King / A biography of Thomas Williams of Llanidan by J R 
Harris 192 pp HB published by Landmark at £19,95 now available from 
Postscript for only £7.99.  Remind me not to buy any books published by 

For members who have not heard of Thomas Williams and the Parys Mountain 
Copper Mine here is a snippet from:

2nd march 1768
"The Great discovery" A large quantity of ore was found by a miner called 
Rowland Puw. For his work he was given a bottle of Whiskey and a rent free 
cottage for the rest of his life
Following the discovery it was suddenly realised that the mountain held a 
great deal of wealth in copper. It was no longer just a place for sheep 
grazing. The boundary line between the Cerrig Y Bleddia land belonging to 
Plas Newydd and Parys farm that belonging to Llys Dulus suddenly became 
important. Disputes between the landowners started and became fiercer. Legal 
challenges lead to local lawyer called Thomas Williams getting involved.
Thomas William's legal work led to the formation of the Parys Mine company 
in 1774. With Jonathan Roose as his technical expert. Over the next few 
years Williams' influence and skills grew Warehouses, offices, roasting 
kilns and smelters were set up on the mountain or in Amlwch Port.
The Greenfield copper works was built to make articles out of the refined 
copper from the smelters at Amlwch Port.
A new patent meant that only Thomas Williamís could supply the copper bolts 
& sheathing used by the Navy to protect ships from attack by a wood eating 
sea worm A contract for 25,000 bolts were week was obtained by Thomas 
Williams who was actually supply 40,000 per week. Copper sheathing was used 
on Nelsonís ship Victory at the battle of Trafalgar.
Thomas Williams gained management control of the Mona Copper mine. His power 
and influence was so strong that other producers especially those in 
Cornwall were subservient to him. From 1785 almost all of the Cornish output 
of copper ore was also sold by Thomas Williams via a new company called the 
Cornish Metal company.
31 smelting furnaces with chimneys 41 foot high had been built at Amlwch 
Port to refine the ore.
The poor quality and lack of local supply of the coin meant that by 1786 
Thomas William was considering producing his own coinage with which to pay 
his workers. The coin that was struck, first in 1787, was an elegant copper 
The observe of the coin showed a Druid's head surrounded by a wreath of oak 
leaves and acorns. Thomas Williams lived at Plas LLanidan over looking the 
Menai Straits. His home was close to the battle fields of the Romans and 
Druids in AD61 and AD76. It is thought that this influenced the design of 
his coin.
The reverse of the coin showed a PMC design which stood for the Parys Mining 
Company. The design also had the words:- We promise to pay the bearer one 
penny On demand in London , Liverpool or Anglesea." This served as a 
reminder that the coins were "Trade tokens" and not official coins of the 
Thomas Williams had to get coal and other raw materials into Amlwch port and 
Copper out to his customers. He helped establish the Amlwch Shipping company 
in 1788. He was responsible for getting an act of parliament in 1793 to 
widen the port.
Thomas Williams died. At about the same time the output and quality of ore 
from the great open cast declined.


Postscript has it own `Dogsí [a technical term used by booksellers for books 
that do not sell]
35624 The Continuum Encyclopedia of Symbols by Udo Becker 345 pp published 
by Continuum at £16.99 is being given away free with your order.

Cheers - Tony Oldham
1 Riverside Mews
SA43 1DH
United Kingdom