Parys Mountain

Parys Mountain

Mining Site


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Parys Mountain dominated the world's copper market during the 1780s, when the mine was the largest in Europe. Its rise severely damaged the mining industry in Cornwall. The copper from the mine was used to sheath the British Admiralty's wooden ships of war, to prevent the growth of seaweed and barnacles and to protect the wood from attack by shipworms. This increased the speed and manoeuvrability of the vessels, and enabled them to remain at sea for longer as there was less need to return to port for maintenance.

In response to a national shortage of small currency, the Parys Mine Company produced its own coinage between 1787 and 1793. The Parys Penny, also known as the Anglesey Penny, was used by the mine to pay workers, and also by the populace at large. It is thought that around ten million pennies and half pennies were minted.

Thomas Williams established copper and brass works at Holywell in Flint and was known as -The Copper King. As a result of copper being found
and mined at Anglesey in 1768, he founded the Parys Mine Co. in 1774, taking the ore to St Helens or Swansea for smelting."

Products made from the copper and brass at these factories were used mainly for the African slave trade. The importance of this trade can be seen from Thomas Williams petition to the House of Commons in July 1788.

" A petition by Thomas Williams Esquire, on behalf of himself and his co partners in the manufacture of Brass Battery, and other Copper , Brass and Mixed Goods, for the African Trade at Holywell in the county of Flint, Penclawdd in the county of Glamorgan, and Temple Mill in the county of Berks...setting forth, that the Petitioner and his Co-partners have laid out a capital of £70,000 and upwards to establish themselves in the aforesaid manufactories, which are entirely for the African market...and that the Petitioner has lately been informed that a Bill is now depending in the House, for the purpose of regulating for a limited time, the shipping and carrying of slaves in British vessels from the coast of Africa, which ... will greatly hurt, if not entirely ruin, the British trade to Africa in the manufactories aforesaid, whereby the Petitioner and his partners would lose the greatest part of the aforesaid Capital"

The importance of the slave trade to the copper industry had been recognized as early as 1713 in Bristol.


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