Canal-side limekilns, Llantysilio

button-theme-canalLook over the wall of the garden of Tŷ Craig to see a group of limekilns. Tŷ Craig was built for the manager of the limekilns. It’s now a private residence – please don’t enter the gardens.

The kilns were built in the early 19th century by local industrialist Exuperius Pickering, who developed a set of facilities around the newly built canal here – including the famous chain bridge.

Photo of limekiln at Ty Craig, LlantysilioFrom the towpath you can see the tops of the kilns, where limestone and coal were tipped in after arriving in canal boats. The lime was burned in the kilns to form lime powder, which was removed from openings at the feet of the kilns. Lime was used to fertilize farm fields and for buildings.

The limekilns were arranged in a block, rather than a row. The upper photo shows one of the two kilns which face Tŷ Craig. The lower shows the kilns facing the river, with the canal bank behind.

The lime was carted up a surviving ramp to canal level and continued to the chain bridge along a road Exuperius had installed. The chain bridge gave access to the main road, along which the lime was distributed to farms to the west, including around Corwen and Bala.

The lower area of the limekilns was largely hidden by rubble and vegetation before new owners of Tŷ Craig began clearing the area in 2015. This revealed four openings where lime was removed and the clear remains of a fifth opening, indicating that another kiln was built or planned. If it was completed, it didn’t last long – Victorian documents refer to four kilns here.

Photo of limekilns at Ty Craig, LlantysilioExuperius and his son, who shared his unusual name, had a supply of coal from their colliery at Cefn Mawr. They built their own canal from the colliery to Trevor basin so that the coal could be distributed on the canal network, including to these kilns, when canal boats were the most efficient means of moving bulk goods over land.

With thanks to John Pickering and Chris Kelly

Postcode: LL20 8BS    View Location Map

Canal & River Trust website – Llangollen Canal

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