The most elusive of the north Shropshire copper mines, it is situated on a minor road leading to Yorton Station, about 200m east of the B5476 Shreswbury to Wem road at Alderton.
The Shotton Hall fault runs through here, with Grinshill (Keuper) sandstone faulted against marls and waterstones. The ore was reputed to be rich in malachite with barite, absolite and wad, however no ore can now be found on site.
Very little is known about the mine, other than it was possible worked in the early 1700's, then tested again in the mid-1800's and a 45m (150 feet) deep shaft was sunk on the site. A 150ft shaft indicates that there might have been substantial underground workings - although this remains to be proved.
Despite searches by Club Members at various times over the past few years, the only possible site of the mine is a drainage cover in the road near Yorton - this was based on rumours that surface water from the adjacent road had been diverted down the shaft and that the shaft top was covered by a manhole cover.
Carlon in British Mining No.16 Gallantry Bank Copper Mine states "the shaft could previously be seen adjacent to the road, taking the road drainage, and capped by a grid", however it has not been possible to substantiate this.
At the approximate site of the shaft the field south of the road has been ploughed over and there is no sign of tips or depressions. It is presumed that any tips have either been pushed down the shaft or landscaped and ploughed over.
The shaft top might, however, have been capped with gritstone slabs before being covered with soil (as at Clive Mine a couple of miles away).
There are a number of manholes along the road, but after Club Member, Geoff Warrington was able to provide a more precise location for the manhole.
So it was that a number of members set out along the road from Yorton armed with a measuring tape and compass. Our instructions were quite precise:
- “200ft west of benchmark 331.2 and 280ft east of field boundary on south side of road”.
We couldn’t find the first benchmark but measured the distance east from the field boundary. This corresponded nicely with a split iron manhole (S J499 238) that was about 3ft (1m) out from the side of the road.
It hadn’t been lifted for some time since the tarmac still covered the edges. The problem was that the road was fairly busy and we had no tools for lifting the cover. We decided to seek permission from the County Council to cone off part of the road and lift the cover.
After contacting the Council, we were told that we could lift the manhole and they also sent us an aerial photograph. This showed an obvious disturbance feature in the field close to the road and it looks as if the shaft has been capped and covered with soil.
It now seems likely that the manhole would only lead to a culvert which directed surface water into the shaft via a pipe. The next step is to seek permission from the landowner to excavate in the field to try to uncover the shaft.
Further north, a small building has been found (SJ 499 241) which contained a pump. Next to this is a covered well, surrounded by a very ornate iron fence. Could this have been a shaft on the mine?
Club Member Edwin Thorpe believes that the feature in the field is an old fishpond and the shaft was actually in the road, although it wasn’t found when a water pipe was being laid down the road. He also believes that there were further entrances in a small quarry near Broughton Farm and in a copse to the north called The Drumble. These have yet to be checked.
Credits - Thanks to:
Report: Adrian Pearce and Kelvin Lake
This site is on Private Property, there is no public access.