Alltycrib was mainly a lead mine, although some copper was also produced. Although many of the 19th century mining companies had the word “silver” in their name, it’s unlikely that any silver was actually produced. The ore from this mine had a very low silver content but was useful as a flux to smelt the silver rich ores of Darren and Cwmsymlog.
The very first mining activity probably coincides with early to middle Bronze Age, the attraction being the copper deposits which occurred over to the west. There are also very strong indications of Roman mining, but large scale mining only started stared in 1617 when Sir Hugh Myddleton took over the leases for the Society of Mines Royal. Later the mines were worked by Thomas Bushell whose name was given to the a level commenced in 1637 and driven for a distance of 200 fathoms. This was to be the main working level of the mine for the next 200 years.
After Bushell left, little was done until the frenzy of the early 19th century when the Flintshire Smelting Company drove a deep adit from the centre of Talybont village. This was at a place known as “Y Wern” which is behind the 2 pubs.
This level was intended to undercut the old miners bottoms, however it not only failed to do this, but it was found that almost everything had already been taken. Regardless of this a succession of companies took over the leases; unfortunately these included some pretty sharp characters. Notable is the swindler Joseph Fell who in consort with his lifetime business associate Richard Barrabee Fastnedge and the bent mine captain Thomas Glanville managed to con investors with what must be some of the most outrageous assertions ever made about the prospects of a mine.
The last company to work the mine was the Talybont Lead Mines Ltd formed in 1910 from a partnership of the kindly David Williams of Clettwr Hall and a mining engineer, ex shale miner named Archibald Simpson. The Williams family was a branch of the Williams family of Scorrier, as in Williams Perran Foundry.
The Talybont Company was responsible for the driving of a wide, straight crosscut level known as Pryces Level named after the mineral lords, the Pryces of Gogerddan. The level is somewhat unique as it was driven using Kelldrills designed by Moses Kellow of Croesor, the only other metal mines to use these drills being May Mining Company at Cwmystwyth and Rio Tinto. Operating by water at extreme pressure, they never caught on due to their size and difficulty to control.
The mine can be geographically divided 2 distinct areas.
The lower site of the deep adit and dressing floors at the Wern, and the upper workings on the Alltycrib Hill. However, very little remains at either.
The main assessable workings on the hill are Myddletons Level, a fine ‘coffin’ type level driven by Sir Hughes people, Wilkinsons Level, an early level enlarged and re-named in the 19th Century, and the air shaft. The latter gives the only access to the deep mine.
The lower site at the Wern was totally obliterated when the land was sold off and levelled in the 1930s, and now forms a private garden. The deep adit portal was buried during site clearance, however pipes were laid in order to ensure continuity of drainage. Water exits from the original drainage culvert at the river, however no access to the mine is possible from the Wern.
There are many interesting underground features to be seen today, the remains of an underground horse whim, a kibble, and the remains of the pumping angle bob at the engine winze. A side level has the remains of a very early wooden kibble and a powder barrel that could well date back to the 18th century or earlier.