Cilgwyn Quarry Papers

Scope and Content

Records of Cilgwyn Quarry Company, particularly accounts, 1879-1933: 

  • Particulars regarding state of quarry, rebuilding specifications, etc, 1880-1897
  • Correspondence between quarry managers of Cilgwyn-Nantlle district dealing with wages, etc., 1895-1903
  • Correspondence between directors and manager; notices to quit and details of houses owned by company, 1908
  • Prices and particulars of slate prices in Cilgwyn and Nantlle area, 1887-1906
  • Records of production and wages, 1882-1893
  • Pay sheets, 1903-1933
  • Miscellaneous items regarding time worked, rubbishers, bargainmen, suppliers of coal, c. 1905
  • Time books (5), 1879-1905
  • Wages books (2), March 1902-March 1905, November 1919-October 1929
  • Average earnings book, August 1910-October 1929
  • Rent accounts of company houses, 1865-1903
  • Accounts relating to bargainmen, 1925-1927, rubbishers 1926-1928, country sales, 1909-1929
  • Stock book, 1926-1928
  • Order counterfoils, May-July 1907
  • Consignment note counterfoils, August 1929-March 1931
  • Paper entitled Value of Health Insurance; records regarding tonnage of slates transported and coal etc; monthly accounts, April 1915-November 1930; valuation account, 1922; rubbish account, 1921-1923, 1926
  • Account of wages and other expenses incurred in transporting slate, October 1923-October 1929
  • Accident record book, January 1897-May 1902
  • General register of accidents, 1902-1927
  • Reports of examination of steam boilers 1929
  • Doctors receipt books, 1892-1904, 1895-1911, 1896-1910
  • Compensation claims record, 1899-1929
  • Compensation account book, 1928-1929
  • Sketches and plans, 1891-early 20th century

Administrative / Biographical History

Cilgwyn slate quarry in the Nantlle Valley, Gwynedd, one of the oldest quarries in north Wales, was worked as far back as the 12th century. Commercial slate production developed in Wales in the late 18th century and the Nantlle Valley was one of the main commercial slate producing areas in north Wales, experiencing its major period of growth and expansion, c. 1790-1830. At its peak during the boom years of the mid 19th century with a dominating position in the world roofing market, it had about 40 or 50 quarries. The Caernarfon solicitor and businessman John Evans (1766-1827) established the Cilgwyn Quarry Company in 1800. Over subsequent years ownership and management of the quarry changed and production ceased and resumed several times until it finally closed in 1956.

In his Ph. D. thesis, The Economic and Technological Development of the Slate Quarrying Industry in the Nantlle Valley, Gwynedd, University of Wales (1996), Gwynfor Pierce Jones says that this company became infamous for its forceful displacement of the independent quarrymen from large tracts of Crown lands in the face of strong resistance and asserts that the reason it failed to become one of the premier slate producing companies was due to lack of sufficient capital and ineffective use of its available financial resources, pp 28-29. The Cilgwyn and Cefn Du Slate Company, which had its main operation at Cilgwyn Quarry, collapsed in 1831. Quarrying subsequently resumed at Cilgwyn but c. 1843-1844, owned by G.A. Muskett, it closed again with debts of around £20,000. Later, during the late 1840s and 50s various defunct quarries reopened at Nantlle, including Cilgwyn.

The late nineteenth century saw the beginning of the decline in the north Wales slate industry, which continued into the early 20th century. Between 1864 and 1895 between 200 and 304 workers were employed at Cilgwyn compared to 51 to 102 between 1918 and 1937 (G.P. Jones thesis, pp 39, 60). While quarrying continued at some of the Nantlle Valley quarries on a small scale until 1999, the Cilgwyn Quarry Company finally ceased trading in 1956.


Material is arranged in chronological order and incorporated into the General Collection of Bangor Manuscripts .

Access Information

Open to all users

Acquisition Information

Presented by W. Morris Parry of the Cilgwyn Quarry Office, April 1934


Description compiled by Anne Lenaghan, September 2002.

Other Finding Aids

Item level word-processed list is available at the Archives Department, University of Wales, Bangor. Reference numbers: General Collection of Bangor Manuscripts: 1384-1410

Conditions Governing Use

Usual copyright conditions apply. Reprographics are made at the discretion of the Archivist.

Related Material

Also held at the Archives Department are the Porth yr Aur and Porth yr Aur Additional Papers. Collection level descriptions are available on the Archives Hub. See also General Collection of Bangor Manuscripts: 27539