Ancient Monuments

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Air Furnace at British Ironworks

A Scheduled Monument in Abersychan, Torfaen (Tor-faen)

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Latitude: 51.7262 / 51°43'34"N

Longitude: -3.0769 / 3°4'36"W

OS Eastings: 325715

OS Northings: 203603

OS Grid: SO257036

Mapcode National: GBR J2.2GRC

Mapcode Global: VH79K.MW72

Entry Name: Air Furnace at British Ironworks

Scheduled Date: 5 July 1994

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 3150

Cadw Legacy ID: MM221

Schedule Class: Industrial

Category: Ironworks

Period: Post Medieval/Modern

County: Torfaen (Tor-faen)

Community: Abersychan

Traditional County: Monmouthshire


The monument comprises the remains of an extremely rare air furnace of 19th century date. The air furnace is a type of reverberatory furnace for re-melting cast iron. These were commonly used in foundries during the industrial revolution, but were gradually superceded by the cupola furnace. No other remains of an air furnace are known in Wales, and the two examples currently known in England have only fragmentary remains. The British Ironworks operated from 1827 to 1881. The foundry quadrangle of which the furnace is part was probably built in the early 1830s. The furnace is partially collapsed but appears to retain all its main elements. It consists of a long fire brick hearth held together with iron ties. To the S side is a cast iron door for opening the furnace and allowing molten iron to run through a window into the adjacent foundry building. A fire would have been stoked at the E end of the furnace. There is a surviving chimney at the W end which drew the fire over the hearth.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance and illustrate our knowledge and understanding of the development of the iron industry. An ironworks may be part of a larger industrial complex and their importance can further enhanced by their group value.

The scheduled area comprises the remains described and areas around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive.

Source: Cadw

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