Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Bersham Ironworks

A Scheduled Monument in Esclusham, Wrexham (Wrecsam)

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Latitude: 53.0362 / 53°2'10"N

Longitude: -3.0347 / 3°2'4"W

OS Eastings: 330715

OS Northings: 349266

OS Grid: SJ307492

Mapcode National: GBR 74.DMBT

Mapcode Global: WH88Y.CY48

Entry Name: Bersham Ironworks

Scheduled Date:

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 3794

Cadw Legacy ID: DE189

Schedule Class: Industrial

Category: Ironworks

Period: Post Medieval/Modern

County: Wrexham (Wrecsam)

Community: Esclusham

Traditional County: Denbighshire


The monument comprises the remains of Bersham Ironworks. The area covered by the original designation did not relate accurately to the remains on the ground, relating simply to what was then thought of as the remains of a blast furnace (the limekiln). The scheduled area has been revised in order to rectify the original designation.

Bersham Ironworks were founded by Charles Lloyd c. 1718 and, in 1721, soon became the first Welsh works to improve production by using coke rather than charcoal as fuel. Bersham came to specialise in the manufacture of cast iron goods. However, it was in the 18th century - when the Ironworks were owned and extended by first Isaac and then John Wilkinson - that Bersham acquired an international reputation. It was at Bersham from 1775 that John Wilkinson used his revolutionary process to accurately bore cannon and cylinders (for James Watt's steam engines) from solid cast metal. The ironworks ceased to operate in 1812 and the site was later used as a farm. It is now owned and managed by Wrexham County Borough as part of the Bersham Heritage Centre.

The site comprises several buildings (including the exceptional octagonal cannon foundry and associated probable fettling shop), an open excavated area (containing casting floors and the remains of air furnaces for reheating iron prior to casting) and a steep bank (containing the partial remains of a blast furnace; coal hoppers; coking ovens; and a leat bringing water to power the bellows). A consolidated limekiln (the subject of the original designation) is situated further to the E; and the area above the works contains archaeological deposits pertaining to horse-drawn wagon ways and leat systems.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance and illustrate our knowledge and understanding of the development of the iron industry. The importance of the monument is further enhanced by the survival of detailed historical documentation and its partial excavation and display; and by the excellent associated museum facilities.

The area to be scheduled comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive. It is irregular and measures up to 185m from ESE to WNW by up to 105m transversely, as shown in red on the accompanying map extract. The renovated mill building (currently housing an excellent interpretative display) is specifically excluded from the scheduling.

Source: Cadw

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