Ancient Monuments

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Townshend's Great Leat & Waggonway

A Scheduled Monument in Llansamlet, Swansea (Abertawe)

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Latitude: 51.6646 / 51°39'52"N

Longitude: -3.8849 / 3°53'5"W

OS Eastings: 269733

OS Northings: 197884

OS Grid: SS697978

Mapcode National: GBR GZ.P3DX

Mapcode Global: VH4K4.MF28

Entry Name: Townshend's Great Leat & Waggonway

Scheduled Date: 18 January 1995

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 3287

Cadw Legacy ID: GM468

Schedule Class: Industrial

Category: Industrial monument

Period: Post Medieval/Modern

County: Swansea (Abertawe)

Community: Llansamlet

Built-Up Area: Swansea

Traditional County: Glamorgan


The monument comprises an extensive system of leats which was constructed by Chauncy Townshend around 1750 to provide water power for his coal and copper smelting works in the Swansea Valley. This area contains well preserved remains of three leats, as well as a section of his waggonway, all in close proximity to the Gwernllwynchwyth Colliery. Townshend's Great Leat, built c. 1757, ran for four miles from the Glais Brook to Pentre-chwyth. This was of exceptional importance in the early industrial development of the area. Surviving water power systems of this period for early heavy industry are now rare, and these sections form important examples of their design and construction. Townshend's Waggonway was a wooden horse-drawn railway, and the earliest major innovation in industrial transport in the valley.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of 18th or 19th century inductrial practices. It retains significant archaeological potential, with a strong probability of the presence of associated archaeological features and deposits. The structure itself may be expected to contain archaeological information concerning chronology and building techniques. A leat may be part of a larger cluster of monuments 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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