BLTC Press Titles

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Through the Looking Glass

Lewis Carroll

Letters on the Aesthetical Education of Man

Friedrich Schiller

The Characters of Theophrastus


Mortal Coils

Aldous Huxley

North Wales

by William Bingley


The road from Holywell to St. Asaph is rugged but pleasant. This country abounds in lead mines, and I passed some A ery considerable ones about a mile beyond Holywell. The veins of ore, as I was informed, run in directions either north and south, or east and west, but of these the latter are by much the richest. They are found in a matrix either of chert or limestone, and often extend to unknown depths. The common, or lamellated ore, yields above fifteen hundred of lead to twenty of the ore, and, in general, about fourteen ounces of silver to the ton.

Calamine is also found in great quantities in this neighbourhood, and in veins like the lead, sometimes mixed with ore, but frequently alone. Nearly the whole of Flintshire abounds with and so entirely ignorant were the inhabitants of its use, as, 'within the last sixty years, even to have mended their roads with it. These roads have, however, been since turned up in many places, and their materials converted to more valuable purposes.

I had not passed the lead mines far before I came within sight of an ancient circular building, in form not much unlike a windmill, on the summit of a lofty hill, called Carreg, in the parish of Whitford. and about two miles to the right of the road. This, Mr. Pennant, entreating his friends not to consider him an antiquarian Quixote for doing it, conjectures to have been a Roman pharos, constructed to direct the navigators to and from Deva, along the difficult channel of Seteia Portus.


A large mansion called Downing, which stands about half way betwixt the road and the seashore, was, not long ago, the residence of Mr. Pennant.

This indefatigable and useful writer was born at Bychton, in the parish of Whitford, on the 14th of June 1726. He was a lineal descendant from Tudor Trevor, who married Angharad the daughter of Howel Dda, prince of _North Wales*.

He became possessed of the estate at Downing by the death of his father David Pennant: and having discovered a rich mine of lead ore on it, he was enabled, by means of the emoluments arising from this, to make considerable improveuuents, Here he principally resided.

* The name is truly Welsh, derived from pen the head or end, and nant, a narrow valley; the house of Bychton, the ancient family mansion, being seated at the head of a very considerable dingle. •

"The house itself," he informs us, "has little to boast of. I fortunately found it incapable of being improved into a magnitude exceeding the revenue of the family. It has a hall, which I prefer to the rural impropriety of a paltry vestibule; a library; a parlour capable of containing more guests than I ever wish to see in it at a time, septem convivium; novem convicium! and a smoaking-room, most antiquely furnished with ancient carvings, and the horns of all the European beasts of chace. This room is now quite out of use as to its original purpose. Above stairs is a good drawing-room, in times of old called the diningroom, and a tea-room, the sum of all that are really wanted, I have Cowley's wish realized, a small house and a large garden!'•

In his history of Whitford and Holywell, Mr. Pennant mentions another house called Downing, on the opposite side of the dingle, about three hundred yards from this mansion, the property of Thomas Thomas, Esq. Fierce feuds, as usual in days of yore, raged according to Ms relation, betweeu the two families. '< These Montagues used to take a cruel revenge on their neighbour Capulet,by the advantage of a stream, which ran through their grounds, in its way to ouv kitchen, where it was applied to the turning of a spit. How often," says he, "has that important engine being stopped, before it had performed half its evolutions! our poor Capulet swearing, lady crying, cook fuming, and nurse screaming! But

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