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Latitude: 51.5382 / 51°32'17"N
Longitude: -3.658 / 3°39'28"W
OS Eastings: 285105
OS Northings: 183447
OS Grid: SS851834
Mapcode National: GBR H9.G6MB
Mapcode Global: VH5H9.KL0P
Entry Name: Cefn Cribwr ironworks, the furnace and charging house
Listing Date: 2 October 1997
Last Amended: 2 October 1997
Source ID: 18955
Building Class: Industrial
Location: The ironworks is located near the bottom of the Nant Iorwerth Coch, on the S side of the brook. The furnace stands at the hub of the group of buildings.
Town: Cefn Cribwr
Community: Cefn Cribwr
Community: Cefn Cribwr
Traditional County: Glamorgan
John Bedford came originally from Kings Norton near Birmingham to Monmouthshire, and moved to Cefn Cribwr in 1772, where he opened a colliery and brickworks. He had started the erection of an ironworks by 1775, all close by on the same site in the valley of the Nant Iorwerth Coch. He considered himself expert in furnace building, in quarrying, the production of compass needles and in the casting of ordnance, and wrote of his theories, probably at the expense of expediting completion of the ironworks, which was not achieved until 1782 when the furnace was probably first blown out. His theories included providing proper housing for his workers, including making loans for their purchasing means of domestic support, and believed "it to be wrong to finish Large Costly Buildings of this Kind without Beauty, when by nearly the same Expence, it can be avoided".
The ironworks, in 1836, comprised one blast furnace, a blowing beam engine, a blast regulator, bridge house, cast house, two smitheries, a carpenter's shop, ten coking ovens and yard, four calcining kilns, a finery cupola, two hot-blast apparatus, a double saw pit, and various cottages, public house and shop. Bedford died in 1791, and the ironworks, with the other enterprises on the site, were taken over by his son, John Bedford II, who leased the workings to Green & Price, and mortgaged the property in 1798. He died in 1814. The disused works was taken over by William Bryant in 1824, perhaps in anticipation of the opening of the Duffryn, Llynfi and Porthcawl Tramway in 1828. He rebuilt the furnace. Although the ironworks appeared to have had little continuous use, some production continued to c.1836, after which the iron production was relocated to another nearby site at Cefn Cwsc. The colliery and brickworks continued in use until c.1920 and the railway was closed in 1963. The ironworks was acquired by Ogwr Borough Council in 1987 and has since been consolidated and laid out as an important element in the Waun Cimla Country Park.
The furnace is built of local sandstone, with ashlar arches and quoins. It is 9.75m square on plan, tapering upwards to 6.1m square at the top, originally with a short circular chimney reaching a total height of 10.6m. On each of the four sides are tapered arches, the tapping arch being constructed with very finely laid voussoirs, perhaps later in date, tapering back to the drawing aperture into the tapered square crucible of the furnace. Above this, the furnace is circular and bottle shaped, narrowing to the top. A stone and brick apron paves the area under each arch, with a curved front and a central slot for the main drawing channel leading into the casting house. Foundations exist on the E and W sides. Behind the furnace, a narrow passage is bridged over, with a recess in the retaining wall beneath the charging house. The upper part of the furnace is lost, including the charging level.
The lower storey of the charging house however, survives, comprising one large chamber, now roofless, with an angled opening to the furnace. Behind, two narrower rooms. Openings with splayed reveals, altered in brickwork.
Included at Grade II* as a major example of small ironworks of the late C18, which has survived largely unaltered as production moved elsewhere. Of group value with other elements of the ironworks.
Scheduled Ancient Monument: 4/3487GM417(BRI)R.
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