Nantymwyn Lead Mine

TERRIBLE ACCIDENT – On Monday last (28th March 1892)at 2 p.m. two men named William Beawithrick  (Beswetherick) and John Lewarne, both native of Cornwall, aged respectively 25 and 33, were engaged in carrying down the shaft of the Nantgwyn (Nantymwyn) Lead Mine a box of gelatine dynamite of about 50lbs.  When they had proceeded to within about 12 fathoms of the bottom the box, which was attached to a rope, slipped, and falling to the ground, exploded with terrible violence.  Both men were rendered quite unconscious.  After a time consciousness was restored, and they so far rallied as to be able, with the assistance of another miner named Morges, to return to their homes, when they were attended by Dr Lewis of Llandovery.   Beswetherick, however, died about five hours after his arrival, and the other man about 2 o’clock on the afternoon of Wednesday.  Lewarne leaves a widow and two children to mourn his loss.   An inquest was held on the bodies at the Royal Oak public-house on Wednesday afternoon.  Dr Lewis gave it as his opinion that death in both instances resulted from the same cause – failure of the heart’s action, caused by sudden shock.  The inquest was adjourned ‘till Thursday (yesterday) to give the Inspector of Mines an opportunity to attend.

Carmarthen Journal April 8th 1892    


INQUEST. -  The adjourned enquiry into the circumstances attending the deaths of two miners at the Nantymwyn lead mines was held at the Royal Oak, Rhandirmwyn on Thursday the 7th inst., before Mr R Shipley Lewis, Llandilo, and the same jury.  These consisted of the Rev. Ebenezer Morgan, vicar of Rhandirmwyn (foreman) ; Rev Rees Rees, C. M. ;  Messrs Daniel James, New Inn;  D Williams, Nantbai Mill ;  John Harries, Errwhwch ;  D Richards, grocer, Rhandir ;  D Owens, schoolmaster ;  John Williams, Pwllpriddog ;  Evan Davies, Frongoch ; Daniel Thomas, Nantygwynne ;  Morgan James, New Inn ;  David Evans, Wm. Williams, Nantbai Mill ;  W Thomas, Nantgwynne ;  D Davies, Cwmsaethau.  There was also present  :  Col. Cuncil (Cundhill)  H. M. I. of explosives ;  Mr Robertson, H. M. I. of Mines ;  and the Chief Constable W Phillips, Llandilo.  -  The Coroner read the depositions made at the last enquiry by the witness, Henry Moyes, and Dr. Lewis, Llandovery. – Moyes was recalled and deposed that he saw Lewarne of the day of the accident on the 24 fathom level lowering down the 56lb box of gelatine dynamite.  He then went back to his own level, and in about a minute heard a report.  He speedily returned to the spot and shouted out “Lewarne,” the smoke was so dense that he failed to go any further.  He gave an alarm and proceeded in his search for Lewarne, and having found him asked him if he was much hurt.  He complained of a little pain in the back, and asked witness to go and look where Beswetherick was.  He complied, and found that he had gone to the 11 fathom level.  -  In answer to a question by one of the inspectors, he said it was not the usual practice to lower the boxes to lower the boxes containing gelatine dynamite with a rope but that it went down in a skip.  -  Richard Liperit, another miner, said he was not aware of the explosion till about twenty minutes after its occurrence when he was told about it.  He went to ask Lewarne how it happened.  He answered, “ Foolish, foolish, foolish.”   Three times.   Witness asked “Foolish what”?  Lewarne returned that the box got out of the underlashing while he was carrying it on his shoulder.  Witness then went for trams to get the men out.  Capt. Joseph Argall, under agent at Nantymwyn Mine, said he was in charge of the magazine.  He took two 56lb boxes of gelatine dynamite and lowered them down in the skip to the men and stored them at the 24 fathom level.  He opened one box and distributed the contents in 5lb packages among the miners.  He then went down to the bottom of 36 fathom cross level and told Lewarne that there was a box of dynamite at the 24 fathom level, and for him to fetch it, open it, and distribute it among the men.  Considered Lewarne a trustworthy workman, and one of the best in his employ. – The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence to the effect that the two deceased died from the failure of the heart’s action by a shock.  

Carmarthen Journal April 15th 1892


Lieutenant –colonel Cundhill, R.A. Her Majesty’s inspector of explosives, in his report to the Home Secretary on the circumstances attending the ignition and partial explosion of gelatine dynamite at Nantymwyn lead mine, nr Llandovery on March 28th, by which two men named W. J. Beswetherick and J. Lewerne, lost their lives, says :- There is little doubt that the explosion was primarily due to a box of gelatine dynamite slipping from the rope when being lowered down the shaft.  The case fell, at most, eight fathoms, but there was nothing to show how far it had been lowered before it slipped.  Neither of the deceased was injured beyond a few superficial scratches and the medical evidence given at the inquest showed that they died from poisonous fumes.  It was not altogether easy to say what caused the explosive to ignite, as there was no record of the simple fall of a case of such explosives when packed in accordance with the regulations being ignited or exploded.  

Carmarthen Journal 27th May 1892