From Caerleon we travelled eight miles [footnote g] further to
a small town called Newport, see drawing no. 155, which is located
on a navigable river, eight or ten miles [footnote h] from the
Severn. Here, close by the river, are the beautiful ruins of a
castle that was the residence of one of the Welsh barons who was
once absolute ruler of this country.
coal in the river
As soon as the tide goes out a number of poor people appear to
pick mineral coal from the bottom of the river just above the
bridge. However frequently they come back there is always something
for them hidden in the ordinary shingle that the river has carried
with it from the hills above, which contain an abundance of coal
of iron slag
On this side of the town there were also some pits by the bank
of the river where old iron slag was dug up for re-melting in
the blast furnaces, reputedly producing a good iron.
On the road between Newport and Abercarn there were two lead mines.
Neither of them was very rich or particularly remarkable in any
I also saw a number of coal workings on two high mountains, where
I was told there were three seams above each other, dipping sometimes
south and sometimes north up to 2 feet in 6 feet [footnote i].
These seams are found at depths of 42 feet to 60 feet and 90 feet.
Sometimes the overlying rock is thicker, but the seams are at
the same distance from each other.
seam is generally the thickest, being 3 feet to 4 feet deep, but
the others 1½ feet to 2 feet and the top one sometimes
not more than a suggestion of a seam. I heard the statement made
that there is no lead lode in this locality except in limestone,
and no coal seams where there are limestone quarries. The coal
seams, as shown by drawing no. 156, are generally covered by sandstone
and clay slate and next to the coal, petrified wood and impressions
of other vegetable matter.
By a high
mountain shown on the drawing, on which there are coal mines,
it was observed that in the middle of the slope there was a coal
mine and a kiln for burning lime. This reveals that limestone
can be found below coal seams, but not above, as has already been
noted. In the valleys between the mountains there are some woods
of deciduous trees that already were in poor condition because
too many trees have been felled, although the iron-works in the
neighbourhood have not been in operation for more than three years.
The woods consist of oak, plane, birch, etc and are first felled
and placed in piles [footnote j] for drying for some time. Subsequently
it is sold to the forge-masters, who take care of the charcoal
is sold according to 'worst' which is a pile 4 feet long
and 4 feet high, and costs 4 shillings [footnote k]. Sixteen 'worst'
are stacked on end to make the stack and in the middle a pole
is placed .
stack has been completed and covered, the pole is removed and
a fire is set in the hole to start the burning. The stack is first
covered with twigs and small tree-branches on the outside and
then finally with turf. The diameter is generally 8 feet to 10
feet and the burning takes eight to nine days.
note, the footnotes have been renumbered for convenience.
[g] The actual distance is only a couple of miles.
[h] The distance along the Usk to the Severn is not more than
[i] A dip of 18 degrees.
[j] RRA uses the Swedish word 'stavrum' for the piles, a measure
for a heap of wood
2'4" x 2'4" x 9' 9".
[k] This measure has not been identified, neither in Swedish nor
in English, though it may be related to the German words 'Wurst'
in the sense of 'roll' or 'Wulst' meaning 'wreath', hence 'cord'.
If the missing dimension is four feet, it could be a local word