THE story of Dylife is one of its long gone lead mining industry.

At one time, the village - the place of floods - had been a booming town of more than 1,200 people and for a brief moment during the mid-1800s was the capital of the industry in Wales.

Lead mining was carried out at the site more than 2,000 years ago with the Romans the first to settle a fort on nearby Penycrocbren.

In 1809, Hugh Williams and John Pughe started to negotiate for the lease of the land which they obtained in 1815 with the two men operating the mines until the 1850s, although not harmoniously.

The National Wales: Dylife. Picture: Geograph.

Industrial remains in Dylife. Picture: Geograph.

The mines were expanded with new shafts and machinery was brought in to assist productivity by bringing ore to the surface, pumping out the shafts and processing the ore on the surface.

From the 1850s, Dylife became a more permanent, settled community with a church, chapels and a school; services were provided by three inns, one of which also had a grocery and butchery, a smithy and a post office.

The National Wales: The Star inn. Picture: Geograph.

The Star Inn. Picture: Geograph.

Large waterwheels provided the power source, including Rhod Goch, which, at 63 feet in diameter, was one of the largest in Britain.

The difficulties between the operators eventually led to the sale of their mining interests to The Dylife Mining Co. Ltd in 1858 which saw conditions greatly improve with production peaking in 1862 at 2,571 tons.

The National Wales:

The head of the Twymyn valley with the escarpment of Craig y Maes on the left. Picture: Geograph.

In 1864, the new railway from Aberystwyth to Shrewsbury, with a relatively easily accessible station at Llanbrynmair, provided an easier route to the smelters in the north west of England.

However the good times could not last.

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The price of lead declined and as the mines' profitability dropped the owners sold up in 1873.

In 1884, two companies having failed to make a success of them, closed the mines which completely closed in 1901.

The National Wales: Dylife. Picture: Geograph.

Abandoned mine workings at Dylife. Picture: Geograph.

By then the village had already begun its terminal decline.

The school closed in 1925 and the last baptism was celebrated at the church in 1926 – it was demolished in 1962.

The National Wales: Churchyard and demolished church in Dylife. Picture by Trevor Harris/Geograph.

Churchyard and demolished church in Dylife. Picture: Geograph.

However some things outlasted the village, Ffrwdd Fawr, one of the highest waterfalls in Wales, where the Afon Twmwyn cascades 200ft to the Pennant Gorge, is one of mid Wales' hidden treasures.

The National Wales: Dylife. Picture: Geograph.

Ffrwd Fawr, Dylife. Picture: Geograph.

Today the village is one of legends and ghost stories.

One speaks of a miner who was killed in a cave in and buried on the hillside near to Ty Maggi only to appear as a ghost to his friends who had exhumed the dead man’s clothes to discover his life savings.

The men had divided the money between them and the ghost was only seen once after - smiling and waving goodbye.

The National Wales: Dylife. Picture: Geograph.

The churchyard gate at Dylife. Picture: Geograph.

A less wholesome story of life in the mining town concerns the blacksmith - Sion y Gof - who had killed his wife and daughter after being discovered with another woman before hiding their bodies in a mineshaft in 1719.

Upon discovery of the bodies the following year the guilty man had been duly condemned to death with the added punishment of having to make his own head and body cages and gibbet iron before being strung up at Gallows Hill on Penycroben.

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The blacksmith’s last work, along with his skull, was found in 1938 and both are now part of the Welsh Folk Museum collection at St Fagan’s in Cardiff.

The village pub, the Star Inn, temporarily closed its doors last year having served Dylife since 1640 but it is hoped new owners will be found to reopen in the future.

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