The remains of the Pennant Engine House are an impressive reminder as to the importance of mineral mining to the area. Evocative of a time not that long gone, in a landscape pockmarked with the remains of thousands of years of human habitation, it is a curious thing to come across this ruin of 19th century endeavour.
There is evidence that lead ore has been mined from two east-west veins at Rhuallt since the very early 1700s. Trial pits are recorded to have been sunk before Sir Richard Grosvenor of Eaton leased the mines in 1719. Subsequent shafts sunk by Grosvenor later in the 18th century are recorded in papers held by the Grosvenor family. From the late 18th and early 19th centuries, several shafts were sunk to extract the lead beneath the surface, the ore washed at the nearby stream.
The mine was at a standstill for a while around 1835, but with the arrival of the Pennant Mine Company in 1859, new developments took place. By 1860 there were six shafts at the site, and we have the names of five of them. They were called Old, Deep, Footway, Old Whim and East Whim, and several of them still remain, made safe now. We know that the Cornish Engine House had been raised by 1871, with the boiler house beside it and a chimney to the north. The engine within would have pumped out water from the lower levels of the shafts as ever more quantities of lead were sought. Other minerals were mined, such as silver, but the viability of the seams was coming to an end, and in 1891 the mine was closed, somewhat later than lead mines elsewhere.
The Ordnance Survey Map of 1910 still shows a considerable amount of building on the site, and in 1913, the mine site was reopened, to extract barium minerals. Seven years later in 1920, the mine closed for good. The landscape has largely wooded over, but the engine shed remains, roofless and neglected, slowly disappearing amongst the undergrowth, surrounded by the snap toothed remains of walls. The chimney was demolished in the late 1970s, leaving a stump of rubble and no more. While the nearby Meliden Clive Engine House has enjoyed renovation, the engine house of the Pennant Lead Mine has about it an aura of a lost world, and perhaps is more interesting for it.