Bettisfield Colliery Miners Remembered
The many lives lost down the mine at Bettisfield Colliery are now commemorated with a sundial sculpture, unveiled on Friday, 23 July by Lady Hanmer of Bettisfield (Whitchurch).
The Hanmer family opened the Colliery in the mid-1800s, providing work for three generations of miners. At 850ft it was the deepest of the many pits in the village and stretched far out under the Dee Estuary in the direction of Neston. It was known locally as ‘y lladd-dy’ meaning ‘slaughter house’ as there were so many accidents. At its peak production in 1908, 641 men were employed at the colliery.
The Memorial Project was the vision of The Friends of Bagillt Foreshore, a local community group set up to develop and enhance the natural and historic heritage of the area. The Friends had commissioned local blacksmith and artist, Peter Carlyle to design and make the well-known Dragon Beacon, and he was also chosen to design and manufacture the Sundial memorial. Grants from Bagillt Community Council and Skipton Building Society enabled the project to be started.
The sculpture is a working sundial with full instructions on how to compare "sundial time" with GMT.
Flintshire’s Leader, Councillor Ian Roberts, said:
“Bagillt Foreshore is now a valuable greenspace for the local community to enjoy, benefiting people’s health and wellbeing. The memorial remembers a different period in the site’s history as a Colliery, many families lost loved ones during this time. It is a fitting tribute to them, but it will also provide enjoyment to all those who will visit the site in the future.”
Gruffudd Owen, Natural Resources Wales, said:
“Thousands of people walk the Wales Coast Path in this area every year. Features such as the sundial memorial enrich people’s experience and appreciation by bringing the past heritage along the path to life.”Peter Carlyle, the creator of the sculpture, said:
“As a local I was pleased to be asked to create this sculpture for the community of Bettisfield and I hope it will be cherished by many generations.”
The memorial would not have been possible without the support of the main funders, the Welsh Government, provided through the Wales Coast Path and Natural Resources Wales, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Flintshire County Council. We would like to thank National Lottery players for their contribution.
Thanks must also be given for materials or services provided including Jeff Ellis & Son, Jones Brothers Concrete, J R Roberts Slurry Sealing Ltd, Rugeley Power, Carlyles Blacksmiths and also the generous people of Bagillt, including the Friends of Bagillt Foreshore.
Lady Hanmer and her husband, James and Peter Carlyle,
Cllr Joe Johnson - FCC Chair and consort,
Gruff Owen - NRW Wales Coast Path Officer
and Tom Woodall - FCC
Tom Woodall FCC, Peter Carlyle – sundial creator,
Hannah Blythyn MS, Gruff Owen