Oswestry & Llangynog Railway

Proposals that laid the foundations for the Tanat Valley Railway Transcripts of correspondence 1862 – 1886

For details of the Oswestry and Llangynog Railway Acts click go to.

Background During the second half of the nineteenth century there were several proposals to build a branch railway line along the Tanat Valley. The main purpose of such a line was to improve transport of minerals from the various mines and quarries in the area. The Tanat Valley is located near the English:Welsh border a little to the south-west of Oswestry. It has an approximately west to east orientation. The Afon Tanat (River Tanat) is formed from a number of tributaries near  Llangynog  at the western head of the valley. [To view a map of the area enter postcode SY10 into  Google maps; or similar] Plans for an Oswestry and  Llangynog Railway were drawn up in 1869/70, 1872/3 and 1882. These shared a common course from Llangynog down the valley as far as  Llanrhaeadr . There were then variations on the route into Oswestry. In 1882 an Act was passed for a route that dovetailed the eastern end of valley line with the other railways at that location. A link with the Porth-y-waen branch of the  Cambrian Railway  was achieved via a short section of  The Potteries, Shrewsbury and North Wales Railway . Access to Oswestry was thus gained from the south via the Cambrian. There was also to be a spur from the valley line to provide a junction with the Potteries railway and thereby access a route eastwards to Shrewsbury. Two problems resulted from this arrangement. Firstly the Oswestry & Llangynog Railway depended in part on The Potteries, Shrewsbury and North Wales Railway, and secondly there was a blurring of the purpose for the existence of the O&L line. The Potteries line suffered financial difficulties and closed in 1880 even before the O&L Act was passed. Those who felt that the success of the O&L relied on the Potteries line withheld their backing as the prospect of ever reviving that line withered away. Those (mainly the locals) who felt that the option of traffic to Oswestry via the Cambrian still justified building the line failed to get sufficient support to do so. The scheme faltered and the Oswestry and Llangynog Railway was therefore never built under that name. The  Light Railway Act of 1896  simplified the procedures for building small provincial railways. Utilising this legislation new proposals, based on the efforts of the previous O&L schemes, were put forward and  The Tanat Valley Railway  opened in 1904. The full history of the railways of the Tanat Valley and adjacent area are described elsewhere and it is not my intention to repeat that here. Rather on this site I have placed transcripts of a selection of correspondence related to the Oswestry and Llangynog Railway schemes. These are in two main batches – some from the early 1870’s, before the railway received Parliamentary approval, and others from the mid 1880’s after the passing of the Oswestry and Llangynog Railway Act 1882. Some of the papers were stapled together and seem to be from the office of Mr J Williams who worked for the firm of Minshall & Parry Jones, solicitors, Oswestry. It is likely therefore that all of the papers, which have stayed together for so long, came from there. These letters transport one back to those times. They give an insight into the struggles involved in drumming up support and finances for the project, the debate about its objectives and arguments about the gauge. They reveal the main personalities, and something of the mineral industries and wider political considerations. Also once the railway had been authorised there are some clues as to why ultimately the scheme failed and was never built. Spellings are as in the correspondence and in some instances of place names are not the same as today, or were mistakes; e.g. Llangynog/Langynog, Llanrhaeadr/Llanrhaiadr. They are transcribed as written.

Batch 1  – 1860/70’s:  The individuals and industries include:

Thomas E Minshall of Wrexham – Engineer for the line for the 1869/70 & 1872/3 proposals.

T & C Minshall & Parry Jones solicitors, Oswestry – acting for the railway promoters. (NB this is a different “Minshall” from the above). 

Mr R. S. France ,    Nantmawr Lime & Flaxing Stone Quarries.

T. W. Hancock, Railway Company Secretary, Llanrhaiadr. (1872 proposal).

The Cwmorog Silver Lead Mining Company Limited.

In chronological order the papers begin with a printer’s invoice:

13/12/1862.   John Pryse printers invoice to Minshall & Co. (Solicitors, Oswestry):


to advertising Oswestry and Llangynog Railway Parliamentary Notice in the Llanidloes Telegraph – £9-3-0”   With offer of 5% deduction for prompt payment. This for insertion in 3 consecutive weeks of the paper in the preceding November.

There is a similar invoice for March 1873:  To account enclosed for advertising Parliamentary Notice of the O&L Rly in the Llanidloes Telegraph. £23-2-9.  With offer of 10% deduction for prompt payment.


30/10/1872     img356 

From: R&R Hughes, Milliners, The Cross, Oswestry.

To:     Mr Williams, Secretary, Oswestry & Llansillin Railway Co.

Sir, Being out of town on Monday I was unable to attend the Railway meeting and until I received your note was not aware that my name was on the committee, and I much regret, that owing to pressing business and other circumstances I shall not be able to act. Yours faithfully, Robert E Hughes.



12/11/1872:   img357  

From:  R. S. Taylor, 14 Pembroke Gardens, Kensington.

To:      Charles G Bayley (advertiser)

Dear Sir,   Your letter on behalf of the Provisional Committee of the Oswestry, Llansillin and Llangynog Railway Company misdirected to Birmingham has reached me here. Before giving a definite answer to it, I should like to know how my property will be intersected by the proposed Railway: because if it takes the direction which I anticipate I fear it may do one more harm than good. I am inclined to think that a narrow gauge tramway would be more likely to pay than a railway of the ordinary gauge, and would amply suffice for all the traffic. Contractors, engineers, Parliamentary agents, and solicitors may strongly contend for the latter gauge, but it should always be remembered that the interests of these gentlemen are not necessarily identical with those of shareholders who take shares with an intention of holding them and getting a fair interest from their capital. I am dear Sir, Yours faithfully  R. S. Tudor.



From:  The Cwmorog Silver Lead Mining Company Limited, Offices 50 Ann Street, Birmingham.

To:      T & C Minshall, Oswestry.img358

Dear Sirs,   Projected Railway.  I was much obliged for the Ordnance Map kindly sent us, and brought the matter before the Directors yesterday. Your scheme was considered on the whole as being more favourable for our Company than the Llanfyllin one, but the interest to us as Lead Miners is comparatively so slight that we cannot at present see our way to do much to assist. It was resolved however to subscribe £10 towards the Parliamentary deposit on condition that you progress so far as to raise the 5 per cent on estimated capital required for that purpose. I am dear Sirs Yours faithfully Alfred S Wenham, Secretary.                                                                      


From:  R.S.France, Nantmawr Lime & Flaxing Stone Quarries.

To:      C G Bayley Esq. 

Dear Sir  O & Ll Ry   img274I find I have to go on from Oswestry by the 1 pm train & it is therefore impossible for me to be at the Committee meeting this morning at 10 a.m.. I shall however be in Oswestry by 12 & will call on you to ascertain the names of the Directors for insertion in the Bill. There are several little details in the Bill which will require looking through & I should be happy to meet Mr Minshall or Mr Williams at 12 pm for that purpose. The most important point however is the question of gauge. I told Mr Minshall from the first that I would have nothing whatever to do with any line which was proposed to be constructed in the narrow gauge – as now called. The only line that would be of any use to me would be one on the ordinary 4ft 8½in gauge. I do not believe in all that nonsense about there being no difficulty in transhipment etc. The only line that would be of any use to me would be one of such a gauge that when either my lime or coal was loaded into my trucks they could use any other Railway. I notice however that the clause actually provides for the construction of the “narrow” gauge, subject to the assent of the Board of Trade for alteration to the ordinary gauge. img275I cannot say by whose instruction such a clause was inserted in the draft Bill & of course if a majority of the Committee elect to have the narrow gauge instead of the ordinary gauge I must bow to their decision & withdraw from the affair altogether. It would be useless for me to attempt to negotiate with any other Company so long as the clause in regard to gauge is even optional, & it will be necessary to make the clause binding as enabling the Railway to be constructed in the ordinary gauge & no other. Yours faithfully. R. France.


13/12/1872.   img276

From:  C. Jones, Tynffynonan, Llangynog.

To:      Mr J Williams, (Minshall & Co) William Street, Oswestry.

Dear Sir.   In reply to your letter received last night about Oswestry & Llangynog Railway I am not willing for you to put my name down as one of the Directors. I object it to be put down in the Bill. I am Sir your obedient Servant C. Jones




23/12/1872.   img277

From:  Nantmawr Lime & Flaxing Stone Quarries.

To:      Mr Williams – Minshall & Co.

Dear Sir  Llangynog Railway  In the absence of Mr France – who is at present in London – I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter. I have telegraphed him the substance of your letter and you will doubtless hear from him tomorrow. Yours truly. (Mr) Wright.




From:  T. W. Hancock, Co. Secretary, Llanrhaiadr.

To:      Mr Williams, (Minshall & Co) William Street, Oswestry.img279

Dear Sir  “Oswestry, Llanrhaiadr & Llangynog Railway”  The following gentlemen (appended list) were the persons who attended the committee meeting in the promotion of this “line” of railway and are “collecting” subscriptions. I am dear Sir yours Mr W Hancock Secretary.

Rev W Williams, Mr R Jones, Mr James Davies, Mr W Jones, Mr R Henry,

Mr Robert Hughes, Mr John Davies, Mr Edward Richards, Mr R Lewis *, Edward Morris,

Capt Thomas, W. Jones.

*P.S. I believe that when he learnt that the line was going through his farm he did not pay in his subscription.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

16/11/1874.    img280

From:  Merrybent & Company. Investigating Committee Offices,26 Finsbury Place, London.

To:     Mr J Williams, Oswestry.

Dear Sir  Mr France has returned from Yorkshire where he has been engaged and finds yours amongst his unanswered letters. He therefore desires me to forward to you the enclosed accounts and to state that he has written to Mr Bayley. Yours truly (Mr) Wright.




From:  Merrybent & Company. Investigating Committee Offices, 26 Finsbury Place, London.

Llangynog Railway. img281On my return from Yorkshire where I am engaged in reference to the affairs of another Company I find your letter which otherwise would have been answered before. Please excuse me and our friend Mr Jones for not having earlier replied on the same subject. For the fact is I have had so much to do in the north that my other matters have been neglected. I have instructed my Clerk to forward to Mr Williams the accounts he sent me as he informs me there is a Committee meeting called for Wednesday next. Under no circumstances can I attend as I cannot possibly leave town but having looked through the accounts. I enclose you an analysis of them which may be of some service in enabling you to arrive at what you really ought to agree to.

 It appears to me that nearly everybody has gone on the principle of charging as much as they can for the work done & I recommend the committee not to agree to pay several of the accounts unless the parties will make a very considerable reduction in their charges. I think Messrs Minshall did not do all they might have done towards keeping down the cost, because if they had tried they could have made a bargain in almost every case that the charge was not to exceed a certain sum. This was not done & has in some cases led to charges being made which remind me more of the mania of 1845 than anything else – for instance where Woodall & Venables charge £2-10 for one insertion in the notice – the same firm charge £7-2-6 for each . . [remainder of letter lost, but in the hand of Mr Wright]




From:  T. E. Minshall, Temple Chambers, Wrexham.

To:      Mr J Williams.

Dear Sir  Oswestry & Llangynog Ry   I must really press for a settlement of my account for expenses in this matter & feel sure that the Committee will see – on consideration – that I cannot reasonably be expected to wait longer for it, it being now 2 yearsoverdue.  The scheme was in no sense one of mine and I undertook to get it up at immense inconvenience having 3 other large deposits then on hand, & as you are aware & do not make a penny by it. May I therefore ask you to bring the matter at once before the attention of the Committee & oblige. Yours truly  T. E. Minshall.




From: T. E. Minshall, Temple Chambers, Wrexham.

To:      Mr J Williams.

Dear Sir  Oswestry & Llangynog Ry   I have your letter & if you will send me Cheque for £30 today I will – in order to settle the matter – accept that amount in discharge of my account. I must say – however – that I do not think the request reasonable seeing that the account is for money out of pocket only & I was not a promoter of the scheme but undertook it solely at the request of the Committee. In the case of the other accounts you name a good part is profit. I only agree to this in order to relieve the Committee from a difficulty. Yours truly T.C. Minshall.



From:  R. France, 18 Cavendish Road, St John’s Wood, NW. 

To:      Messrs Minshall and Parry Jones

Dear Sirs   img284I have your letter as to the claims on the Llangynog Rly, & I would have sent you a cheque (for) this but every shilling I could scrape has for some time gone in my colliery at Trefonon where I have lately sunk a large capital in driving to the thick coal. This we succeeded in doing just before last Xmas, when we unfortunately tapped a gravel deposit which ran in right to the surface compelling me to incur all the cost of driving over again.

 My money has gone in your district even if not in payment of the claims in the Rly account.

 I have no intention to shirk my share of the latter but cannot be pressed in the matter until I have had a little breathing time after the expenditure of so much money beyond what I had contemplated at the colliery. Yours faithfully  R S France



From:  E Shaw, Plas Wilmot, Oswestry.

Dear Sir   img286Referring to your letter of the 26th Llangynog Railway I told Mr Williams some months since if he liked to accept my subscription of £20 in full of all demands I would pay it which is considerably more than my share of the first list of names submitted which I think speaking from memory as about thirty some. Three or four names were erased as not able to pay the remainder were equally liable (if any liability exists as I never authorised any expenditure past the four hundred pounds) and also equally as able to pay their quota as myself which then amounted to some thirteen or fourteen pounds the list after I believe was several times reduced now I contend that whoever excused those parties should pay their portion I wish to behave honourably in the matter and I repeat to you what I told Mr Williams if you like to accept the twenty pounds I will pay it about the middle of August next. Yours truly  (Mr) Shaw


The Oswestry and Llangynog Act 1882 received Royal Assent on the 10’th of August that year. Some of the key features of the Act are listed on a separate page of this website (click here). One condition was that the line should be completed within 4 years and by 1885 nothing had happened on the ground. 


There appears to have been a “provincial” group exasperated at the lack of progress who were pleading with a “London” party who had the power and finances to get the railway built but were holding back from doing so for various reasons. The frustration at the lack of progress is revealed in the following correspondence from January 1885 to August 1886.                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Batch 2 – 1885/6’s:  The correspondents & persons mentioned include:


Ashurst, Morris, Crisp & Co,  6 Old Jewry, London – Solicitors for the Bill.

Thomas Savin.

Edward D Matthews, Civil Engineer & Contractor, Union Court, London

O. Roberts, The Rhiwarth Slate and Slab Co., Llangynog.

The Engineer for the 1882 proposals was Edward Woods.

Stuart Rendel, 1’st Baron Rendel, Liberal MP for Montgomeryshire 1880-1894.

Sir Herbert Lloyd Watkin Williams-Wynn, 7th Baronet.  He succeeded to the baronetcy on the death of his uncle and father-in-law, Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn, 6’th Baronet in 1885.

He was Member of Parliament (MP) for Denbighshire from May to November 1885 and was appointed as High Sheriff of Denbighshire for 1890.

Mr E Williams of Longueville & Co  (Sir Watkin’s solicitor).                                                                                                                 

16/1/1885    img287    

From:  Ashurst, Morris, Crisp & Co.

To:       John William Esq, Oswestry.

Dear Sir          Oswestry & Llangynog Railway

In reply to your letter of the 13’th we understand from the gentleman most largely interested in this scheme that he hopes soon to make some progress with it.

Personally we can give you no definite information because we have had no instructions to move in the matter since the Landowners Notices were served.

Yours truly                                                                                                                                     


From:  J Williams

To:       E D Mathews

Dear Sir    Oswestry & Langynog Railwayimg290

A meeting was held at Llanrhaiadr yesterday evening to take into consideration whether any & what steps could be taken to ascertain the present position of this scheme & its probable construction.

 The meeting was attended by several farmers and others of the District who are anxious that the Railway should be made & who are willing to give all help in their power if you can satisfy them that it will be constructed.

 A committee was formed to further consider the matter.

 I was requested to make you their  ? whether the Railway will be constructed by the present promoters or should the thing be handed over to others & on what terms. I may say that the people of the District are quite prepared to render assistance where it is that the Railway will be made but until some assurances on this point is given they will not do anything.

 I was requested by the committee to ask you for your views fully on the matter. I shall be much obliged by a reply at your early convenience.                                                                                                                                                                                 

19/8/1885 img292       

From: Ashurst, Morris, Crisp & Co.

To:     Messrs Minshall & Parry Jones.

Dear Sirs    Oswestry & Llangynog Railway

The gentleman who is most largely interested in this matter is out of town for a few days. We will see him on his return and will then write to you in reply to yours of the 16’th inst:

Yours truly                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  


From:  Edward D Mathews, Civil Engineer & Contractor, Union Court, London.

To:      John Williams Esq, Victoria Rd, Oswestry.

Dear Sir          Oswestry & Llangynog Railwayimg293

Absence from town on business connected with this railway has prevented my replying sooner to your letter of the 19’th which I received at Bala whilst on my journey.

  In Llanrhaiadr I heard of the meeting which was held there on the 18’th but could not obtain information as to the conveners of the meeting or the names of the parties who attended. If you will supply me with this information I shall be much obliged.

  With regard to the prospect of the line being made I may say that in my view the construction of the line depends entirely upon Mr Alex Young the Liquidator of the Potteries Railway. It has been my opinion for some time past that the Oswestry & Llangynog Railway if constructed would be useless unless access to Shrewsbury & the Midland Counties via the Potteries line is secured.

  The Oswestry & Llangynog Bill provides for running powers over, the Potteries, but in the present condition of that line the powers referred to are useless.

  I am however in hopes that Mr Alex Young will see his way to enter into an arrangement whereby the swollen capital of the Potteries line will be cut down to a moderate figure when the two lines may be worked together with advantage.

  I would suggest that local efforts should be directed towards the attainment of the amalgamation which I have proposed and I note with pleasure that there are parties in the District who are quite prepared to render assistance in the construction of the Oswestry & Llangynog scheme. If you can obtain any definite promises of support I shall be much obliged and you and your friends may rely upon the matter being now pushed on as fast as practicable, but I again urge upon the district my view, namely that the proper thing to do, is to secure the repairs of the Potteries Line & its amalgamation with our line on reasonable terms. Any assistance that can be rendered me in effecting this very desirable object will be greatly esteemed.

Yours truly



From:  James Davies (Land Agent & Surveyor), Plasnewydd, Llanrhaiadr.

To:      John Williams, Oswestry.

Dear Mr Williamsimg294

I was from home on Saturday when your letter came enclosing copy of Mr Mathews letter, and for which I am obliged to you.

I cannot see clearly from Mr Mathews letter how we can now help in the matter as he says the construction of the line depends entirely upon Mr Alex Young.

My advice now would be for you to write to Mr Mathews to ask him what he would wish us in the district to do in the matter? And how are we to go to work to help him?

I cannot now see that we have anything particular to lay before Sir Watkin.

I will show the letter to the vicar of Llanrhaiadr – Dr Williams and Mr Jones Glanaber and will let you hear what they will say.

As to the line if made injuring Oswestry I do not think that, as you will see from the Act that the Branch through Porthywaen to Oswestry will have to be opened first. It would bring ten for every one to Oswestry every marked day – but it would be thetotal ruin of Llanfyllin.

Yours truly                                                                                                                                                                                               

1/9/1885    img295      

From:  D Davies, 55 Berkley Street, Liverpool.

To:      John Williams, Oswestry.

Dear Sir

Many thanks for your letter enclosing copy of Mr Mathews. I quite agree with you that no time ought to be lost in waiting upon Sir Watkin. Mr E Williams of Longueville & Co said that he would (if necessary) arrange for the time & place at all events he is going to bring the matter under Sir Watkin’s notice. I hope that the gentlemen appointed to form the deputation will act promptly and avail themselves of all the assistance they can get.

Yours very truly


Note: Lougueville & Co. were the solicitors acting for Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn 6’th Baronet, and his nephew and successor Sir Herbert Watkins Williams-Wynn, 7’th Baronet. The 6’th Baronet has died on the 9’th May 1885 just a few months before this letter. Both the 6’th and 7’th Baronets are referred to as a “Sir Watkin” or “Sir W  W Wynn” but by the time of this and subsequent letters it is the 7’th Baronet that is in mind. Sir Watkin, 6’th Baronet, had been a prominent and influential local aristocrat and politician. He was the MP for Denbighshire from 1841 until his death in 1885. The 7’th Baronet took on this role until the following General Election in November 1885. The 6’th Baronet  is specifically mentioned in the Oswestry & Llangynog Railway Act 1882 which gave him, and his heirs, particular privileges and rights over the railway (see details). The 7’th Baronet was therefore an obvious person to lobby for its construction.


From: J Williams, Victoria Rd, Oswestry.

To:     E D Mathews, London.

Dear Sir          Oswestry & Llangynog Railwayimg298

With reference to your letter of the 27’th inst for which I thank you. You will excuse my saying that in the opinion of the persons locally interested the line from Llangynog to Oswestry should be made as a local line. There is extremely little traffic between that neighbourhood and Shrewsbury or the Midlands. The actual “Metropolis” is Oswestry where all the local business is done.

  If it could be shown that there was really an intention that one inexpensive line would be made from Llandynog to Oswestry under the powers of the Act I am certain that a considerable amount of capital would be obtained in the District.

  Sir W W Wynn for instance would I believe give material support. But it is no use weighting the Company by a connection with the defunct Potteries Railway and it would be hopeless to expect any local support to such a scheme.

  Is there any probability that the promoters would consent to hand over the Bill to a Local Committee upon any reasonable terms as to repayment for their outlay?

  If so I would see the conveners of the meeting and would ascertain what it is probable could be done.

  Kindly let me hear from you in a day or two.

Yours truly


8/9/1885    img299      

From:  E D Mathews, Union Chambers, London.

To:       John Williams, Oswestry

Dear Sir    Oswestry & Llangynog Railway

I am in receipt of your favours of the 1’st inst & under the circumstances think it would be better that you should discuss the matter with Mr Savin who is interested with me herein.

  He is in possession of the correspondence & would therefore be in a position to inform you at once whether we could entertain your views.

Yours faithfully

Note:  Mr Thomas Savin had been born in the area and had started his working life as an apprentice draper in his father’s shop in Oswestry. His entrepreneurial drive attracted him to railway construction and by this time he had already been the engineer for other lines in the region – and, as a result, had become something of a celebrity. He was thus an obvious person to be involved in the Oswestry and Llangynog Railway project.

11/9/1885  img300      

From: J Williams, Victoria Rd, Oswestry

To:     E D Mathews, London.

Dear Sir          Oswestry & Llangynog Railway

I called on Mr Savin yesterday evening he was unable to give me any information on this matter & said that he must first hear from you respecting the handing over of the Act. I shall be glad if you will at once consider the matter & communicate with Mr Savin & let me hear at your early convenience what sum would be accepted for the Bill.

  I need not add that the amount must be a reasonable one in order to assist the Local Committee in carrying the thing through.                  

Yours truly                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

12/9/1885   img302     

From:  E D Mathews, Union Chambers, London.

To:       John Williams, Oswestry

Dear Sir    Oswestry & Llangynog Railway

Replying to your favour of yesterday – Mr Savin knows that I am anxious to sell the Bill for this line or hand it over to anyone, at the same time that is no reason why I should not consider any proposals that may be made to me and such proposals if local ones, should naturally come through Mr Savin, he being as I have informed you interested with me in this business. I must therefore again refer you to him.

Yours faithfully                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


From:  Mr Savin, Oswestry.

To:      Mr J Williams, Messrs Minshall & Co.

Dear Sir          Oswestry & Llangynog Railwayimg303

In reply to your enquiries I feel sure that its construction will be under this Parliament, and if your friends are disposed to meet us, we should be glad to commence the work at once, providing a public meeting was called, at which our London and local friends could meet & also ask the presence of the Land owners most interested in this.

  My own opinion is that large and small land owners should meet & see if we could get some eight or ten thousand pounds, which sum should be spent on that section only.

  With regard to the London Party, they say, & very naturally too, that the country has not paid anything towards obtaining the Act, & now it remains with the Local people to provide a reasonable sum towards its construction, such as the sum I have already mentioned viz £8000 to £10,000.

  If the interested parties would call a Public meeting on the grounds mentioned above I will communicate with my London friends at once.

Yours faithfully


Undated but next in sequence in stapled bundle:

From:  E D Mathews, Union Chambers, London.

To:       Mr Savin

Dear Mr Savin    Oswestry & Llangynog Railwayimg304

I hope some progress has been made today and in reply to your letter of yesterday give you the following figures.

Messrs Hegan & Sperling out of pocket expenditure in obtaining the Act, have been to date


Accounts still owing:

 Mr Wm Bell – – – – – – – –     £190-0-10

 Ashurst & Co – – – – – – –        £64-3-5

I have disbursed to date –  £289-11-3



Mr Edward Woods (the engineer for the line) has only received some fragments on a/c of his work & these are included in the payments by Messrs Hegan. There will be something further to pay Mr Woods & he must be asked to fix the sum.


Out of pocket to date                1741-12-3

Amount of deposit in 3 parts   6238-12-0

                      Total to date      £7980-4-3


If these amounts were paid in cash plus whatever Mr Woods may ask, I think that with a moderate remuneration to myself for relinquishing my share of the contract, you could purchase the Act and I hope these figures will enable you to submit me a proposal by return of post, as I must before the 31’st decide as to giving notice of abandonment.

  I have seen a letter today from Lord Bradford to a friend of mine, in which his L’ship says that he will do anything he can to help the construction of the line, but that he could not act as a Director. I am also told that Mr Watson, who is putting up as Conservative Candidate for Shrewsbury has been spoken to & is willing to assist, but he favours the amalgamation with the Potteries.

  I hope there will be a letter from you in the morning as to the meeting of today.

Yours truly

[Note: Lord Bradford was MP for Shropshire South. Mr James Watson was elected MP for Shrewsbury in December 1885. At the time of the above letter he would have been interested in recruiting favour and votes especially as this was the first general election after an extension of franchise and redistribution of seats. For the first time a majority of adult males could vote and most constituencies returned a single-member to Parliament.]

12/10/1885     img305 

From:  James Davies, Plasnewydd, Llanrhaiadr, Oswestry.

To:      Mr J Williams, Victoria Rd, Oswestry.


Dear Mr Williams/Railway

I am in receipt of your letter. The best way by far will be for you to call the persons named as the Deputation to Sir Watkin. I am going from home tomorrow and will not return till Wednesday morning.

  Call the meeting for Thursday afternoon say 4 pm at the Wynnstay Llanrhaiadr. I will be there to meet them. The whole of the land owners should be asked to sell the lands required for the line at its agricultural value and to take it all in shares – if they will do that the line would pay as a branch from Oswestry to Llangynog. I send this by mailman paid to your house.

Yours truly                                                                                                                                                                                             


From:  O. Roberts, Llangynog

To:      Mr J Williams

Dear Sir

Will you kindly say if anything has been done today re- the Oswestry & Llangynog Railway with Mr Rendal.  Also we are very anxious here to know what steps you propose to take in the future with the matter. A word from you would greatly and oblige us all –

Yours Obediently                                                                                                                                                                                                                


From:  From:  O. Roberts, The Rhiwarth Slate and Slab Co., Llangynog.

To:       Mr J Williams

Dear Sirimg324

Yesterday I went to see Mr Davies Plasnewydd re the Oswestry & Llangynog Railway. He was going to Llanrhaiadr yesterday to see some of the others but Mr Jones Henfachw is from home. I think that something will be done next week.

  Since I saw you the other day I met Mr Savin – he said that there was some meeting about it to be held in London on Tuesday last but he was not aware of the result at the time. Also he said that they were anxious to hear some good report from the Country in favour of it according to your letter etc. I think really that there is not much time to lose and if the country does not come out now we will lose every chance to have it for long time.

  Also there is very strong feeling at Llanrhaiadr & Llangynog that Mr Stewart (Stuart)Rendal should do something to support it, and if he refuse no doubt he will be deprived of the support of many good liberals in this district and sooner the better he is made known of it.

  The people up at Llanrhaiadr & Llandynog seem to be very much alive to the matter and it is a pity that some means of giving a proper event to it is not provided – somebody must take the lead & we look to you as the only one who in connection with the gentlemen selected at Llanrhaiadr six weeks ago as deputation to see Sir W W Wynn etc to do this & take the matter up in earnest while there is a chance of success – I learned this from Mr Davies Plasnewydd that the rest of the deputation waits upon you to call them together etc as agreed at Llanrhaiadr then.

 I am dear Sir

Yours obediently                                                                                                                                                                                


From:  J Williams, Victoria Rd, Oswestry.

To:      E D Mathews, London.

Dear Sir          Oswestry & Llangynog Railwayimg330

I saw Mr Savin yesterday. He showed me your letters to him & he now wishes me to write to you. Mr Edwd Williams of the firm of Messrs Longueville & Co. Sir Watkin Solicitors is away from home this week, he is returning on Saturday. I am to see him on Thursday next. In order to have something definite to lay before Mr Williams and shall be glad if you will let me know by return what is the “moderate” sum you will accept for expenses etc in obtaining the Bill. If you will let me know this I believe we shall be able to do something. I may say that the matter has been mentioned to Stuart Rendal the Member for Montgomeryshire who promises his support & I feel sure that he will be able to give us considerable assistance.

  Please let me hear from you by return.

Yours truly                                                                                                                                                                                           


From:   E D Mathews, Union Court Chambers, London.

To:       John Williams, Victoria Rd, Oswestry.

Dear Sir    Oswestry & Llangynog Railwayimg333

I have to acknowledge your favour yesterday and in reply beg to say that I understood from Mr Savin that it was possible that you and your friends might be disposed to render some assistance in carrying out this project on its present lines and there was, I believe, some talk of a meeting being held with that view. I have been expecting to be asked to attend such meeting & have held myself in readiness to do so when called upon. Under these circumstances I do not feel at liberty to enter into any discussions as to sale of my interest in the Bill until I know something of the views held by those locally interested in the construction of the line. If you could arrange for a meeting at which all interests were represented I should be happy to attend & I may say that you would find my views reasonable, but it is well that you should be informed that one part of the arrangement would necessarily have to be that the parties willing to assist should as a first step purchase the Parliamentary Deposit. I am sending a copy of this letter to Mr Savin asking him to see you on the subject.

Yours truly

Note: The “Parliamentary Deposit” referred to in the above letter was a sum of £6238-12-0 which had to be paid to the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice. It could not then be touched by the railway company until the line had been built and opened. It acted as a bond for the potential compensation of landowners etc who might be financially compromised should the railway not be completed.


From: J Williams, Victoria Rd, Oswestry.

To:     E D Mathews, London.

Dear Sir          Railway

Mr E Williams has written to Sir Watkin today to know what day will suit him for the Public Meeting, directly I hear what day he fixes I will at once let you know & hope you will be able to attend.

Yours truly                                                                                                                                                                                              

28/10/1885    img337  

From:  Mr Savin

To:      Parry-Jones Esq

My Dear Sir

I had written Mr J Thomas about Monday next as to his taking my place as Returning Officer & I should like if you would go into the Llangynog Rly & that as soon as possible, has Mr E Williams returned home? There is no time to loose, & if Mr Williams is not likely to meet & see how things stand, my letter puts everything ready.


Although you don’t care to see me on a Market day & I dont care about going out, if you will tell me if I can do any good I will come up any time you send for me.

  Please ask Mr John Williams to call on his way home.

I remain yours faithfully

Tho’s Savin                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

30/10/1885   img345   

From:  Mr Savin, Ivy House

To:      Messrs Minshall & Parry-Jones

My Dear Sir

Will you please send me three of the notices of meeting for Tuesday next one for Mr Openshaw & the other for Mr John Hughes Pengbrush Hall to whom I propose to night to write his ?Lanlord to attend

  Your kind and immediate attention will much oblige

 Yours faithfully


I cannot get out today & I should be glad if Mr Williams would call on his way home & bring Mr Mathews with him.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

31/10/1885   img346  

From:  E D Mathews, Union Chambers, London.

To:       John Williams, Victoria Rd, Oswestry.

Dear Sir    Oswestry & Llangynog Railway

Mr Savin wrote me that the meeting would probably be held on Tuesday at 3 o’c and I have replied asking him to let me know definitely by Monday morning – I cannot very well leave the city at present except under very urgent circumstances as a case in which I am interested is  to be in the List for hearing during the coming week. I do not think it will be on before Wednesday so that Tuesday will probably suit me well but as I shall be only able to devote that day to Oswestry I must ask you to kindly arrange that the meeting should be held punctually in order that I may be able to return to town the same evening

Yours very truly                                                                                                                                                                                   

5/11/1885    img348

From: Edward Williams, Longueville & Co, Solicitors,  Oswestry.

My dear Sir.  Llangynog Rly

I quite agree with what Mr Randel says – Mr Mathews has made a bad speculation and wishes us to relieve him of it – If he were wise he would go in for a Bill to extend the time – There would be no opposition and it would not cost much. He would then be in a position to offer us something but he must not expect to get everything that he says he has laid out.  If he got half and gave us the Bill I see he should think himself lucky.

Yours truly

Edw Williams

I have not heard anything from Parry Jones 

There is then a gap in the correspondence until the following summer.

12/6/1886  img349   

From:  Owen Roberts, Secretary, The Rhiwarth Slate and Slab Co. Llangynog.                   

To:      Mr Williams, Victoria Rd, Oswestry.

Dear Mr Williams

I understand in a letter received today from Mr Mathews that he wrote to you again about to have another meeting respecting the Oswestry & Llangynog Railway. If it will be arranged will you kindly let me know as early as possible when it will take place I will try & get a few down from here to attend t it.

I hope something might be done now.

I am dear Sir

Yours obed’tly

O. Roberts.


15/6/1886   img351  

From:  E D Mathews, 10 & 11 Union Court Chambers, London.

To:      Messrs Minshall & Parry Jones, solicitors, Oswestry.

Dear Sirs         Oswestry & Llangynog Ry

I am much obliged for yours of 12’th and if you could arrange for a meeting, say tomorrow week the 23’rd I will keep any appointment you may make. I am very sorry to hear of Mr Savin’s condition.

Awaiting reply

Yours very truly

E D Mathews                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           


From:  E D Mathews, Union Court Chambers, London.

To:      Messrs Minshall & Parry Jones, solicitors, Oswestry.

Dear Sirs         O&L Ryimg352

I am very sorry to see from Messrs Longueville’s letter that you both think nothing can be done until after the elections, pray recollect that I was put off last year for the very same cause, & as I have done my part of the agreement come to at the meeting of last November that is to say obtained the extension of time Bill, surely those locally interested should now come forward and carry out the promises they made at the meeting.

With regards to sending you a proposal as you suggest the only proposition that can be made under the circumstances, was put before you all by me , very clearly, at the meeting to which I have referred, I then offered to sell my rights under the Bill, or to act as Contractor to any organisation made locally for the purpose of constructing the Railway. Your Mr Parry Jones said at the meeting that if I would go in for an Extension of Time the people of Oswestry and neighbourhood would do all they could to help in making the line, the extension is obtained & I am now anxious to meet you to ascertain whether you elect to help in making the line or wish to purchase the Bill. I would be quite willing to come down and discuss the matter with you personally any day next week, if we could then arrange for a meeting later on, for I am very anxious to know without any further loss of time what you all intend to do in the matter.

Yours faithfully

E D Matthews                                                                                                                                                                                      

28/6/1886     img353   

From:  E D Mathews, London.

To:      Messrs Minshall & Parry Jones, solicitors, Oswestry.

Dear Sirs         O&L RY

I have pleasure in informing you that the Act for the Extension of Time received the Royal Assent on the 25’th.

Yours faithfully

E D Mathews

Note: The Oswestry and Llangynog Railway Act 1886 was “to revive the powers and extend the periods for the compulsory purchase of lands” granted by the 1882 Act.  In the latter Act lands had to be purchased within 2 years and the line built and opened within 4 years; that time was now expired and nothing had happened. The new Act was therefore essential in keeping the project alive. Lands now had to be bought by the 10’th August 1888 and the line had to be completed by the same date one year later.

3/8/1886        img354  

From:   E D Mathews, London.

To:       Messrs Minshall & Parry Jones, Oswestry.


Dear Sirs         O&L Ry

The elections being concluded I beg to ask if you would now be able to hold the proposed meetings or if you can in any other way that seems to you to be advisable assist one in furthering the construction of the line.

 Owing to the unfortunate illness of Mr Savin I am deprived of his assistance but would gladly run down to Oswestry to confer with yourselves and Messrs Longueville & Co at any time that may be convenient to you all.

Awaiting the favour of your reply

Yours truly

E D Mathews

Sadly the complexities of the situation could not be unravelled and no progress was made. After over 25 years of effort the scheme under this name was officially killed off by The Oswestry and Llangynog Railway (Abandonment) Act 1889. The Parliamentary Deposit was released, the company dissolved and the previous two Acts repealed.

However all this effort did not go entirely to waste. The Light Railways legislation of 1896 open a new way for small provincial railways like this. With so much preparatory work already done a fresh scheme for a Tanat Valley line was straight out of the blocks as revealed by the following brief note:

April 29 1897 img355

Llanrhaiadr Yn Mochnant. Rural District Council. Bank Buildings, Llangollen.

C W Richards, clerk. 

To: Messrs Minshall, Solicitors, Oswestry.

Tanat. V. Ry

Dear Sir 

Is there not a slight omission in notice enclosed? Should not the word “Council”  be inserted?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 img359       


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