This etching stands within a few metres of the border between Wales and England where important limestone quarries were established in the mid eighteenth century. It is on the Montgomery branch of the Llangollen canal that leaves the main line at Frankton Junction. Opened in 1796, it was one of the first elements of what was the Ellesmere Canal scheme to be built. The company knew the agricultural demand for lime would produce revenue immediately.
The Canal came to Llanymynech because of the limestone, but the presence of the canal encouraged new limekilns to be built adjacent to it, including the Hoffmann kiln, one of only three remaining in the country and the only one complete with chimney. The Limeworks site is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
There are two wharves on the canal here. This is because there were two quarries, one on the Welsh side of the border and one on the English side. There are also two inclined planes down the hill and two tunnels under the road.
Robert Baugh, church warden of Llanymynech and a renowned mapmaker and engraver, worked with Telford on the canal system.
The Llanymynech Branch of the canal was soon extended a kilometre and a half to Carreghofa, to meet the Montgomeryshire Canal that travelled through Welshpool to Newtown. At this junction, a feeder from the River Tanat supplies water. Although there isn’t an etching at Carreghofa, it is very picturesque and well worth a walk along the towpath.
“There are two wharves on the canal here. This is because there were two quarries, one on the Welsh side of the border and one on the English side.”
Montgomeryshire oak and Canadian grain (from Liverpool to Peates Mill at Maesbury) were also significant loads, and so the canal became known as ‘The Farmers’ Cut’.
The canal down Frankton locks and on to Newtown now takes the name ‘the Montgomery Canal’ – although it never went to that town! The name was because most of the canal travelled through the old Welsh county of Montgomeryshire