Scottish shale Scottish shale

Bagillt Oil Works

Former parish and county:
Parish of Holywell, County of Flint, Wales
Local authority:
Current status of site:
Housing built on site


A narrow seam of a good quality cannel coal was worked along with the main coal at a number of collieries in the Bagillt area. The proprietors of Wern colliery in Bagillt advertised supplies of their "very superior" cannel to oil and gas producers during 1864.

It seems that an oil works, equipped with 30 or 32 retorts and some basic refining equipment, were constructed near Wern colliery during late 1865. The collapse is oil prices during 1866 appears to have led to the failure of the business, and all plant and equipment were sold off early in 1868. The short life of the works was distinguished by an accident in which the local pub narrowly escaped being engulfed in burning tar, and a resulting court case (Davies v. Bagillt Oil Co.) which reveals further details of this rather ramshackle operation.

The suggested site of the oil works is derived accounts of the court case which describe hot oil and tar running downhill from the works to cause damage to the the Blossoms Inn. From this description it seems highly probable that the long structures on higher ground to the south west of the Blossoms Inn, marked on the 1869 OS map represents the oil works, which were probably disused by that time. This is compatible with the statement in the sale notice that the works were "adjacent to a colliery".

Mapped by the Ordnance Survey of c.1869, annotated to show the supposed site of Bagillt Oil Works; with the Blossoms Inn marked in red.

Number of retorts: 30 or 32 (in 1865).

Above right: 6" OS map c.1869, annotated to show the supposed site of Bagillt Oil Works; with the Blossoms Inn marked in red.

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      On SALE, at Wern Colliery, in close proximity to the Bagillt Station, on the Chester and Holyhead Railway, a regular supply of 150 TONS per week of CANNEL COAL, of very superior kind. - Communications to be addressed to Mr. David Jones, Bagillt, near Holywell, Flintshire.

      Chester Chronicle, 5th November 1864


      Tenders are required for the BUILDING of THIRTY RETORTS at Bagillt —Apply to Mr. Hunter, Flint.

      Chester Chronicle, 30th September 1865


      COOPERS. —Wanted a Cooper, for repairing Oil Casks.—Apply to Mr. HUNTER, Oil Works, Bagillt

      Chester Chronicle, 10th March 1866


      "A Small Sample."—This was an action brought by the Bagillt Oil Company against Samuel Wilson, of Tipton, Staffordshire, to recover £3 5s. 9d., the price of 14 cwt. of grease, which had been sent by Mr Hunter, the manager of the above company, to defendant as a small sample, having ordered it.—His Honour thought this certainly was not a very small sample, and gave judgement for defendant.

      Wrexham Advertiser, 19th January 1867


      To Paraffine Oil Makers, Colliery Owners, Oil and Grease Manufacturers, and others.
      Sale of the Lease, Working Plant, Stock of Oils, Grease, empty Casks, Tools, &c., at the BAGILLT OIL WORKS, FLINTSHIRE. MR. PICKERING has been instructed by the Bagillt Oil Co. to offer for SALE BY PUBLIC AUCTION, on the premises, on Thursday, the 30th day of January, 1868, the hereinafter mentioned valuable effects, comprising the Lease, two cottages, counting-house, thirty-two cast-iron retorts, with brick work, chimney stacks, and complete fittings, ready for immediate use; two wrought-iron stills, condensing tank, two oil receivers, one grease ditto, three waggon boilers, one steam ditto, two weighing machines, capable of weighing 20 cwt. each, all of which will be offered in one lot.

      The Moveable Plant and Stock (which will be sold without reserve and in lots to suit purchasers) include one patent weighing machine, by " Avery," to weigh 8 cwt.; two cast-iron draw pumps, brass force ditto, cast-iron ditto ditto, condenser boxes, three-inch bend cast-iron pipes, wrought-iron plates, sockets and flanges, backnuts, plugs, steam gauges, copper still, fitter's vice, stocks and dies, fire bars and bearers, drilling stands, steel chisels, retort rakes and bars, hydrometer and stand, wrought-iron and wood wheelbarrows, quantity of gas piping, cast and wrought hoop and scrap iron, fire bricks and tiles, sheet lead, planks, buckets, step ladders, India-rubber hose piping, very useful one-horse float, twelve tons of once run heavy oil, about nineteen tons of crude oil, about nineteen tons of grease, three hundred and sixty-two 50 gallon wine casks, one hundred and forty-eight 110 ditto oil ditto, thirty-one 112 ditto ditto, one hundred and thirty five 36 gallon petroleum barrels, and a quantity of other miscellaneous effects. Sale to commence at 11 a.m. prompt.

      Descriptive catalogues are in course of preparation, and may be had 14 days prior to the Sale, at the Auctioneer's Office, the Eastgate, Chester, or from the Bagillt Oil Co, 17, Sweeting-street, Liverpool; or on the premises. The Plant is good working order, capable of consuming 100 tons of cannel weekly, and adjoining a Colliery where a plentiful supply can always be had.

      Chester Chronicle, 11th January 1868