The first written record of lead mining at Minera dates back to 1296, when Edward I of England hired miners from the site to work in his new mines in Devon. Not all of them vacated the area, however, as mining went on until the Black Death in 1349, when it ended.

In 1527, two men bought the rights to mine on the site, but deeper workings were unworkable due to the presence of underground rivers, and the inability to prevent flooding. The inability to pay for steam engines to pump out water closed the mines again until 1845, when John Taylor & Sons, mining agents from Flintshire, formed the Minera Mining Company. They were able to build a stationary steam engine on site, and also blast caves from down in the valley into the mines, for extra drainage. The steam engine was a Cornish engine a Beam engine, typical for stationary steam engines at the time.

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