History in Structure

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The Raby Furnace

A Grade II* Listed Building in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire

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Latitude: 51.6923 / 51°41'32"N

Longitude: -4.1659 / 4°9'57"W

OS Eastings: 250391

OS Northings: 201507

OS Grid: SN503015

Mapcode National: GBR GS.TF6Y

Mapcode Global: VH3MB.RQ0J

Entry Name: The Raby Furnace

Listing Date: 3 March 1966

Last Amended: 16 October 1998

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 11870

Building Class: Industrial

Location: 100 m north of Stradey Park Hotel at the east side of a culverted stream in a deep valley beside the B4309.

County: Carmarthenshire

Town: Llanelli

Community: Llanelli Rural (Llanelli Wledig)

Community: Llanelli Rural

Locality: Furnace

Built-Up Area: Llanelli

Traditional County: Carmarthenshire

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Ironworking is said to have been carried out at or near this location since about 1750. In 1795 Alexander Raby, who has been called 'the pioneer of the metallurgical industries in south-east Carmarthenshire', came to Llanelli. He leased lands from the Stradey estate and established coal mines and a forge, all served by a tramroad. On the E side where the Afon Cinlle and the road from Carmarthen enter the town in a narrow valley, he built his blast-furnace by 1801. His dwelling house, called Furnace House or the Dell, was on the opposite side. There is reference to the fuelling of a furnace here with charcoal, but Raby's is more likely to have been coke-fuelled. It is also likely to have been blown by water power, using water from the dam to the north, but nothing remains visible of any waterwheel pit or bellows house. It is said to have been the source of iron used in the manufacture of cannon balls and other military ordnance used during the Napoleonic Wars. It was blown out finally in 1815.


Large blast-furnace built on a quarried site beside a culverted stream. The furnace is about 8 m square at base, tapering slightly to the top, and stands about 3 m away from the quarried face, to which its upper part is linked by a vault extending to the full width of the furnace. The furnace survives to the height of the charging area, which is now an adjacent public road. Coursed Pennant stone rubble including arches on three faces. Small holes at regular spacing in facing stonework. The interior is only accessible above boshes level, where it is about 4 m diameter, tapering upwards to about 2 m diameter at top: most of the vitrified firebrick lining, in header fire-bricks, survives.

At front (W) is the working arch, of segmental form, about 4.5 m span, behind which the throat masonry has partially collapsed. In the left and right sides (N and S) there are narrower arches for blast pipes.

At high level the rock against which the furnace is built has been partially faced in masonry. There is a masonry wall in same stonework as the Furnace, aligned N/S, on E side of stream to the N of the furnace.

Reasons for Listing

Listed II* as fine survival of a blast-furnace of c.1800 in virtually intact form.

Scheduled Ancient Monument Carm 219.

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