The History of Wales

On 1st October 1806, the brig Mary ran aground on the Arklow Bank, in the Irish Sea. it was wrecked with the loss of seven of the ten people on board. Two of the survivors were rescued by Mary, a ship from Liverpool, whilst the third was rescued by Mary, a ship from Amlwch, Anglesey.

Amlwch is the most northerly town in Wales, with the local economy reliant mainly on tourism. However, it was one of the busiest ports and the second largest town in Wales after Merthyr Tydfil in the late 18th century, with a population of approximately 10,000. In 1792 Beaumaris & Amlwch received 327 ships with a gross tonnage of 13287 tons, compared with Swansea's 96 ships and 5521 ton gross in the same year.

This was 'The Age of Sail', a period which lasted from the 16th to the mid-19th century and was the period in which international trade and naval warfare were dominated by sailing ships.

Some of the earliest records of ship movements from Amlwch are in 1730 when two vessels from Conwy are recorded as carrying Oak and Alder timber from Amlwch. Then in 1748 Lewis Morris, a customs officer recorded that vessels came to Amlwch to load corn, butter and cheese. But it was the rediscovery of Copper at Mynydd Parys in 1762 at what was then the world's biggest copper mine and the need to ship the copper ore around the world, that led to Amlwch's rapid growth.

Ore from the mine was brought to the port by horse and cart and It would take many journeys to build up the 20 - 70 tons required for a full ship's load. The ships were assisted into the harbour's narrow entrance by unlicensed pilots or "Hobblers" who used small rowing and sailing boats to steer the vessels into port.
By 1816 a 150-foot pier and lighthouse were added and in 1866 the ports of Beaumaris & Amlwch received 298 ships carrying 19335 tons while Cardiff received 89 with a total of 18252 tons at the same time. The turning point in the history of the port was reached in 1865 when for the first time copper ore from the mountain was exported using the new railway at Llangefni, which was cheaper than transporting it by sea.