Herbert Francis Mackworth and the Coal Industry in Monmouthshire, 1851-1858 by G W J Lovering In Llanhenog Church, on the south wall of the chancel, is a brass memorial com- memorating six members of the Mackworth family who are buried nearby in the churchyard. One name is that of Herbert Francis Mackworth, H.M. Inspector of Mines, who died on 13th July, 1858. Sir Humphrey Mackworth1 (d.1727) married the heiress to the Gnoll, Neath, and Pencrug, Llanhenog, and is famous as one of the foremost pioneers of Welsh industry. His descendent, Sir Digby Mackworth, the 4th baronet, who resided at Glenusk, was a noted figure among the Monmouthshire gentry of the 1830s and 1840s and at that time a military or clerical career was the usual pursuit of a younger member of a landed family. But in the case of Herbert Mackworth, he received a scientific education at King's College, London, and, with 'railway mania' sweeping the country, he became a young railway engineer. This gave him some experience of railway tunnel construction, and in 1849 he gained employment in superintending collieries for Thomas Powell of New- port. In the 1840s Powell's energies had been directed at the development of the Aberdare Valley and, with the completion of the Taff Vale extension to Aberdare in 1846, Powell's steam-coal collieries commanded growing attention in the South Wales coal trade.2 It was principally in this district, with its noted, fiery Four Feet seam, that Herbert Mackworth gained practical experience of the problems of mining, that were to monopolise his attention for the rest of his short life. He proved to be particularly conscientious and made himself well-informed about the best mining practices, even studying developments in underground ventilation that were taking place in Belgium at that time. On 12th November, 1851, Mackworth was appointed H.M. Inspector of Mines for the South Western region. The Mines Act of 1850 had required the appointment of four inspectors for the whole of Britain, but the first inspector for the South West, Kenyon Blackwell, resigned after nine months, and so Herbert Mackworth was in effect the first government inspector for this area. The South Western district com- prised the whole of South Wales, Gloucestershire and Somerset, but the Act of 1855 increased the number of inspectors, and so from the following year until his death in July, 1858, Mackworth was in charge of Monmouthshire, parts of Glamorgan and Breconshire and the adjacent English counties. Government inspection of textile factories was well established by 1850, but there was still considerable opposition by the coal-owners to what was seen as government interference. Laissez-faire principles were very strongly held, and The Economist even expressed the view that it was up to the workmen "to make their own bargains, and to