The first slate quarry on the site of what was to become Oakeley Quarry, was begun in 1818 when Samuel Holland, a Liverpool merchant, leased land near Rhiwbryfdir farm.

The landlords, the Oakeley family of Tan y Bwlch took a 10% royalty for the three-year lease. In 1821, at the end of the initial three years, Holland took a further 21-year lease on the site, but he sold this in 1825 to the Welsh Slate Companywhich considerably extended the quarry.