St Erth Mines - not as famous as some but ...
The names of mines in the St Eth area are listed below, click here for a map showing their positions:
Chynoweth Mine, St Erth
Worked from 1860 to 1865 and re-opened in 1904, producing 475 tons of copper and 180 tons of tin. Some overgrown burrows are located in a field south of Trannack.Ref.: B. Atkinson: Mining Sites in Cornwall, Vol. 2, Dyllansow Truran (1994)
Gurlyn Mine, St Erth
Penberthy Croft Mine (Wheal Fancy), St Hilary, St Erth
History: The mine is quite ancient and records of output give approximately 3000 tons of copper ore toward the end of the 18th century. Mixed copper and tin mining took place at depth at a later date, the lodes being stoped out to a depth of 53 fathoms below adit level. The mine closed around 1840. There being no further activity until recent years when at a time of high tin prices the dumps were sampled to evaluate their cassiterite content. The mine became listed as a SSSI by English Nature for its mineralisation in 1993.
Treloweth Mine, St Erth
A tin, copper and lead mine, worked from 1844 to 1873. Some waste tips are located near Treven Farm, about 2.5 km SE of St Erth.Ref.: B. Atkinson: Mining Sites in Cornwall, Vol. 2, Dyllansow Truran (1994)
Treven Mine, St Erth
This mine worked on the western extension of the Wheal Squire copper lodes, producing 4,600 tons of copper, between 1831 and 1834. A shaft burrow on the bank of the River Hayle, near the bridge, is the only remaining feature. Located NE of Trewinnard.Ref.: B. Atkinson: Mining Sites in Cornwall, Vol. 2, Dyllansow Truran (1994)
West Godolphin Mine, St Erth
Wheal Bell, St Erth
Wheal Elizabeth, St Erth
An insignificant venture, abandoned in 1843. Some burrows are left near Trenedros Farm, just east of the Wheal Squire sett.Ref.: B. Atkinson: Mining Sites in Cornwall, Vol. 2, Dyllansow Truran (1994)
Wheal Penwith, St Erth
Wheal Nut (Bosworgy Mine; Lewis Mine), St Erth
Wheal Gilbert, St Erth
Wheal Squire, St Erth
Wheal Tule, St Erth
The St Erth Valley
For some background on Mining in Cornwall read below and please visit http://www.mossengineering.co.uk.
Today’s valley is a haven of peace and tranquillity. In the past it was alive with activity. There were medium sized mines along the valley and several large concerns just to the East of Relubbus Bridge. To the South was a run of mines From “Penburthy Crofts” on Long Lane running through to the mines of Marazion marshes.
The riverside track was the local M1. It was the main supply lifeline from the docks at Hayle carrying in coal, rope, explosives, timber and the many day to day mining requirements. The 100 strong pack mule trains, returned with tin ore for smelting in Cornwall and large volumes of Copper ore, from the mines East of Relubbus Bridge, which needed to be shipped to South Wales for smelting.
East of Relubbus Bridge were extensive water wheel driven banks of large mechanical hammers called “Stamps”. These pulverised the ore rock into gravel so that further very extensive washing processes could separate the valuable minerals. The din of these stamps could be heard for several miles and continued day and night, unless there was a drought! From the system of water canals (“leats”) a supply was taken that passes under the main road near Relubbus Chapel and finally entering the “Penburthy Crofts” mine via a tunnel (“Drive”) that fed the water to a 34 ft and a 36 ft waterwheel situated underground in excavated caverns. These wheels worked pumps to help remove water from the mine. It was much cheaper to utilise waterpower where possible, rather than incur the great expense of a steam pumping engine and its appetite for coal.
From examination of the 2500 Series County series Ordnance Survey map of 1876, You will notice a leat taken from the Hayle River to feed further Batteries of stamps at Carbis Mill. There were more stamps near St Erth Bridge, where the lane is still called “Battery Lane”.
The known mineral lodes of “Ennys Wheal Virgin” which ground the “River Valley Caravan Site” now occupies, cross beneath the Hayle river and were worked there by the Gurlyn mine previously worked as “Wheal Fox”. In their later working they were both operated by John Taylor and Sons who were renowned mine managers.
The workings join under the Hayle River in one place.
When you pass down the lane towards Relubbus Bridge, look out for the roughly rectangular area shown as 1174 on the map. This is a relic of another industry, that of growing reeds for thatching. This plot is almost always covered with water, like a rice “Paddy Field”. The reeds still grow here every year, but nobody comes to harvest them any more!
Further down the lane, the cottage on the left was part of mine buildings, most long since demolished. A mine tunnel still exists in the garden entering the hillside to the north. This continued at least half a mile on the course of a mineralised lode called an “Elvan Dyke” and later was utilised to unwater “Wheal Susan” and Bosence mines near Townsend. Drainage water from “Wheal Fancy” situated in the field opposite the cottage, used to be carried over the Hayle River in wooden canals called “Launders” and used to drive waterwheels in what is now the cottage garden, but was once, a small ore dressing plant.
It is estimated that in excess of a thousand persons worked within a mile of Relubbus Bridge, the miners having a life expectancy of less than 40 years on average. Women and children from the age of six years were employed in the ore processing work at surface without shelter in all weathers.
For those who wish to learn more, many books on Cornish Industrial History are available, also there are societies
Such as: - “The Carn Brea Mining Society” Who specialise in mining history and exploration. (01209 212149) web http://www.carnbreaminingsociety.org.uk
And “The Trevithick Society” who specialise in Cornish Industrial Archaeology including mines.(01209 716811) web www.trevithick-society.org.uk
Also see King Edward Mine Web www.kingedwardmine.co.uk