Mining in Cornwall and Devon

Mining in Cornwall and Devon
Ruin of Cornish tin mine
Openworks near the Warren House Inn, Dartmoor - looking down one gully towards a group of them in the middle distance, and more on the left side of the ridge beyond
Ruins of Poldice Mine in Gwennap
Waterwheel at Morwellham Quay, once used to crush manganese ore

Mining in Cornwall and Devon began in the early Bronze Age approximately 2,150 BC and ended with the South Crofty tin mine in Cornwall closing in 1998. Tin and later also copper were the most productive of the metals extracted: some tin mining continued long after mining of other metals had become unprofitable.

Historically extensive tin and copper mining has occurred in Devon and Cornwall, as well as arsenic, silver, zinc and a few other metals. As of 2007 there are no active metalliferous mines remaining. However, tin deposits still exist in Cornwall, and there is talk of reopening South Crofty tin mine.[1] Geological studies were made worthwhile due to the economic importance of mines and quarries: about forty distinct minerals have been identified from type localities in Cornwall, e.g. endellionite from St Endellion. Quarrying of the igneous and metamorphic rocks has also been a significant industry: in recent times the extraction of kaolin has been the most important economically.



The intrusion of the granite into the surrounding sedimentary rocks[2] gave rise to extensive metamorphism and mineralisation,[3] and this led to Cornwall being one of the most important mining areas in Europe until the early 20th century. It is thought that tin ore (cassiterite) was exploited in Cornwall as early as the Bronze Age. Over the years, many other metals such as copper, lead, zinc and silver have all been mined in Cornwall.[4]


Cornwall and Devon provided most of the United Kingdom's tin, copper and arsenic until the 20th century. Originally the tin was found as alluvial deposits in the gravels of stream beds, but eventually underground working took place. Tin lodes outcropped on the cliffs and underground mines sprang up as early as the 16th century.

Prehistoric period

Stone Age and early Bronze Age

Tin is one of the earliest metals to have been exploited in Britain. Chalcolithic metal workers discovered that by putting a small amount of tin (5 - 20%) in molten copper an alloy called bronze was produced that was easier to work and harder than copper. The oldest production of tin-bronze is in Turkey about 3500 BC but exploitation of the tin resources in Britain is believed to have started before 2000 BC, with a thriving tin trade developing with the civilizations of the Mediterranean. The strategic importance of tin in forging bronze weapons brought the southwest of Britain into the Mediterranean economy at an early date. Later tin was also used in the production of pewter.

Map of Europe based on Strabo's geography, showing the Cassiterides just off the northwest tip of Iberia
An example of the characteristic pattern of parallel ridges and scarp left by tin-streaming, east of Fox Tor, Dartmoor

Mining in Cornwall has existed from the early Bronze Age around 2150 BC. Cornwall was traditionally thought to have been visited by metal traders from the eastern Mediterranean.[5] However, it is likely that the tin trade with the Mediterranean was controlled by the Veneti.[6] Britain was one of the places proposed for the Cassiterides, that is Tin Islands.

As South-West Britain was one of the few parts of England to escape glaciation, tin ore was readily available on the surface. Originally it is likely that alluvial deposits in the gravels of streams were exploited but later underground working took place. Shallow cuttings were then used to extract ore.

Expansion of trade

As demand for bronze grew in the Middle East the local supplies of tin ore (casserite) became used up and searches were made over all the known world for new supplies, including Britain. Control of the tin trade seems to have been in Phoenician hands and they kept their sources secret. The Greeks understood that tin came from the Cassiterides, the "tin islands", of which the geographical identity is debated. By 500 BC Hecataeus knew of islands beyond Gaul where tin was obtained. Pytheas of Massalia travelled to Britain about 325 BC where he found a flourishing tin trade, according to the late report of his voyage. Posidonius referred to the tin trade with Britain around 90 BC but Strabo in about 18 AD did not list tin as one of Britain's exports. This is likely to be because Rome was obtaining its tin from Spain at the time. Camden [7] identified the Cassiterides with the Scilly Isles and gave first currency to the belief that the Phoenicians traded to Britain.[8] However, there is no tin mining on the Scilly Isles apart from minor exploratory excavations. Timothy Champion found it likely that the trade of the Phoenicians with Britain was indirect and under the control of the Veneti of Brittany.[9] The Rillaton Cup and the Pelynt Dagger are two artifacts that have been found in Cornwall that show contact with the Mycenaean Greek world.[10][11]

Diodorus Siculus's account

Diodorus Siculus around 1 BC described ancient tin mining in Britain. "They that inhabit the British promontory of Balerion by reason of their converse with strangers are more civilised and courteous to strangers than the rest are. These are the people that prepare the tin, which with a great deal of care and labour, they dig out of the ground, and that being done the metal is mixed with some veins of earth out of which they melt the metal and refine it. Then they cast it into regular blocks and carry it to a certain island near at hand called Ictis for at low tide, all being dry between there and the island, tin in large quantities is brought over in carts." Pliny, whose text has survived in eroded condition, quotes Timaeus of Taormina in referring to "insulam Mictim", "the island of Mictim" [sic], where the m of insulam has been repeated.[12] Several locations for "Ictin" or "Ictis", signifying "tin port"[13] have been suggested, including St. Michael's Mount,[14] but, as a result of excavations, Barry Cunliffe has proposed that this was Mount Batten near Plymouth. A shipwreck site with ingots of tin was found at the mouth of the River Erme not far away,[15] which may represent trade along this coast during the Bronze Age, although dating the site is very difficult.[16] Strabo reported that British tin was shipped from Marseille.[17]

Legend of Joseph of Arimathea

Ding Dong mine, reputedly one of the oldest in Cornwall, in the parish of Gulval is said in local legend to have been visited by Joseph of Arimathea, a tin trader, and that he brought a young Jesus to address the miners, although there is no evidence to support this.[18][19]

Iron Age archaeology

There are few remains of prehistoric tin mining in Devon or Cornwall, probably because later workings have destroyed early ones. However, shallow cuttings used for extracting ore can be seen in some places such as Challacombe Down, Dartmoor. There are a few stone hammers, such as those in the Zennor Wayside Museum.[20] It may well be that mining was mostly undertaken with shovels, antler picks and wooden wedges. An excavation at Dean Moor on Dartmoor, at a site dated at 1400 - 900 BC from pottery, yielded a pebble of tin ore and tin slag.[15] Rocks were used for crushing the ore and stones for this were found at Crift Farm.[21] There have been finds of tin slag on the floors of Bronze Age houses,[22] for example at Trevisker. Tin slag was found at Caerloges with a dagger of the Camerton-Snowhill type.

In the Iron Age bronze continued to be used for ornaments though not for tools and weapons, so tin extraction seems to have continued. An ingot from Castle Dore is probably of Iron Age date.

Roman and Post-Roman periods

The tin resources are said to have been a reason why the Romans invaded Britain [23] but they had control of mines in Spain and Brittany in the 1st and 2nd centuries. Later production in Spain was curtailed, probably by raiding. Production in Britain increased in the 3rd century, for use in coinage, and there was extensive use of tin in pewter manufacture, at Camerton in Somerset for example. West Devon and Cornwall are areas which are less Romanised than many other parts of England and it may be tin mining was in local hands with tin purchase by the imperial authority. A possible official stamp has been identified on the Carnington tin ingot.[24] A number of tin ingots have been found in Roman contexts such as 42 found in a wreck at Bigbury Bay in 1991-92 .[25][26]

A site in the Erme valley, Devon, shows sediment aggregation in late Roman and Post-Roman times due to tin mining on Dartmoor.[27] There is a peak in activity between the 4th and 7th centuries. Tin slag at Week Ford in Devon has been dated to 570 - 890 AD.[28]

St Piran (patron saint of tinners) is said to have landed at Perranporth from Ireland about 420 AD.

Medieval and modern mining

Middle Ages

There is no record of tin mining in Domesday Book, possibly because the rights were Crown Property. For the first half of the 12th century Dartmoor provided most of the tin for Europe, exceeding the production of Cornwall.[29] The Pipe Roll of Henry II gives the annual tin production of Dartmoor to be about 60 tons. In 1198 he agreed that "all the diggers and buyers of black tin, and all the smelters of tin, and traders of tin in the first smelting shall have the just and ancient customs and liberties established in Devon and Cornwall." This shows that mining had been going on for a long period by this time. A charter confirming the miners' rights was granted by King John in 1201. The alluvial silt record in the Erme valley, Devon, shows aggradation of tin waste between AD 1288 and 1389.

Silver mining became a major industry, particularly in the Tamar valley around Bere Ferrers in Devon,[30] following the transfer of power to the Norman lord Robert, Count of Mortain who held the manor of Trematon. Profits from rights to the silver mines for the crown led to the rise of the ancient Cornish Edgcumbe family at Cotehele and later Mount Edgcumbe.

The wheelpit at Huntingdon mine
Crockern Tor – Parliament Rock as seen from the "floor" of the Great Court
A statue commemorating Cornish and German miners in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia

In 1305 King Edward I established separate Stannaries for Devon and Cornwall. Water was used to operate "stamps" to crush the ore, the lighter waste being washed away. The mineral "black tin" was placed in furnaces and layered with peat. The molten metal was poured into granite moulds which produced ingots of tin. These were taken on pack horses to the Stannary towns for assaying. Usable deposits in Devon became worked out and so Cornwall was then the center of tin production. In 1337 Cornish tin production was 650 tons but in 1335 it had been reduced to 250 tons by the Black Death. In 1400 Cornish production rose to 800 tons. The production in Devon was only 25% of that of Cornwall in 1450-70.

The tin works of Devon and Cornwall were of such importance that the medieval kings established Stannary Courts and Parliaments to administer the law in Cornwall and part of Devon. Up to the middle 16th century, Devon produced approximately 25-40% of the amount of tin that Cornwall did but the total amount of tin production from both Cornwall and Devon during this period was relatively small.

The Cornish Rebellion of 1497 originated among Cornish tin miners who opposed the raising of taxes by Henry VII in order to make war on Scotland. This levy was resented for the economic hardship it would cause; it also intruded on a special Cornish tax exemption. The rebels marched on London, gaining supporters as they went, but were defeated at the Battle of Deptford Bridge.

Quarrying was of very limited importance in medieval Cornwall. Stone for church building was very rarely imported from outside the county but most church building was in whatever stone could be brought for short distances. For some ornamental features such as doorways, pillars and fonts good use was made of varieties of elvan e.g. Polyphant and Catacleuze. The granite was not quarried but collected from the moorlands and worked on site. Quarrying of slate developed in north Cornwall in the later Middle Ages and later developed in early modern times into larger undertakings.[31]

Early modern period

After the 1540s, Cornwall's production increased rapidly and Devon's production was only about 1/9–1/10 that of Cornwall's. From the mid-16th century the Devon Stannaries were worth very little in income to the King and were sidelined as such following the Supremacy of Parliament Act 1512, an Act of Supremacy (this did not apply to the Stannaries of Cornwall). The first Crockern Tor Stannary Parliament in Devon was held in 1494 and the last in 1748. At Combe Martin several disused Silver mines are located on the eastern ridge and evidence of tunnels can still be seen, as well as the remains of a wheelhouse used to lift ore from the mine. There are items in the Crown Jewels made from Combe Martin silver.

A second tin boom came around the 16th century when open cast mining was used. German miners came in who had knowledge of the new techniques. In 1689, Thomas Epsley, a Somerset man, developed a method using gunpowder to blast the very hard granite rock loose, using gunpowder with quill fuses. It revolutionized hard rock mining. Six days work, with a pick, could be accomplished with one blast.[32] A third boom occurred in the 18th century when shafts were dug to extract the ore.

Later modern period

Richard Trevithick's steam engine.

However it was in the 19th century that mining reached its zenith, before foreign competition depressed the price of copper, and later tin, to a level that made Cornish ore unprofitable. The areas of Cornwall around Gwennap and St Day and on the coast around Porthtowan were among the richest mining areas in the world and at its height the Cornish tin mining industry had around 600 steam engines working to pump out the mines (many mines stretched out under the sea and some went down to great depths). Adventurers put up the capital, hoping that the mine would return them a profit, but the outcomes were very uncertain.

Caradon Hill had the most productive mine in east Cornwall. The South Caradon Copper Mine, 1 km to the SW of the transmitter, was the largest copper mine in the UK in its heyday, 150 years ago. Other disused copper and tin mines are scattered around the base of the hill. By the mid-19th century Looe had become a major port, one of Cornwall's largest, exporting local tin, arsenic and granite, as well as hosting thriving fishing and boatbuilding industries. At Callington arsenic was found with copper ores and was processed by crushing and condensing; the poisonous nature of dust containing arsenic made the work very hazardous. Numerous precautions were taken but the workers tended to die in middleage.[33] Menheniot was a centre of lead mining and is now surrounded by disused shafts and engine houses. Lead seams were discovered in the 1840s and Menheniot became the centre of a mining boom which lasted until the 1870s. During this period the population doubled.[34] Kit Hill Country Park is steeped in mining history. Metals extracted included, tin, silver, copper and wolfram. The main mines were Kit Hill Summit Mines (which included a windmill near the present stack) (started about 1826; Kit Hill United closed in 1864); East Kit Hill Mine, worked from 1855 to 1909; Hingston Down mine (which worked westwards towards Kit Hill, may have started in the 17th century, it closed in 1885; and South Kit Hill Mine, worked from 1856 to 1884.

View from Dolcoath Mine towards Redruth, c1890

The last Cornish Stannary Parliament was held at Hingston Down in 1753. The Stannary Courts were formally abolished in 1836.

By the middle and late 19th century, Cornish mining was in decline, and many Cornish miners emigrated to developing mining districts overseas, where their skills were in great demand: these included South Africa, Australia and North America. Cornish miners became dominant in the 1850s in the iron and copper districts of northern Michigan in the United States, as well as in many other mining districts. In the first 6 months of 1875 over 10,000 miners left Cornwall to find work overseas.

20th century and after
Satellite image of east Cornwall and west Devon marked to show the three locations of china clay extraction
Loading china clay at Carne Point, Fowey

During the 20th century various ores became briefly profitable, and mines were reopened, but today none remain. Dolcoath mine, (Cornish for Old Ground), the 'Queen of Cornish Mines' was, at a depth of 3500 feet (1067 m), for many years the deepest mine in the world, not to mention one of the oldest before its closure in 1921. Indeed, the last working tin mine in Europe, South Crofty, was to be found near Camborne until its closure in March 1998. An attempt was made to reopen it but the mine was then abandoned. There were local media reports in September 2006 that South Crofty was being considered for re-opening as the price of tin had soared but the site was subject to a Compulsory Purchase Order (October 2006). On the wall outside the gate is some graffiti dating from 1999:

"Cornish lads are fishermen and Cornish lads are miners too. / But when the fish and tin are gone, what are the Cornish boys to do?"

The collapse of the world tin cartel in 1986 was the last nail in the coffin for Cornish and Devonian tin mining. The most recent mine in Devon to produce tin ore was Hemerdon Mine near Plympton in the 1980s. The last Cornish tin mine in production at South Crofty closed in 1998.

In 1992 Geevor Mine was acquired by Cornwall County Council as a Heritage Museum, which is now run by Pendeen Community Heritage. Both Geevor Tin Mine and Morwellham Quay have been selected as "anchor points" on the European Route of Industrial Heritage.[35]

The extraction of china clay continues to be of considerable importance: the larger works are in the St Austell district. The amount of waste in proportion to kaolin is so great that huge waste mounds were created whose whiteness in the early years means that they can be seen from afar. The Eden Project has been developed on the site of a former china clay quarry. Extraction of slate and roadstone by quarrying still continues on a reduced scale: it was formerly an important industry and it has been carried on in Cornwall ever since the Middle Ages.[36] Several quarries have been productive enough to need their own mineral railways. Granite of high quality has been extracted from many Cornish quarries such as De Lank and Porthoustock and some has been taken very long distances for use in building. There are also some important quarries in Devon, such as Meldon (a source of railway ballast for the Southern Railway) and granite quarries on Dartmoor such as Merrivale.


In the metalliferous mines of Cornwall, some of the worst accidents were at East Wheal Rose in 1846, where 39 men were killed by a sudden flood; at Levant Mine in 1919, where 31 were killed and many injured in a failure of the man engine;[37] 12 killed at Wheal Agar in 1883 when a cage fell down a shaft;[38] and seven killed at Dolcoath Mine in 1893 when a large stull collapsed.[39]

The main mining areas in Cornwall and Devon

A set of eight tin stamps at Geevor Tin Mine
The dressing floor at Hooten Wheals, Dartmoor, showing the remains of two early 20th century circular buddles
The preserved engine house and stack at East Wheal Rose
A Cornish mine in Mineral del Monte, Hidalgo, Mexico
Church and pub at Zennor, with the sign of the Tinners Arms
  • Dartmoor
  • West Devon

Methods and processing

See Dartmoor tin-mining

Study and education

The Royal Geological Society of Cornwall was founded in 1814[41] to promote the study of the geology of Cornwall, and is the second oldest geological society in the world.[42] The Cornish Institute of Engineers was begun by mechanical engineers and mining is an important area in which it is active.

Camborne School of Mines

Because of the importance of metal mining to the Cornish economy, the Camborne School of Mines (CSM) developed as the only specialist hard rock education establishment in the United Kingdom in 1888. It continues to teach mining as well as many other earth-related subjects relevant to the Cornish economy, such as renewable energy. CSM now forms part of the University of Exeter, and has relocated to the University's Tremough campus in Penryn. Despite this move, the students and School continue with the use of "Camborne" in the title. CSM graduates are to be found working in the mining industry all over the world.

Terminology and symbolism

Several Cornish mining words are still in use in English language mining terminology, such as costean, gunnies, vug,[43] kibbal, gossan, and kieve[citation needed].

Fish, tin and copper together are sometimes used as symbolic of Cornwall since they show the 'traditional' three main industries of Cornwall. Tin has a special place in the Cornish culture, the Stannary Parliament and 'Cornish pennies' are a testament to the former power of the Cornish tin industry. Cornish tin is highly prized for jewellery, often of mine engines or Celtic designs.

The houses at Penair School are named after four notable tin mines.

Three hares

The three hares is a circular motif which appears in sacred sites from the Middle and Far East to the churches of south west England (where it is often referred to as the "Tinners’ Rabbits").[44] It occurs with the greatest frequency in the churches of the West Country of England. The motif appears in architectural wood carving, stone carving, window tracery and stained glass. In South Western England there are nearly thirty recorded examples of the Three Hares appearing on 'roof bosses' (carved wooden knobs) on the ceilings in medieval churches in Devon, (particularly Dartmoor). There is a good example of a roof boss of the Three hares at Widecombe-in-the-Moor,[45] Dartmoor, with another in the town of Tavistock on the edge of the moor.

Tinners' Rabbits is the name of a dance of many forms involving use of sticks and rotation of three, six or nine dancers.[46][47]

World Heritage Site

Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape *
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Tin mine Cornwall arty1.jpg
Country Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iii, iv
Reference 1215
Region ** Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 2006 (30th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List
** Region as classified by UNESCO
One of the preserved engine houses at Pool, housing a 30 inch engine

In 1999 the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape was added to the UK government's tentative list for submission to the World Heritage list. It was announced on 13 July 2006 that the bid had been successful. This World Heritage Site will be unique in that it covers a technique exported worldwide, including Mexico and Peru, and will consist of a trail linking mining sites from Land's End in Cornwall, through Porthtowan and St Agnes up the spine of the county to the Tamar Valley forming the border with Devon. There, the exporting port of Morwellham is being developed alongside the Devon Great Consols Mine to demonstrate the nature and scale of the operations, with the Eastern Gateway to the World Heritage Site being anchored in the ancient Stannary town of Tavistock, the base for Devon's own 19th century Klondike Gold Rush, which brought the then Duke of Bedford, for example, at least £2 million at the time (equivalent to £158 million in 2006 terms [2].

As at 27 September 2006, the hoped-for £1.1m Interpretation Centre planned for Tavistock has been cancelled. Although £300K of funding is secure from the National Lottery, the remaining £800K from the Regional Development Agency has not been forthcoming. [3].

South Crofty mine

In November 2007 it was announced that South Crofty mine, near Camborne, may restart production in 2009. When it closed in 1998 it was Europe's last tin mine. Its owners Baseresult Holdings Ltd, which bought the mine in 2001, have created a new company, Western United Mines Limited (WUM), to operate it and has said it will be spending in excess of £50m on restarting the mine. The company claims that rising tin prices had given the mine, first opened in the late 16th century, another 80 years of life. More than £3.5m will be spent during the next seven months on continuing the mine development. Crofty Developments, a partner of the new company, still has to resolve a row with the South West Regional Development Agency (RDA) over use of more than 30 acres (120,000 m2) of land surrounding the site. The RDA wants to make a compulsory purchase order on the site for leisure, housing and industry, but Crofty Developments has been fighting in the High Court to retain the site. The Cornish mining industry, started in 2000 BC, reached its peak in the 19th century, when thousands of workers were employed in up to 2,000 mines, before the industry collapsed when ores began to be produced more cheaply abroad.[48]

Partial list of Cornish mines

Mine Opened Closed Operated by Product Production
South Crofty 1590s 1998 South Crofty Limited (1906–1967)
Siamese Tin Syndicate Ltd (1967–1982)
Rio Tinto (1982–1988)
Carnon Holdings Limited (1988–1994)
Crew Natural Resources of Canada (1994–2001)
Base Result (2001 -)
Tin --tpa
King Edward Mine Camborne School of Mines (1890-) Tin
Ding Dong mines c17th century 1789 Tin
Poldark Mine (Wheal Roots) 1720 1780 Tin
Dolcoath mine 1720 1920 Tin
Geevor Tin Mine 1780 1991 Geevor Tin Mines Ltd Tin
Mount Wellington Tin Mine 1976 1991 Kensa Heat Pumps (2001-) Tin
Wheal Jane 1750 1992 Falmouth Consolidated Mines (1906–1915)
Consolidated Gold Fields (1960–1969)
Rio Tinto Group (1969–1980)
management consortium (1970-)
Great Wheal Busy 1720 1909 copper
100,000 tons
Botallack Mine 1721 1914 Stephen Harvey James (1835–1870)
Botallack Mines, Limited (1906-)
Cape Cornwall Mine 1839 1875 St Just Consolidated Tin and Copper Mining Company Tin
Consolidated Mines 1782 1857 copper
East Wheal Rose  ? 1886 lead


Cornwall Minerals Railway

See Cornwall Minerals Railway

Hayle Railway

The Hayle Railway was an early Cornish railway, built to standard gauge, and opened in 1837. The railway served the engineering works and copper quays at Hayle with the copper mines of Redruth and Camborne carrying ore to the port and coal to the mines, before the construction of the Saltash Bridge and the direct rail route out of Cornwall.[49]

List of mineral railways in Cornwall

Name Opened Closed Gauge Location Notes
Basset Mines Tramway[50] before 1907 1918 20 in (508 mm) Redruth, England Steam locomotive worked line connecting the West Basset Mine and the stamps at Carnkie
Botallack Mine[50] before 1864 800 mm (2 ft 7 12 in) St Just, England 300 yard surface line and cliff-side inclines into the mine.
Camborne Mines Ltd. Pendarves Mine[51] after 1979 600 mm (1 ft 11 58 in) Camborne, England Underground railway serving the Pendarves tin mine
Cornwall Tin and Mining Corporation Mount Wellington Mine[51] by 1979 2 ft  (610 mm) Twelveheads, Cornwall, England Underground Tin mine
CTS Mining Ltd. Wheal Concord mine [52] after 1987 2 ft  (610 mm) Blackwater, Cornwall, England Underground mine railway using battery electric locomotives
Geevor Tin Mines Ltd. Pendeen Mine[50][51] 1911 1991 18 in (457 mm) St Just, England Extensive underground tin mine railway. Part of the site, with reinstated tramway, has been reopened as the Geevor Tin Mines Museum.
Rosevale Historical Mining Company[50] 1974 present 2 ft  (610 mm) and 18 in (457 mm) Zennor, England Newly re-opened tin mine using battery-electric locomotives
South Crofty Mine[50][51] 1900 1998 1 ft 10 in (559 mm) and 18 in (457 mm) Camborne, England Extensive tin mine with internal railway. The mine was re-opened in 2001 although currently without the use of railway transport.
Wheal Jane Ltd. Clemo's Shaft[51] 1965 1992 2 ft  (610 mm) Baldhu, England Locomotive-worked Cornish tin mine.
Wheal Pendarves Ltd. Wheal Pendarves mine[52] after 1987 600 mm (1 ft 11 58 in) Camborne, England Locomotive-worked Cornish tin mine.
Bal maidens at work, showing traditional dress
Wheal Coates, St Agnes

See also


  1. ^ BBC News (2007-11-02). "Tin mine aims to re-open in 2009". 
  2. ^ Henley, S. (1976) Rediscovery of a Granite Dyke at Perranporth, Cornwall, Transactions of the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall, XX(4), pp. 286-299
  3. ^ Durrance, E. M. [et al.] (1982) Hydrothermal Circulation and Post-magmatic Changes in Granites of South-west England, Proceedings of the Ussher Society, 5(3), pp. 304-320
  4. ^ Barton, D. B. (1963) A Guide to the Mines of West Cornwall. Truro: D. Bradford Barton, 52 pp.
  5. ^ Hawkins, Christopher (1811) Observations on the Tin Trade of the Ancients in Cornwall. London
  6. ^ Champion, Timothy (2001) "The appropriation of the Phoenicians in British imperial ideology", in: Nations and Nationalism; Volume 7, Issue 4, pp. 451-465, October 2001
  7. ^ in Britannia, 1607
  8. ^ Hawkins
  9. ^ Champion, Timothy "The appropriation of the Phoenicians in British imperial ideology", in Nations and Nationalism, volume 7/4, pp 451-465
  10. ^ The Ancient Greeks: An Introduction, Stephanie Lynn Budin, Oxford University press
  11. ^ Christie
  12. ^ As noted by de Beer 1960:162, quoting Pliny's garbled geography: "The island of Mictim in which tin is produced is distant inwards from Britain six days' voyage, and that the Britons sailed to it in coracles of wickerwork covered in hide." (Pliny's Natural History IV.104.
  13. ^ "Diodorus referred to Iktin in the accusative case, from which some commentators have deduced that the nominative cawe was Iktis, but there is no evidence for this", remarks Gavin de Beer, "Iktin" The Geographical Journal 126.2 (June 1960:160-167) p. 162.
  14. ^ Gavin de Beer 1960.
  15. ^ a b Fox
  16. ^ English Heritage Erme Ingot Wreck Site Summary accessed 18th July 2009
  17. ^ Strabo, III.2.9.
  18. ^ Matthews, John (ed.) (1991) A Glastonbury Reader: Selections From the Myths, Legends and Stories of Ancient Avalon. London: HarperCollins (reissued by The Aquarian Press)
  19. ^ "Joseph of Arimathea". Hope of Israel (organization). Retrieved 2009-06-11. 
  20. ^ Cradock and Cradock
  21. ^ Budely
  22. ^ Penhallurick
  23. ^ Emsley
  24. ^ Warner 1967
  25. ^ Tylecote
  26. ^,%20South%20Devon.pdf
  27. ^ Thornycroft, Pirrie and Brown
  28. ^ Gerrard 1997
  29. ^ Cathro
  30. ^
  31. ^ Clifton-Taylor, Alec (1970) "Building materials", in: Pevsner, N. Cornwall; 2nd ed. Penguin; pp. 29-34
  32. ^ The Breage parish register records Epsley's burial in 1689: "Thomas Epsly of Chilchumpton parish, Summersitsheere. He was the man that brought that rare invention of shooting the rocks which came heare in June, 1689, and he died at the bal and was buried at breag [sic] the 16 day of December 1689". Halliday, F. E. (1959) A History of Cornwall. London: Gerald Duckworth; p. 253
  33. ^ Baring-Gould, S. (1899) A Book of the West. Vol. II: Cornwall. London: Methuen; pp. 109-12
  34. ^ [1] GENUKI; Menheniot; retrieved April 2010
  35. ^ "European Route of Industrial Heritage Anchor Points". Retrieved 2008-04-30. 
  36. ^ Hatcher, John (1970) Rural Economy and Society in the Duchy of Cornwall 1300-1500. Cambridge University Press ISBN 0521085500
  37. ^ Corin, John (1992). Levant, a Champion Cornish Mine. The Trevithick Society. pp. 40–44. ISBN 0-904040-37-2. 
  38. ^ Vivian, John (1970). "The Wheal Agar Skip Disaster". Tales of the Cornish Miners. St. Austell: H. E. Warne Ltd. pp. 22–24. 
  39. ^ Vivian, John (1970). "When the Bottom of Dolcoath Fell In". Tales of the Cornish Miners. St Austell: H. E. Warne Ltd. pp. 38–40. 
  40. ^ Map of Camborne mines
  41. ^ Camborne School of Mines Virtual Museum - The Cornubian Orefield
  42. ^ Mining schools and Institutes
  43. ^ Dictionary of Mining, Mineral, and Related Terms by American Geological Institute and U S Bureau of Mines (pages 128, 249, and 613)
  44. ^ Chapman, Chris (2004). "The Three Hares Project". Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
  45. ^ Greeves, Tom, From China to Widecombe: The Extraordinary Journey of The Three Hares, Widecombe-in-the-Moor.
  46. ^ "Choreography, Tinners Rabbits dance" (PDF). Breathless In Berthoud Border Morris. 2008-02-08. Retrieved 2010-06-29. 
  47. ^ "Video, Tinners Rabbits dance". Retrieved 2010-06-29. 
  48. ^ "Tin mine aims to re-open in 2009". BBC. 2 November 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-30. 
  49. ^ Bennett, Alan (1988). The Great Western Railway in West Cornwall. Cheltenham: Runpast Publishing. doi:1990. ISBN 1-870754-12-3. 
  50. ^ a b c d e Dart, Maurice (2005). Cornwall Narrow Gauge including the Camborne & Redruth tramway. Middleton Press. ISBN 190447456X. 
  51. ^ a b c d e Industrial Locomotives 1979: including preserved and minor railway locomotives. Industrial Railway Society. 1979. ISBN 0901096385.
  52. ^ a b Bryant, R.S. (ed.) (1987). Industrial Locomotives, including preserved and minor railway locomotives. Industrial Railway Society. ISBN 0901096555


  • Barton, D. B. : A Guide to the Mines of West Cornwall. Truro: D. Bradford Barton, 1963
  • Budely, S. : "Preliminary report on the tin and iron working site at Crift Farm" in: Journal of Trevithick Society 17, pp 66–77.
  • Cathro, R. J. : "Tin Deposits and the Early History of Bronze" in: CIM Bulletin June/July 2005, Volume 98 No 1088.
  • Christie. P. M. : "Cornwall in the Bronze Age" in: Cornish Archaeology; 25.
  • Cradock, P. & Cradock, B. : "The Beginning of Metallurgy in South West Britain" in: Mining History; 13/2, Winter 1996.
  • Cunliffe B : Ictis is it here?. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 2/1, pp 123–126, 1983.
  • Emsley, J. : Tin, Nature's Building Blocks. Oxford: OUP, 2001.
  • Fox, Aileen : South West England; 2nd ed. 1973.
  • Gerrard S : The Early British Tin Industry, Tempus, 2000.
  • Hatcher, John : English Tin Production and Trade before 1550. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973.
  • Hatcher, John : Rural Economy and Society in the Duchy of Cornwall 1300-1500. Cambridge University Press, 1970 ISBN 0521085500
  • Hawkes, C : "Ictis disentangled and the British tin trade" in: Oxford Journal of Archaeology; 3/2, pp 211–234, 1984.
  • Hammersen, L : The control of tin in South West Britain from the 1st century AD to the late 3rd century AD. MA thesis, North Carolina University, 2007.
  • Jenkin, Kenneth Hamilton : The Cornish Miner: an account of his life above and underground from early times. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1927: three editions, including 3rd edition, 1962 (reprinted by David & Charles, Newton Abbot, 1972 ISBN 0715354868; reprinted in facsimile with an introduction by John H. Trounson, Launceston: Westcountry, 2004 ISBN 190239506-9)
  • Jenkin, Kenneth Hamilton : Mines and Miners of Cornwall in 16 volumes, vols. 1-14 originally published by the Truro Bookshop, 1961 onwards and reprinted by various organisations:
    • Pt. I. Around St. Ives ISBN 0-904662-04-7
    • Pt. II. St. Agnes, Perranporth ISBN 0-904662-05-5
    • Pt. III. Around Redruth ISBN 0-904662-06-3
    • Pt. IV. Penzance-Mount's Bay ISBN 0-904662-08-X
    • Pt. V. Hayle, Gwinear and Gwithian ISBN 0-904662-10-1
    • Pt. VI. Around Gwennap ISBN 0-904662-11-X
    • Pt. VII. Perranporth-Newquay
    • Pt. VIII. Truro to the clay district
    • Pt. IX. Padstow, St Columb and Bodmin
    • Pt. X. Camborne and Illogan
    • Pt. XI. Marazion, St Hilary and Breage
    • Pt. XII. Liskeard area
    • Pt. XIII. The Lizard-Falmouth-Mevagissey
    • Pt. XIV. St Austell to Saltash
    • Pt. XV. Calstock, Callington and Launceston Penzance: Federation of Old Cornwall Societies, 1969 (reprinted Bracknell: Forge Books, 1976) ISBN 0-902660-00-4
    • Pt. XVI. Wadebridge, Camelford and Bude Penzance: Federation of Old Cornwall Societies, 1970
    • Index to Mines and Miners of Cornwall: Volumes 1-16. St. Austell: Federation of Old Cornwall Societies, 1978
  • Jenkin, Kenneth Hamilton : Mines of Devon. Newton Abbot: David & Charles, 1974
    • Volume 1: South Devon ISBN 0715367846
    • Volume 2: Mines of Devon, north and east of Dartmoor: Sydenham Damerel, Lydford, Wheal Betsy, Wheal Friendship, Okehampton, Sticklepath, Chagford, Buckfastleigh, Ashburton, Ilsington, Teign Valley, Newton St. Cyres, and Upton Pyne. (Reprinted by Devon Libraries 1981 ISBN 0861143175)
    • Both volumes reprinted by Landmark, 2005 ISBN 1843061740
  • Jenkin, Kenneth Hamilton : Wendron Tin (commissioned by Poldark Mine), 1978
  • Laing, L. R. : "A Greek tin trade with Cornwall" in: Cornish Archaeology; 7, 1968, pp 15–22.
  • Lewis, G. R. : The Stannaries: a study of the English tin miner. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1924.
  • Pearce, Susan C. : Bronze Age Metalwork of South West Britain. (BAR; 190). Oxford: British Archaeological Reports, 1983.
  • Penhallurick, R. : Tin in Antiquity. 1986.
  • Penhallurick, R. : "Europe Tin Deposits. 1998.
  • Quinell, H. : Cornwall in the Iron and Roman Ages.
  • Rickard, T. A. : Man and Metals: a history of mining in relation to the development of civilization (2 vols). New York: McGraw-Hill, 1932.
  • Stanier, Peter : Mines of Cornwall and Devon: an historic photographic record. Truro: Twelveheads Press, 1998 ISBN 0-906294-401
  • Todd, A. C. & Laws, Peter (1972) The Industrial Archaeology of Cornwall. Newton Abbot: David & Charles

Further reading

  • Booker, Frank (1967) The Industrial Archaeology of the Tamar Valley. Newton Abbot: David & Charles; Revised impression 1971
  • Brooks, Tony (2001) Castle-an-Dinas 1916-1957: Cornwall's premier tungsten mine with brief comparative histories of other wolfram mines in Cornwall & West Devon. St. Austell, Cornwall : Cornish Hillside Publications ISBN 1-900147-15-7
  • Collins, J. H. (1897) The Miner in Cornwall and Devon. (Cited by A. C. Todd (1972); p. 11.)
  • Dines, H. G. (1956). The Metalliferous Mining Region of South-West England. 1 & 2. London: HMSO. pp. 526 & 300. 
    • Beer, K. E. (1956). The Metalliferous Mining Region of South-West England: addenda and corrigenda. Keyworth: British Geological Survey. pp. xi-xlvii. 
  • Earl, Bryan (1994). Cornish Mining: the techniques of metal mining in the West of England, past and present (2nd ed.). St Austell: Cornish Hillside Publications. ISBN 0-9519419-3-3. 
  • Murray, John, publisher (1859) Handbook for Devon and Cornwall. London: John Murray
  • Trounson, J. H. (1989) The Cornish mineral industry: past performance and future prospect, a personal view 1937-1951; edited by Roger Burt and Peter Waite. Exeter: University of Exeter in association with The National Association of Mining History Organisations
  • Trounson, J. H. (1993) Cornwall's Future Mines: areas of Cornwall of mineral potential. Exeter: University of Exeter Press
  • Finberg, H. P. R. (1949). "The Stannary of Tavistock". Rep. Trans. Devon. Ass. Advmt Sci. 81. 
  • Finberg, H. P. R. (1950). "An Unrecorded Stannary Parliament". Rep. Trans. Devon. Ass. Advmt Sci. 82. 
  • Harris, Helen (1972). Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. ISBN 0 7153 4302 5. 
  • Newman, Phil (1998). The Dartmoor Tin Industry - A Field Guide. Newton Abbot: Chercombe Press. ISBN 0-9532708-0-7. 
  • Richardson, P. H. G. (1992). Mines of Dartmoor and the Tamar Valley after 1913. Sheffield: The Northern Mine Research Society. ISBN 0-901450-38-3. 
  • Thorneycroft, V. R., Pirrie, D. and Brown, A. (2004) "Alluvial records of medieval and prehistoric tin mining on Dartmoor, southwest England" in: Geoarchaeology; 19/3, pp 219–236, Feb 2004.
  • Worth, R. N., edited by G. M. Spooner & F. S. Russell (1967). Worth's Dartmoor. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. 
United States
  • Cornish, Joseph H. The History and Genealogy of the Cornish Families in America. Higginson Book Company. 2003. ASIN: B0006S85H6.
  • Ewart, Shirley. Highly Respectable Families: the Cornish of Grass Valley, California 1854-1954 (Nevada County Pioneers Series). Comstock Bonanza Press. October 1998. ISBN 978-0933994188.
  • Magnaghi, Russell M. Cornish in Michigan (Discovering the Peoples of Michigan Series). Michigan State University Press. October 2007. ISBN 978-0870137877.
  • Payton, Philip The Cornish Overseas. Cornwall Editions Limited. April 2005. ISBN 978-1904880042.
  • Rowse, A. L. The Cornish in America. Redruth: Dyllansow Truran. June 1991. ISBN 978-1850220596.
  • Todd, Arthur C. The Cornish Miner in America: the Contribution to the Mining History of the United States by Emigrant Cornish Miners: the Men Called Cousin Jacks. Arthur H. Clark (publisher). September 1995. ISBN 978-0870622380.
  • White, Helen M. Cornish Cousins of Minnesota, Lost and Found: St. Piran's Society of Minnesota. Minnesota Heritage Publications. 1997. ASIN: B0006QP60M.

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