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Medieval and post-medieval tin and copper mines with medieval field system on the middle and lower northern slopes of Caradon Hill

List Entry Summary

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Medieval and post-medieval tin and copper mines with medieval field system on the middle and lower northern slopes of Caradon Hill

List entry Number: 1020942

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County:

District: Cornwall

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Linkinhorne

County:

District: Cornwall

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: St. Cleer

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 30-Jul-2003

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 15585

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

For several millennia the south west peninsula has been one of the major areas of non-ferrous metal mining in England, its more important and prolific products including copper and tin along with a range of minor metals and other materials, notably arsenic, which occur in the same ore bodies. Before the 16th century, exploitation of this region's non-ferrous metal resources almost exclusively involved tin. Extraction was focussed along valley floors and hillslopes on and around the granite uplands of the south west where tin ore had accumulated after natural erosion from the parent lodes. These accumulations were exploited by streamworks, using carefully controlled flows of water to expose and then concentrate the ore, leaving behind distinctively deepened valley floors with various patterns of spoil heaps.

By the early post-medieval period, most substantial deposits susceptible to streamworking had become exhausted and exploitation increasingly transferred to the mineralised lodes themselves; a change which also marks the appearance of copper as an important product of the south western mining industry. The early post-medieval exploitation of lodes was restricted by the ability to drain the cut, resulting in relatively shallow workings directly into the lode exposures at the bedrock surface, often by pits called lode-back pits and sometimes enlarged to form longer openworks along the lodes.

By the 18th century, ore extraction and processing rapidly expanded to meet growing demands, aided and promoted by technological development. Surface workings became larger and more extensive, and deeper extraction was achieved from shafts, the water pumped from larger mines by early steam engines or drained through near-horizontal tunnels called adits which also served to access the lodes. Horse powered winding engines lifted the ore from the shafts while larger and more efficient water wheels served ore-processing areas. By such means, west Cornwall became England's main producer of copper in the 18th-early 19th century.

Intensification accelerated in the late 18th-early 19th century with more efficient steam-powered pumping engines allowing deeper shafts from which extensive underground workings spread out. By the mid-19th century, steam also powered winding and ore-processing operations, the engines, boilers and ancillary machinery housed in distinctive masonry buildings grouped around the main shafts and dressing areas. Later in the century, compressed air was used for underground extraction equipment, fed from steam-powered compressors on the surface. Ore-processing became increasingly mechanised, along with the development of more effective methods of separating and retaining different ores, notably in the production of arsenic which became a major saleable product in the 19th century. With these advances, east Cornwall and west Devon supplemented their tin production to become one of the world's main sources of copper and arsenic ore until the later 19th century, while in west Cornwall, copper ores became exhausted and replaced as that areas main product by the tin ores present at deeper levels.

From the 1860s, the south western mining industries began to decline as a result of competition from cheaper sources of copper and tin ore overseas, especially from South America, leading to a major economic collapse and widespread mine closures by 1890, though limited ore-extraction and spoil reprocessing continued into the 20th century.

The extensive remains from tin and, later, copper ore extraction in this scheduling across the northern slopes of Caradon Hill provide an excellent and rare survival from mining spanning the medieval period to the 20th century, accompanied by a wealth of contemporary documentation for much of that period. Despite the inevitable modification of some earlier features by later works and the relatively limited areas of collapse which have affected some later built structures, this scheduling presents areas of good coherent survival from each main developmental phase of ore extraction in south west England, these survivals combining to give an even greater collective value. Within this overall context, certain specific survivals are especially rare, notably the 1880s ore processing works at Wheal Jenkin and the features pertaining to flat-rod power transfer at the West Rosedown Mine. Of particular significance is the survival across the same slopes of a medieval field system sufficiently extensive and intact to demonstrate the nature of agricultural land use in that period and its close adaptation to the slope and altitude, but also illustrating well the relationship between medieval mining and the agricultural context into which it expanded.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument includes extensive remains from medieval to 20th century tin and copper mining and a medieval field system on the middle and lower northern slopes of Caradon Hill on south east Bodmin Moor. This scheduling is divided into three separate areas of protection comprising the mining remains with the field systems and two sett boundary stones. The earliest remains from ore extraction in the scheduling appear as a broad deepened channel called a streamwork along the floor of Caradon Coombe, the valley along the northern edge of Caradon Hill. Medieval in origin and named the `Chepman Wille Worke' in 1515, the streamwork exploited tin ore weathered from its parent lodes and accumulated in valley floor silts. Controlled water flows flushed away the overburden of soil and grits, exposing the heavier ore which was dug out and further concentrated. The surviving channel, modified over much of its length by later mining, is only included in this scheduling to the south of the modern property boundary along the valley floor. As it extended west along Caradon Coombe, the streamwork disrupted the lower edges of an earlier medieval field system which enclosed most land in this scheduling. It varies in character; at lower levels in the north east of the scheduling, the slope rising from the valley floor is subdivided by curving strip fields with an overall north east-south west axis, separated by low earth and rubble banks. A bank across their lower ends was largely destroyed by the streamwork and the strip field area itself is crossed by later mining pits and truncated to the east by 19th century mining. The strip fields' uphill limit is defined by a bank and ditch which also extends beyond the western limit of the strip fields, following a WSW-ENE alignment towards the head of the valley to form a major boundary in the differing partition of the higher ground. Beyond sites of later mining disturbance, land on both sides of that boundary is generally cleared of surface stone and bears faint cultivation ridging; further low banks parallel with, and at right angles to, the major boundary show the ridging was subdivided into large sub-rectangular plots. The field system's elements are complementary: the strip fields form more intensively cultivated land serving a settlement beyond this scheduling, while the lightly ridged sub-rectangular plots on higher ground typify a less intensively used `outfield' area with intermittent cultivation between long stock-grazed fallow periods.

As streamworking exhausted the valley floor tin ore deposits, extraction focussed on mineral lodes in the bedrock. Small prospecting pits were dug to locate lodes which, when found, were dug into by larger pits, called lode-back pits. Lode-back pits are commonly 4m-8m across, surrounded by spoil and choked by collapse at about 1m-3m depth. Their original depth was limited by the ability to drain them once the water table was reached; another pit was then dug further along the lode. As a result, the numerous lodes across these slopes, most on an overall WSW-ENE alignment, are matched by linear scatters of lode-back pits on a similar axis across much of this scheduling, with extensive prospecting pitting and exploitation of local ore concentrations in intervening areas. The pits overlie all elements in the medieval field system confirming the field system's earlier date. Lode-back working here enters the historical record as the `Carradon Downe Worke' in 1570; similar later references show this activity and knowledge of the rich lodes continued into the 18th century when major advances allowed their deeper exploitation.

By the early 19th century, the eastern third of the scheduling lay in the Marke Valley Sett, an area of mining rights, while the rest lay in the West Rosedown Sett, sometimes called the Wheal Jenkin Sett. At least three well-spaced granite posts, each incised `MV' on one face, survive along the sett boundary in this scheduling. The scheduling contains three major foci of 19th century mining in these setts, with intensive work underway at all three from the 1820s-1830s. In the north east is the Salisbury Shaft complex of the Marke Valley Mine; across the centre of the scheduling is the West Rosedown Mine, and in the west is Wheal Jenkin. Early work in the Marke Valley Sett was in the east, beyond this scheduling, followed by more productive operations in the west, mostly extracting copper ore from the Engine Shaft, also beyond this scheduling, and from 1850 at the Salisbury Shaft, within this scheduling, where a pumping engine was installed to which a stamps or winding engine was added in 1864. By the mid-1860s the mine produced about 5000 tons (5100 tonnes) of copper ore annually, but its ore quality declined. In the 1870s the Marke Valley Mine's company acquired the West Rosedown sett and in 1881 they moved their centre of operations to Wheal Jenkin, abandoning Salisbury Shaft in 1883. Extensive remains of the Salisbury Shaft complex include the shaft with its adjacent pumping engine house surviving to 9m high; its boiler house is further collapsed but its chimney stands about 15m high. A stamps/winding engine house 35m south east of the shaft is largely collapsed but remains of its loadings, sunken boiler house and chimney survive well. Another winding engine house, 95m SSW of the shaft, survives to gable height on the south and retains its bedstone and loadings, with its sunken boiler house extensively intact, as is its chimney. Other surviving remains include extensive spoil heaps on the slope below the shaft; a large reservoir to serve a levelled ore-processing area surviving east of the shaft, with an associated masonry support; two small buildings near the pumping engine boiler house; remains of an incline ascending the slope on the east of the complex linking the processing area with the railway branch line; at least three further shafts near the centre and southern edges of the overall complex, and many leats and overgrown earthwork features. The West Rosedown Mine crosses the hillslope about 0.5km south west of Salisbury Shaft. After initial working of tin lodes already exploited by lode-back pits, a shaft was sunk high on the midslope in the south of the scheduling, where a pumping engine was installed in 1845. Later work focussed on a second shaft sunk 295m downslope where another pumping engine was set up in 1858; the higher shaft engine was removed but work there continued with pumping powered by flat-rods from the lower shaft's engine. Always a small operation, dwindling production led in the mine's closure in 1873. Surviving remains include at least five near-level tunnels called adits from the mine's earliest phase but also draining later 19th century workings. They are spaced across the slope from high up near the scheduling's southern edge, the northernmost extended under a valley floor tramway embankment by a masonry tunnel with an arched portal. Both post-1845 mine shafts are visible, each with a large spoil heap which, at the higher shaft, supported a horse-powered winding engine. From the flat-rod arrangement are a balance-bob pit and loadings at the higher shaft and the trench and embankment which carried the flat-rods downslope to the lower shaft. North of the lower shaft are remains of its engine house and, to the east, the mine's main access track. In the angle between that track and the shaft's spoil heaps is another horse-powered winding engine platform. South west of the shaft are two largely intact rectangular reservoirs with associated supply and overflow leats. At the third 19th century mining focus, Wheal Jenkin, shafts were sunk from 1824 on a lode whose lode-back pits follow much of this scheduling's southern edge. By the late 1830s, an engine house, dressing floors and horse-powered winders served three main shafts, with the `Wheal Jenkin Adit' extending 275m from the shafts to discharge beside the valley floor. This phase contracted considerably by the 1860s and closed in 1872. When acquired by owners of the Marke Valley Mine, one of the 1830s shafts was re-excavated and renamed Bellingham's Shaft, pumped from 1886 from a new engine house alongside. A stamps engine house was built to the north east, with a substantial ore-processing works sited north of that. Despite this scale of works, output was poor and the mine closed in 1890. Wheal Jenkin retains good survivals, especially from the 1880s phase but including at least two of the 1830s shafts: Whim Shaft and Pink Shaft. The Bellingham's Shaft pumping engine house survives to gable height, with its 1886 datestone and remains of its boiler house. To the south east are two substantial reservoirs while north of the Pink Shaft are footings of ancillary buildings including the smithy, dry, carpenter's shop and office. An ore tramway bed heads from Bellingham's Shaft towards extensive remains of the stamps engine house, its boiler house and chimney. West of that engine house is a further shaft and a large reservoir which served the ore-processing works. That processing works is compact, containing at least 21 round buddles, settling tanks, water wheel pits, dressing floors and channels, matching in detail a contemporary mine plan. To its north, a stream flows from the Wheal Jenkin Adit into the streamwork channel while leats survive extensively across many parts of the mine. Prominent in the later 19th century mine infrastructure was the Liskeard and Caradon Railway whose abandoned trackbeds of 1876-7 cross and extend beyond this scheduling following two main routes. One follows the midslope across the West Rosedown and Wheal Jenkin Mines; the other enters the upper part of the Marke Valley Mine to be extended by a tramway to the lower slope and back towards the Salisbury Shaft. With economic failure of the mines it served, the railway went into receivership in 1890.

Beside the deep shaft mining, many ore processing and spoil reprocessing sites had been established along the valley floor streamwork by the 1830s, some still visible in the scheduling. This activity continued throughout the 19th century but the scheduling also includes at least two phases of 20th century reprocessing dumps beside the valley floor, from 1936 and from the 1970s.

The following structures are Listed Buildings Grade II: at Wheal Jenkin, the Bellingham's Shaft pumping engine house, the stamps engine house and its boiler house chimney; at the Marke Valley Mine, the Salisbury Shaft pumping engine and winding engine houses, their boiler house chimneys and the upstanding chimney between them. All modern fences, gates, notices, signs and their posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Gerrard, S, The Early British Tin Industry, (2000)
Gossip, J/CAU, Minions LRF Phase II Cornwall Archaeological Asessment, (2002)
Gossip, J/CAU, Minions LRF Phase II Cornwall Archaeological Asessment, (2002)
Gossip, J/CAU, Minions LRF Phase II Cornwall Archaeological Asessment, (2002)
Gossip, J/CAU, Minions LRF Phase II Cornwall Archaeological Asessment, (2002)
Gossip, J/CAU, Minions LRF Phase II Cornwall Archaeological Asessment, (2002)
Gossip, J/CAU, Minions LRF Phase II Cornwall Archaeological Asessment, (2002)
Gossip, J/CAU, Minions LRF Phase II Cornwall Archaeological Asessment, (2002)
Messenger, M J, Caradon and Looe The Canal Railways and Mines, (2001)
Shambrook, H R, The Caradon and Phoenix Mining Area, (1986)
Shambrook, H R, The Caradon and Phoenix Mining Area, (1986)
Shambrook, H R, The Caradon and Phoenix Mining Area, (1986)
Sharpe, A/CAU, Minions An Archaeological Survey, (1993)
Sharpe, A/CAU, Minions An Archaeological Survey, (1993)
Sharpe, A/CAU, Minions An Archaeological Survey, (1993)
Sharpe, A/CAU, Minions An Archaeological Survey, (1993)
Sharpe, A/CAU, Minions An Archaeological Survey, (1993)
Sharpe, A/CAU, Minions An Archaeological Survey, (1993)
Sharpe, A/CAU, Minions An Archaeological Survey, (1993)
Sharpe, A/CAU, Minions An Archaeological Survey, (1993)
Sharpe, A/CAU, Minions An Archaeological Survey, (1993)
Sharpe, A/CAU, Minions An Archaeological Survey, (1993)
Sharpe, A/CAU, Minions An Archaeological Survey, (1993)
Sharpe, A/CAU, Minions An Archaeological Survey, (1993)
Sharpe, A/CAU, Minions An Archaeological Survey, (1993)
Sharpe, A/CAU, Minions An Archaeological Survey, (1993)
Sharpe, A/CAU, Minions An Archaeological Survey, (1993)
Sharpe, A/CAU, Minions An Archaeological Survey, (1993)
Sharpe, A/CAU, Minions An Archaeological Survey, (1993)
Sharpe, A/CAU, Minions An Archaeological Survey, (1993)
Sharpe, A/CAU, Minions An Archaeological Survey, (1993)
Sharpe, A/CAU, Minions An Archaeological Survey, (1993)
Sharpe, A/CAU, Minions An Archaeological Survey, (1993)
Sharpe, A/CAU, Minions An Archaeological Survey, (1993)
Sharpe, A/CAU, Minions An Archaeological Survey, (1993)
Other
CAU/RCHME, Bodmin Moor Survey AP Plots & Supp Field Traces for SX 2671/2771, (1984)
Title: 1:10000 Ordnance Survey Map SX 27 SE Source Date: 2002 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: 1:2500 Ordnance Survey Map SX 2771 Source Date: 2002 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map Explorer 9 Bodmin Moor Source Date: 1995 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

National Grid Reference: SX 27125 71329, SX 27561 71202, SX 27619 71224

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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This copy shows the entry on 14-Dec-2017 at 10:57:52.

End of official listing