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Creegbrawse & Penkevil United Mine, Cornwall

Principal ores: COPPER & TIN

Gwennap: grid reference SW746435


Notable minerals: Chalcopyrite, Cassiterite & Pyrites.

Creegbrawse and Penkevil Mine lies one mile northeast of St. Day. Its nearest neighbours are Poldice and Wheal Maid to the southwest, Wheal Unity Wood to the west and Killifreth and Wheal Daniel to the northwest and north respectively. The mine is known to date from about 1815 and worked until 1864 when it became part of the St. Day United Group. Some historians claim that there has been some sort of mining at Creegbrawse right back to the time of the Phoenicians, although the only clear proof dates from the 1720's. Mining ceased here in 1869.


Mainly a copper mine, Creegbrawse and Penkevil worked quite a large number of lodes from numerous shafts. They were: South Unity Lode worked from Gill's Shaft and Goodspeed Shaft. Main (or Capel) Lode was worked from Tippets Shaft, Luke's Shaft, Taylor's Shaft, Flakey's Shaft, Engine Shaft and Flat Rod Shaft. Flat Lode was worked from Old East Shaft, whilst Potcher's Lode was worked by Dog Shaft and New East Shaft. North Penkevil and South Penkevil Lode was worked from St. Michael Penkevil Shaft, Brydges' Shaft, Mount Shaft and Bawden's Shaft. Other lodes included Maria Lode and Wheal Rea Lode.


Joseph Yelloly Watson, the mining historian, writes in his report of 1843 entitled 'A Compendium of British Mining' that 'Creeg Braws' Mine was:
'... in Kenwyn, lies to the north of the Consolidated Mines, and on the same lodes as Wheal Unity. This mine was very extensively worked, as far back, it is supposed, as the arrival of the Phoenicians in Cornwall, the old pits, and other surface appearances, seeming to warrant such a presumption, but there are no records extant of an earlier period than 1720, when it was worked by a Captain Richard Williams, under whose management considerable profits were made, and as much as five hundred thousand sacks of tin returned annually. There was also sold some copper ore of good produce, but the formations of that mineral were very "bunchy" and consequently the returns irregular. The water was pumped out of the mine by means of horizontal rods, connected with a steam engine working at Wheal Busy, and a water wheel was erected under ground for the same purpose, and propelled by water taken from Bizza Pool Mine.

On the death of Captain Williams he was succeeded by his son, under whose management, however, the returns greatly diminished. The late John Williams, Esq., of Scorrier House, now became interested, and the old mine was nearly abandoned, the operations being confined to the western part of the sett: about Gill's, Lake's, Taylder's and Pollard's shafts, very little explorations were made for tin, although small quantities were occasionally raised about Pollard's shaft After this a Captain Paul and Captain Alex Bray were appointed managers, and extracted sufficient ore to realize profit, but not to any considerable amount.

The management next devolved upon Mr. Joseph Morcom, of Whitehall, who raised large quantities of ore; but in consequence of the suppression of the tutwork, or exploring department, the returns were unequal to the expenditure, and the mine was abandoned. From 1814 to 1822 the returns were two thousand five hundred and forty-two tons of copper ore, yielding £13,274.
In 1822 Mr. Williams obtained new grants for tin and copper at one-twelfth dues; but from that period, little was done till the present adventurers took possession in 1840. The mine is now under the management of Captain Lean and Mr. F. Blarney Purser, and likely to make a profitable one. The largest proprietor is Mr. Robert Freeman, of Swanton Morley, Norfolk. The cost expended by the present company is about £7,000, and the returns nine hundred and sixty-nine tons of copper, yielding £7756 7s'
.


Thomas Spargo adds the following in his 1865 book called 'The Mines of Cornwall and Devon: Statistics and Observations':
'Creegbraws and Penkivell United, in the parish of Kenwyn, Cornwall. Purser, Mr. W. H. Tregonning, Gwennap. Managing Agent, Captain John Blight, at the mine. Landowner, Viscount Falmouth. Adit, 50 fathoms deep.
The present works are at and above the 36 fathoms level, under adit, from which the water is drained by St. Day United engines, for which a heavy charge is made. In this mine there is no steam power employed. I understand that the tin returned nearly pays the current cost. The mine has been worked hundreds of years; but sometimes very few men have been employed. A heavy loss has been sustained by working here within the last 30 years'
.


Production figures for Creegbrawse and Penkevil between 1815 and 1869 were as follows: 16,500 tons of 6% copper ore, 1,320 tons of black tin, 50 tons of arsenic, 4 tons of mispickel, 3.5 tons of zinc ore, 160 tons of pyrite and 106 tons of ochre.


For more information on production dates for Creegbrawse and Penkevil please see Roger Burt's excellent book Cornish Mines: Metalliferous and Associated Minerals, 1845-1913 (Mineral Statistics of the United Kingdom, 1845-1913).

There is a wealth of information on the mines and miners of Cornwall available. Why not explore Cornwall's industrial heritage through the Bookstore?

Other nearby mines and their main ores

Wheal Unity (approx. 1.1 km; COPPER)

Poldice (approx. 1.3 km; COPPER, TIN, ARSENIC & ZINC)

Killifreth (approx. 1.3 km; COPPER & TIN)

Wheal Unity Wood (approx. 1.4 km; COPPER & TIN)

Wheal Daniell (approx. 1.4 km; OCHRE & LEAD)

Wheal Maid (approx. 1.4 km; TIN)

Consolidated Mines (Consols) (approx. 1.4 km; COPPER & TIN)

Great Wheal Busy (approx. 1.6 km; COPPER & ARSENIC)

Wheal Jewell (approx. 1.8 km; COPPER)

East Wheal Damsel (approx. 1.8 km; COPPER & TIN)

 

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