Falmouth & Sperries Mine, Cornwall
Gwennap: grid reference SW781430
The sett of Wheal Falmouth & Sperries lies two and a half miles northeast of St. Day, near East Wheal Fortune and to the northeast of Wheal Jane and West Wheal Jane. It lay just northeast of the hamlet of Baldhu, on the outskirts of Treva Farm. At one time the sett included Wheal Hope and the mine is known to have already been at work by 1819. Sperries & Wheal Falmouth was absorbed, along with Wheal Widden, West Wheal Jane, Wheal Hope, and Wheal Jane into 'Falmouth Consolidated Mines' in 1905, although the Falmouth Consols Group was dissolved in 1915. The Wheal Falmouth section worked from Tresidder's, Deeble's Engine, Hale's, Pearce's and Moyle's Shafts and produced 1,808 tons of 4.75% copper ore between 1829 and 1833, worth £5,686. the Sperries section produced 3,146 tons of copper ore worth £14,916 between 1829 and 1833 mainly from Tippet's Shaft. In 1866, 5,471 tons of pyrite sold for £6,220. Other shafts on the sett included Barrett's, Kitto's and Jennings's Shafts. Although not a well known mie, records show that for an investment of under £10,000 the mines provided sales worth over £80,000 - not a bad return.
The sett was dewatered by a 80-inch pumping engine on Tippet's Shaft (Wheal Sperries) as well as a 24-inch winding engine with the Wheal Falmouth section pumped by a 50-inch pumping engine on Tresidder's Shaft, with accompanying 22-inch winding engine. Neighbouring mines include Wheal Jane about half a mile to the southwest, North Wheal Jane, a mile to the northeast and Mount Wellington and Nangiles mines about a mile and a half to the southwest.
Production records state that:
Wheal Falmouth and Sperries, sold 1,150 tons of 3.5% copper ore, 60 tons of 68% lead ore, 353 ounces of silver, 180 tons of zinc ore, 47,000 tons of pyrite and 10,474 tons of iron ore between 1832 and 1834 and between 1860 and 1872.
Wheal Hope produced 5,584 tons of 8% copper ore between 1824 and 1837.
East Wheal Falmouth produced 47 tons of copper ore in 1830, 413 tons of 76% lead ore between 1856 and 1861 as well as 17,100 ounces of silver and 487 tons of zinc ore.
Wheal Falmouth and Sperries appears in Thomas Spargo's book of 1865, entitled 'Statistics and Observations on the Mines of Cornwall and Devon' where he writes '... in the parish of Kea, Cornwall, in 2,000 shares (originally), now reduced to about 1,600, by relinquishments. A Committee has acted as Purser since the decease of Mr. John Tippett, the late purser; Mr. John Pascoe, of Truro, being the Accountant and Pay Clerk. Manager, Captain Wm. Kitto. Landowner, Lord Falmouth. Dues, 1-20th, reduced, during his pleasure, to 1-40th. 100 men, 50 females, and 20 boys, employed. Depth of mine, 134 fathoms, of which the adit is 30 fathom?. Rocks, clay-slate and an elvan course. 2 pumping-engines, of 80 and 50-inches, respectively. 2 winding-engines, each 22 inches; one of which crushes the ore. The working of these mines recommenced in 1859; the original workings date back beyond any known record, probably hundreds of years. Wheal Falmouth was worked by the then lord, 35 years ago. The present Company have called up about £14,000, but the returns now cover the current costs, or nearly so. The prospects are improving'.
For more information on production dates and so on 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 Jane & West Wheal Jane (approx. 0.7 km; TIN, COPPER & SILVER-LEAD)
Falmouth Consolidated (approx. 0.7 km; TIN, COPPER, SILVER-LEAD & ZINC)
South Wheal Garras (approx. 0.7 km; LEAD, SILVER & PYRITE)
Great Wheal Baddon (approx. 0.7 km; LEAD, SILVER, ZINC & TIN)
Nangiles (approx. 1.6 km; COPPER, TIN, ZINC, PYRITE, ARSENIC, IRON ORE & OCHRE)
North Jane (approx. 1.7 km; TIN, ARSENIC, IRON ORE & SILVER-LEAD)
Mount Wellington (approx. 2.0 km; TIN)
Creegbrawse & Penkevil United (approx. 3.3 km; COPPER & TIN)
Wheal Daniell (approx. 3.5 km; OCHRE & LEAD)
Wheal Maid (approx. 3.5 km; TIN)