Wheal Langford Mine, Cornwall
Tamar Valley: grid reference SX385696
Location: Wheal Langford mine lies to the east of Callington in the Callington section of the Tamar Valley Mining District. Otherwise known as East Cornwall St Vincent Mine it also included several smaller mines. These included Wheal David, Wheal Mercer, Wheal Emily, Wheal Georgiana, Wheal Mexico and Wheal Virgin. The mine is known to date from about 1810 when it was known as Wheal St. Vincent. The mine had a very patchy existence, closing again in 1824. The mine reopened and was amalgamated with its neighbour Wheal Mexico to the west in 1835, along with several other smaller concerns forming the 'East Cornwall Silver Mines'. The workings dewatered using an 80-inch beam engine, later sold to the East London Waterworks.
After a period of years lying idle, the mines were reopened in 1848, this time under the name of Wheal Langford. Some silver-bearing lead was produced but this became less abundant as the depth of the mine increased and so the deposit was soon depleted. The mine closed again in 1856. The mine was re-worked as 'Baring & Langford' in 1878 and as 'New Langford Mine' between 1884 and 1890.
The 'Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal', quoting from 'Mr W. J. Henwood's Notes on the Silver produced in Cornwall', has a good report on the mine dating from 1861. It states that '... Wheal Saint Vincent yielded great quantities and many varieties of silver ore from a parallel lode south of that wrought at the same time in the neighbouring mine of Wheal Duchy; but, no longer affording profit, it was closed in 1824. If accounts of the produce still exist, they are inaccessible.
In 1835, the works then named the East Cornwall Silver Mines were reopened, but after an unsuccessful trial of about two years, they were again abandoned. The same mine was opened a third time in 1848 under the name of Wheal Langford, but silver ore became less and lead ore more abundant as the works were deepened. For several years the ore afforded from 0.001224 to 0.060466 its weight of silver, and its price ranged between £10 and £550 per ton. A parcel weighing 2 tons 6 cwts. 2 qrs. 6 Ibs., realised in June 1855 £1,184, 15s. 9d." (Captain Knott, an agent of the mine.)
Wheal Mexico, wrought to an inconsiderable depth on an eastern part of the same lode, during 1847-8, afforded the chloride of silver largely mixed with slaty clay, granular quartz, and the carbonate of iron. Some portions of the ore contained 0.001224; others, 0.026316, their weight of silver. The prices ranged from £5 to £200 per ton; but small quantities free from impurity were sold at £2 10s. per (avoirdupois) pound." (Captain Knott, Manager of the mine)'.
Production figures for the period 1852 to 1888 indicate that the mine was never a great ore producer. Between 1852 and 1886 it sold approximately 94 tons of lead-silver ore and 25 tons of zinc ore in 1884. There are reports of some manganese also being produced but this cannot be confirmed.
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Other nearby mines and their main ores
Wheal Florence (Florence & Tonkin Utd.) (approx. 1.5 km; COPPER, TIN, WOLFRAM & ZINC)
Princess of Wales (Lady Ashburton) (approx. 1.8 km; COPPER & TIN)
Kit Hill United (approx. 2.0 km; TIN & COPPER)
Harrowbarrow (approx. 2.2 km; PYRITE & TIN)
Kelly Bray & Redmoor (approx. 2.7 km; TIN, COPPER, LEAD, SILVER, ARSENIC & WOLFRAM)
Hingston Down (approx. 3.2 km; COPPER & TIN)
Holmbush (approx. 3.5 km; COPPER, LEAD & SILVER)
Danescombe (approx. 4.3 km; COPPER & TIN )
Drakewalls (approx. 4.4 km; TIN, COPPER & ARSENIC)
Gunnislake Clitters (approx. 4.6 km; COPPER & TIN)