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West Rosedown Mine, Cornwall

Principal ores: COPPER

Caradon: grid reference SX280718

Notable minerals: Chalcopyrite.

The Marke Valley Mine, including at various times Wheal Jenkin and West Rosedown Mine, lies just to the east of Minions village in the Caradon Mining District. It is known that men had been surface mining here since at least the 16th century. In 1837, after the discovery of a large copper ore body at what was later to become South Caradon Mine, a mine was set up by the 'Marke Valley Tin & Copper Consolidated Mines Company' - after the landowners.

There are four main shafts including Fawcett Shaft (located in Leymill Wood), Engine Shaft (with a 36-inch pumping engine installed over it), Child's Shaft (with an 18-inch winding engine installed) and Salisbury Shaft (Its engine house housing a 70-inch pumping engine in 1855, later moved to Bellingham's Shaft). After a slow start at Marke Valley, production increased steadily. Its total recorded output being in the region of 130,000 tons of relatively low grade copper ore at 4%. Just west of Salisbury Shaft lay West Rosedown Mine - itself part of Wheal Jenkin from the 1830's when they were worked as Cornwall Great United. In 1845 the mine was in the ownership of Caradon Great Consols.

Marke Valley Mine was quite significant in the Caradon area and the decision was taken to run the nearby Mineral railway to it by means of a branch line. This was completed in 1877. As the copper production declined, largely due to increased competition from the copper mines of Chile, Peru and Bolivia, the mine switched production to tin.

Wheal Jenkin had been at work from about 1824 and became part of Cornwall Great United between 1836 and 1837. Shafts on the Wheal Jenkin section included: Crease's, Pink, Adit, Whim and Bullock's Engine Shafts. In the 1870's the Marke Valley Company bought Wheal Jenkin. The whim shaft was deepened and renamed Bellingham's Engine Shaft. The owners of the enlarged sett next decided to move their operations westwards to Wheal Jenkin. After a total production of just 292 tons of black tin, the mine closed in 1890.

The West Rosedown section had been at work from 1828 working on Fisher's Lode and Old Sarum Lode. After a brief closure in the 1830's the mine reopened in 1840. Output from the West Rosedown section between 1828 and 1890 was 393 tons of black tin and over 128,500 tons of 5.25% copper ore.

In its chapter entitled 'Gleanings Among Mines and Miners', 'The Railway Register and Record of Public Enterprise for Railways' writes about Marke Valley in 1846: '... Marke Valley Mines, in Linkinhorne, on the opposite side of the hill to South Caradon, are being extensively worked by a Salisbury Company. The outlay has been about £40,000 by the shareholders, and returns of ore £7,000. Present returns 100 tons a month, which barely pay the cost of working. There is a steam-engine of 36-inch cylinder, and two water wheels ; the engine shaft is down 107 fathoms from surface, and 80 fathoms below adit. Workings are on three lodes, the ore being raised principally from the back of the Sarum lode at the 50-fathom level. The 65 level is about 8 fathoms short of being under the ore ground, in the 50. Altogether the prospects are favourable, the most important feature being that the lodes are getting through the killas, and entering the granite'.

Thomas Spargo, the mining historian, writes in his book 'The Mines of Cornwall and Devon: Statistics and Observations' in 1864, that Marke Valley was '... in the Caradon district, after an outlay of about £40,000, became a dividend mine in 1860. The prospects for large returns and profits are very encouraging, and which, I trust, will be realized, as a reward for the perseverance displayed by the company. Dues 1-18th. Agents, Captain J. Truscott and J. Stanlake; purser and manager, Captain Seccombe; secretary, Mr. J. Harding, Salisbury'.
A year later he expanded this to report '... in the parish of Linkinhorne, in 9,000 shares. Purser, Mr. John Harding, Salisbury. Manager, Captain James Seccombe, Menheniot. Landowners, Messrs. Mark Symons and Seccombe. Dues, 1-18th. Depth of adit, 30 fathoms; depth below adit, 112 fathoms. Pumping-engine, 70 and 36-inch. Stamping, winding, and crushing-engine, 33-inch. Winding-engine, 18- inch. Waterwheel, 40 feet diam., crushing. Waterwheel, 52 feet by 3 feet 6 inches, pumping.
Mineral sold in 1864: 5,071 tons of copper ore worth £16,946 18s. 10d.
A fair illustration of mining investment in England is afforded in this mine by its division into a large number of shares; and this principle seems to act very well in this mine, and to be in favour of the public. The mine cannot be considered a very rich one, as the levels are not reported to produce so much ore aa might be supposed from the dividends, which certainly betokens good, not to say masterly management. The mine has paid profits to the extent of about £30,000, and the selling value is about £50,000, making together £80,000. The outlay, in round numbers, being about £40,000, one half of dividends and market value; taking the dividends at £600 per month, say £7,000 a year, investors would gain about 14 per cent. for their money. The locality of this mine, in a geological point of view, is good, and conformatory to the miners' opinion of the true position of the strata, the rock of the mine being killas over the granite of the Caradon Hill, the sett being nearly a mile on the run of the lodes, and embracing half a mile in width. It seems, reasoning from the aspect of affairs in this mine, to be a good plan to divide mines into a considerable number of shares; in this every share at present is represented by about a £5 note, a handy and convenient division, affording a medium for even the humblest speculator, and not debarring the richest from taking a share in the adventure. Had the mine been divided even into 1,000 shares, each share being worth say £45, might have prevented many from purchasing them, while, at the same time, the stock seems to be fairly appreciated, and the system seems rather to augment than diminish the whole value of the property'

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

Phoenix United (approx. 1.2 km; COPPER & TIN)

East Caradon (approx. 1.3 km; COPPER)

South Wheal Phoenix (approx. 1.4 km; COPPER)

Glasgow Caradon Mine (approx. 1.6 km; COPPER)

Gonamena (approx. 2.0 km; COPPER)

South Caradon (approx. 2.0 km; COPPER)

West Caradon (approx. 2.0 km; COPPER)

Craddock Moor (approx. 2.2 km; COPPER)

Caradon Consols (approx. 2.8 km; COPPER)

Caradon United (approx. 4.5 km; COPPER & TIN)


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