Overlayed old and new maps of Caradon Hill mines

These images have been grabbed with my small Kindle Fire in ‘iffy’ lighting, and therefore they are not the best quality. Despite of this limitation they should be of interest to anyone attempting to relate the Victorian mines with the modern landscape of the Liskeard Area in Cornwall.


The map extracts show Brenton Symons’ 1863 geological map overlayed on a modern OS 1:25000 map. This overlay was produced as part of my research into William West, the last great Cornish Engineer, and the artwork is not of the neatest quality as it was never intended for the final product to be published. However, the information displayed is far too useful to remain hidden away in the bottom of my map drawers.


Lodes, cross-courses, elvans and sett boundaries have been transferred, but due to scale restrictions I have not drawn on the mines’ surface buildings. The map was drawn by making use of the field boundaries that have remained in place between 1863 and 2014. In doing so the discrepancies between map datums have been removed.


For those wanting a closer poke around the map a complete overlay will be on display at the Caradon Geology group talk at Liskeard, February 2015.


Once my laptop is re-united with my scanner, some better quality images will be obtained for this blog.


As the Caradon Geology Group talk draws nearer, this series of postings about Brenton Symon’s map is almost complete. Just a few loose ends to tie up, and then it will be back to the realm of Cornish Engineers. With of course, some dives into rabbit holes of maps along the way.





To see Brenton Symons’ map, download a copy of my Kindle Book of the Liskeard Mining District of 1863 from Amazon, or ask for a CD ROM copy from the Book Seller at Liskeard.

The Geology of the Caradon district described by Brenton Symons


Twenty years after Brenton Symons published his map of the Liskeard mining district he wrote this description of the Caradon District within his sketch of the geology of Cornwall.

A sketch of the Geology of Cornwall
By Brenton Symons, F.C.S., Assoc. Mem.Inst. C.E. Mining engineer and metallurgist

Caradon District
The barren aspect of the Bodmin Moor is reflected its rocks, which are very destitute of metallic ores, and it is only on the southern fringe of the granite that copper and tin ores abound. At Roughtor, east of Camelford a large sum was expended to discover whether the tin veins in granite improved with depth, but the failure was complete. At Blisland where there is a well marked, though very granitic group of elvans, no lodes of any promise have yet been noticed, but no exploration of importance have been made.

The mines around Caradon Hill- 1208 feet high-were originated by some miners driving an adit in 1836, but though comparatively modern, after a brilliant existence the first fruits of the district have been gathered, and the mines once so numerous and prosperous are now mostly stopped. South Caradon, the first mine opened, yielded 9% ore, and gave for many years handsome dividends, the total profit having being £380,000. The copper group extends eastward through East Caradon to Glasgow Caradon both very profitable mines. To the north is the Phoenix group of tin veins, where owing to the projections of granite ridges, and the faulting of the lodes, the hanging wall is slate, whilst the foot wall is often granite. The matrix of the tin ore is composed of quartz, chlorite and earthy iron ore. Adjacent the surface, copper pyrites and malachite are found. Nearly all the lodes dip steeply towards the granite, and have average width of rather more than three feet. At Gonemena tin ore is found in a manner somewhat resembling Carclaze, the excavation is a third of a mile long, and occupies a dozen acres, but the depth is only fifty feet.

To the west, the lodes are principally tin producing, and continue with a group of elvans through St. Neot to Warleggan. Though the mines have only been worked in a partial and desultory way, there is ample evidence that good tin lodes, which merit exploration, exist. At a mine called Tin Hill a large quantity of stream tin was obtained from a remarkable deposit of gravel and boulders beneath cliffy granite. Some elvan courses have been worked for tin with moderate success in this district.


Click here for information about the Liskeard Mining Area in 1863 book.

The geology of Caradon- The lodes

This post is the fourth in the series looking at the geology of the Caradon Hill area in Cornwall through the information shown on a amazing Victorian map. So far the posts have covered the granite, cross-courses and elvans; and now it looks at the most important feature- the lodes.


For the majority, if not all, of the buyers of Brenton Symons’ map the lodes  are the features they would have had the most interest in. For lodes are where the potential of wealth lay, their fickle nature driving the fortunes and losses of the industry.

Lodes are cracks or pressure filled with minerals, from which the miners extracted the ore. They were normally vertical, or near-vertical; often extending for considerable distances. In other parts of Britain they are known as a veins or seams.

Brenton Symon’s displayed lodes as red lines, dotted when their existence had not been confirmed. This post summarises the lodes in the immediate area around Caradon Hill, near Liskeard.


The number of lodes
The modern British Geological map denotes the location of 9 lodes whilst Brenton Symon showed 89 in the same area. This massive discrepancy is a clear example of how every map reflects the priorities of its maker, sponsors or potential customers.  The Victorian customers were focused on the red lines cluttering the maps, but modern geologist have little use for the information.

The direction of the lodes ( the Course)
In this part of Cornwall tin and copper lodes broadly run east to west and lead north to south. In general tin lodes are in or near the granite, copper near the granite contact, and lead in the killas. This pattern is reflected in Symons’ map which has all bar three of the lodes in that Caradon area running east to west.

Not all the lodes run purely east to west; some trend slightly to the north, and some to the south. The distribution according to Symons is:


East to west 20 percent
East by North 2 percent
East by south 78 percent

However, a transcription of the course of the lodes onto a modern 1:25000 map reveals a different picture:
East to west 21 percent
East by North 58 percent
East by south 5 percent

This is a discrepancy highlights an error in datum between the two maps, an error

that must be considered when using the older publication.

Dip or underlie is the angle of slope of a lode.
The underlie is the angle measured from the vertical, whilst the dip is the angle measured from the surface.

Dip is shown on the Victorian map by arrows on the side of the lode. A summary of the dip shown in the mine setts around Caradon Hill is:
None shown 32 percent
Southerly 14 percent
Northerly 53 percent

Length of the lodes
By transposing the lodes onto a modern Ordnance Survey map it is possible to determine the length of the lodes in the area. The average length is .3km, with the longest shown being 2.5km. The majority of the lodes ony have short runs:

Less then .5k 79 percent
.5 to 1km 13 percent
1km plus 8 percent

The average lode in the Caradon area therefore runs East by North, is .3km long and dips to the north.

Brenton Symon’s map is far superior to the modern map as a source of information on lodes, as long as the datum discrepancy is allowed for- the next post will look at the map information displayed on a modern map.

Click here for information about how to obtain a copy of the 1863 map.

The Geology of Caradon Hill- Cross-courses

This post continues the exploration of  the geology of Brenton Symons’ Victorian map of the Liskeard mining district’ with a wander around the cross-courses of the Caradon Hill area. My last post in the series came up with the conclusion that the modern British Geological map was more accurate than the 18th century publication, but a lot less pleasing on the eye. This post will put the two maps head to head on the topic of cross-courses.


What is a cross course?
A cross course is a mineral vein running a near right angles to the predominant lode direction in an area. Cross-courses are normally non metallic but sometimes will carry lead and silver.

In Cornwall Cross-courses normally run in a north to south direction, apart from the in the St. Just area. Where a cross-course intersects a lode it throws it off its regular course; a break in the lode’s course called a ‘heave’.

Cross-courses gave mixed fortunes to a mine. Sometimes the heave would cause difficulties in tracing lodes,  they also could form a route for water to follow, a route that increased the risk of flooding workings.  On the plus side, cross-courses gave a line of softer rock for miners to follow, a weakness exploited to drive adits and cross-cuts.

Brenton Symons and Cross-Courses
Brenton Symons’ map denotes cross-courses by thick light grey lines. Their presence can also be detected by heaves in the lodes.  This post describes the location of the  cross-courses in the Caradon Hill area, and compares it with the information given in the contemporary Webb and Geach book,  and a modern BGS map. The cross-courses have been named by the mine setts through which they pass.

“There  are  several  cross-courses  running  through  the  country,  both  in  Killas  and  granite,  and  which  are found  as  is  usually  the  case,  to  influence  the  deposits  of  ore  wherever they  intersect  the  lodes.” Webb and Geach

The Cross-Courses

Wheal Pollard-Wheal Norris, Caradon Hill (Vale)

This long cross-course runs close to the main engine shafts of all three mines. Symons shows it becoming indistinct for a portion of its southern section, where he has assumed its course.

The British Geological Survey mao does not show the cross-course at all. The modern map does show some faults forming part of contact,

Webb and Geach mention the large cross-course in Wheal Norris and Caradon Hill mines. The latter mine used its weakness to drive an adit. Smaller cross-courses are mentioned in the book, but are not shown on the map.

Wheal Norris
This  sett  is  in  the  parish  of  St.  Cleer,  and  adjoins  Craddock  Moor  Mine,  having  the  same  lodes  traversing  it  for  500  fathoms  in  length.  There  are  in the  sett  nine  discovered  lodes,  which  are  at  right  angles  crossed  by  one  large cross-course  and  three  smaller  ones,  against  which  the  lodes  generally  make poor,  and  are  disarranged.

On  the  cross-course  directly  west  of  Carter’s  Shaft  a  cross-cut  has  been driven  north  40  fathoms,  intersecting  at  the  adit  level  two  large  masterly lodes

Caradon Hill
This  adit  has  been  driven  on  the  great  cross-course,  which  is  30  feet  wide, and  five  promising  lodes  have  been  cut,  producing  tin  and  copper;  it  is  still being  driven,  and  it  is  intended  to  proceed  with  it  through  the  entire  width  of the  sett,  with  a  view  to  cut  other  lodes  which  are  known  to  exist.

Craddock Moor-West Caradon
This cross-course cuts across the southeast corner of Craddock Moor’s sett, where Fox’s shaft is sunk on its course. No heave is evident on the lodes.

Yet again the BGS do not denote the existence of the cross-course. And yet again Webb and Geach describe more cross-courses than those shown by Symons.

Craddock Moor
There are  five  cross-courses  known  to  intersect  the  lodes,  three  of  which  are  from Caradon  Consols  which  is  immediately  south.

Gonomena-West Caradon

A consistent heave is shown by Brenton Symons; all the lodes western portions are displaced northwards. The BGS do not show the feature. Brenton Symons names it has the ‘West Caradon cross-course’ and the ‘Great Cross-course’ , ad states the feature was used to work the mine, and that it gave a heave if 2 to 6 fathoms. As in the previous cross-courses it is apparent that the  Victorian map only displayed the most significant cross courses.

The  boundary  cross-course  is  in  the  eastern  ground,  and  has  a  left-hand heave  displacing  the  lode  about  seven  fathoms.  West  Caradon  cross-course runs  through  the  centre  of  the  sett,  causing  a  right  hand-heave  of  about  three fathoms.  In  the  western  ground  three  other  cross-veins  come  in  from  West  Caradon and Craddock Moor, but these have not yet been seen in the mine.

West Caradon
These  lodes  are intersected  at  right  angles  by  numerous  cross-courses,  one  or  two  being  of a  large  size,  heaving  the  lodes  to  the  right  from  2  to  6  fathoms.  The  great cross-course  which  runs  through  the  centre  of  the  mine,  has  been  of  the  up most  service  in  working  the  mine  both  quickly  and  economically,  the  crosscuts  driven  on  its  course  costing  from  about  50s.  to  60s.  per  fathom,  which would  otherwise  have  to  be  driven  through  the  hard  granite,  at  a  cost  of  £12 or £14 per fathom.

South Caradon

This is Y shaped cross-course runs up the eastern slope of the Seaton valley, passing close to Jope’s shaft, and through Sump Shaft. The split of the Y is close north of Sump Shaft. The Cross-course causes the lodes western portions to be heaved norhwards.

This is the only cross course shown by the British Gelogicalk Survey. BGS show a single Cross-course running on the east of the Seaton River. It enters Gonomena set where its is heaved by a lode and then follows the western side of the openworks for a short distance. This coincides with the South Caradon Y cross course and a part of the great cross course. The gap in between the cross-courses shown by Symons coincides roughly with the heave shown by BGS

South Caradon
It will be seen that the whole of the Caradon lodes traverse  the  sett,  bearing  about  8°  north  of  west.  These  are  intersected  at  right angles  by  several  cross-courses,  the  easternmost,  near  Jope’s  Shaft,  heaving all  the  lodes  to  the  right  hand  regularly

The Great Cross-course


South Caradon-Gonomena-South Phoenix-Phoenix
This cross course extends across a large portion of the map, from South Caradon to Phoenix. Its southern section, where it is called the boundary cross-course, is not directly shown by Brenton Symons. It can be identified however, by a heave in the lodes beneath the Seaton River.

This cross-course is shown only by the BGS in its southern section as it passes through the South Caradon and Gonamena Setts.


South Caradon
Greenhill  Lode  is  driven  west  at  the  125  to  the cross-course about fathoms in length, 85  and contains  green  carbonate, grey  ore,  and  rich  oxide  of copper;  the  154  and  166 are  being  driven  to  get  under  this  ore,  in  the  confident  expectation  of  making  large  returns.  One  of  the  great  objects  of  the  adventurers  is  the  driving  of  the  126  cross-cut  south  on  the  great  cross-course, to  cut  Rosedown  and  Marke  Valley  lodes.

in a  deep  valley  streamed  for  tin,  is  a  large  cross-course  –  a  continuation,  in  fact, of  the  West  Caradon  boundary  cross-course,  which  there,  as  well  as  in  South Phoenix,  heaves  the  lodes  to  the  left  hand  about  10  fathoms.  This  crosscourse  is  many  fathoms  wide,  but  has  never  been  seen  at  the  Phoenix  Mines; as,  although  they  have  driven  on  a  course  of  ore  close  to  it,  they  were  afraid to  proceed,  on  account  of  the  probable  great  influx  of  water  that  would  ensue.

Wheal Hooper-South Caradon


This cross-course may hold a clue to a mystery engine house. Its northern termination is close to the location of an isolated chimney whose purpose is not known. Symons shows and engine house located on the cross-course, a location that suggests that a shaft may have been sunk there in order to serve a cross-cut driven on the cross-course. This possible explanation for the mystery chimney is supported by the fact that the cross-course proved to be of great use to Wheal Hooper.

This is another cross-course is not shown by BGS.

Wheal Hooper
A cross-course,  which  has  been  of  considerable  utility  in  working  the  mine inexpensively,  stretches  across  the  sett,  bearing  a  few  degrees  west  of  north, and  intersecting  the  lodes  obliquely.  It  is  of  inconsiderable  magnitude,  and does  not  appear  to  affect  the  lodes  to  any  great  extent. WG

Glasgow Caradon


Brenton Symons shows three cross courses, each one associated with shafts or adits.  The eastern cross-course has a heave of the western parts of the lodes to the north. This heave is similar to that shown on other cross-courses, that is the ground on the western side in moved northwards, or the eastern southwards.

Non of the Glasgow Caradon lodes are shown by BGS.

“He  drove  an  adit  south  on  a  large  crosscourse  about  four  feet  in  width,  and  cut  several  lodes.”

“A  cross-cut  from  the adit  has  been  driven  north  on  a  cross-course,  in  which  two  lodes  with  a  north underlie  have  been  cut,  containing  kindly  looking  gossan.

Marke Valley Consols
The Victorian map appears to show a short cross-course running northwards from one of the lode, close west of the dressing floors. Webb and Geach describes a cross-course that crosses all the lodes, a description that does not coincide with the map details.
No cross-courses are shown by BGS.

“South of  these  are  three  known  lodes,  one  of  which,  named  New  Lode,  has  been worked  to  the  80;  the  other  two  have  been  nearly  intersected  by  the  crosscourse  which  crosses  the  lodes  at  right  angles,  and  is  a  little  west  of  the  old whim shaft.”


1 Wheal Pollard-Wheal Norris, Caradon Hill (Vale)
2 Craddock Moor-West Caradon
3 Gonomena-West Caradon
4 The Great Cross-course
5 South Caradon
6 Wheal Hooper-South Caradon
7 Glasgow Caradon
8 Marke Valley Console

Brenton Symons shows more cross-courses then the BGS, but less then those listed by webb and Geach.
Where a cross-course causes a heave, the ground to the west is northwards.
The cross-courses have been utilised by many of the mines for driving cross-cuts or adits.

Brenton Symons V British Geological Survey

Brenton Symons has the upper hand for this one. The Victorian map shows six cross-courses, whilst the BGS only one. The details described within the pages of Webb and Geach give credibility to the cross-course positions shown by Symons.  Therefore when it comes to cross-courses the Brenton Symons map is far superior to its modern counterpart.

Brenton Symons 1- BGS 1, Now a draw. Next round will be the elvans. 

Bomin Moor Granite- Was Brenton Symons right?

In the previous posts I identified that the Liskeard 1863 Geological map of the Caradon Hill area and the modern British Geological Survey disagreed on the location of the granite/killas boundary. So which one was right?


I hoped it was Brenton Symons Victorian map, for no other reason that it appeared more detailed. However, with a bit of digging in some of the books on the shelves I managed to discover which map was best.

Much of the modern evidence came from my well worn, and annotated copy of ‘Dines’, or to give its full title ‘The Metalliferous Mining Region of South West England’


South Caradon Mine
Strangely enough, Dines was of not much help here

“Granite overlayed with killas in the south east.”

Was the only scrap of information it offered. Webb and Geach in their 1863 book was of more use though

“The  junction  of  killas  with  granite  occurs  a  little  south  of  Caunter and Kitto’s lodes. “

This statement coincides with the course of the contact shown on the modern map. It is rather strange that Symons was in error within such a well mined sett as South Caradon, and even stranger that he was in disagreement with Webb and Geach, considering their book and his map were believed to be have been produced in association with each other.

The Victorian authors support the modern location of the granite boundary within their reports on South Caradon


Wheal Hooper

Wheal Hooper
The  whole  of  the  sett  is  in killas,  which  overlays  the  granite  at  about  an  angle  of  45°,  and  the  junction occurring  at  the  northern  boundary,  the  engine  shaft  at  the  54  comes  into granite,  its  contact  with  the  slate  being  well-defined,  no  decomposition  having  taken  place.  It  should  be  noticed  that  two  elvan  courses  of  felspatic granite run parallel to the lodes.

Agents report
The  winze  below  the  62  (a  most  promising  point)  would,  however,  have been  proceeded  with,  but  for  a  great  influx  of  water  during  the  last  3ft. sinking,  causing  a  great  advance  in  the  price,  and  rendering  it  necessary to  purchase  a  larger  lift  in  order  to  proceed  with  the  work.  It  was  therefore thought  more  advisable  to  suspend  it,  as  the  cutting  of  the  lode  at  the  90 would  probably  drain  off  all  the  water,  and  enable  us  to  sink  the  winze  at a  very  considerable  saving,  and  without  the  aid  of  a  lift.  Near  the  bottom of  the  winze  is  a  sort  of  slide  which  appears  to  have  heaved  the  lode  to the  south,  whence  flows  the  water.  The  granite  in  the  bottom  of  the  winze is  of  favourable  description,  and  the  cleavages  are  faced  with  copper  ore

So far then, my hopes for Brenton Symon’s work being more accurate had been proven incorrect. The next mine to be looked at was second most important one on the map, Phoenix United.

Webb and Geach state-

“The  present  workings  are  in  granite,  but  a  tongue  of  killas  is  deposited  in  the south-eastern  portion  of  the  sett,  in  which  is  a  promising  lode  worked  on  the backs  for  a  long  distance,  and  called  the  Snuff-box  Lode.”

Dines presented an excellent resource to disentangle the complex geology here, nice cross section of workings on the main lode.


Part of this diagram is shown here (Copyright BGS). The plan show the lode running west to east. My annotated yellow line is the granite/Killas contact. Killas to the right, granite to the left. It is indicated reaching the surface close east of West’s Shaft. The conclusion from this fact is that again the Modern map is more accurate.

The dotted yellow line is the Great cross-course, more on that feature in the next post.

The final mine I studied in detail was South Phoenix.  Brenton Symons shows that sett within granite, and yet the British Geological Survey clearly show a large slab of killas intruding between two faults as far west at the Hurlers.

Again Dines contained a diagram that provided an answer.


This cross section runs north to south across the South Phoenix Sett. It clearly shows the ground between Prosper Shaft and Parson’s Shaft being ‘clay slate’. An indication that yet again the modern map is more accurate.

Despite of my desire to prove the superiority of the Victorian cartography, when it came to depicting the granite/killas contact the modern map was clearly superior.

British Geological Survey 1, Brenton Symons 0

Next round would be the cross-courses, or faults. 


Brenton Symons’ 1863 map is reproduced in ‘The Liskeard Mining Area in 1863’

Webb and Geach’s book is available in paperback.

Victorian geological map of Liskeard versus the modern Map

This blog will follow my digging (excuse the pun) into Brenton Symons Victorian geological map  as I prepare for my talk next year to the Caradon Geology group. This post continues with the subject of the granite boundary by comparing  Benton Symon’s 1863 map with a modern one published by  the British Geological Survey.  In comparing the two maps I hope to be able to verify how much use such a Victorian map is to those studying geology today, and maybe gain an insight into the accuracy of Brenton Symon’s work.

This series of posts are slanted towards those interested in the geology of the Liskeard area, but if your interests are cartography or Cornish mining history there may be some information of interest.

The BGS Map

I have chosen to expose to Mr. Symon’s cartography is BGS Sheet 337- Tavistock. A map now available on the excellent BGS website.  The two maps are broadly in agreement (dates) on the rough course of the contact, so this post will concentrate on a selection of areas where the two diverge the largest.

The border compared

The first is the intriguing little kink in the Trecombe. Symons shows the Killas here forming a
estheticaly  pleasing wave, its crest toppling to the west at the head of the combe. The BGS
version is far less pleasing to the eye, but displays some far more interesting geology. The modern map portrays the wave displaced slightly to the east, but more importantly has a NNW running fault replacing the western curve of the wave; a fault explaining the kink in the contact.


To the east of this point the two maps disagree on where the granite lies on the southern slope of Caradon Hill. The modern survey places it significantly to the norrt, a surprising discrepancy due to the importance of the South Caradon Mine.  On the BGS map the contact is shown running through Holman’s shaft ( or as it is known now, the Man in the mine), partly following the Caunter Lode.


Moving on from there the two maps agree as they cross the East Caradon sett, but soon after rapidly part company. As it skirts the eastern slopes of Caradon Hill the granite boundary is shown running close east of the main road on the modern map, whilst Symons shows it further eastwards passing near to the round at Tokenbury, quite a large difference.


Inside the Marke Valley, just east of Minions Village the Geology gets more complex, this is the area of the overlaying killas tongue that influenced the minerals of Phoenix United mine. In 1863 this Killas was shown as having a curved form, but the BGS display it bordered by two faults.  This slab of killas extends westwards across the South Phoenix Sett to a point just north of the Hurlers stone circle, much further then indicated by Symons.


Again, like at South Caradon Mine there is a major difference in the maps at the important mine of Phoenix United. Brenton Symons shows the mine being sunk on granite, with the extension of the rock reaching a point just east of Knowles farm. The BGS show a completely different situation. On their map only the western part of the mine, west of the Clananacombe, is in granite. However, what the modern map does show is a small outlier granited, an isolated outcrop close east of Knowles farm.


The northern part Symon’s map shows a simpler course of the boundary at it passes eastwards out of the coverage. The modern map shows the contact distruptted by faults, and its eastern extremity further west than indicated in 1863. 

What are the key differences?
This comparison has revealed the main differences in the depiction of the granite/killas contact as:
In many places the granite contact is shown extending further into the surrounding country by Brenton Symons
The 1863 map shows a simpler course for the contact. Its course is formed of curves with no harsh lines caused by faults.
Within the two most important mines within the map’s coverage there are significant differences in the location of the granite.

The last point has certainly sparked my curiosity- which one is correct?  My next little project will be start turning the pages of some of the books on my shelves to look for clues on where the granite really is.  Unless of course any one reading this post already has information to answer that question.

For a copy of the complete 1863 map, and information about the mines in area see my book “The Liskeard Mining Area in 1863”.

Where is the granite boundary in Caradon?

Lying beneath Cornwall and Devon is a mass of granite that is the original source of their rich mineral wealth. An outcrop of the mass forms the highland of Bodmin Moor, its south eastern extremity  marked by Caradon Hill, north of Liskeard.


The granite/killas boundary had a major influence on the pattern of mineralisation in the Liskeard area. Inside the boundary tin dominated, near the junction it was copper and some tin, and remote from the granite lead and silver was mined. Defining the position of the edge of the granite assists in understanding the history of mining in the area.


Brenton Symons’ map clearly shows this granite killas/ contact, and in far more detail than the current British Geological Society maps. Its soft shaded line waves its way around the north west part of the map, passing through many of the most successful mines of the the district.

Where is the boundary according to Brenton Symons?
Plotting the course of the boundary shown by Symons has some limitations due to the lack of on accurate datum of his map. Using field boundaries common to the modern Ordnance Survey maps it is possible, however, to obtain a good indication of its position.

The contact starts at King Doenierts Stone, goes to Tremacombe Head, passes up to Darite village , across the southern slopes of Caradon Hill to  Caradon Farm, northwards pass Rondabury,  into the Moor at  Mutton Corner, does a loop back out to Phoenix House, another loop through Knowle Farm before leaving the map at Stanbury. A more detailed list of its waypoints is given later in this post.

The southern boundary of the contact has a relative smooth course in a WNW to ESE direction, with the only significant interruption an interesting sharp  kink in Tremacombe. The south eastern corner is with the East Caradon Sett. The eastern boundary is far less regular with two distinctive waves. The peaks are shown within the Yolland Mine and Phoenix United, the troughs extending into South Phoenix and  West Sharp Tor.

The Granite/Killas boundary waypoints.
For those wishing to plot the granite/killas boundary according the Brenton Symons’ here is some waypoints, along with indications of the status of public access to those position.  In the next post I will be looking at the differences between this boundary and the one shown on the modern BGS maps. The waypoints are grouped by the mine sett in which they occur.

Wheal St Cleer
king Doniets Stone SX 23543 68819 Public access
Loop into fields to north SX 2360568947 No access
Wheal St Cleer Crossroads SW of Common Moor Village 23961 69000 public access

Caradon Vale(Hill)
North side of Penhale farm buildings
SX 24780 68839 foot path access


St. Cleer Consols
There is a sharp kick in its course at this point.
SX 25357 69129,
Tremarcoombe wall corner, at the edge of the open access ground

SX 25395 69280
Crosses the railway tracked, between the  stream and wall. Open access ground.

SX 25297 69333
Lane meets field boundary at edge of open access ground  at Treamar. The contact follows the wall NWly.

Caradon Consols
Apex of knick
SX 25324 69556
Crosses a lane close south of West Hendra farm, here the boundary runs E-W

SX 69484, 25526
Southern edge of Hendra farm buildings

Wheal  Agar
SX 25883 69395
Darite school

SX 26223 69361
Crosses footpath

South Caradon Mine
SX 26680 69433
Road corner at Stanton Farm

SX 26800 69433
Road Corner

SX 26988 69492
South west corner of open access ground.

Caradon Wheal Hooper
SX 27196 69614
Higher Tretharrup Farm. Open access ground boundary wall.

SX 27341 69765
Crosses the farm boundary wall onto the open moorland, then passes close east of Kitto’s shaft of South Caradon Mine.


East Caradon Mine
SX 27805 70115
William’s Shaft, open access ground.

Glasgow Caradon
SX 28352 70208
Wall junction east of Caradon Farm

SX 28467 70419 Crosses the footpath to Tokenbury Farm

SX 28533 70550, Passes west of Roundabury, no public access.

SX 28601 70856, Crosses the stream at field corner, no public access.

Yolland Mine
The easterly apex
SX 28726 71106
No public access.

Marke Valley
SX 28141 71337
The junction of the lane to Ley Farm with the B road.


West Rosedown
SX 26749 71485
Crosses the stream at Mutton Corner, open access ground.

South Phoenix
SX 26340 71556
Railway track junction, open access ground


SX 26269 71840
Crosses upper cheesewring railway, open access

SX 26681 72107,
Junction of tracks outside of Phoenix house.

East Phoenix
SX 27235 72522,
Eastern apex, corner of footpath south east of Knowle Farm

SX 27110 72643
Knowle Farm, public footpath

SX 26832 72765
Crosses stream at northeast corner of open access ground.

West Sharp Tor
SX 26438 72870
Crosses the Henwood road at Stanbear


SX 26149 73167
Sharp Tor cottage, lane access, edge of open access ground

SX 26064 73277,
Apex, no public access

North Phoenix
SX 26646 73461
The road/track junction in Henwood Village

SX 26994 73465, footpath bend at edge of open access ground

SX 27258 73425, shaft, no public access

SX 27988 73883, Trevois Cross

A complete copy of Brenton Symons’s map is available in ‘The Liskeard Mining Area in 1863

Phoenix United Mine- An index of blogs, and yellow creatures


The walk around Phoenix United with the Pensilva History Society was a great day. A day blessed with excellent weather and excellent company. Despite the cotoneaster and bracken we found plenty of William West’s mine to explore. The had grown in my absence to becoming part of Mark Camp’s excellent South East Cornwall Walking festival- it was a bonus to be able to play our part in the week’s activities.

I have listed all my the Phoenix United blog posts on a new page on this site, click here to view. The new page should provide a useful index for any one researching the mine.


Now that the walk is over this blog will switch its focus to subject the next outings for my books. After perhaps a quick diversion into some random facts gathered in the background whilst Phoenix demanded its attention.


One parting thought on Phoenix. My final image of the site was visitors lined up at the Minion’s Village sign to grab ‘selfies’.  Conclusion-Fictional Yellow gibbering beings now trump Heritage and landscape. Move aside Poldark!


The Phoenix United Dressing Floors in 1880


Phoenix United’s dressing floors were impressive. They spread out downhill in two directions from the stamp engines to cover the valley sides with in a complex array of tanks, buddles, leats and dressing machinery.  This large industrial site was described in 1880 by the Mining Journal.

Mining Journal January 1880
“The situation of the Phoenix is admirably adapted for the laying out of tin floors, and full advantage has been taken of the position. Almost every available point on the northern slope of the hill down to Darley Ford is occupied with dressing apparatus, and the tin is followed from the shaft mouth down to very limits of the sett.

There are three drawing shafts at Phoenix –Seccombe’s Sump, and West’s, and the three roads converge to one point on the dressing-floors. Both the shafts at West Phoenix are used for drawing, and as that mine is at a considerably higher elevation than the Phoenix, though the latter is on a hill, the stuff is sent down an incline to the West Phoenix floors, which lie a little to the west of Phoenix.

The produce of each portion of the sett is kept apart, West Phoenix giving produce of 13 5/ 8 in 20, and Phoenix one of 13 ¼. The copper ores of which the mine is yet importantly productive, and of which in the south lodes it may be expected to be still wealthy, are, by the way, far above average quality.

From the shafts the skips, which take an average load of 15 up to 17 cwts., are run direct to a Blake’s stone-breaker, which reduces the stuff for the stamps immediately below. Of these there are 96 heads on the Phoenix side, to which we are now confining our remarks, driven by a double 26-inch engine. We observe that the lifters of one half of the sett are of wood, and those of the other half iron; and on enquiry learn that the difference is due to experiment, but that as it has been found that wood is as good as iron for this purpose, and vice versa, each lifter as it wears out is replaced in the same way. These stamps were out by Mr. West in 1865, the first twelve heads of steam stamps having erected in the beginning of 1864, and the second dozen in July of the same year.

It is a singular proof of how good men may be mistaken when dealing with matters that they do not fully understand, that the erection of even the first dozen stamps was opposed by Captain Uren, then agent, on the ground that there was not enough tin stuff in the mine to keep them going. Now, to keep up the regular returns, something like 100 tons of stuff has to be stamped a day.

The stamped stuff is treated in the usual way, with buddles and frames. Of buddles there are upon this side 75, the great majority convex, and of frames 24. There are a couple of burning-houses of the ordinary type, and the water flowing thence is made to pass through a series of strips filled with scrap iron for the precipitation of the copper in solution which the calcinations releases. The craze is taken from the burning-houses to the pulverisers (of which there are three, capable of treating 10 or 12 tons a day), and after it is brought down, buddle and framed, and tossed and packed in the usual manner. The stamp heads weigh about 3 cwts. each, and with the lifters to 4 ½ to 4 ¾ cwts.

The arrangement of the dressing-floor at West Phoenix, where there are 64 heads of stamps, started in May, 1870, differs in no essential degree from that of those at Phoenix. There is, however, a very much larger proportion of frames –180 double frames to 45 buddles. The floors all through are admirably laid out for the treatment of the stuff with the minimum of handling, a and a shammel wheel is now being put in to lift back slimes for re-dressing, and so to do away with the labour and cost of wheeling back in barrows.”


The remainder of this description of Phoenix United Mine is reproduced within the paperback “The Last Great Cornish Engineer”.