The Lodes of South Caradon Mine

Navsbooks>South Caradon Mine>LodesCopper Ore at South Caradon Mine

I can thank the St.Just Mines Research group for this blog’s drive to bring the old South Caradon Mine website back into life. For it was the opportunity of accompanying the group around the amazing landscape that is South Caradon that inspired me to finally get around to bringing the site back from the dead.  Now that the very enjoyable walk has been completed (thanks to the group for the invite, thanks to the sun for a lovely day), the blog will wander off in a few random directions to answer questions raised on the day; starting with the lodes.

The source of South Caradon’s wealth

These views in this post are taken from the footpath opposite the mine, and show the approximate location of the copper lodes on the surface as indicated on the 1863 Geological map and described by Webb and Geach. These sources differ in some details from  the closure plans and the description given in Dines.

Click to search for a copy of Dines on Amazon>

The views explained

The Lodes dip to the North (apart from Caunter) so their location underground will shift to the left of the pictures with depth. The view should help to visualize the relationship between the surface remains and the underlying ore lodes, if you disagree with my interpretation please feel free to leave a comment.

Red lines mark the location of the lodes as they strike Eastwards across the Seaton Valley and up the Slopes of Caradon Hill. The grey lines indicates the cross course running parallel to Valley and causing a small amount of Heave in the lodes as they cross its path. The names have been taken from the 1863 map apart from those marked with a question mark that I have taken from Webb and Geach.

The Northern Lodes

The South Caradon mine northern lodes

Main lode was the first of South Caradon’s lodes to be found and it formed the source for much of the ore in the mines earlier years.  The engine house remains of Sump and Pearce’s shaft lie beside this lode, with Pearce’s’ shaft sunk where it outcropped.
Towards the Northern boundary of the sett are a batch of Lodes that gave little success, unfortunately, the richness of the main lode was not to be repeated in this direction.

The Southern Lodes

South Caradon Mine Southern lodes

This view is to the south of the one above, and it shows the lodes that provided the ore for the latter part of the mine’s life.

This Southern group of lodes extend across the South slopes of the Hill to the Eastern boundary of the Sett and then onwards into the adjoining East Caradon mine.

Kitto’s and Caunter lodes provided the largest tonnage of the ore from South Caradon. The Eastern end of the workings was accessed from Kitto’s Shaft.

Geevor Mine Gift shop

Webb and Geach Book CoverMy two South Caradon Mine publications, The Last Great Cornish Engineer and the Re-print of Webb and Geach can be found for sale at the Geevor Shop book shop, along with a great range of Cornish Mining publications. This is one of the best places to find Cornish industrial history books. So if you are in the area, pop along, have a cup of tea, and browse the shelves.

Click here to visit Geevor’s webpage>


Brenton Symons’ Victorian Map of the Liskeard Mining District-page complete

A chance to present Brenton Symons’ cartography to the Caradon Geology group was great opportunity to get some feedback on its geology. Normally my audience are Cornish mining history experts, so discussions on rocks made a change to delving into the details of engine houses.


In attempting to understand the strength and weakness of map my focus was on its intended customers; the potential mine investors. My talk at Liskeard brought to light an alternative view point however, that is the current buyers of geological maps. No longer is it the extraction of wealth beneath the ground that attracts geological interests but the ability to build on its surface. Instead of mining investors there are civil engineers; housing estates, supermarkets, wind turbines and road improvements have replaced shafts, stopes and adits.

Now that the talk is complete, I have launched a new page dedicated to the map, a page that includes an index to my posts on the Liskeard map. Click here to view.

Time to move on to the next presentation. A presentation about a genius in the British Mining industry who died in the year that Brenton Symons published his map,1863.  The genius that was John Taylor will be the topic of the next series of blogs.

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 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”.