South Caradon mine from the East Caradon Mine

South Caradon Mine in 1863 by Webb and Geach

Navsbooks>South Caradon Mine>History>1863

After a run of maps and engine houses its time for this blog to return to some history. This time its my favorite period in history 1862-3.

An extract from ‘The History and Progress of Mining in Webb and Geach Book Coverthe Caradon and Liskeard districts’

Webb and Geach description of of South Caradon Mine captures the mine at the peak of its success.

A modern reprint of the full book is available in paperback from the Trevithick Society.

The South Caradon Sett

“This is an extensive sett, but of a most irregular shape, having a linear distance between its extreme points of two miles, which in no place exceeds 650 fathoms. The Sett so accommodates itself to the lodes, however, that there is a clear course of at least a mile on the most productive of them, decreasing in width as it extends in a triangular shape northward, where the lodes have not yet been sufficiently tried to prove their value.

Commencing at the northern corner, which is close to the Old Wheal Jenkin mines, the eastern boundary (a compact and durable fence, lately built by the present proprietors of both the soil and minerals) runs along close by “The Caradon Mine”, now included in the West Rose Down Sett, whence it extends across Caradon Hill, passing within a few fathoms of East Caradon New Engine shaft. It then has the Launceston and Liskeard road as a boundary as far as Newton around which estate and Bladda it winds (excluding the cultivated land south). It then takes the road from Bladda to Crows nest, from whence, turning sharply to the North, it has first East Agar, and afterwards West Caradon and Gonomena mines as its western boundary, a stream of water which rushes down a deep gully bounding the sett for three quarters of a mile .”

The lodes and shafts

“To form some idea of the extent and position of the mineral wealth of this valuable property, it will be necessary to trouble the reader with a concise description. Commencing, then South: Kitto’s South lode comes first in order. Then Kitto’s North lode and Caunter lode; these two run parallel and close to each other their whole

Clymo's Shaft

distance, and it should be noted that although when first cut the direction then seemed to proclaim it a caunter, it soon took a regular course east and west. These two have been, par excellence, the productive lodes not only of this mine, but of the district, and it is mostly from them that the profits of the mine have been made. These lodes are unwatered by a 60 inch engine on Rules shaft, and a 32 inch on kitto’s , the most eastern shaft on these lodes is a distance from East Caradon New Engine shaft (Which works the caunter lode) a little over 200 fathoms. These lodes are worked as deep as 180 fathoms under adit in South Caradon, and still continue as productive as ever, and are worked nearly 600 fathoms in length. Next in rotation is Jope’s Lode, which as engine of 42 inch diameter drains.

Further north are Clymo’s, Pearce’s and Dowding’s lodes. The main lode next in order was first discovered and worked on in the mine, and was very productive. There were several lodes on which little has been done, including Mendue’s which has been so rich in West Caradon. Webb’s and Gerald’s lodes still north, and have been productive. Father still, the whole of Gonomena veins cross a short part of the sett, although they are untried here. 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 Jopes shaft, heaving all the lodes to the right hand regularly. There is nothing that can be called an elvan course, although numerous patches occur near the lode and favourably affect it. The junction of killas with granite occurs a little south of Caunter and Kitto’s lode.”

By 1863 it can be seen that the centre of production has moved eastwards and southwards. Caunter and Kitto’s lodes are  described as the source of most of the mine’s profits. The mine was still growing in output at the time of this report, and yet it was beginning to feel the impact of a drop in the price of copper.

The lodes are stated as being worked 180 fathoms under adit. That is over 1000 feet under the the level of the valley, or about the same depth down as Caradon Hill is above sea level! The scale of the workings visible above ground pale to insignificance to the invisible workings beneath.

The Mine buildings

“From the top of the western slope of  Caradon hill an excellent birds eye view offersJope's Shaft Engine House Cylinder arch itself to the observer: Immediately below all the mine workings and buildings are clearly seen, most of them in the narrow gully before alluded to, where every inch of available space is occupied by railways, ore floors engines, stamps, and the many appliances for the economical conduction of mining enterprise.

Immense masses of granite debris or “deads”, as technically termed, intrude themselves everywhere. In addition to the machinery already adverted to, there  is on the old sump a 45 inch pumping engine, the first erected in the district, and which has worked uninterruptedly for twenty six years; a 30 inch engine does the crushing. There is also a 22 inch winding engine at Jope’s shaft, a 24  inch at rules and a 22 inch at kitto’s, and a water winding engine at old sump. The ores are reduced by water-power.

It commenced to work in 1836, when an adit was driven on the main lode. At this time there were no mines working the lodes on the southern slope of the Caradon range, nor was it remotely supposed by any one that such a splendid run of congenial strata existed there.”

This is the “narrow gully” described, formed from the valley of the Seaton River.

By the time of this report, Kitto’s shaft is operation at eastern boundary of the sett.


The Company

“The adventurers of this mine have lately presented Mr. and Mrs. Norris, the proprietors of the land, with a handsome piece of plate, as proof of the esteem in which they are held, and of their kind and considerate conduct in the renewal of their lease in May 1862.

South Caradon mine from the East Caradon Mine

The mine is divided into 512 shares, on which 25s. was originally paid: for that small outlay, £365 per share has been returned to the fortunate adventures, amounting to the aggregate of £197,632. It shows the importance such a mine as this must be to the neighbourhood in which it may be placed, when it is mentioned that £600,000 have been paid to labourers and merchants and £43,000 in dues to the Lord. There are engaged in various occupations at this concern 650 persons.
The purser is Mr. T Kitto of Linkinghorne. The manager is Mr. Peter Clymo of Liskeard. The agents, Captains Rule, Pearce, Holman and May. Pay-day, the second Saturday in the month.”

South Caradon’s output was  to peak over the following 15 years. This report was written only a couple years before the fall in the value of copper being sold. A fall caused by the drop in copper price, a price which had already dropped from its summit of about £13 in the 1850’s.
The significant impact of South Caradon on the economy of the area is commented on by Webb and Geach. The second Saturday in each month was no doubt an important day in the surrounding towns and villages.

Notes from a General meeting

General meeting held 25th November 1862   

“Agents report
I am happy in being able to state that our prospects are still very good, with every probability of a continuance.

The general meetings are held two monthly; the next meeting will be held January 27th 1863.”

An optimistic report, but the decline in mine’s fortunes had already started. It was now having to raise more and more copper to maintain the same profits. The copper price was on its downward trend towards the £3 per ton of ore of the 1880’s, and the mine’s final closure.

Cover of the Liskeard Mining District in 1863 book coverThe Liskeard Mining District in 1863

This Kindle edition of Brenton Symons’s 1863 map makes a perfect companion to the Webb and Geach book.

Click here to view on Amazon>

Webb and Geach explored- The miscellaneous mines

A wander through the ‘History and Progress of Mining in the Liskeard and Caradon District’


That is the final post covering the mines within the miscellaneous section of Webb and Geach’s book  completed. So before this blog leaves the topic for some William West related topics here is an index of the posts.

These posts explores some of the smaller mines described within Webb and Geach’s  book of the Liskeard mining district in east Cornwall. This 1863 publication is currently available in paperback from the Trevthick Society, ISBN 978 0904040 88 3.wpid-wp-1441052784407.png

Each of the posts explores the mine sites through maps available on the internet, so by following the links a virtual exploration of the locations can be undertaken. The mines covered are all listed in the section titled ‘Miscellaneous’ within the book ( pages 98-102). In describing these mines Webb and Geach state-

“Several lodes in various parts of this district have been formerly worked, mostly for tin, but are now abandoned, many of them for long periods.”

Predictably, many of this mines have little or no evidence on maps, even by the 1880’s little remained on the Ordnance Survey maps. Tantalising traces do remain however, of some of these unsuccessful attempts to mine in the area around Caradon Hill.

Brwestcraddockmoorsymonsenton Symons’ map of 1863 contains evidence of many of these mines, and a copy of that amazing Victorian Cartography forms part of ‘The Liskeard Mining District in 1863‘ publication.

Its been great fun exploring these little known Cornish mines through the screen of my Kindle Fire. But William West of Tredenham, The Last Great Cornish Engineer is again requiring some fresh research. So this blog will be leaving Webb and Geach for a while, but will return in the future to look at some of the more successful mines of the Liskeard District.

West Phoenix Mine- Webb and Geach explored

This series of blog post is nearing the end of  exploring the small ‘miscellaneous’ mines in Webb and Geach.  Its description can be found on page 101 of the Trevithick Society reprint of the book.  West Phoenix is the first mine within the miscellaneous section that has left obvious evidence of modern maps, so enjoy exploring.

Ordnance Survey

Surveyed: 1881 to 1882 Published: 1883, Cornwall XXVIII.NW


Courtesy of the National Library of Scotland.

Click here for Map>

Ordnance Survey 2016


Click here for Map>

Google Maps 2016


Click here for map>

Cornwall Council interactive map


Reference : MCO12775
Name : WEST PHOENIX – Post Medieval mine
Monument type : MINE
Period : Post Medieval
Summary : The mine worked for tin between 1872 and 1875, and for copper from 1877-1886. It was amalgamated with Phoenix United in 1886 and was closed in 1889. The buildings were demolished as a military exercise in the 1950’s
Link to further information : http://www.heritageg… 

Click here for map>

East Penhargate Mine

The next of the small ‘miscellaneous; mines described by Webb and Geach had no evidence of its existence, apart from a sett name, on Brenton Symons’ map. The trace of a possible shaft and tip/adit can be seen on the OS 1883 map in the location shown on the Cornwall interactive map.  

 “…there is as yet nothing of moment doing, the company not being quite formed” Webb and Geach page 100

OS 1883

Cornwall XXVIII.NE (includes: Linkinhorne; South Hill; St Ive.)Surveyed: 1881 to 1882
Published: 1883


Produced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

Click  here for the map on the Library’s excellent website>

OS 2016


To view the current map on the OS website click here>


Google Maps


Click here to explore the map>

There may be a small patch of undergrowth in the possible location of the tip/adit.  Also, a  circular, slightly discolored  patch of grass in the field may indicate the shaft position.

Cornwall Council


Click here for interactive map>

Note this map also lists  a Penhargate Wood mine at this location.


Reference : MCO12397
Name : PENHARGET WOOD – Post Medieval mine
Monument type : MINE
Period : Post Medieval
Summary : Four shafts, the remains of a building, a spoil tip and a circular earth bank (possibly a whim) are visible on air photographs”

Click here for Heritage Gateway Entry>


Webb and Geach Explored-Wheal Venton

There has been a bit of a pause in these posts whilst I have been tying up some loose ends with some work across on my other blog- NAVREGS.  I have just published a new book in my Really Handy text book range, and have been beavering away on some posts on ship certification. But now there is a chance to resume the series on Liskeard mines.  This is another small mine in the Meneheniot area, and this one is on page 99 of Webb and Geach.

“This, as well as Butterdon Mine is situated in the killas lead bearing district. There is only one lead lode discovered here. A 50-inch engine was erected, and some tons of silver-lead returned from a shallow level (the 40), but after some years’ trial the mine was suspended. ..” Webb and Geach


Ordnance Survey

Cornwall XXXVI.NE (includes: Menheniot; Quethiock; St Ive.) Surveyed: 1882 Published: 1888

Produced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

Click  here for the map on the Library’s excellent website>

Ordnance Survey 2016


To view the current map on the OS website click here>

Google Mapsventongoogle2016

Click here to explore the map





Cornwall Council


PRN (CORNWALL) : 42636
EPOCH : Post-Medieval

Click here for interactive map>

Brenton Symons’ 1863 Map

Click here for more information about this map>


This map clearly shows the mine in a different position than on the Cornwall interactive map. That map places Wheal Venton on the line of Butterdon mine’s adit air shafts.


For Webb and Geach and other John Manley’s books-click here>




Webb and Geach Explored-Butterdon Mine

This is last of the mines described on page 99 of Trevithick Society’s reprint of Webb and Geach’s book ‘The history and progress of mining in the Liskeard and Caradon District’ ,  and the first in this series of posts in the Menheniot mining district.

“…….It is considered that these lodes received but a slender trial at the last working, and that if a lease could be procured on equitable terms, a profitable mine might be found.” Webb and Geach

Ordnance Survey

Cornwall XXXVI.NE (includes: Menheniot; Quethiock; St Ive.) Surveyed: 1882 Published: 1888

Produced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

Click  here for the map on the Library’s excellent website>

Ordnance Survey 2016


To see the current map on the OS site click here>


Google Maps


Click here to explore the map>

Cornwall Council

Click for interactive map>


Reference : MCO11907

Name : BUTTERDON – Post Medieval mine
Monument type : MINE
Period : Post Medieval
Summary : Butterdon lead mine.




Click for Heritage gateway>



For Webb and Geach and other John Manley’s books-click here>


Webb and Geach explored-Wheal St. Cleer

Page 99 of Trevithick Society’s reprint of Webb and Geach’s book ‘The history and progress of mining in the Liskeard and Caradon District’ ,  is the starting point for this post, a virtual exploration of  Wheal St. Cleer.; an unsuccessful mine near Commommoor, on Bodmin Moor. 

“The former lode was worked for a long time since and an engine erected; it had received however, a very inadequate trial at the time of its suspension. With an outlay sufficient to carry the mine to a proper depth, probably a good result would follow, as there is no lode in the district that is better defined at the surface” Webb and Geach


Ordnance Survey

Cornwall XXVIII.SW  Surveyed: 1881 to 1882 Published: 1886


Produced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

Click here for the Map on Library of Scotland website>

Current OS map

WhealStCleerOS2016To see the current OS map click here>





Google Maps

WhealStCleerGoogle2016Click here to explore the map>


Cornwall Council

Cornwall Council interactive map

Reference : MCO13138WhealStCleerCAUMap
Name : WHEAL ST CLEER – Post Medieval mine
Monument type : MINE
Period : Post Medieval
Summary : The remains of a shaft and spoilheap are visible on air photos


Click here for Heritage gateway entry



For Webb and Geach and other John Manley’s books-click here>