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Killifreth Mine, Cornwall


Principal ores: COPPER & TIN

Gwennap: grid reference SW735443

Killifreth Mine sett lies about a mile northeast of St. Day just to the west of the village of Chacewater and actually lies in the parish of Kenwyn. Its tall chimney on the engine house over Hawke's Shaft can be seen from the B3298 Scorrier to Truro Road and is a prominent landmark. The road marking the boundary between the setts of Killifreth and Great Wheal Busy. The mine worked five main lodes: North (No. 2) Lode, Middle (Copper) Lode, Vor Lode, A (South) Lode and B (Williams') Lode. It worked North Lode from Hawke's (Richards') Shaft, Engine Shaft and Tregonnings Shaft. Vor Lode was worked from New Shaft whilst Middle Lode was worked from Skip Shaft. Also present on the sett were Davey's Shaft and Footway Shaft. Killifreth Mine is bounded to the northeast by Great Wheal Busy, to the southwest by Wheal Unity Wood and to the northwest by Hallenbeagle and Boscawen mines.

Sign at Killifreth Pumping Engine House

Looking out from Hawkes Pumping Engine House at Killifreth

Thomas Spargo writes of Killifreth in his 1865 report entitled 'The Mines of Cornwall and Devon: Statistics and Observations' that the mine was '... in the parish of Kenwyn, Cornwall, in 1,000 shares. Purser, Mr. Edward Hawke, jun., Tregullow, near Scorrier. Manager, Captain John Tremayne, Wheal Rose, Scorrier. Lord, Viscount Falmouth. Dues, 1-20th. Depth of adit, 43 fathoms. Depth under it, 30 fathoms. 30 men employed. Pumping-engine, 12-inch (rotary). Rocks, clay-slate and elvan. No returns in 1864.
The Company have very recently resumed the works, which were suspended a year or two. They are sinking the engine-shaft, which will intersect the lode at a depth of about 70 fathoms. There are numerous lodes in the sett, which appear to warrant extensive exploration. Great Wheal Busy lies contiguous to this mine, at the east, and Wheal Unity Wood, formerly rich, at the west.'

Looking skyward at Hawkes Pumping Engine House, Killifreth

Production reports state that Killfreth raised 714 tons of high grade (9.5%) copper ore between 1858 and 1884, 3,977 tons of black tin between 1873 and 1897. It also produced 360 tons of arsenic, 17 tons of pyrite, 12 tons of mispickel and 6 tons of ochre between 1859 and 1904.

Old Sump Engine Shaft pumping engine house, Killifreth

Killifreth Stamps Engine House

For more information on production dates and so on please see Roger Burt's excellent book Cornish Mines: Metalliferous and Associated Minerals, 1845-1913 (Mineral Statistics of the United Kingdom, 1845-1913) or what is widely regarded as the mining enthusiasts bible by H G Dines - The Metalliferous Mining Region of South-West England: Vols I & II (Economic Memoirs).

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

Wheal Unity Wood (approx. 0.7 km; COPPER & TIN)

Great Wheal Busy (approx. 0.7 km; COPPER & ARSENIC)

Hallenbeagle (approx. 1.0 km; COPPER & TIN)

Creegbrawse & Penkevil United (approx. 1.3 km; COPPER & TIN)

Wheal Unity (approx. 1.3 km; COPPER)

Wheal Daniell (approx. 1.5 km; OCHRE & LEAD)

North Treskerby (approx. 1.6 km; COPPER & TIN)

North Wheal Busy (approx. 1.6 km; COPPER, TIN, ZINC & LEAD)

Wheal Gorland (approx. 1.6 km; COPPER, TIN, ARSENIC & WOLFRAM)

East Downs (approx. 1.8 km; COPPER)


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