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Penstruthal Mine, Cornwall

Principal ores: COPPER & TIN

Gwennap: grid reference SW707398

Plaque marking the site of Wheal Buller atop Lanner Hill

The sett of Penstruthal lies just between Wheal Buller and Tresavean just to the west of Lanner. Also known as Bestruthal or Penstruthal Consols, the mine includes North Penstruthal and South Penstruthal.

The mine dates from at least the late eighteenth century, with records as far back as 1792. In 1819 an attempt was made to rework the mine and it raised over 200 tons of copper ore over the next couple of years. Output grew from 78 tons in 1822 to 11,842 tons in 1827 and although it fell back a little, it remained over the 1000 tons per year mark until 1835.

Penstruthal worked a number of lodes including: Wheal Gallish; North; South; Chy; Comyn's; Ward's; North Copper; South Copper and South Penstruthal Lodes from Wheal Gallish Old Shaft; Wheal Gallish Engine Shaft; Greene's; Comyn's; Lanarth; Highburrow; Richardson's; Willyams; Walton's; Simmon's; Railway; Hodge's and Ward's shafts. Thomas Spargo in his 1864 book 'Mines of Cornwall', states that Penstruthal made a profit of £80,000 between 1819 and 1837 on the 48,621 tons of copper ore raised. Despite this, the five horse whims, 40-inch pumping engine and 22-inch winding engine were offered for sale in 1836. A new company reopened the mine in about 1842 and worked until 1846, producing 1688 tons of good quality copper ore worth over £11,500. The mine equipment was offered up for sale once more over the winter of 1847.

In 1855 the mine was reopened and some new plant purchased. No ore was raised however for the next two years. The machinery consisted of a 60-inch pumping engine on Hodge's Shaft, a 24-inch winder, with plans laid to purchase a crusher too. Some development of the mine took place but as Penstruthal neared the end of the 1850's confidence in the mine was at rock bottom. The mine had not been able to locate any ore and so the decision was taken to put the mineup for sale.

In 1872 a new company decided to reopen Penstruthal as 'Penstruthal Consols Tin and Copper Mines Limited', to take advantage of the high price of tin at that time. Production over the next seven or eight years was quite low and the company was running short of capital. Despite several attempts at rescuing the mine, none were successful and so the company was liquidated in mid-1879. Penstruthal sett was now split into two halves. The parts were named North Penstruthal annd South Penstruthal. Once again, despitedevelopment work, the purchase of new equipment and the advent of the rockdrill at the mines there was little ore raised to show for all the investment. The mine was abandoned in October 1882. Apart from brief reworkings this was the end of Penstruthal.

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).

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

South Buller & West Penstruthal (approx. 0.8 km; COPPER)

Pennance (approx. 0.9 km; COPPER & TIN)

Trethellan (approx. 0.9 km; COPPER)

Wheal Buller (approx. 1.2 km; COPPER & TIN)

United Mines (Clifford Amalgamated) (approx. 1.3 km; COPPER & TIN)

Tresavean & Tretharrup (approx. 1.3 km; COPPER & TIN)

Wheal Bucketts (approx. 1.5 km; COPPER)

Wheal Uny (approx. 1.7 km; COPPER & TIN)

Cathedral Mine (approx. 1.9 km; COPPER)

Wheal Trefusis (approx. 2.0 km; COPPER & TIN)


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