Godolphin Mines, Cornwall

Map of Godolphin Mines, Cornwall

Godolphin House Trevarno Clowance House, Cornwall Wheal Prosper Great Work Mine Wheal Vor Godolphin Mine Fraddam Mines Penberthy Crofts Tregurtha Downs Halamanning Wheal Grey Great Wheal Fortune West Godolphin Trewavas Tregonning Hill

The Godolphin Mining district stretches along the coast from Marazion to Porthleven. Several of the mines within this area, notably Great Work, Wheal VorGreat Wheal FortuneGodolphin Mine, Binner Downs, Halamannning, Wheal Alfred, Crenver and Abraham and the Marazion mines, produced substantial quantities of ore. Sites overlying or immediately surrounding the Tregonning granite tended to be significant for tin, whilst the mines to the north and west were important early copper producers. Many of these rich but often shallow copper mines had been abandoned by the 1840s.

There are early records of mining here. Leland in 1540 noting that the mines owned by the Godolphin Estate had “been unto Sir Francis (Godolphin) and his ancestors many years as a minte, by reason of the riches which the same doth yield in Tin Works (which) do continually employ 300 persons at the least”.

1689 saw the introduction of blasting to mining by Thomas Epsley at Great Work Mine. This mine was still producing 300 years later.

Wheal Vor smelting house was established at the mine in 1816. Savery and Newcomen are believed to have trialled early pumping engines at Wheal Vor. Brunton erected his first rotative calciner at Wheal Vor in the 1830s.

Tregonning and Godolphin Hills dominate the landscape. There are few large settlements within this area, most miners cottages are scattered through a landscape of small fields or set in small groups, for example at Leedstown, Godolphin Cross, Carnhell Green, Praze-an-Beeble and Goldsithney.

Comparatively few engine houses survive. The pumping engine house at Great Work on the shoulder of Godolphin Hill and Wheal Prosper on the coast have been conserved by The National Trust. The more precariously sited engine houses at Trewavas Cliff are becoming derelict. At Halamanning, Wheal Alfred, Binner Downs, Penberthy Crofts and other sites which have not been reclaimed to agriculture, the former importance of mining can be seen in their waste dumps, the scientific value of which is recognised by geologists.