Minions is a small upland village high up on Bodmin moor. Minions at 300 feet is the highest village in Cornwall. The name Minions comes from Minions Mound a Barrow at the west end of the village.
Minions was actually based on the three major activities of mining, quarrying and railways. And was built in between 1863 and 1880, which was later than other Cornish industrial centres. The origin of the village, being totally created on a virgin moorland site for industry, is comparatively rare in Cornwall.
Tin and Copper Mining finished in the early 1900's, the last to close being the Prince of Wales Shaft, closing around 1914. Many of the mine pump houses and spoil tips can still be seen. One of the Engine Houses of the South Phoenix Mine has been converted into The Minions Heritage Centre. It is found just north of the village in the restored Houseman's Engine House.
The products of the mines and quarries taken from the area to Liskeard and then onto Looe for shipping, on the Liskeard & Caradon Railway built around 1844. The tracks are long gone, it closed in 1916 but the railway route is a way that you can use to explore the area today.
The village has a pub "The Cheesewring", named after the rock formation, "Hurlers Halt", named after a bronze age set of stone circles and a Post Office/Shop and Tea rooms.
Caradon Hill, now with a television mast, used to be mined for copper, tin and lead, which would be carried to Looe by train.
The Cheesewring Quarry produced a blue-gray granite. The railway at the Cheesewring Quarry opened in 1844 was used to transport the silver-grey granite to Liskeard and Looe for export, the old track is still visible in parts.
The Cheesewring itself is a spectacular series of flat boulders over thirty feet round set on top of a number of smaller stones. It is a natural formation of balancing rocks, believed to have been formed by glaciation and erosion over thousands of years. The name comes from its shape.
Just below the Cheesewring is a cave used by Daniel Gumb, a gifted 18th century thinker and stone-cutter. There were more rooms in the caves that he and his large family lived. His penchant for mathematics can be seen from the fact that one of Euclid's problems is carved on the roof the cave.
Also nearby are The Hurlers (a line of three stone circles). It is said that some local men were playing a Cornish game known as hurling on the Sabbath and were turned into stone as a punishment. A line drawn through the centres of the circles points to Rillaton Barrow, a large burial mound known as a tumulus. This dates from about the same period. In 1837 and a gold, corrugated cup was found within the barrow and is now in the British Museum.
Minions local history