Wheal Owles Mine, Cornwall

Wheal Owles Mine, Cornwall

Wheal Owles is an ancient tin mine owned ultimately by Geevor Tin Mines plc. The workings are 1,200 feet deep. Located just west of Truthwall. Wheal Owles lodes carried some bismuth and uranium ores associated with argentiferous galena in cross-veins.

1856 Kellys. Wheal Owles Tin Mine is in the parish of St. Just, Cornwall. It is divided into 80 shares. The dividends in 1855 were £920, or £11 10s. per share. The purser is J. Boynes, of St. Just.

1860's. Wheal Owles had 11 engines and 29 miles of levels.

1873 Kellys. Wheal Owles tin mine is in the parish of St. Just in Penwith, situate 1 mile from St. Just and 7 from Penzance [Picture], which is the nearest railway station and shipping place. The mine is held under lease of 21 years, granted by John W. SCOBELL esq., and others at a royalty of 1-25th on tin and 1-20th on copper. There have been twenty-five shafts sunk. The mine has eleven steam engines; 3.5 miles of adit, which is 300 feet above the level of the sea; 1020 fathoms of engine rods; 544 fathoms of surface rods; 820 fathoms of pit work; and 3,288 fathoms of tram roads. The shafts, winzes and levels are 33 miles, 150 fathoms, 2 feet 9 inches in length. Three or four of the principal shafts are 190 fathoms deep. There has been an outlay on this mine, within the last three years of £10,000, in sinking two diagonal shafts under the sea and near the junction of the killas and granite, but here has been no return yet though it is expected to prove very remunerative indeed. The company is on the costbook system, and consists of 80 shares. Purser and Manager Richard BOYNS, Boswedden House, St. Just. Captains John BOYNS, William ROWE, Philip HARVEY, Thomas TREGEAR and Benjamin ROWE

1893 Jan 12th. Here is the story as reported by the Cornishman of Thursday, 12 Jan, 1893 and a narrative provided by Sandra Pritchard. “19 men and a boy died in the watery darkness of Wheal Owles, at St Just in Penwith. A terrible roar was heard by the 40 men and boys working deep underground at Wheal Owles mine” On the morning of Tuesday January 10 the miners had broken through into the workings of the flooded neighbouring Wheal Drea. As the torrent rushed into Wheal Owles it pushed the air before it, creating a great wind which blew out all the lights, plunging the terrified miners into absolute darkness. Those working on the upper levels narrowly escaped with their lives. Nineteen men and a boy were never seen again .Their remains are still entombed in the flooded workings. There is a memorial to the men who died “at grass” nearby. None of the bodies were recovered and the mine never re-opened, despite several attempts to float it as Wheal Owles and Boscean United.

1980 an old shaft, Allen's Shaft, was being prepared for reopening in order to explore the seaward extensions of the Wheal Edward and Wheal Owles lode systems. However, this work was eventually suspended due to the financial situation of Geevor.

Photos of Wheal Owles

Trevithick Society West Wheal Owles


St Just Area Mines, Cornwall