Godolphin Mine, Cornwall

Godolphin Mine, Cornwall

Godolphin Copper Mine. Five lodes were worked in this valley. Three different groups of adventurers worked the area, these were Godolphin Bridge Mine, Godolphin Mine and Wheal Dolphin. The workings were so wet that 5 steam pumping engines and 2 water wheel driven pumps were needed to dewater the mine. The water wheels were large - one 44 feet, the other 48 feet in diameter. 9,000 tons of copper ore sold between 1815 and 1846. ref. .H. Collins (1912)

There was mining activity in Godolphin Woods from the 1600s to the 1840s. The remains of Polglase's Shaft can be seen today. Ore was drawn up the shaft to the surface by a horse whim. Horses, walking in a circle, powered a winch that raised buckets known as kibbles, attached to the ends of the rope. Altogether 23 of these horse whims worked at this mine.

1540 - Leland noted 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".

1686 gunpowder was first used in mining, this is called ‘shooting the rocks’ – it is thought that this happened at Godolphin.

1799 Letter. Thomas Wilson (Truro) to M. R. Boulton (Soho). 4 Nov. 1799. Docketed “Message to R. Michell. John Landor’s attempt to obtain dimensions of Godolphin bottom. John Gundry, sums due at Trescow and Wheal Jewel. Proceedings thereon. State of Godolphin mine.”

1805. Wheal Dolphin and Godolphin Mine, the two mine sites had five steam engines, two water wheels and produced nearly 9,000 tonnes of copper ore between 1805 and 1810, making a profit of £70,000 for the owners.

1810 a new tenant, Richard Tyacke, opens the mines.

1837 over 400 people are being employed. Across the Godolphin estate there are over 140 recorded mine shafts.

1840s the ground around one of the engine houses the ground was so extensively worked that the sides of the shaft collapsed and the engine house slid perpendicularly down into the shaft.

1940's Maiden Stamps was still working. Three waterwheel powered stamping mills, Maiden Stamps, Black Downs Stamps, Ruthdower Stamps treated ore from the local mines.

Godolphin Count House is now owned by the National Trust, and has been refurbished as an educational centre. The National Trust took over the 555-acre estate in 2000, a deal excluding Godolphin House. Landscape and access works to the estate have included safety works at Great Work and Godolphin Mines.

Wendron Mining District