Trevaunance Cove near St Agnes, Cornwall, was once a thriving port serving a mining community with a much larger population than today's. A walk round the cove takes you through the history of the area.
St Agnes has always been associated with tin mining. Prehistoric evidence shows that miners even then worked mineral outcrops on the cliffs and high ground. Many of the coastal caves are in fact man made and the cliff tops are criss-crossed by the traces of generations of miners. Wheal Luna is an example of early open cast mining
The Tonkin family exploited the tin for generations. The area did not have a port. Beaching ships on the open shore in the cove was risky. Successive efforts by the Tonkins in 1632, 1684, 1699 were all washed away. However the 1710 quay was built successfully, but the cost forced the family to sell their estates, and that quay was washed away in 1730
The arrival of steam power and a boom in copper mining meant ships from Wales were bringing coal to the area and returning with ore. So a new harbour was constructed in 1798. A counter quay was added in 1830, and this port survived until lack of repairs caused it to be washed away in the winter of 1915/16. The huge granite blocks can be seen today strewn around the base of the cliffs.
Shipbuilding was carried on here too, with 4 schooners from 58 to 128 tons being built between 1873 and 1877
Above Reppers Coombe you come across two abandoned water wheel pits. These are the remains of tin dressing floors, which refined the ore from local mines with beach sand from the cove. The Repper family work the stamps here until the 1950's. Tin bearing rock was crushed in "stamps" and passed through a washing process where the heavier tin bearing grain became separated from the lighter grains. These tin grains were then smelted to form tin ingots
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