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Home > Mines, Quarries & Sites > Wheal Fox Tin Mine

Wheal Fox Tin Mine (United Kingdom)

From the mid 17th century through to the early 20th saw the great ascension of the merchant class of Cornwall in tandem with the decline of the feudal system. Whilst many held mining interests through their ancient manorial demesne; others took to the practice of buying shares or tactically purchasing land to grow their business. The manorial interests of the Fox family of Penryn were always small, but this didn't stop them from becoming one of the richest families in England (and naming those biscuits you each with a mug of tea).

Wheal Fox was first named as tin bounds in in 1766 when it is recorded as selling 9s 10d worth of tin ore to James William's at 1/8th toll (portion payable to the bounder, in this case Mr Basset). It is know however that the the bounds registration predates this as it is referred to as a boundary of an entirely different sett granted to John Vivian in 1761.
Bounds were re-registered in 1805 at the time of the Alexander Law survey of the Tehidy Manor. Wheal Fox and a number other bounds lay within Nancekuke Down; a then uncultivated an unenclosed portion of the Basset's Estate.

Little is know about Wheal Fox stockworks on the side of Porthtowan Combe, but the stanniferous zone has formed between the North and South (or Little & Great) Lodes of the "mine". It was likely underway by 1804 when Wheal Fox was recorded as being within the Lushington Sett.

The shafts were exhaustively capped during the mineshaft hysterial days 1980s by Carrick District Council under "Operation Minecap"; the open work itself remains but is inaccessible without rope access. A shallow adit on Caunter Lode and a deep adit on the Great lode - the latter which would've one connected with shafts inland at 40fms from surface - remained open and accessible until the recent cliff collapse. These portals which miraculously remained reachable after hundreds of years now remain buried under 1000s of tons of debris.

For most of its life, Wheal Fox was part of the sett of Wheal Lushington or West Wheal Towan, but often bounded separately. It may have also been worked under the title of New Wheal Towan or Wheal Dudnas.

Data courtesy of Ben Sum, Helston (37/9/18).

NB: CRO = Cornwall Records Office, Truro (Soon to be Kressen Kernow, Redruth)

Jenkins, A K H, 1965 "Mines & Miners of Cornwall" Vol.11, p28
[CRO] Tin & Copper Dues Ledger, Basset Esq. of Tehidy, Illogan, 1756-1777
[CRO] Fox, Philips & Fox v. Davey, Stannary Court Papers, 1782
[CRO] Plan of the Manor of Nancekuke, c1805, by Benjamin Nicholls(?)
[CRO] A.M. R200 sheets 25/29 ("Wheal Lushington") (Carbis Bay Crew video of Exploration)

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Photographs Of Wheal Fox
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Last updated October 1st 2018 by Karl Marx
Historic Photographs Of Wheal Fox
Historic Photographs Of Wheal Fox (0 photos)
Last updated September 28th 2018 by Karl Marx

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