Wheal Margery

Cornwall Information & Accommodation Guide


Wheal Margery, St Ives is an old mine which began operating pre 1860 with its workings extending under both land and under the sea.

The mine is located near Treloyhan Manor. It is believed it began operating in the mid to late 18th century. There are no records of output for its early years.

Lodes - Main Lode trends north east.

Copper and tin (cassiterite)

Shafts - Highburrow Shaft, America Shaft

An adit was driven in from a cove just north of Porthminster Point. Deep adit goes inland under the St Ives branchline to connect with a shaft in the grounds of the hotel. The system of adits is extensive. There are at least 3 adit levels above water.

The workings extended 120 fathoms under the sea.

On the cliff top are covered over shafts including America Shaft which is open underground.

The British Geological Survey reports that the adit continues for another 165 fathoms (330 yards) inland. This is not accessible due to falls near the shaft.

In 1861 it was described as one of few progressive mines in the St Ives area.

By the time the first OS map was drawn up in 1880, surface evidence of Wheal Margery had all but disappeared. Only the old drainage adit in a cove south of Porthminster Point is visible today.

Seawater seeped through the roof of the adit and when easterly winds whipped up the waves, the sea would be driven into the adit where the miners were working making it a difficult and dangerous place to work. On numerous occasions miners had to run for their lives, clambering up iron ladders in inky darkness to escape being drowned.

The sea was not the only danger faced by the miners. When the boiler on the great pumping engine burst it was only the luck of seeing a hanging tube that alerted the men to escape with seconds to spare.

The mine was held under a lease for 21 years. The country is killas, overlying granite. The mine is worked by a steam-engine of 100 h.p.

The company used the costbook system, and consisted of 512 shares of £16 10s. each, all paid, representing a capital expended by adventurers of £8,448.

The total amount expended by adventurers and produce of the mine, to the end of December, 1855 was £10,893 6s. 4d.

Mr. Samuel Higgs of Penzance was purser/secretary of the mine for many years 1859 - 1868

Mine captain was John Benbow of St Ives.
Manager R James 1859 - 1868

1863–65 Trelyon

Later, the mine was divided into 1,024 shares.

1861 and 1866 a total of 4.40 tons of lead and silver ore producing 3 tons of lead and 20 oz of silver.

1855 - 1870 16,365 tons of copper ore producing 870.6 tons of copper, valued at £73,103.20

1854 - 1868 tons of 115.3 tons of black tin, valued at £6,548.20.


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