This Website











This colour indicates more information or an external link.

Local definition of a mine: "A hole in the ground with a Cornishman at the bottom..."

For information on the people associated with the mines, together with more details of individual mines of this parish, click here.


Stack remains - Wheal Edward
November 2002

Other remains close by
November 2002

External Sites

Cornwall Online Parish Clerks

Online Census Project

Cornwall Family History Society

Tamar Valley A.O.N.B.

Cornwall / Calstock

Calstock Archive Trust

  Mining was important in Calstock and surrounding parishes from Mediaeval times.  Independent and uncoordinated attempts to promote the industry were made from the time of Charles I onwards, at that stage by Thomas Bushell, a protégé of Francis Bacon  Minerals exploited in the area included copper, tin, arsenic, lead, silver, wolfram and manganese, but it was the discovery of copper in 1844 which started a mining boom.  (It is also worth noting that between 1880 and 1902, the Calstock / Callington area was providing fifty percent of the world's arsenic requirements.)

Many families moved from parish to parish and back and forth across the county boundary of the Tamar, as one set of mines closed and another opened.  Several Calstock families could be found living in Tavistock (where the Devon Great Consuls mine was at one stage the richest copper mine in Europe), Mary Tavy, Callington and other nearby parishes.  This, together with the fact that the agricultural industry of the area was undergoing profound changes at the time and labourers moved frequently in search of work, makes family research a nightmare for budding genealogists.  If proof were needed, one look at the number of Strays in the Census section of this website should suffice.

The development of the various mines is interwoven with the emergence of both river shipment quays and pack trails (and later railways) to them from the mines.  More information on these will be found (eventually!!) in the River and Railway sections of this website.

Mining continued until the First World War and beyond, but on a vastly reduced scale from that of the 19th century, when over 100 mines could be found in the Tamar Valley.  During the First World War, wolfram was mined at nearby Kit Hill for use in steel-making.  Arsenic seems to have been produced at Greenhill, Gunnislake until at least 1930.

Mining has always been a risky business and the market for tin, copper and other minerals from this area subsided due to discoveries in Australia, Malaya, Bolivia etc.  Individuals and families emigrated in considerable numbers.  A section on Emigration will be available soon.


from documents held at the CRO.



If you have details, photographs, corrections etc. which you would like to contribute, please use the 'Contact' link top left. 


Caradon District Council website
Cornwall's Old Mines, H. V. Williams, Tor Mark Press