History

Between 1840 and 1860, Penpell was at the heart of an extensive mining enterprise, focused mainly on extracting copper, with also some quarrying of granite and china clay.

Reference to the 1840 tithe map shows numerous small residences – very necessary since there were over 1700 people employed in the mines locally. All farm buildings were required for workers. Farming was also important, to support the workforce with good food. You can see various areas marked ‘Milking Banks’, indicating where the cows were kept. Just to the south of the milking banks a man‐made water course (called a Leat) is shown on the map. This was built by the mine‐owner, Joseph Austen Treffry, so that water could be taken to 20 different large water wheels. These wheels were at the heart of an extraordinary network of water‐based machinery, serving the mines and providing transport.

We have now commenced sharing the Tales of Treffry with visitors, by setting up a Treffry Study Centre and would be delighted to include this extra experience for guests. If you are interested in the Treffry Tales please email for further information: ‐ signup@themeadowbarns.co.uk.

At the Study Centre you will be introduced to books, maps (old & new), equipment including different types of water wheels and inclined planes and our unique packs, with images and guides for local walks to e.g. Caffa Mill in Fowey, Fowey Consols and New Fowey Consols mines, Par Harbour, Pontsmill and of course the extraordinary structures of Luxulyan Valley. These provide a fascinating insight into the Cornish Mining Heritage. NB Historic England website gives fuller detail on Treffry buildings and why they have special, listed status.