When Was Tin First Found In Cornwall?


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There is probably nowhere in the world where hardrock mining is so much a part of a history and culture as in Cornwall. There is an old saying that if you look into any hole in the ground anywhere in the world, you will find a Cornishman looking for metal.

Tin mining has been happening in Cornwall for over 2000 years. Little is known about the trading of tin before these times, but it is known that the Phoenicians trading were with the Cornish for tin.

The early days of the tin industry would have been based around the areas of alluvial deposits. These would be located where streams had eroded down through the surface and cut across tin seams. The alluvial deposits were then formed when the tin was washed out.

Life as a miner often started at the age of 12. 7000 children were employed in mining in the mid 19th century. By the end of the 19th century, 50,000 people were employed in around 340 mines.

During his reign, King John needed the support of the Cornish tin miners through troubled times. Special privileges were negotiated which were then put together in a Tinners Charter. This allowed tin miners to mine on any land that was not enclosed and also excused them from normal tax and military service.

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