History Centre

Between 1840 and 1860, Penpell was at the heart of an extensive mining enterprise, focused mainly on extracting copper, with also some tin and quarrying of granite and china stone. The associated viaduct, water ways and water wheels of Luxulyan Valley, Par River and Fowey Consols mine form one of the most significant areas of the UNESCO World Heritage Site for mining.

The 1840 tithe map above shows sections of leat (water channel), just to the south of the milking banks. It was built by the mine‐owner, Joseph Austen Treffry, so that water could be taken to 17 different large wheels, forming an extraordinary network of water‐based machinery, to serve the Fowey Consols mine.

When Treffry became Chairman of the Cornwall Railway Company he engaged one of the most famous construction engineers of his time, Brunel, to help manage the project. Everyone has heard of Brunel but Treffry? No! By recreating his world in our Meadow, we hope to change the situation. There are 20 Tales of Treffry, told to you in front of the different displays on site, plus a final story told at the start of your walk in the woods. At the very least, you should remember his name at the end of your visit! This is something that the present-day Treffry family have helped us to achieve and are delighted to see happen. Our thanks to them especially, and to the many other sources of information we have consulted.

NB Historic England website gives fuller detail on Treffry buildings and why they have special, listed status.

VISITS December 2020. Adhering to the current Covid guidelines, groups of up to 6 people are invited to book a morning of stories plus an afternoon walk (as shown in the promotional films) for a special price of £35. There is an additional charge for food – a crib bag (paper bags of sweet morsels or a pasty) comes with one (or if sharing the bag, 2) drinks. The price for each bag and drink is a £5 note, in the donation box.