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 Treffry’s world in our Meadow, we hope to change the situation. Visitors, in small groups of 6 or less, can experience his home and farms at Fowey, the waterways and wheels, the canal and Par Harbour, the viaduct and inclined planes … even the House for Drying Miner’s Clothes! There are 20 Tales of Treffry, some to read from displays and others told aloud on walks in the woods. At the very least, you will 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.

Each group and each visit is different, tailored to individual interests and needs. Take a little time to examine the elements below, in our PICK & MIX list. Add anything else that we ought to know, such as preferred dates and times, the number of people in your group, their ages, any food allergies, mobility or other health needs. Then send a summary of what you would like to book, to enquiry@themeadowbarns.co.uk