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Wheal Hamlyn (Wheal Hamblyn), Bridestowe, Okehampton area (Northern Dartmoor), Devon, England, UK

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Location is approximate, estimate based on other nearby localities.
Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 50° North , 4° West (est.)
Margin of Error:~4km
Other regions containing this locality:Devon and Cornwall metalliferous mining district, England, UK
Köppen climate type:Cfb : Temperate oceanic climate

A blue coloured botryoidal variety of allophane was found on black calcareous shale. The colouring was said to be caused by an admixture of copper minerals, probably chrysocolla. Allophane also occurred here coloured a delicate green, probably by malachite, and with small sprigs of native copper.(Rudler 1905).

Although Rudler names the mine Wh Hamblyn, Hamilton Jenkin (below) names it as Wheal Hamlyn. As Leawood, a fine old mansion here, was the seat of mineral owners, the Calmady-Hamlyn family, it seems Hamblyn may be a misspelling.

Wh Hamlyn is a somewhat elusive location. Although not listed in Dines' extensive "The Metalliferous Mining Region of South-West England", and only as being "in Devon" by Collins, Hamilton Jenkin (1981) provides several pages of details, but not a specific location.

Wheal Hamlyn, started in 1850, was a large set said to run over one and a half miles and comprising Gt. Close, Burley Wood, Water Gates, Combebowe, and Combebowe Downs. HJ notes that it was located on the north side of the [old] A30 trunk road [that then passed through Bridstowe] and was sited in an old abandoned limestone quarry on the side of a hill sloping south-west, and was worked from shafts, and from an adit in the quarry itself. However, he also notes that as there are a number of quarries in the area answering this description, it does little to clarify its position.

Despite being regarded with great interest in its day, working appears to have been intermittent and finished by 1861. Clearly rich in copper, a report from 1856 noted that "on plunging a knife or iron tool into any part of the soil where there is moisture it became coated with metallic copper in a few seconds" Other contemporaneous reports [the Mining Journal?] noted the lode, "the widest in the Kingdom", to have been 30 ft wide and composed of native copper, "greens" (malachite), sugar spar [friable or porous quartz], prian [a fine, white, somewhat friable clay] and mundic [pyrite].

HJ noted that "it is tantalising to think that this mine with its many unusual features will probably never be seen again through want of information to its exact site". However, the 1889-91 - 1:10560 scale Ordnance Survey map shows only one quarry fitting this description. Located at Stone (SX 503 890), just to the west of Bridestowe, the 1889-91 map shows the quarry disused and with shafts around its entrance, so this could well be the elusive Wheal Hamlyn. Shown as Stone Farm on modern maps, the quarry is now flooded.

Mineral List

5 valid minerals.

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A handbook to a collection of the minerals of the British Islands mostly selected from the Ludlam Collection, in the Museum of Practical Geology, Jermyn Street, London, S.W., F. W. Rudler, 1905, Printed for H.M.S.O. by Wyman & Sons (London).
The Mines of Devon: North & East of Dartmoor, A K Hamilton Jenkin, Devon Library Services: Exeter: 1981.

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