Cornwall Industrial Settlements Initiative
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Caradon District Council
Main period of  industrial  settlement growth: 1840-1882
Study Area: Caradon/Liskeard
NGR: SX 29062 69772 (centre)
Main industry: Service and accommodation provider for miners and quarry workers

Industrial history and significance

Pensilva, like Darite and Minions evolved entirely in response to the industrial activity taking place on the moorland above. There was no development at Pensilva other than a farm until the greatly expanding mine at South Caradon required accommodation to house its workforce, which by 1860 had reached 600 men. Within a few years rows, cottages and smallholdings were erected providing over 250 dwellings, shortly to be followed by shops and small businesses. The essentially temperate Nonconformist nature of the mine workers resulted in the building of three chapels, but only one public house, which also functioned as a hotel, providing accommodation for visiting speculators, inspectors and adventurers. Beyond this, however, Pensilva is one of the most important industrial settlements in Cornwall because of its morphology. It is one of a number of settlements, like Halsetown in the far west, very similar to the American mining ‘locations’. They are an adaptation of an extensive settlement pattern of smallholding plots into a relatively tightly defined settlement area. At Pensilva a nucleated centre also developed so that more than most Cornish industrial settlements, Pensilva reveals all the settlement patterns and options open to 19th century landowners, industrialists and workers, and gives a unique insight into their possible chronologies.

This settlement forms part of the proposed Cornwall & west Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site Bid, and is considered an important part of the context for the Bid.


The downloads offered below represent the different elements of the CISI Pensilva Report including the core text and the four illustrative map figures.
 Title Description Format Size
CISI Pensilva report Report text. Format type: PDF


Figure 1 Location map Format type: PDF 507kb
Figure 2 Historical development map Format type: PDF 540kb
Figure 3 Surviving historical components map Format type: PDF 488kb
Figure 4 Gazetteer sites, existing designations and recommendations map Format type: PDF 563kb

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Last Updated: 16/12/2004. © Cornwall County Council, Historic Environment Service.