Abbey Lands Mine
This designation was applied to a trial made between 1865 and 1872 on the banks of the tributary to the River Glass known as the Sulby River, 1,150 yards N.N.E. of the bridge at Abbey Lands . It consisted of a shaft with drivings, on the east bank of the stream, and a short adit on the west bank. Smyth mentions it in his report for 18661 as a "sinking on a lode coursing north-east." The supposed lode is probably the belt of crushed ferruginous slate still to be seen in the bed of the stream a few yards above the ruins of the mine. In his report for 1867, the same authority states that there was a single driving east at 28 fathoms, the vein containing calc-spar and copper pyrites; in 1868, we learn that the shaft was idle, but a trial adit 100 fathoms farther south showed another lode, of better character but with no metallic substances ; in 1869, a 27-fathom level was being driven west to cut this (north-and-south) lode; in 1870, the 28-fathom level had been driven 40 fathoms on a lode north-westward, of which 13 yards in length had been slightly orey; in 1871, when only the 27-fathom south level was driving, Smyth refers to "the hitherto obscure character of this piece of ground". In 1872, the 27-fathom level had apparently intercepted the second vein mentioned above, which proved to be a large lode but with no metallic substances of any value, and the work was then stopped. In reporting on a proposed assignment of the lease in 1883, Sir W. W. Smyth stated : "I have on several occasions examined these operations underground, and never yet saw anything of a promising character, or that would give ever so small an amount of saleable ore.
Ballaglass or Great Mona Mine
Large sums of money were expended upon this trial of a small north-and-south lode discovered in the bed of Cornaa River 1,050 yards E. of the high road from Ramsey to Laxey. The workings commenced about 1854; and in 1857 Sir W. W. Smyth reported that much spirit was being shown in driving the 10 and 24 fathom levels, on a vein with small portions of copper, zinc and lead, but too narrow to warrant much further outlay. In same year there is a record of 9 tons of lead ore and 8 tons of zinc ore to the credit of the mine in "Mineral Statistics," which appears to be the only return made from it. The mine was then suspended for some years, but restarted by the Great Mona Mining Co. in 1866, with no better success. In 1867, Smyth noted that a few stones of ore had been raised.; and in 1868, that the shaft was down to 50 fathoms, with no improvement. This appears to have been the depth attained when work was abandoned. The lode is said to have been no more than 6 to 12 inches wide, and to have had an easterly underlie. A small uncrushed igneous dyke of peculiar character traverses an E.—W. joint or small fault in the slatey flags immediately to the westward of the mine , and must be intercepted by the lode. An intrusion of different character has been encountered in the workings, as shown by the fragments of sheared ‘greenstone’ contained in the spoil-heap.
The Great Mona Company also drove two levels (the longest said to be 60 or 70 fathoms) into the cliff 700 yards N. of Port Cornaa, on an E. W. lode containing traces of copper ore, which were known as the Ballaskeg mine. Another level was driven, equally unprofitably, into the side of the valley near Corrany bridge.
This name was given to a small trial for copper made on a conspicuous N.—S. lode exposed on the foreshore ‘200 yards S.W. of Port Cornaa, as described in a previous chapter (p. 129). The shaft, on the low cliff, is said to have been sunk 15 fathoms, and a level driven S. from it at 10 fathoms, until stopped by water, on a good gossany westerly dipping lode with some carbonates of copper. A cross-cut adit was afterwards driven from Port Cornah.
This old mine, the site of a long and obstinate trial with the most meager results, is located on the east bank of the River Glass opposite the hamlet of Baldwin. A plan of the mining sett in the Woods and Forests Office, dated 1864, shows two parallel lodes, "No. 2" and "No. 3," 40 or 50 yards apart, striking approximately N.N.W., intersected by other two ("No. 1" and "Wheelcase Lode ") similarly parallel and the same distance apart, striking E.—W., but these lodes were probably more or less imaginary. From the papers accompanying this plan, it appears that a level had been driven in the first instance by the Isle of Man (Foxdale) Mining Company, and abandoned. Later, sometime between 1850—55, an attempt was made by other parties to sink a shaft; and finally, in 1862, a lease was granted to the "Baldwin Mining Company, Limited," and work commenced in earnest. In 1873, we find it stated that about £20,000 had been expended, and ore sold to the value of £168 3s. 3d. only, with some 5 or 6 tons more at the surface partially unwashed. Sir W. W. Smyth’s reports contain many details of the workings. In the report for 1863 we learn :—" From the bottom of the shaft, now 17 fathoms deep, a cross-cut is driving N. and S. to intersect the three veins which have been seen at the surface. The southern one is without promise, but the ground looks more favourable in the direction of that lode which at a shallower level had last year yielded some large lumps of lead-ore." In 1867 the shaft was 66 fathoms deep, with drivings; in the 42-fathom S. level a little ore had been obtained on the hanging side. In 1868 the 42-fathom level was out no less than 140 fathoms from the shaft; and "one little course of ore is yielding lead and blende ores, rather in cwts. than in tons" and hardly worth the timbering. In 1870 the 66-fathom level on No. 2 lode is mentioned as having for about 14 fathoms yielded a fair amount of ore but improvement was still needed. In 1871 a winze had been sunk to 11 fathoms, and about 12 fathoms of a 77 fathom level driven "unfortunately finding only poverty beneath." The following year we learn that the capital of the company was exhausted.
Ohio, or East Baldwin Mine
The ruins of this mine may be seen in the East Baldwin valley on the east bank of river 50 yards north of the mill at Ballawyllin. It seems to have been commenced in 1866, and furnishes another example among Manx mines of long and costly working with the most insignificant result. It is mentioned in Smyth’s report for that year as "a small shaft sinking on a not very pronounced vein," and reference is made in the following year to the unwarranted excitement in Douglas over a surface-discovery at the mine. In 1868 Smyth notes that a 10-fathom level showed the "lode of a very confused and ungainly appearance," and that no ore whatever was being raised. In 1869, the mine was down to 35 fathoms, "but there is here a junction of veins with an exceedingly puzzling piece of ground to unravel . . . . a little good ore had been met with in one place for 2 or 3 fathoms in length," in the 25-fathom level. In 1870, the lode was being cut in the 50-fathom level, but the little ore obtained was from a sump in the 35-fathom level, "which is the only exception to the mass of confused and broken black ground." In his next report Smyth states that the mine was sunk to 60 fathoms, and that a level at 50 fathoms was 25 fathoms long "with nothing of promise till close to the end, where came in a favourable looking branch of zinc-blende." In 1872, with the shaft at 70 fathoms, it is noted that much driving had been done, "but with the curious result that neither the E. and W., nor the N. and S. lode can be found ore-bearing except in the one limited bunch" previously recorded; and in 1873, the 70-fathom level had been driven some fathoms east and west "in black slate country, and showing not a spark of any useful mineral," while the 60-fathom level was driving north on a N.-S. lode, but without a trace of ore. After which it is not surprising to read in the following year that the mine had stopped. It was restarted, however, by "The Manx Silver-lead Mining Company, Limited ;" and Smyth noted in 1876 that a little ore had been scraped up in the 36-fathom level from the skirts of the original bunch ; and in 1878, that the shaft was down to 92 fathoms, and that it was intended to carry it down to 104 fathoms—an intention which does not appear to have been fulfilled. The only returns from this mine published in "Mineral Statistics" are in the years 1872, 1874, and 1875, the total amount being 24~ tons lead ore and 39 tons 8 cwt. zinc-blende.
Douglas Head Mine
Some utterly profitless mining work was done on Douglas Head between 1865 and 1871, consisting of a long adit driven in from the cliff at the southern side of the headland, and a shaft on the summit S.W. of Fort Anne Hotel. . The character of the operations will be understood from the following extracts from Sir W. W. Smyth’s reports In 1865 the report. states that " a shaft had been sunk for 14 fathoms, and a couple of fathoms driven on a lode coursing N.E. and S.W. with ‘umbery’ gossan, but no appearance of ore; while a cross-cut adit was driving from ‘Billy Gilbert’s harbour,’ which will have to be pushed from 60 to 70 fathoms in order to meet an expected lode." In 1866, the level driving in from the sea had "no appearance whatever of a promising character"; in 1868, it had a length of 80 fathoms in hard ground costinig £13 to £16 per fathom, "the vein a mere string without a speck of mineral in it the whole way"; and in’1870, the shaft had been sunk "24 fathoms on a course termed a lode but having a very problematical appearance and not a grain of any kind of ore."
Ellan Vannin Mine
Under this term an unproductive trial was made between 1870 and 1875 in the little glen locally known as Cartwright’s Glen, which joins Glen Auldyn south of Skyhill farm. The workings were commenced on the strength of the discovery of lumps of lead-ore in a gossany north-and-south vein in the bed of the stream, which it was thought might be the prolongation of the Laxey lode. The favourable indications disappeared however in adits driven north amid south on the lode. A level was then driven from the bottom of the valley 200 yards lower down, below the bend of the stream, to cross-cut the lode under the hill. This is said to have attained a total length of 104 fathoms, with branches. Sir W. W. Smyth notes in his report for 1874 that the long level failed to show the least sign of any vein on which to open workings. A shorter level, 30 fathoms long, driven north-north-westward from the fork of the streams due south of Skyhill, to test another supposed lode known as the Douk Vein, was equally unsuccessful. The cost of the trials must have been considerable, and no ore was marketed.
Glen Auldyn Mine
This name was given to a series of trials in the upper part of the picturesque glen which falls into Glen Auldyn from the east at Balleigheragh. The earlier workings in the ravine, 500 yards west of the mountain road below North Barrule, consisted of sinkings and short levels on a vein striking N. 20~ E., with a westerly dip. A dyke of olivine dolerite is intercepted by the supposed lode at this point, but I have not been able to obtain definite information as to their relationship. A deep adit-level was afterwards started 200 yards lower down the valley, to cross-cut the lode; and was driven 69 fathoms, but is said only to have cut the ‘flookan,’ a subsidiary vein, and not the main lode. Sir W. W. Smyth refers to the workings in his report for 1866, describing the vein as a "soft lode on which adits are driving with small isolated stones of lead ore." No returns of ore were made. In another branch of the same glen, 400 yards west of the above, at the place marked "Lead Mine" on the six-inch Ordnance map, there is an old working regarding which no information is forthcoming; it appears to consist of a level driven south, but no lode is visible.
The site of this mine is in the north-western corner of Perwick Bay half a mile S.W. of Port St. Mary, where the vein is intersected by the cliff in the recess known as Cotlooway. The date of the first working is uncertain, but was probably before the end of the 18th century, Macculloch in 1819 mentioned the place as being at that time abandoned. Toward the middle of the past century operations were resumed, at first as part of the Bradda mining sett and afterwards as an independent company, but the mine did not at any time yield ore in paying quantity. The first workings consisted of an adit level driven into the cliff along the course of the lode, which runs N. W. with an easterly underlie. Afterwards, a shaft was sunk from the surface 200 yards inland, which reached a depth of 50 fathoms, with drivings, chiefly southward under the sea, at 15, 23, 38 and 50 fathoms, Some small ‘bunches’ of argentiferous galena of high quality, are said to have been found in the sole of the day-level, this being the only known occurrence of the latter ore in the Island.
From Sir W. W. Smyth’s official reports’ we learn that the mine was in operation in 1857 ; but working appears then to have been suspended until 1861 when the 15-fathom level was being driven north and south, exhibiting a little lead-ore in the latter direction; in 1862, the shaft had been sunk to 50 fathoms, and the "lode in the 38 fathoms south is of good size, but valueless", in 1863, this level had cut a slide introducing water and a better-looking lode, 3 feet of which carried some steel-grained galena, while the 50-fathom level south showed nothing of promise. The report for 1865 records the collapse of the shaft "which had been put down among old workings, and appears to have been subjected to a sudden pressure by the fall of their walls." The accident brought the operations to a close, and the failure of the mine is locally held to have been due to this cause alone it is important therefore to note that Smyth’s report for the previous year (1864) contains the opinion that "this lode has always appeared to me a hopeless blank."
The Glenchass lode has been supposed to continue its course northward to the coast between Bradda Head and Fleshwick, where it has been sought for in some small trials in the vicinity of a branching dyke of olivinedolerite at Lhoob ny Charran. An intermediate trial in the interior, close to the hamlet of Bradda West, known as the West Bradda Mine, consists of an adit driven 24 fathoms, with a sump of 5 fathoms, on a lode striking somewhat west of north and hading east, which showed traces of blende and lead. In referring to this trial in his report for 1882 Smyth states that the lode had been tested by the old Foxdale Company 40 years previously, and expresses doubts whether it really coincides with that of Glenchass.
An old adit may be seen in the east bank of this glen, 300 yards above its junction with the Sulby River. It goes E. ‘20~ N. on a dislocation at the margin of the "crush-conglomerate," the "lode" consisting of crushed slatey pyritous fault-stuff and quartz. This is probably the working mentioned by Smyth in his report for 1866 as being on a "very unpromising great dowk lode."
Respecting the working on the south side of the Neb about 100 yards N. of Raggatt, Smyth reported in 1858, "a level has been driven a few fathoms from near where the road, at one mile south of Peel, crosses the river, but there is no lode at all."
Glen Maye or North Foxdale Mine
A plan of metaliferous veins at ‘Glen Maye,’ dated 1826, is preserved in the Woods and Forests Office, showing two north and south "main veins," and three N.W.—S.E. "cross-veins" or "feeders,’ with the note——" Time whole of these veins, leaders and feeders bear lead ore to the surface, and are in every way promising to be productive in that metal." The workings afterwards carried on, chiefly between 1857 and 1865, were situated 550 yards from the shore, or 150 yards higher up the glen than the position of the veins as shown on this plan which, however, may have been incorrect in scale. -
In Sir W. W. Smyth’s reports for 1858 and 1869 it is stated that small portions of ore were visible in the workings, but no appearance of a regular or strong vein. In 1861 we learn from the same source that drivings were being prosecuted "at 15 fathoms deep, in two lodes running pretty distinctly through clay slate and from 6 inches to 2~ feet in breadth, but unfortunately yielding no ore; traces of iron pyrites and. carbonate of iron being all the metaliferous matter present." In 1865, "favourable stones of lead ore have been met with at various points, but not continuous enough to be of value." In 1866 a 14 fathom level had been driven a great many fathoms east to no purpose, as well as a cross-cut north; while "a short cross-cut south on the extreme west of the workings has laid open a very promising appearance of lead ore, at the rate of several cwt. of ore to the fathom." In 1867, it is stated that in the last 3 fathoms of the shaft the vein had yielded stones of lead to make up 3 or 4 tons. In 1868, the workings are described as a 50-fathom inclined shaft, and a driving of three fathoms. In 1869, we learn that the 50-level had been driven 70 fathoms west and 30 fathoms east on an unkindly lode yielding nothing whatever; and his is the last mention of the mine in these reports.
Niarbyl Antimony Mine
In an old trial made about the middle of last century on the shores of Niarbyl Bay in search of the westward prolongation of the Foxdale lode, a small body of antimony ore (antimonite) was discovered. As it was currently believed that more of this ore might at that time have been obtained if it had been considered worth working, the ground was reopened in 1893-4 by an adit driven eastward into the cliff at Traie Yrish, 400 yards S.E. of The Niarbyl, only to find that the ore-body had been merely a small pocket which had been entirely cut out in the previous workings. Specimens of the ore may still be obtained from the old spoil heap at the foot of the cliff at this place. it is apparently the only occurrence of this mineral in the Island. A renewed attempt was made under the same auspices to discover the Foxdale lode in Glen Rushen, west of Beckwith’s Vein, but without success.
Under this name a trial was made between 1872 and 1876 in the valley of the head-waters of the River Glass, 300 yards N.E. of Injebreck House, at the place marked Lead mine on the six-inch Ordnance map. Smyth described it in 1874 as consisting of a shaft 22 fathoms deep, with a bit of level east and a cross-cut south, revealing mere specks of ore of no value.
This rather extensive mining trial was made between 1860 and 1870 in the steep bluff of slate at Kerroo Mooar, nearly a mile to the eastward of the village of Sulby. It consisted of three levels driven, one above the other, southward into the hillside on a somewhat uncertain ‘lode’ striking nearly due south with an easterly underlie. The lowest level was about 100 fathoms in length; the second 80 fathoms; amid the highest 50 fathoms; the vertical distance between the first two being 16 fathoms, and 10 fathoms between the last two. In the two upper levels a little galena and blende, associated with barytes, was discovered, but not in marketable quantity. The lowest level for several fathoms from its entrance was in the boulder clay, which is banked thickly against the foot of the slope. The workings intercepted one of the olivine-dolerite dykes, and a shallow sinking on the dyke is said to have revealed a little galena on the ‘foot-wall’ of the intrusion. In an adjacent open quarry, one of the older ‘greenstone’ intrusions was worked for road-metal, and a thin dyke of olivine-dolerite, probably a ‘flier’ from the dyke found in the mine, is seen to traverse both the country-rock and the ‘greenstone.’
Kirk Michael Lead Mine
References to preliminary operations in this locality are contained in Sir W. W. Smyth’s reports’ for the years 1858, 1859, 1860, and 1861, but the chief work on this small mine was effected at intervals between 1868 and 1883. Its total yield as given in "Mineral Statistics" between 1870 and 1883 was 222 tons of lead ore. It is situated in the deep glen which lies between Slieau Curn and Shieau F’reoaghane, about 1 mile S.E. of Kirk Michael, and furnishes the only known example of a metaliferous vein in the north-western district of the Island. The direction of the lode seems to have been about W. 40~ N.—E. 40~ S., with a north-easterly underlie, but after being traced for 120 yards it was lost in both directions, apparently through cross-faulting, being intercepted by east to west slides, known respectively as "the Great Douk vein" on the S.E. and the "Cross lode" on the N.W. The mine was worked by three day-levels driven into the hill to intercept the lode, and by a shaft. Other trials were made on the steep slopes on both sides of the glen, but with no result. In describing the workings on the productive part of the mine in his report for 1875, Smyth notes that in the No. 2 level, S. of the cross-cut, a shaft had been put down 6 fathoms, with drivings north and south from it, the lode 2 to 3 feet wide "consisting of two small strings of galena with killas between them, and yielding at most 8 or 10 cwt. of ore per fathom." We are informed that over £10,000 was expended on this property.
Laurel Bank and Wheal Michael
In his report for 1863 Sir W. W. Smyth refers to a working of this name carried on by Mr. Ashe "in some singularly contorted ‘country’ in which were some irregular floors of quartz sparsely containing delicate stars of a rare nickel-mineral, ‘Millerite,’ but there was no lode at all." In his "List of Manx Minerals" the same authority mentions the mineral as "delicate capillary crystal vein-stuff at~ a trial shaft at Rhenas, south of Kirk Michael." It is not easy to identify this locality Laurel Bank is given on the 6-inch Ordnance map, as the name of a house on the western side of the Neb Valley one mile below Glen Helen; Rhenas is two or three miles higher up the same valley just above Glen Helen. There are traces of a small mining trial between these places, 500 yards south-west of Lambfell Mooar, in the little gully which joins the Neb Valley just below Glen Helen; but Mr. Ashe’s trials seem chiefly to have been carried on under the title of the "WHEAL MICHAEL MINE," on the hill named Cronk ny Fedjag, about a mile north of Rhenas, where the traces of a shaft and other workings may still be seen. Either of these localities may be the place referred to by Smyth, but the former is the more probable. An old plan of the Wheal Michael sett in the possession of Mr. W. H. Rowe shows two supposed lodes; one coursing east-north-east, on which the shaft is sunk; and another, coursing north-north-east and intersecting the first, which was tested by a short level in Glion Cannell, 150 yards north of Shughlaigquiggin. Both lodes are said to have yielded samples of lead ore. An older working, apparently of greater extent but respecting which no information is forthcoming, occurs a little further east, on the banks of the stream 350 yards north of Cronkbane Farm, in the vicinity of a mass of intrusive "greenstone" ; this is marked "Lead .7tuine (Disused)" on the six-inch. map
Maughold Head Copper Mine
This working, erroneously marked "Lead Mine" on the six-inch Ordnance map consists of an adit, stated to be 60 fathoms long, driven into the cliff on the south side of Gob - ny - Strona, the most easterly point of Maughold Head on a dolomitic vein containing a little copper pyrites, striking in a west-north-westerly direction. Sir W. W. Smyth referred to it in his report for 1866 as "a lode 3 feet wide, promising in appearance, but in a place very difficult of access"; and in 1867 he mentioned that a shaft had been sunk for 10 fathoms at the base of the cliff, where the ore appeared to be cut out. The trial was abandoned without having produced any marketable ore.
This was a trial made about 1866 in the ravine of the western feeder of the Sulby River under Sharragh Bedn 600 yards N. of Croit. A line of disturbance and faulting traverses the slates in this glen in a W.N.W. direction, hading northward, which may have constituted the ‘lode.’ Some lumps of lead-ore are said to have been obtained, but nothing of permanent value; one of the levels is stated to have gone about 50 fathoms. Sir W. W. Smyth described it in his report for 1866 as "a level driven and shaft sinking with nothing to recommend it."
Mount Dalby Silver-Lead Mine
Under the auspices of this company some trials were made near Dalby about the year 1872 in the valley of the Lagg River, half a mile east of Barrane, but without attaining any useful result. Sir W. W. Smyth, in October 1872, after examining these workings, reported that " of the favourable appearances. . . . not a trace exists," and that the only facts were that the sett contained vein-like traces, in which no ore had yet been found, in the direction of the Foxdale lode. The statements which were made in the prospectus of this company must be read with astonishment by anyone knowing the ground.
Onchan (Douglas Bay) Mine
This working, which appears in the list of Manx Mines in "Mineral Statistics "for 1891 and the succeeding years, consists of a sump and an adit in a direction of N. 10—20 W., in the slate cliff on the northern side of Douglas Bay, 200 yards west of Derby Castle. From an account published in the "Transactions of the Manx Geological Society, Session 1891—92" (reprinted from "Mona’s Herald" newspaper, 6th January, 1892), it appears that "a piece of almost pure plumbago was found upon the shore withimm a very short distance of the place," and the working seems to have proved the presence of that mineral in the lode. In the same account it is stated tlat "the adit so far shows a lode containing quartz, lead, baryta and oxide of iron, though as yet only in moderate quantities." A later newspaper report announced that ore had been found containing several pennyweights of gold per ton, but the discovery does not appear as yet to have assumed any economic importance.
Pen (Beinn) y Phot or Sulby River Mine
The insignificant trial thus named consisted of a level and shaft on the west bank of the headwaters of the Sulby River, one mile S.W. of the summit of Snaefell. Considerable sums must have been expended on the erection of a large wheel and other surface works, the ruins of which are still conspicuous. Sir W. W. Smyth refers to it in his report for 1866, as "on a north and south lode, dowky or with soft clay’; and in the following year mentions that it was started with fine plans, and then heart lost. In a later communication to the Woods and Forests Office (Sept., 1881), he remarks that no conclusive trial was ever made at this place.
The Ramsey or Northern Mine
This trial, on which some thousands of pounds were expended, was made between 1866 and 1873, on a small north and south vein containing a little galena and blende, in the slate cliff at Gob Ago on the eastern side of Port e Vullin . The first workings consisted of an adit driven for about 50 fathoms southward on the lode; a shaft was afterwards sunk to 26 fathoms and a driving under the sea northward commenced, where it was expected the vein would intersect the course of the broad belt of felsitic igneous rock exposed in the cliff 500 yards farther eastward.. No further discovery of ore was made however, and the total quantity produced was too small to be worth marketing. Another old level, a few fathoms in length, exists in the eastern corner of Port e Vullin 200 yards west of the above. Sir W. W. Smyth makes brief mention of this trial in several of his reports. In 1866 he notes there was "nothing more met with than pretty strings 1 to 3 inches wide with good galena"; In 1867 he refers to it as "a tempting vein of lead ore, but far too small to be important." In 1871, the shaft had been sunk 21 fathoms and was intended to go 5 fathoms deeper; In 1872, a cross-cut was being driven out; and in 1874, the mine was "idle."
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