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St Just as Reported in The West Briton Newspaper


Rights of Turbury.

St Just in Penwith. Sundry estates (in the tenement of Gorland) to be leased, in lots, for terms of 99 years, determined by the deaths of three lives of the purchaser’s nomination. The Town Place, Cliff and moors containing about 33 acres, are in common. The premises are capable of great improvement, lying close to Whitsands bay, whence sand and ore-weed may be procured. Each lot will be entitled to cut and carry home from Bartinney Forest, in the same parish, upward of 3,100 turves annually.  West Brition 31 July 1812.

Contraband in a St Just Mine.

The men on the preventative service at St Just, near the Lands End, aided by a party from the Dove revenue cutter, last week seized 173 tubs of spirits and 20 tubs of tobacco, which had been landed from a cutter, and hidden in a shaft of a mine at that place. During the search, one of the preventative men named White, fell from a plank into a shaft of the mine and was killed on the spot. The deceased was a native of St Just, and led the party to the place where the seizure was effected.

West Briton 19 February 1830

Under Sea Mines at St Just.

We have been in Little Bounds, Wheal Castle, Wheal Edward, Botallack, Wheal Cock, and Levant, and heard the roll of the waves over-head. In Little Bounds and Wheal Cock, the excavations have been made up-wards to the sea; in the first place, it being on the beach , and dry at low water, it was secured with well chaulked planks; in the second, the hole made by a borer, being bur small, it was stopped with a plug.

West Briton 11 March 1836.

Washing Linen In Mines

Rather a striking peculiarity of the St Just Tin Mines, which are worked in granite, is that the water drawn by the engines is used for domestic purposes. We have seen 50 women washing the linen of their families in the warm water from the steam engine at one time. Standing around the engine house at Boscean, and Boscaswell Downs, and Wheal Owls, and we have also long since seen it at Wheal Cunning. It is a rather singular sight of a Monday morning to see the females hastening to the mines, bearing on their heads their washing trays, and the linen of their respective families.

West Briton 11 March 1836

Plen An Gwarry, St Just

Few are the persons in St Just who have any knowledge of the supposed religious character of the Amphitheatre; the association rather which they have in connection with it, are, that it has been used from time immemorial, a goal for hurling, a prize ring for wrestling, a place where fowls were staked on Shrove Tuesdays (as a target for thrown sticks, a barbaric sport virtually extinct by 1800), and such like idle and unprofitable exhibitions.   West Briton 28 October 1836.

Wreckers On The Coast Of St Just

Michaelmus Quarter Sessions. Thomas Ellis, sen. 28, and Thomas Ellis Jun. 24, were indicted for stealing a quantity of staves, from the wreck of a French ship, called “Le Landais” which was wrecked on the coast of St Just… Richard Pearce (agent of Llyods) went to St just; arrived there about half past twelve at noon; he went to a place called Boscriggan. He found a vessel on the shore in pieces, and things coming a shore, consisting of wine, bales of cotton, many thousands of staves, cases of wine, and other articles. There were probably a couple of thousand persons present, and the number was afterwards increased to about four thousand… On seeing the younger prisoner with the staves, prosecuter (Pearce, on behalf of the French government) told him immediately to restore the staves, but he refused to do it. /when he was carrying off the staves there were a great many persons about him, and prosecutor told them that he had been obliged to have the assistance of the Rev. Mr Buller to read the riot act, and he was determined to make an example of some one of them, he then seized the younger prisoner by the collor and dragged him some distance… turning round (he) saw the elder prisoner make a blow at him, which he received on his hat and hand. The staves which the younger prisoner dropped when he was taken into custody were carried off, and witness never saw anything more of them.  

West Briton 20 October 1837

(The vessel was totally stripped by the wreckers of whom Ellis Jun was by no means the worst offender. In consequence he was given only six months’ hard labour, with a recommendation to mercy. Ellis Sen.was acquitted.

A Teetotalers Tale.

On Friday, the 13th inst., being Good Friday the Teetotallers of St Just, held their first public meeting in the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in that village, where they had a crowded audience. .. To show the destructive effects of alcohol, the (principal) speaker stated that a female having retired to bed in a state of intoxication, her breath came in contact with a lighted candle that was placed by the bedside, when  it immediately ignited, and a stream of fire continued to issue from her mouth until the arrival of a medical gentleman who extinguished it

West Briton 27 April 1838.

Belief In Magic.

On Thursday, some person or persons entered the house of Mr N James of St Just in Penwith, and took from the chest of  one of the lodgers the sum of £11 3s 6d… To discover the thief or thieves, recourse was had to a “Cunning Man”, who called himself a conjurer, and who said the money should be returned on Sunday, the 9th inst; but it has not yet made its appearance.

West Briton 14 January 1842.

St Just Versus Buryan.

  James Woolcock, 25, John Woolcock, 23, James Maddern, 28, William Trembath, 25, Mathew Thomas, 18, John Bennetts, 20, all miners were indicted (at the Cornwall Epiphany Sessions) for that they, on the 27th of November, in the parish of Buryan, did unlawfully assemble and commit a great disturbance, to the terror of her Majesty’s subjects.

West Briton 13 January 1854

Home From Australia.

A very heavy mail from Melbourne, Geelong, and Port Phillip, consisting of fifty four bags or two wagon loads of letters newspapers, &c., was landed at Penzance, on Thursday morning last, from the ship “ESSEX”, one hundred and fourteen days out from Melbourne, by the Scilly pilot cutter “A.Z.” The mail was immediately forwarded to the metropolis. Twenty passengers were also landed, belonging to St Just, Morvah, Ludgvan, Penryn, Liskeard and Bere nr. Plymouth. All of them were well supplied with the needful – one lucky fellow in particular having about one cwt. of pure gold in his possession. About one hundred and twenty passengers have arrived in the ESSEX.

West Briton 8 September 1854

At We’ll Do Em Mine St Just

For sale at We’ll Do Em Mine, in the parish of St Just, a 24inch cylinder pumping engine, with 8 tons boiler, nearly new, all in good working order, with brasses complete. For price and further particulars apply to Mr Richard Quick, Trewellard, St Just. West Briton 3 October 1862.

 A Miner Stopped In.

A Miner by the name of John Casley was trapped by a run of ground. He was freed unhurt after eleven hours with hardly a scratch after over a hundred wagons of dirt had been removed in order to get to him.  West Briton 15 May 1863.

An Auction In St Just Church.

The Church in St Just is about to be renovated, and for that purpose it was necessary that all the inside fittings, such as pulpit, communion table, and pews should be sold. The inhabitants were not pleased that the church was used for the sale rather than an auction room. West Briton 17 March 1865.


During the last twelve months, Cornish miners to the number of 7,380 have left the county, 1,155 of whom settled in America, 670 in Australia and New  Zealand, 450 in California, while the iron mines of Scotland and the coal and iron mines of the North of England have absorbed 1,090; 1,390 have left Gwennap, Stithians, Illogan and Phillack; 1,590 the district of Lelant, St Ives and St Just; 80 Wendron and Sithney; 205 the district of St Agnes and Perran; 220 the district of St Austell; and 1,200 the district the districts of Liskeard and Callington, The returns from other districts are not so correctlyascertained, but must fall little short of 2,000. West Briton 17 May 1867.

On Their Way to the Workhouse.

At Wheal Owles meeting on Friday last, Mr R Boyns ha beheld a sight a day or two ago he had never seen before, and one he hoped he would never see again in St Just.

On his way to Hayle, this side of Penzance, he had overtaken 15 women – all on their way to the workhouse. He knew the faces of many and believed that genuine penury had driven them to seek parish relief.  West Briton 23 August 1867

The curious effect of severs frost

At St Just early in the week, almost all the surface works were brought to a standstill. In most instances nothing but the pumping engine were working, all being frozen up, and the various hands employed in the surface and dressing floors were compelled to return home. Some cast iron pipes over an inch thick broke apart just like glass.

West Briton 17 February 1870.

A Serious Shortage of miners

About forty miners left St just on Monday last, and more than that number left the week previously. The effect of a drop in tin is much felt in the parish. Not a single mine was paying dividends before, so they are not likely to do so now.

West Briton 26 May 1873

For Lancashire

Wanted large and industrious families for the Lancashire Cotton Factories – For particulars apply Mr Thomas Fetcher, Wellington Hotel, St Just.

West Briton 31 July 1873

Mining in St Just

The present depression has probably been felt more heavily at St Just than anywhere else. At the last census it had a population of over 9,000 souls; but that this has now very much decreased is shown by the fact that at the last poor-rate assessment no less than 280 houses were struck off the list as unoccupied. By the way, if anyone wants a decent house at a cheap rent he had better go to St Just. A good house, such as in an ordinary town could cost from £20 to £25, per year, is let at £5, and for a very tolerable abode one occupant has agreed to pay the sum total of 30s. per annum. It is terrible to imagine what St Just would be were it not for faithful husbands abroad. It is calculated that some £800 or £900 a month arrives in the town through the post-office.

West Briton 19 November 1877.

The Plan An Guare, St Just.

Mr Chenalls stated that within the last two or three weeks thirteen or fourteen man had been enh=gaged in St Just, with the object of restoring the old Amphitheatre (the mediaeval playing place or Plan-an-guare) there to its original shape, and that it had taken off those who had been hanging about the corners of the town seeking employment.

West Briton 31 October 1878

A House for Ten Pounds

In consequence of the falling off in the mining population at St Just, freehold dwelling houses in that town are being sold for a song. Some short time since we heard of six freehold dwelling houses being sold for £100. For two freehold houses at St Just on Thursday, £20 only was bid. The reserve price was stated to be £38 - £19 a house – but even at this low price no buyer could be found.

West Briton 6 September 1886


Sandra and George Pritchard are the authors of original work on this site.  They give permission to copy and use this information on the following conditions.
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Revised: January 08, 2005 .