St Agnes has an extremely rich mining history due to the unique high quality tin found in the area, formed by action between the granite and the complex rock around the area's cliffs. Today, St. Agnes remains the last remaining tin production centre in the UK (at the Blue Hills mine).
The iconic mine shaft at Wheal Coates goes all the way down to the sea, and at high tide you can hear the waves crashing against the rocks through a grate on the floor of the ruin. This mine shaft is accessible through a large cave at the far end of Chapel Porth beach at low tide. Legend has it that Wheal Coates is haunted by the ghosts of the miners that have tragically died there...
The mining that occurred in and around St Agnes shaped the landscape, economy and society of the village. This is still evident today in the ruins of the mines themselves, the harbour where ore was shipped and coal received, as well as in the magnificent houses of the mine owners. The area is recognised as a World Heritage Site, and the Cornish Mining website is an excellent place to head for exploratory walks, fascinating facts and a deeper understanding of the huge importance of this industry in Cornish history.
Myths and Legends
We love a good story, and there is none so good as the local legend of Giant Bolster; the foolish giant outwitted by the fair maiden Saint Agnes. His story is celebrated every year in St. Agnes at the Bolster Pageant and Festival, with the huge giant leading a Carnival procession across the Beacon and into the village. Check out the Bolster Festival page for more information.
St. Agnes Museum
If you would like to learn more about the rich and varied history of the area, visit the St Agnes Museum, which contains a fascinating array of artefacts and exhibits detailing the area's mining and seafaring heritage. The museum is open seven days a week from mid-March to the end of October, and is free to enter. Check out their website for more information.