Cornish tradition

2,000 years of Cornish mining tradition

Mining has a rich tradition in Cornwall, dating back more than 2,000 years.

Tin Mining has been a major industry in the county since before the birth of Christ, with Cornish traders were exporting to Europe and the Roman Empire, while the brass work in King Solomon's Temple is said to have been wrought from Cornish tin.

The tinners were granted special privileges in Cornwall by reason of their important contribution to the economy, and like most closed societies were very superstitious.

Their history is packed with odd traditions and tales. In particular they were very wary about offering the spirits who lived in the mines - the knockers, buccas (imps) and spriggans, and a host of others.

Cornish history

Stories of disembodied hands carrying candles, spirit voices warning of impending rock falls and ghostly black dogs and white hares prophesying certain disaster abound throughout Cornwall.

The traditional Cornish Pasty was a "packed lunch" for the tinner, often containing meat and vegetables at one end and a sweet filling at the other. The platted or "crimped" crust was a very important part of the pasty - but was never intended to be eaten.

Arsenic is often a by product of mining and would naturally be present in the miners fingers when they ate their pasties. Consequently, the crust was used to hold the pasty until the contents has been eaten, and then thrown away.

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