Places and History

History does show however, that Cornwall was at that time the centre of the then known world’s tin mining or rather ‘streaming’ as it was then termed. In fact mining as such did not really commence until sometime in the eleventh century.

One of the earliest mines is that of Carbisse [1584] which was located near Carbence Valley, St.Ives, which was later to be merged with the Wheal Providence mines in the early eighteen hundreds.

The Mount Carbis mine alongside the Sparnon mines above Clinton Road, Redruth. There are also other long disused Carbis named mines and/or shafts south and east of Buller, Cornwall; and lastly there is the Carbis Tin Mine at St.Austell. Tin mining in Cornwall is now very much an industry of the past and as such are now legends in their own right. The engine houses that now stand forlorn against the skyline, are in themselves a monument to the enterprise and skills of those forgotten miners of so many years ago.

Nevertheless, to return to the Carbis name, there are a number of related place names in Cornwall as for instance Carbis Bay just to the east of St.Ives, Carbis at Roche, St.Erth, and in Stithians. Just north of St.Austell there is the hamlet of Carbis with Carbis Mill Farm and Carbis Cottages. Close by there is the now defunct Carbis Brick and Tile Works, which are to be found in the triangle of the three villages of Roche, Bugle and Stenalees. Also within this area are to found Carbis Moor and Carbis Common which are located a little to the south of the village of Penwithick.

At St.Erth, there are today the ruins of the Carbis Mill, which was first mentioned on the 27th January 1650 as a ‘stamps’ mill, then as a ‘flushing’ mill and again later as a ‘griest’ mill. There is a tradition that boats once used to come upriver to Carbis Mill. This may well have been case, but it would have to have been before 1338 when the first bridge at St.Erth was built and there is a deed of this date which makes mention of such a bridge. The last miller of Carbis was a Mr Richard BERRYMAN who died in 1941. His widow then kept the mill operating for a further seven years, until the costs of transporting grain and the added expense of general repairs to the mill made it uneconomical. The main point of interest is that this mill has two independent waterwheels and two pairs of stones.

The production of bricks and tiles at the Carbis Brick and Tile Works, Roche, was in operation from about 1883 until 1941, producing a buff coloured brick without a frog. It is listed as an important producer of bricks and tiles that had an office and shop on the site. With a tramway from the pit to the works that comprised, three cupola kilns, a square stack, with a waterwheel driving rolls and pug mills. [The production of bricks and flour, is dealt with at some length in ‘The Book of CARBIS People’]

From tin and bricks to bananas. In Adelaide, South Australia, Jane COOPER remembers as a child, seeing boxes of bananas labelled ‘Carbis Banana Company’ in the East End Market where her Uncle worked. This information has been confirmed by John ZIMMERMAN, and is now recognised as the ‘Carbis Banana Agency’ [reference CM/3446 dated 1st June 1996].

In South Africa in the town of Pietermaritzburg, there is a Carbis Street in the suburb of Scottsville, which was so named after a prominent local councillor of that name. Councillor Peter CARBIS who was Mayor for the twelve months 4th August 1894.

The place name of Carbis Bay is reputed to have been as a result of the Great Western Railway [GWR] Company requiring an easier word for the English tongue to get around, rather than the original Cornish name of Barrepta Cove. This Cornish name has evolved through the centuries, with at least two differing spellings and consequently differing interpretations from Parrupter c.1499 and Porthreptor c.1580. Carbis Bay, the village c.1884, was renamed from the coastal bay, which in turn derived its name from the farm of Carbense [Carbis] situated in the valley leading down into the bay. The Carbis Bay Hotel was designed and built under the supervision of the famous Cornish architect, Sylvanus Trevail in 1894. Having been designed as a hotel, it has fortunately remained so throughout its history and in private ownership.