[From Lamplugh, Geology of IoM, 1903]


Laxey or Great Laxey Mines.

Standing in the first rank of British metalliferous mines, this great mine has been second only to Foxdale in the Island as a producer of lead-ore, while its output of zinc-blende for a long series of years surpassed that of any other in the kingdom, and indeed was sometimes greater than that of all the other British mines combined. At one period of its career the mine was also a producer of copper ore, though not to a large extent. As the Statistics given on a subsequent page will show, it has, however, of late years shown progressive decline, its annual output lately averaging less than half that of its palmy days.

The mine is established on a north and south lode (average direction about N. 10° W.), having an easterly dip, the country rock being the Lonan Flags of the Manx Slate Series. Although worked to within a mile of the coast, the lode has never been identified in the cliff-section, and was probably first discovered in the bed of the stream. According to an authority quoted by Dr. Berger, it was "opened and wrought by a mining company of Cumberland, about the commencement of the last [18th] century." 1 Mr. A. W. Moore (" History," vol. ii., p. 965) gives reference to documentary evidence of its having been worked about 1782. Feltham, in 1798 ("Tour, etc.," p. 243), mentions a " new level " 160 yards long, a mile and a half up the glen, which he examined. Woods, writing in 1811, gave a full description of the workings, which consisted of two levels from the banks of upper level, 100 yards long, following a vein nearly 4 feet wide quartz, blende, galena and some green carbonate of copper" the most abundant; a small quantity of phosphate and carbonate of lead was also noted, and the lead reported to contain as high as 180 ounces of silver to the ton ; but where the copper ore occurred, the lead was in small quantity and of poor quality [a feature subsequently found to characterise the lode in its deeper portions also] ; in the new level, 1 mile lower down the river, which was 200 yards long in 1808, carbonate of copper and blende alone had been discovered ; only three men were employed in the workings.2 The vein was again described by Berger in 1814 3 and by Macculloch in 1819 ;4 but both observers found the workings abandoned ; the latter author mentions the presence of calcareous iron ore (chalybite) and the steel-grained variety of galena. A plan of the mine by J. A. Twigg dated 1826, preserved in the Woods and Forests Office, shows the " Old level " as " wrought out and a shaft, 34 fathoms deep, communicating with the " New level to unwater the mine."

Work was resumed a few years later on a more extensive scale, with profitable results -, so that Cumming in 1847 found the adit to be 400 fathoms long, and two shafts, with drivings, down to 130 fathoms below the adit, employing 300 men.5 Since that time the development of the mine has been carried on continuously, the details being published in the periodical reports of the managers which are reprinted in the Manx newspapers,6 The principal underground workings of the mine are in the lower part of Glen Agneash (Glen Mooar : 6-inch, Sh. 8), where the three deep hafts are situated. At the time of my visit at the close of 1895, the most southerly, or Engine Shaft, had attained a depth of 247 fathoms the next, or Welsh Shaft, 150 yards farther N., was down to 295 fathoms and the third, or- Dumbell's, 520 yards N. of the last, was 266 fathoms deep, all following the underlie of the vein. These shafts have levels at about every 10 fms. down to the bottom; the pioneer level S. was the 235, which Went 203 yards S. of Engine Shaft ; and the pioneer N., the 255, which at the above mentioned date went 604 fms N. of Dumbell's Shaft ; the length of the deep galleries from end to end of the mine is therefore over 1¼ miles. Shallow shafts communicating with the upper workings exist both N. and S. of those above mentioned.

MINERALS OF THE LODE.-The 'lode' varies greatly in breadth and character within short distances, both horizontally and vertically, being sometimes as much as 25 feet in width ('at the 190 fathom level near the shaft', vide Smyth's report for 1857), and sometimes "gradually dwindled to a mere string without a speck of ore, hardly to be recognised by the unpractised eye " (in 110 N.; ibid. report for 1870). It usually presents clean well-defined and slightly polished walls of slaty flags, between which the infilling vein-stuff consists chiefly of quartz (with a little chalcedony) in ribs parallel with the walls, and calcite, mixed with more or less slate-breccia and with the metalliferous deposits. Zinc-blende and galena which constitute the principal ores occur alternating with quartz in ribs, and similarly in globular incrustations around 'vughs' or cavities in the lode. The copper-pyrites was mainly obtained in the southern part of the mine (south of Engine Shaft), "especially associated with dolomite,"7 and occurred in thin strings after the ores of the other metals had dwindled down to an insignificant quantity; both here and in some of the deep levels farther north it seems to have formed a scanty ragged fringe to the great bodies of blende and galena of the central part of the mine, and its incoming was therefore looked upon with disfavour as indicating the proximity of the limits of these ore-bodies. The galena is of good quality, averaging 40 oz. to the ton of silver. Among other crystalline constituents of the lode are iron-pyrites, chalybite, pyrrhotine (northern part of adit, vide Smyth's report for 1882), barytes (" rare in Laxey " 8) dolomite (" in perfect rhombohedrons " 9) and calcite. Sir W. W. Smyth also notes the following in the old workings, or in the upper part of the lode : melanterite, sulphate of copper, melaconite, pyromorphite (" near Dumbell's shaft ") ; and steatite ("a white variety, spotted with crystals of zinc-blende, abundant at the 100 fathom level,") and anthracite ("a 3-inch band on the east wall of Laxey lode, 100 fathom level, S. of Engine Shaft, very pyritous"). 10

ANTHRACITE.11-The occurrence of the last-mentioned mineral is of peculiar interest, but the available information respecting it is meagre, and have not been able to ascertain whether it was a constituent of the lode as Smyth appears to suggest, or belonged to the adjacent 'country' slate-rock. Mr. J. [E.] Taylor in describing the slates in 1864 mentioned the anthracite as occurring in 'thin veins' and implied that it was interbedded with the sedimentary strata; but whether his description was based on personal observation or on miner's information is uncertain.12 According to the recollection of Mr. Killip, the under-manager of the mine, the substance occurred as a vein, not more than an inch thick and a few inches long, in the " copper ground " between the " Engine " and " Corner " shafts, and formed part of the lode on the hanging or cast wall. Captain J. Kitto, however, who also had personal remembrance of the circumstances. thinks that the anthracite lay between beds of the country rock and like them went off from the lode. The significance of this undecided point is that if interbedded with the slates the anthracite must be regarded as the product of contemporaneous organic growths, like the coal-seams of later times; but if a vein deposit it would presumably be akin in its genesis to plumbago and other carbonaceous substances sometimes found in veins. It should be mentioned that no interbedded seam of this character was anywhere observed at the surface in the Manx Slate Series.

GRANITIC DYKES AND AGE OF LODE.-The 'lode' appears to be a simple fissure-system extending down to an unknown depth, along which slight movement has taken place without causing much relative displacement of the opposite walls. As bearing upon its age it is interesting to find that in the northern part of the mine the lode breaks across the characteristic elvan-dykes of the Dhoon Granite. The nearest point of the surface-outcrop of this granite is on the hilltop, 1,050 yards east of the underground workings, and there is no indication in the bottom of the mine that the margin of the intrusion is any nearer than at the surface (p. 143). A dyke of micro-granite or quartz-porphyry 20 feet in width, striking 8. 20'-30' W., probably identical with that seen in. the stream in Glen Agneash (p. 144), is traversed by the 25,5-fm. level (at this point about 1,800 feet below the surface) at 490 yards N. of Dumbell's Shaft ~ and the lode, carrying a little blende, distinctly cuts across the intrusion without perceptibly displacing it. A second, smaller elvan, 4 feet wide, is seen under similar circumstances 154 yards farther north in the same level. In the southern part of the mine the lode similarly intersects a group of the 'older greenstone' dykes, which were injected into the slates at a period anterior to the intrusion of the granite (see p. 144).

It has already been shown that the sedimentary rocks had undergone extreme deformation before any of these greenstones or microgranites were intruded among them ; and moreover, that both sets of dykes have been affected by later movements of great severity. The development of the fissure has clearly been subsequent to the latest of these crushing movements, and cannot have taken place earlier than Carboniferous times, while it may have been much later ; so that its metalliferous infilling cannot in any case have begun until towards the close of Palaeozoic time, and is more probably long subsequent.

'SLIDES.'-Another factor of much consequence in relation to the age of the lode is that it is displaced at intervals by transverse (E.-W.) 'slides' or dislocations, which are apparently true normal faults. At the southern end of the mine, south of ' Corner Shaft,' the vein seems to have encountered a close-set group of these 'slides' and to have been dislocated and perhaps terminated by them, the various attempts to recover it in the lower part of the glen by day-len,els and cross-cuts (including the 'Glyn adit' about 175 fathoms in length) having proved unsuccessful. Farther north the slides have better-defined individuality, the same dislocation being recognised by the miners in the successive levels down to the bottom of the mine. Thus the 'Big slide' intersects the lode at 160 yards south of Engine Shaft, and carries it 10 to 20 feet westward on the south side, the dislocation dipping south at about 70' from the horizontal and splitting into two branches below 30 fathoms. 'Welsh Slide,' emerging at the surface near Welsh Shaft, has a slightly steeper dip in the same direction and affects the lode in a similar manner, displacing it about 0 feet laterally (the chief " copper-ground " of the mine lying between these two slides) ; but according to the mining plans it unites near the 200 fathom level with another dislocation hading in the opposite direction, known as 'Engine Slide,' the two enclosing a huge wedge of the lode between, them. Farther north is 'Dumbell's Slide,'dipping south at 60', and intercepted by Dumbell's Shaft at a depth of 12 fms. ; and this is joined at 110 fms. by a slide with a slightly steeper dip in the same direction. In the explorations still farther north other dislocations were passed through, dipping in the opposite direction or northward, and consequently shifting the slide eastward on the south side; and these apparently form a rude northerly boundary to the ore-bearing ground. The average strike of these transverse faults is E 20°-30° N., which is also approximately that of the strata forming the 'country.' Wherever I was able to examine these faults in the mine-workings they presented a rather sharply out joint-like aspect, generally with a little soft 'dowky' matter or crushed rock between the faces, but with no quartz. The direct vertical displacement which they have effected was estimated to range from 20 feet or less to about 70 feet, but this estimate is of uncertain value, as the movement has probably been oblique.

Though evidence was sought to show whether the deposition of the ore in the lode took place before or after its dislocation by these transverse faults, no very definite conclusion was attained. So far as I could learn, the only case of ore having been found in a slide was that reported to me by Captain W. H. Rowe, who remembered a little " steel-grained " galena being met with in the Agneash Slide between the adit and 12 fathom level. But this absence of ore may be due merely to the 'tightness' and lack of cavities in the fault-planes. The lode itself is usually impoverished in the immediate vicinity of the slides, consisting there chiefly of breeciated ' country rock' with very little quartz or metalliferous infilling ; which suggests that it has been shattered by them before the formation of the ribs of quartz and ore within it. Hence, the indications do to some extent suggest a later date for the principal infilling of the lode ; and it seems not improbable that the effect of the transverse faults may have been to reopen the older fissure and cause a slight gaping in it where the rocks were firmest and least liable to crumble, thus giving rise to empty spaces in which the crystalline constituents of the lode afterwards segregated. unfortunately, owing to the absence of newer rocks than the Slates, the district affords no direct clue to the age of the faults ; but it is worthy of note that on the Cumberland coast the N.E. to S.W. faulting has been shown to be Post-Carboniferous and Pre-Triassic (see p. 87).

While the metalliferous lode is for the most a single fissure, it is here and there complicated by minor, 'branches' going off from it at a low angle, in which occasionally a little ore has been found ; and other parallel but unproductive joints or fissures appear to traverse the slates in its vicinity, one of which, known to the miners as the 'East Lode,' has been reached by easterly cross-cuts about 70 yards E. of the main lode. The principal ore-deposits have been found in that part of the mine which lies between Engine and Dumbell's Shaft, occurring vertically in large irregular lenticular sheets showing a general tendency to descend northward. North of Dumbell's, the ore as yet discovered has been dispersed in smaller masses, with wider spaces of barren ground between, and in the most northerly drivings is reduced to mere specks.

THE ' COUNTRY-ROCK.'-In the principal part of the mine the strata belong to the Lonan Flags division of the Manx Slates and consist of firmly welded greyish and bluish sandy and slaty flags ; and it is interesting to find that these extend without noticeable change of character from the surface to the bottom of the mine over 1,200 feet below sea-level (p 33). Like most of the metalliferous veins of the Island, the lode is in the vicinity of the structural axis of the slate series ; and the change in the direction of the dominant bedding, from S 20° E. to N. 20° W., may be observed in the mine-workings. South of Dumbell's Shaft the general dip of the contorted strata is at a high angle, usually between 60° and 80°, towards S. 20°.E.; but in the 255-fathom level a short distance north of this shaft, the bedding ranges from vertical to 70° or 80° towards N. 20° W., and continues to dip in this direction, at a slightly lower angle, to the N. end of the level. In the deepest level (295 fathoms) the change sets in a little farther south, the N. 20° W. dip being found at about 450 yards north of Welsh Shaft. In both cases the obscure strain-slip cleavage is inclined in the same direction as the dip, but at a much lower angle, usually about 20°. The deep position of this structural anticline corresponds fairly well with its place at the surface. At about 700 yds. N. of Dumbell's Shaft the 255-fm. level passes into darker and more argillaceous strata for about 300 yds. and then into very hard sandy flags, which are probably the commencement of the Agneash Grits that outcrop on the mountain overhead ; and as neither type of rock is so well fitted to develop air open fissure as the homogeneous flags farther south, it may be from this cause that the lode is pinched and impoverished in this part of its course. As the northward termination of the profitable part of the mine nearly coincides with the change in the direction of dip of the 'country,' the miners have come to regard this change as itself detrimental ; but more probably it is because the, N. 20° W. dip ushers in the unfavourable modification of the 'country' that it constitutes an untoward omen.

Precisely as the trials in Laxey Glen south of the mine, and on the coast, where an adit was driven 50 fms. into the cliff, have failed to discover the prolongation of the lode in that direction, so, also, trials have been made without success on the western bank of Glen Agneash, and again at the head of the glen (where it is known as Glion Ruy), to discover its northward extension. In this direction it would have approached nearer the outcrop of the Dhoon Granite than in any other part of its course; and the deterioration of the lode in the underground workings north of Dumbell's Shaft, as well as the poverty of the veins which have been tested at the Dhoon (p. 528) in close proximity to the igneous boss, tell strongly against the supposition that the presence of the metalliferous deposits is due to the contiguity of the granite (see also ante, pp. 491-2).

1 Trans. Geol. Soc., vol. ii. (1814), p. 51.
2 " Account, etc.," op. cit., pp. 18-20.
3 Trans. Geol. Soc., vol. ii. (1814), p. 51.
4 " Western Isles," vol. ii., p. 577.
5 " Isle of Man," p. 308.
6 Files of these newspapers may be consulted in the Douglas Free Library,.
7 " List of Manx Minerals." Trans. 1. of Man Nat. Hist. and Antiq. Soc.,vol.
8 Ibid. - 143-147.
9 Ibid.
10 1 ~p 3 Ibid.
11 A specimen of this mineral from Laxey is preserved in the Museum of P.~ae.tic,.1 Geology.
12 Geol. Soc , vol. iv., p. 75.


(From Mineral Statistics ‘in Mem. Geol. Survey, vol. ii. (for 1845 to 1847) Records of the School of Mines, vol. i., pt. 4 (1848 to 1852); Home Office, Mineral statistics (1853 to 1900.)





Silver contained in Lead-ore..

Total Estimated Value.
(not recorded before 1874)





































































































































































































































1 In Mem. Geol. Survey, vol. ii., p. 715, the earlier statistics on next page are given respecting the annual sales of Laxey Copper-ore at Swansea. The output of the other ores for the same period is not recorded.
2 Largest in the United Kingdom.
3 Plus value of copper, not stated.
4 There is evidently an error in the statistics here; £30,000 should probably be added.





































 Total 3,412







North Laxey Mine.

The location of this mine is in the upper part of the Cornah valley, 1¾ miles west of Corrany (six-inch, Sh. 8). It has been in operation, with short intervals of quiescence, since 1856, and has produced in the aggregate a considerable quantity of lead-ore, but not as yet sufficient to repay the cost of working. The following description is based on my personal examination of the mine in 1895, and on information then kindly placed at my disposal by the manager, Mr. J. Corlett. Some details of interest regarding the earlier workings, which are now for the most part inaccessible are added from Sir W. W. Smyth’s Reports.

The mine is worked on a lode which crosses the bottom of the valley in a nearly north and south direction, with an underlie or dip westward. Two shafts have been sunk, 70 yards apart, the South Shaft to the depth of 110 fathoms and the North Shaft (in December, 1895) to 174 fathoms. The mine has levels at 12, 27, 38, 50, 60 (the two last in South Shaft only), 73, 84, 96, 110, 121, 136, 146, and 170 fathoms; the longest or pioneer levels were the 146 northward, and the 60 southward. The ‘lode’ is mainly indicated by a quartz vein, bunchy in character, sometimes only 2 or 3 inches wide or even nipped out to a mere joint in the slate-rock, and sometimes swelling to a width of 3 or more feet, and then often full of crystal-lined ‘vughs’ or cavities which when first tapped discharge water, but soon dry up. It contains in places ribs and bunches of galena and scattered patches of other minerals, including barytes (in the deeper workings), pyrites, etc. The fissure does not appear to represent a fault of any consequence e. The country-rock, which dips steeply north-westward, is a firm dark slate, interbedded at intervals with hard bands of quartz-veined grit (see p. 141), one of which, 3 feet in thickness, was well exposed at the bottom of the North Shaft at the time of my visit. The ore-bodies have shown a tendency to sink northward, being met with at shallower depths in the southern than in the northern part of the mine.

Turning to Sir W. W. Smyth’s reports’ we find mention in 1857 that at 10 fathoms there was a little ore, only a few inches wide; in 1860 the South Shaft was at 40 fathoms, and the lode still small and producing only a little ore; in 165 some orey ground had been found in the 60-fathom level south, but the "end got into black ground, bedded rather flatly," and not promising ; and in the following year it is noted that the same level had "poverty-stricken white quartz for its veinstone." In 1869, in the 110 level of the South Shaft the lode proved quite poor on the south, hut bolder and better on the north ; and the discovery of ore in the 96 and 84 north drivings, where there was "a really tolerable lode," led to the renewed sinking of the old [North] Shaft which had previously stopped at 38 fathoms. In 1872 the North Shaft was down 120 fathoms, and the lode there 4 or 5 feet wide, but quite worthless; and in the 110 level half-way between the shafts the vein was also of good size, but calcareous and unprofitable. In 1876, it is noted that the lode at 136 fathoms down was sprinkled with lead and zinc; and in the following year that at 146 fathoms it was "dull quartz with a few large crystals of calc-spar in the cavernous hollows."

In the annual "Mineral Statistics," returns of lead-ore from this mine are given for all the years between 1857 and 1878 inclusive; also for 1880—1, 1891—4, and 1897, amounting in the aggregate to 1,763 tons.

Glencherry Mine.

This name was given to a small mine in the bottom of the Cornah Valley 650 yards east 1of the North Laxey Mine, with which it has since been amalgamated. Work was carried on here, chiefly between 1865 and 1875, on a north and south lode with an easterly underlie, which yielded a small quantity of lead ore. Two shafts were sunk, the South Shaft to 15 fathoms, and the Engine Shaft to 35 fathoms, with levels at 15, 20 and 35 fathoms.2 Sir W. W. Smyth describes the underground appearances in his reports as follows3 :—In 1806, when the shaft was down 8 fathoms, it was "on a lode 5 or 6 feet wide yielding extremely promising stones of weathered galena with incrustations of green and of white lead ore ;" in 1807, the lt fathom level had been driven 12 fathoms north, and showed a little ore ; in 1868, it is noted that the favourable symptoms had been of short duration, and the ground very changeable—the 20 fathom driving north had a little ore which dwindled away after a few feet; in 1869, the 20 and 35 fathom levels had been driven for some fathoms without finding more than a mere sprinkling of ore; and in 1871, the 35 fathom level had been driven some 15 fathoms showing a lode 2 to 3 feet wide with no other mineral than a little pyrites in sight.

1 MSS. in Woods and Forests Office.
2 Information from Mr. W. H. Rowe.
3 MSS. in Woods and Forests Office.

East Laxey Mine.

Under this title an unsuccessful trial for copper, on which many thousands of pounds were expended, was carried on between 1866 and 1869 in the Cornah Valley 600 yards west of the bridge at Corrany (Sh. 8). An adit was driven from the bank of the stream for 65 fathoms with a direction of N. 30° W. on a hard quartzose lode, underlying westward, said to contain little pockets of copper pyrites and iron pyrites; and a shaft was sunk to 20 fathoms, with a level at that depth for 40 fathoms northward. Another adit was driven, for a few fathoms only, into the south bank of the stream. No saleable quantity of ore was produced.’ Sir W. W. Smyth refers in his report for 1867 to the driving of a level on "a miserable-looking hard vein with but a few specks of copper pyrites here and there"; and in 1868 states that he examined the 20 fathom level for 40 fathoms north, and found a lode all the way, without ore or promise.

1 From information obtained from Mr. W. H. Rowe.

East Snaefell Mine.

The company using this title was formed about the year 1864, to test the supposed extension of time Great Laxey lode in the upper part of the Cornah Valley, 650 yards above time ‘North Laxey Mine.’ A day-level (indicated on the six-inch ordnance map, Sh. 8) was driven S.S.E. into the hill-side, on a gossany clayey ‘lode’ underlying east, but no metal was found.1 Smyth writes of these trials in his report for 1865, that "some short drivings and the sinking of a sump for a few feet have shown that there are lodes in this ground, but nothing of promising appearance far less productive, has been seen." The company afterwards transferred its operations to the "Glencherry Mine."

1 From information obtained from Mr. W. H. Rowe.

Snaefell Mine.

This mine, on which work was seriously commenced about the year 1856 and has been continued, with some interruptions, up to the present time, is situated at the eastern foot of Snaefell on the north branch of the head-waters of the Laxey River, 3 miles N.W. of Laxey village. The lode, which was discovered in the bed of the stream, strikes about N. 20° W. from the mine, but swings to N. 30°—35~ W. towards the northern extremity of the underground workings. Its underlie is eastward at about 75° from the horizontal, it consists of a belt of crushed slaty rock, often ‘dowky,’ interpenetrated by strings of quartz associated with dolomite, calcite, galena, zinc-blende, and a little copper-pyrites, iron-pyrites ; and pyrrhotine (" in the form of acute hexagonal pyramids "). Sir W. W. Smyth also records3 impure graphite (" 100 and 130 fathom-levels") and manganese spar (" small crystals in small isolated ‘vugs’ or locks," found about the year 876). The width of the space recognised as ‘lode’ varies from 6 inches to 60 feet or more ; but its limits are generally ill-defined, and it is said to have ‘branches’ in places on both sides, with more or less broken country rock between ; and the lode is considered to be most favourable where these ‘ branches ‘ fall into it. This broken ground probably marks a line of faulting which may be of considerable magnitude, though the highly contorted and complex structure of the strata precludes any trustworthy estimate of the displacement. The mine is placed on the narrow belt of banded slates with gritty intercalations which form the passage beds between the Barrule Slates on the west and the Agneash Grits on the east, but the deeper northward workings appear to enter the Barrule Slates. At the time of my examination in 1895, it consisted of a single shaft, following the dip of the vein to the depth of 171 fathoms, with levels, below the adit, at 25, 40, 60, 74, 85, 100, 115, 130, 141, 158, and 171 fathoms, chiefly driven northward under the mountain. The most northerly point of the mine was the 130-fathom level, which was 530 fathoms out from the shaft; and the most southerly, the 141 level, out 60 fathoms. The levels communicate with each other by a series of winzes connecting with the adit-level which enters the hillside 100 yards N. of the shaft.4

While a little ore has been found in many places in the lode, the principal hunches hitherto discovered lay at 60 to 80 fathoms north of the shaft in time upper levels, and at over 250 fathoms north in the lower levels. Including 1900 the total output of ore from the mine since the year 1870, recorded in "Mineral Statistics," is 4,567 tons lead-ore and 8,926 tons zinc blende.

The galena averages 14 to 16 ounces of silver per ton. The copper-pyrites is sparsely distributed, occurring chiefly where blende is most abundant. No payable quantity of ore has been discovered south of the shaft, either in the deep levels or in the trial adits in the valley below the mine. One of these trials, on the south bank of the Laxey River 200 yards below the confluence of its two main branches, was driven W.S.W~. for 80 fathoms to cross-cut the lode, and then southward along the lode for about 80 fathoms farther.

Polished (graphitic?) and slickensided surfaces are very conspicuous in the vein, especially among the darker slates, the striae on some faces being vertical, and on others horizontal or inclined. The ‘dominant dip’ of the rocks (see p. 145) in the neighbourhood of the mine is towards N.N.W.; but underground the dips were found to be variable, and frequently towards the unusual direction of N.E. or E.N.E., probably denoting local disturbance along the line of faulting. In one place the lode is cut by a ‘cross-course,’ which is clearly a later fault, striking N. 30~ W. and hading south ward, the effect of which is to shift the metalliferous vein 8 feet to the westward on the north side. The position of this ‘cross-course’ in the 141 fathom level (where I examined it) is about 205 fathoms N. of the shaft; time lode is somewhat enriched in its vicinity, especially in blende. One or two small sheared igneous dykes of the basic type so numerous in the Manx Slates were observed in the country-rock adjacent to the lode.

3 "List of Manx Minerals," op. cit.
4 A plan and description of the mine is contained in the Official Report of Dr. C. Le Neve Foster to the Home Office on the accident in May, 1897, by which twenty men lost their lives through the poisonous gases engendered by a fire in the timbers of the 130 fathom level. (Blue Book. "
Snaefell Lead Mine Accident." 1898.)

Block Eary and other Trials near Snaefell.

In the valley of the Block Eary feeder of the Sulby River, at the foot of the northern slope of Snaefell Mountain, an adit was driven for 100 fathoms south-eastward in the river-bank S. of the farmstead of Block Eary, and another in the opposite direction in the little glen 250 yards W. of the farm, on a vein which is said to have been similar in character to that of the Snaefell mine, with which it was supposed to be continuous but no ore of value was discovered.2 The Snaefell lode was also sought for in the opposite direction, south of the valley of the Laxey River, but Sir W. W. Smyth noted in his report for 1871 ‘ that only some indistinct fragments of vein were found in these workings. Several other profitless trials were made in Laxey valley between the Snaefell and Great Laxey mines, one of which, known as the Glenfoss level, is briefly described in Smyth’s report for 1865.1

1 From information furnished by Capt. J. Kewley.

Glen Roy Mine.

This mine, on which very large sums were expended both underground and at the surface, is situated in Glen Roy near Riversdale, 2 miles west of Laxey. It seems to have been begun about 1864 as an offshoot of the Great Laxey Company, but was subsequently worked by an independent company, with disastrous results. It was finally abandoned about twenty years ago. As the returns of ore from the earlier workings seem to have been combined with those of Great Laxey the data for estimating its total produce are not available. In the years 1877, 1878 and 1882, when separate returns were made, the aggregate (in " Mineral Statistics") is 9 tons 9 cwts. of lead ore, and 136 tons 9 cwts. of zinc ore. The shaft was sunk to a depth of about 122 fathoms, with levels at 10, 25, 40, 55, 65 [100?] and 108 fathoms, on a north-westerly lode, heading eastward.3 The presence of a large dyke of greenstone in the vicinity of the lode has been noticed in a previous chapter (p. 160). The following excerpts from Sir W. W. Smyth’s reports for the years between 1864 and 1882 will serve to show the principal features of the mine :—In 1864 the operations are referred to as a "small trial" ; in 1867 we learn that at 18 fathoms there was a better lode of 2 to 3 feet wide, with a gossany leader or branch containing some good stones of lead-ore; in 1868 the 25-fathom level had been driven a few fathoms north west on the lode, with about 1-ton lead ore and 1 ton blende per fathom; in 1869 the same level, extended 30 fathoms, had yielded some good ore, and the 40-fathom level, driven some 9 fathoms, showed "a pretty little rib" chiefly of zinc blende, "but there is nothing that savours of more than distant promise." In 1873 the 50 [?55] fm. level was a long way north, with one little bunch of ore, while the 65-fathom level had been driven 2 fathoms each way but showed no promise. In 1876 the mine had recently been reopened, and a little zinc-blende was found in the 40-fathom level by a cross-cut through what was supposed to be the wall. In 1877, at the bottom of the shaft below 65 fathoms time lode was only 4 inches wide at one end, and at the other showed two strings with 4 feet of ground between them, but not a speck of lead or zinc. The 65-fathom level had been driven 73 fms. [?] north and 80 fms. [?] south, and in the 25-fathom level a little blende had been found in a portion of the lode turning some 15 west of south. In 1879 the 100 [? 108] fm. level was 11 fathoms out on "some appearance of a vein, with a few cavities and crystals of dolomite, but utterly sterile for useful mineral." In the following year this level had come upon some good ribby lead ore, but it proved an isolated pocket. And finally, in 1881, we learn that the deepest level, at 108 fathoms, was out 70 fathoms with only one little blink of ore; that the shaft was deep enough for a 122 fathom level; and that an anomalous bunch of a few tons of very good ore had been found in the 25-fathom level in connection with a ‘slide.’ The next report mentions that the mine was dismantling.

1 MSS. in Woods and Forests Office.
2 Ibid.
3 There is some discrepancy in particulars between the plan of this mine deposited at the Home Office (No. 1509 in "List of Plans of Abandoned Mines ") and our other sources of information, The Home Office Plan gives the shaft a depth of 108 fms. only.

Dhoon or Rhennie Laxey Mine.

The operations known by this name, on which many thousands of pounds were expended without any return, were made for the purpose of testing a supposed lode occurring in Dhoon Glen, 400 yards east of the main road from Laxey to Ramsey. The early workings consisted of a shaft sunk in the glen on the ‘lode,’ from which a little lead ore was obtained. This shaft ultimately attained a depth of about 65 fathoms, with drivings at 10, 18 and 20 fathoms, in the last of which, north-west of the shaft, a little zincblende was revealed. All the workings were in the slate rocks. The most ambitious part of the later operations (between 1859 and 1869) took the form of a deep adit-level, starting low down in the great cliff of slate 500 yards S: of Dhoon Bay and going for 315 fathoms in a west-north-westerly direction as a cross-cut to intersect the vein, and afterwards pushed to within about 250 yards of the margin of the Dhoon Granite. The course of the lode is supposed to have been W. 10° to 20° N., with a southerly underline.1 The following excerpts from Sir W. .W. Smyth’s reports supply further information regarding these now inaccessible workings.2 In 1858 the vein is described as 4 to 6 feet wide, with occasional spots of lead ore; in 1866 Smyth states, "I regretted to pass through a long series of workings at the 20 fathom level which have proved entirely unproductive; a few small strings only, which run W.N.W. carry some lead ore, but they seem unimportant." In 1868 it is mentioned that the shaft had been holed to the level, but only a little zinc-blende found in the process, and that all the way in the level (¼ of a mile) to its mouth, not an available spot of mineral had been seen. In 1869 this level had been advanced 110 fathoms beyond the shaft, and the end was following a vein through soapy grey slate, but not exhibiting a speck or sign of any kind of ore.

Minor trials in the same glen included a short cross (10 or 12 fathoms) in slate on the spur between two streams, 200 yards E.N.E. of the shaft; and another in the upper part of the glen, a few yards west of the high road,. said to have a length of 35 fathoms, and to continue throughout in the tough boulder clay in which it starts.3

1 Information chiefly from Mr. W. H. Rowe.
2 MSS. in Woods and Forests Office.
3 Information chiefly from Mr. W. H. Rowe.


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