Society evening walk on Tregonning Hill 25/5/2018

 Balwest Society evening meeting on the 25 May was for a walk on Tregonning hill lead by Godfrey Piper. The meet was well attended by 20+ members and friends but visibility limited our view from the hill.

 Tregonning Hill is the westerly of two granite hills overlooking Mount' Bay. Part of the hill is designated as a Site of Special Scientific which is a detached outcrop of the Cornubian batholite. The granite has been altered by kaolinization and china clay has been quarried, disused pits, gullies, waste-tips and debris litter the hillside.

The walk was to include a closer look at the Scrivener kiln at Tregonning Hill which is the only remaining building associated with the former 19th century Tregonning Hill Brick Works, the presence of horses deterred our venture into the field

The kiln, which now stands alone in a field was originally built as part of the Tregonning Hill China Clay and Brick Works established in the early 1870s. The kiln is likely to have been in use as part of the brickwork's for a period of approximately thirty five years before its abandonment. The excavation here have provided substantial information regarding the design, construction and layout of the kiln revealing the location of its adjoining chimney and flue as well as the entrance to the stoking chamber and details of the internal floor and below-floor structure. The granite and brick structure with its original domed roof (for the most part intact) is a fine example of a 19th century beehive Scrivener kiln, once common in Cornwall, but now becoming increasingly rare.


 Sid was able to add some information about the kiln

 Old map of the walk area 

William Cookworthy 

 William Cookworthy began to research the porcelain-making process and spent several years searching for a material that resembled the kaolin that had been used for so long in China. In 1745 he eventually found it, at Tregonning Hill, where a rare type of decomposed granite, finer than most talcum powders, arises naturally.

China clay, as the name suggests, is a material known as kaolin which was first used in China more than ten thousand years ago to make fine white porcelain. Some of this eventually made it's way to Europe, where the gentry still had to make do with crude earthenware pots, and porcelain was highly sought-after.