JOACHIM GAUNSE: A MINING INCIDENT IN THE REIGN OF QUEEN ELIZABETH

A new era in the history of English mining dawned in the sixteenth century. Then, as now, science as applied to industry was far more advanced on the Continent than in this country. In the opening years of Henry VIII. we thus find that the Cornish tin mines were worked by Frenchmen from Brittany, just as, if tradition be trustworthy, they had been worked by Jews in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Hunt, the chief historian of British mining, attributes the decay of the Cornish tin industry after the reign of Edward I. to the expulsion of the Jews.1 At all events it was not till the importation of foreign miners in the sixteenth century assumed extensive proportions, and strangely enough another Jew participated in working the English mines, that a revival occurred. William Pexwell, a merchant of Bristol, received Henry VIII.’s permission to employ Frenchmen from Croys ” in

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