Ore Floor

To the left of the Gig Shed is an extensive area floored with rough cobbles and largely enclosed by rubble stone walls. It is now the car park for the Rashleigh Arm and is the largest and best preserved ore floor; a feature which would have been common throughout the village from the mid 1800’s.

The copper ore was cleaned and crushed at the nearby mine and was brought to Charlestown by horse and cart. It was tipped onto ore floors in 10-tonne piles (or ‘doles’) where it was stored prior to being sampled by an assayer who would determine the copper content prior to sale and export. The copper-ore floors were areas of land from which the topsoil had been removed. As the trade increased the areas were covered with purpose-built stone surfaces; this improved the quality of the ore and also provided better access. Any stone that was convenient and to hand was used to dress the floors. Here, at the Rashleigh Arms ore floor there are traces of limestone left over from that imported for lime-burning, and stone alien to the area likely to be discarded ballast of incoming ships; it has been identified as stone from Plymouth, Scotland, Scandinavia and France.