Hingston Down

Coordinates: 50°31′16″N 4°14′50″W / 50.521°N 4.2473°W / 50.521; -4.2473
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50°31′16″N 4°14′50″W / 50.521°N 4.2473°W / 50.521; -4.2473

The northern slope of Hingston Down.
Engine house on Hingston Down.

Hingston Down is a hill not far from Gunnislake in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It is the subject of an old rhyme, due to the prolific tin mining that formerly took place in the area:

Hingston Down well ywrought
Is worth London Town dearly bought.[1]

This Hingston Down should not be confused with the Hingston Down at 50°39′40″N 3°44′46″W / 50.661°N 3.746°W / 50.661; -3.746, a hill spur about a mile east of the town of Moretonhampstead in the neighbouring county of Devon.


The hill is usually accepted as the place mentioned in an entry in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for 835 (corrected by scholars to 838) which says that Ecgberht king of the West Saxons defeated an army of Vikings and Cornish at the Battle of Hingston Down (Hengestdūn = "Stallion Hill").[2]


The Hingston Down Consols mine on the hill is the type locality for the mineral Arthurite,[3] which was discovered here.[4] There is also a quarry on the hill,[5] which forms the Hingston Down Quarry & Consols Site of Special Scientific Interest, noted for its mineralisation.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Formerly: "Hingston Down well y-wrought / Is worth London Town dear y-bought."
    1. Carew, Richard (1811) [1602]. Francis Lord de Dunstanville (ed.). Survey of Cornwall. London: T. Bensley. p. 272. The country people have a bye-word, that Hengsten Down, well yrought, / Is worth London Town, dear ybought. Which grew from the store of tin, in former times, there digged up: but that gainful plenty is now fallen to a scant-saving scarcity.
    2. Chope, R. Pearse (1918). "Thomas Bushell and the Cornish Mines". Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 10: 152–153. Retrieved 10 February 2020. He was also interested in 'some of the Mynes Royall in Cornwall,' and particularly in Hingston Down, in order to obtain a verification of the old proverb:—Hingston Down well y-wrought, / Is worth London Town dear y-bought." And, "The only probable means to enrich these Western parts, and your other Territories with inestimable treasure, by following his example in all drowned and deserted Works; And because we find he hath no more desire to Partnership than the assistance of Providence, and your Highness patronising this his commendable Enterprise, nor any other ambition then gratitude to the memory of that great Philosopher, his deceased Master, the Lord Chancellor Bacon, and to make our Age the president and honor of fulfilling the old proverb, Hingston-Down welly wrought, is worth London-Town dearey bought.
    3. Grose, Francis (1787). A Provincial Glossary. S. Hooper. Hengston-down, well ywrought, / Is worth London-town dear ybought. Hengston-down was supposed not only to be extremely rich in tin, but also to have in its bowels Cornish diamonds, vulgarly estimated superior to those of India. In Fuller's time the tin began to fail here, having fallen, as he terms it, to a scant-saving scarcity. As to the diamonds, no one has yet judged it worth his while to dig for them.
    4. Harper, Charles G. (1910). The Cornish Coast (South) and the Isles of Scilly. Chapman & Hall. p. 3. 'Hingston Down, well wrought, / Is worth London, dear bought.' So runs the ancient rhyme. It has been 'well wrought,' not yet perhaps to the value indicated above, and now its scarred sides are deserted; but perhaps another instalment of London's ransom may yet be mined out of it.
    5. Howell, James (1660). Paroimiographia Proverbs; or, Old Sayed-sawes & Adages in English (or the Saxon Toung). Hinkeson Down welly wrought, is worth London town dearly bought; because of the Tinn-mines." And, "Hinckeson-Down welly wrought, / Is worth London Town dearly bought; A Cornish Proverb, because of rich tinne Mines there.
    6. Payton, Philip (1984). The Cornish Miner in Australia: Cousin Jack Down Under. Dyllansow Turan. p. 185. ISBN 9780907566519. As elsewhere in Australia, the survivals of Cornish culture in the West included the usual sprinkling of Cornish sayings and superstitions. There were clearly memories of the seventeenth-century rhyme 'Hingston Down well-y-wrought, Is London town dear-y-bought', for an up-dated version – 'Caradon Hill well wrought, Is worth London Town dear bought' – was current on the goldfields.
  2. ^ See, for example: Higham, Robert (2008). Making Anglo-Saxon Devon. Exeter: The Mint Press. p. 64. ISBN 978-1-903356-57-9.
    In the October 2007 issue of Cornish World Magazine, Craig Weatherhill suggested the Hingston Down near Moretonhampstead in Devon as a more likely location. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 May 2008. Retrieved 29 June 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  3. ^ Hingston Down Consols, Gunnislake Area, Callington District, Cornwall, England, UK
  4. ^ Embrey, P. G.; Symes, R. F. (1987). "The mines and mining". Minerals of Cornwall and Devon. London: British Museum (Natural History). p. 58. ISBN 0-565-00989-3.
  5. ^ Hingston Down Quarry, Gunnislake Area, Callington District, Cornwall, England, UK
  6. ^ "Hingston Down Quarry & Consols" (PDF). Natural England. 1995. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 1 November 2011.