Tin ingot

Contributed by Penlee House

Tin ingot or love token c. rcm

Could contain a hidden Jacobite messageAn ingot decorated with crowned hearts, symbolic of Cornwall's major export - tin. Tin has been extracted from Cornwall since prehistoric times and by the 18th century tin streaming, open works and shafts were all methods used to mine the tin lodes. Most tin was produced for export.

Cornwall was among the first counties to become industrialised with implications for the history of the world. Commercial smelting houses started up from about 1705. Before this there were blowing houses - much simpler structures - which reputedly were worth burning down every few years due to the amount of tin that lodged in the thatched roofs.

The ingot is dated 1705. The inscription is possibly for James Stuart and says 'This token I thee send becaus thou art my frend' - suggests it could well have been made for pro-Jacobite or Catholic religious Cornish gentry who supported the Old Pretender in the run-up to the 1715 Jacobite rebellion.

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