By William Phillips, Member of the Geological Society.
A Visit to the county of Cornwall in the year 1800, the inducements to which were the objects of mining and mineralogical inquiry, afforded me many opportunities of conversing with practical miners. The subject was new to me; and it was with considerable pleasure that I listened to the many striking and interesting facts detailed by men ever ready to communicate the information they possess, and whose minds, as repeated visits to the County have since confirmed to be their characteristic, are habitually disposed to industrious ingenuity. It may well be supposed that the foremost of these subjects was the nature and peculiarities of veins, or as they are technically termed, loads, or courses. Having learned that the run, or direction
- I have been at some pains to discover the original meaning of the term lode, or loads as the technical appellation of the east and west, or metalliferous veins of Cornwall. Borlase in his natural history of the county treats at page 146 of the Fissure, and the next chapter begins thus: ‘ From the Fissures let us proceed to that which they contain, whatever tills them, we call a lead;’ making a distinction between the fissure or vein and the substances it contains. He says in the same chapter ‘ where the load is barren, it may serve to lead us to what is rich;’ and in a note, concludes the term lode to be an old Anglo-Saxon word, meaning lead; thus load-stone, meaning leading-stone, ’ and refers to Lye's Junius ad verbam. Without going so far back for an authority which nevertheless may be correct, I am induced to believe the term lode, though thus spelt by Borlase and Price, originally meant the burthen or load of the metalliferous vein. Carew, whose survey was published almost a century ago, not only so spells it, but at p. 8, in speaking of the effects of the flood on the rocks of the county, says it carried away so much of the ‘ load as was contained therein.‘ Besides it is to be noticed, that the north and south I veins, which are not metalliferous, are uniformly termed courses, making a clear technical distinction between unproductive and metalliferous veins.