Dunchideock near Exeter in Devon is the most famous of all the treacle mines in England.
Its history was carefully recorded by members of the Nation Union of Treacle Miners (known as N.U.T.S.) When its history was researched and recorded, its members were not aware that it shared a long standing history with other treacle mines throughout England, but not in Yorkshire.
Whilst most treacle mines date back to the 17th century, an entry in an old leather account book - "To ye purchasing of five Wadkinnes for Donsedoc Treacle" whilst no date for entry was given, another page mentions a Wadkin being sent to London for the use of Regina Elizabetha; making it a sixteenth century manuscript.
The Dunchideock Treacle Mines was certainly active in Cromwellian times when the consumption of treacle had certain viagran attributes, showing a marked increase in the fertility. Sir James, owner of the Dunchideock mine had 16 children! The Rushford Treacle Mine, near Liverpool and the Bodiam mine on the Sussex/Kent border - had a laxative property, which upset some of the Cromwellian armies that were being fed on treacle.
The treacle from the Devon mines was exported to America. In Cambridge in Massachussetts there is a thriving treacle tasting society; they enjoy their treacle cookies.
The tax of 1781 was a tax on the quantity of treacle stored in Vats (8.5 Wadkins to 3 Vats). The tax was at the very high rate of 42 shillings pet Vat. (There is no tax on treacle now, but on so many other items, it is still known as the "Vat" tax or V.A.T. !!) These records, from Dunchideock, came following the study of documents from Dunchideock House, once the home of the Pitman family.
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