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HER Number:MDV5004
Name:Swell Tor Quarries, Dartmoor

Summary

Swell Tor Quarry. Probably began working soon after opening of Plymouth to Dartmoor Railway, in September 1823. Closed in late 1930s. Dressed granite from Swell Tor was supplied for widening of London Bridge. Several buildings surveyed in 2000.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 560 732
Map Sheet:SX57SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishWalkhampton
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishWALKHAMPTON

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Earthwork and structural remains on Walkhampton Common including 19th century Swelltor and Foggintor Quarries, a section of the early 19th century Plymouth and Dartmoor Tramway, later converted to railway, also streamworks along the Yes Tor Brook

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57SE/111
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57SE/111/10
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57SE/111/11
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57SE/111/12
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57SE/111/13
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57SE/111/14
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57SE/111/2
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57SE/111/5
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57SE/111/6
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57SE/111/7
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57SE/111/8
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57SE/111/9
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • GRANITE QUARRY (XIX to World War II - 1823 AD to 1939 AD? (Between))
  • INDUSTRIAL BUILDING (XIX - 1835 AD to 1899 AD (Between))
  • OFFICE (XIX - 1835 AD to 1875 AD (Between))
  • BLACKSMITHS WORKSHOP (XIX - 1850 AD to 1899 AD (Between))
  • DRESSING SHED (XIX to XX - 1850 AD to 1935 AD (Between))
  • EXPLOSIVES STORE (XIX - 1850 AD to 1899 AD (Between))
  • FOREMANS HOUSE (XIX - 1850 AD to 1899 AD (Between))
  • WEIGHBRIDGE (XIX - 1850 AD to 1899 AD (Between))
  • BUILDING (XX - 1901 AD to 2000 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1904 - 1906, Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map (Cartographic). SDV325644.

'Swelltor Quarries' marked on Ordnance Survey 6 inch historic (1906) map.


Minchinton, W. E., 1973, Industrial Archaeology in Devon, 26 (Monograph). SDV7016.


National Monument Record, 1976, SX5672, 3 (Aerial Photograph). SDV267145.


Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, Aerial Photograph Project (Interpretation). SDV319854.

Quarry, Swell Tor Quarries, disused. Visible on aerial photographs and recorded on map overlay.


Stanier, P., 1986, Granite quarrying in Devon and Cornwall, 22, 184 (Article in Serial). SDV283053.


Passmore, A., 2000, An Archaeological Survey of Swell Tor Quarry Buildings, Walkhampton, Devon, 10, 13 (Report - Survey). SDV260532.

Swell Tor Quarry. Probably began working soon after opening of Plymouth to Dartmoor Railway, in September 1823. Closed in late 1930s. Dressed granite from Swell Tor was supplied for widening of London Bridge.
The Building Assessment
Late 19th century blacksmith's shop constructed of quarried waste granite bonded with various lime mortars, measures 9 metres by 7 metres. Two of the four walls survive to full height of 2.65 metres above ground level. Relationship between the walls indicates two phases of development, with the best-preserved being later additions. Three internal features are visible: stone built structures against two of the walls, and a stone with four protruding bolts. The base of the forge survives, and tumble within and outside the building represents the remains of the collapsed forge and chimney. The stone with metal bolts may be the base of the anvil, and a structure and associated rubble near opposite wall is probably a second forge. Building is now roofless, but mortar bonding for a corrugated iron roof survives. Window and door openings have reinforced concrete lintels and mortar for supporting wooden frames.
Offices. Small square building, replaced by larger rectangular structure, with interior features. Mid-19th century, 13.3 by 5.6 metres, by 1.8 metres high. Possibly had a tar roof.
Late-19th century explosives store. Probably associated with quarry to the north-east of the main complex. Constructed of quarried waste granite, with a roof of large slabs of granite. Door on eastern side. Measures 2.65 by 4.15 metres, by 1.10 metres high. Similar to circular building at Holwell Tor Quarry.
Weighbridge. Late-19th century. Built of quarried waste granite, with a door on the east side. Measures 2.7 by 3.7 metres by 1.5 metres high.
Mid 19th century building. Only 1 course of quarried waste granite survives, measuring 3.20 by 1.20 metres, by 0.03 metres high.
Late 19th century mason's dressing shed. Constructed with granite rear walls. Seems to be open fronted, with roof supported on iron 'I' plates. Measures 12 by 10 metres, by 2 metres high.
Foreman's office. Late 19th century, measuring 4.7 by 4.75 metres. Two foundation courses of large dressed granite blocks survive , with a porch to the north.
Late 19th century building, possibly a store. Two surviving walls constructed of quarried waste granite. Measures 3 by 1 by 2 metres.
Late 19th century building, probably a shelter. Built of quarried waste granite, with entrance on north side. Measures 3.1 by 3.6 metres by 0.5 metres high.
Probably mid-19th century buildings, measuring 3.35 by 2.90 metres, by 0.60 metres high, constructed of quarried waste granite, with door in north-western corner.
Early 20th century mason's dressing shed. Constructed of quarried waste granite, with an internal division and a chimney at the south end. 19.5 by 8.7 by 1.4 metres high.


Ordnance Survey, 2013, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV350786.

Quarry is depicted on the modern mapping.

Sources / Further Reading

  • Report - Survey: Passmore, A.. 2000. An Archaeological Survey of Swell Tor Quarry Buildings, Walkhampton, Devon. A4 Comb Bound + Digital. 10, 13.
  • Aerial Photograph: National Monument Record. 1976. SX5672. National Monument Record Aerial Photograph. Unknown. 3.
  • Article in Serial: Stanier, P.. 1986. Granite quarrying in Devon and Cornwall. Industrial Archaeology Review. 9.1. 22, 184.
  • Interpretation: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. Aerial Photograph Project. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Aerial Photograph P. Cartographic.
  • Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
  • Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2013. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #93681 ]
  • Monograph: Minchinton, W. E.. 1973. Industrial Archaeology in Devon. Industrial Archaeology in Devon. Paperback Volume. 26.

Associated Monuments

MDV61879Parent of: Blacksmith's shop at Swell Tor Quarry (Building)
MDV51526Parent of: Remains of engine house at Swell Tor Quarry (Building)
MDV28209Related to: Branch railway at Swell Tor Quarry (Monument)
MDV5005Related to: Foggintor Quarry, Princetown (Monument)
MDV19112Related to: Plymouth and Dartmoor Railway (Dartmoor section) (Monument)
MDV51527Related to: Remains of smithy at Swell Tor Quarry (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7384 - Survey of buildings at Swell Tor Quarry, Walkhampton

Date Last Edited:Mar 13 2018 11:20AM