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Historic England Research Records

Ison Mine

Hob Uid: 1089174
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Winsford, Exton
Grid Ref : SS9080037100
Summary : A new mine was opened at Eisen Hill in 1854. By the late 1850s a small level (Office Level) had been driven behind the mining company's office, but this was soon abandoned. The main working was at Poorsland Adit and at two adits in Hoe Combe. The results were disappointing and by 1860 abandonment was considered. Extension of the Poorsland Adit after 1861 lead to a temporary increase in production. By 1867 further extensions to workings were made in Hoe Combe and further westwards, but by 1877 all work seems to have ended. The shafts, bell pits and tramway or road associated with the Eisen Mine are clearly visible on vertical aerial photographs. Three of the shafts are surrounded by curvilinear enclosures. The majority of the workings date from the second half of the 19th century but some surface workings could be earlier 19th century exploratory workings or even earlier attempts at surface extraction. The main workings comprise, from west to east: three possible adits; Mold's Pit', a hollow 10 m diameter and 0.3 m deep; `Passmore's Pit', with a shaft 6.2 m in diameter and 7 m deep, and the surrounding area is covered in spoil; `Hoe Combe Drift' shown on the OS mapping as `shaft (disused)' has a hedged enclosure around the shaft; `Poorsland Adit' is an exceptionally well preserved adit. To the immediate south of the adit is a possible building platform cut into the hillside; further disused shafts are then annotated on the OS map; another adit and to the east a possible bridge across the River Quarme; On the eastern bank of the river a raised embankment or causeway 2.4 m high presumably to allow ore to be moved to the nearby road (now the A396); `Office Level', in the garden of Ison Cottage, is a rock-cut opening, now blocked, 1.3 m high and 2 m wide. A very well made track is thought to be a tramway but is more likely to be a carefully graded road which allowed ore to be removed by vehicle.
More information : `Eisen Iron Mine' is recorded in the Somerset SMR. (1)

Sellick (2) records that a `new mine was opened at Eisen Hill in 1854' (2, p 17).
By the late 1850s a small level (Office Level) had been driven behind the mining company's office, but this was soon abandoned. The main working was at Poorsland Adit and at two adits in Hoe Combe. The results were disappointing and by 1860 abandonment was considered (2, p 28).
Extension of the Poorsland Adit after 1861 lead to a temporary increase in production. By 1867 further extensions to workings were made in Hoe Combe and further westwards, but by 1877 all work seems to have ended. (2, p 38)

The name `Eisen' is said to derive from the fact that German workers were employed in the mine. However, it appears on all Ordnance Survey map editions as `Ison', and that usage is followed here.

The majority of the workings date from the second half of the 19th century. However, at SS 9057 3713 is an area of surface workings which, although possibly exploratory workings associated with the 19th century phase, may represent earlier attempts at surface extraction.

The main workings are located at the following locations from west to east:
SS 8995 3713 (approx). Adit. See SS 83 NE 78.
SS 9002 3717 (approx). Adit?
SS 9005 3712 (approx). Adit?
SS 9031 3789 (approx). `Mold's Pit'. A hollow 10 m diameter and 0.3 m deep at the site of the NGR in improved pasture field.
SS 90423 37104. `Passmore's Pit'. The shaft is 6.2 m in diameter and 7 m deep, and below the surface becomes a square, rock-cut opening before becoming obscured by rubbish. The surrounding area is covered in spoil. The shaft is surrounded by a hedged enclosure bank topped by a beech hedge.
SS 9044 3706 (NGR from SMR account). Drift. No surface evidence, although ground surface is uneven in this area.
SS 90632 37096 (NGR from OS 1st edition 25" mapping). Drift. In improved pasture field. No surface evidence.
SS 90854 37105. `Hoe Combe Drift'. OS current edition 1:2500 mapping shows `shaft (disused)' and hedged enclosure around shaft.
SS 90915 37113. OS current edition 1:2500 scale mapping shows `shaft (disused)'.
SS 91042 37102. OS current edition 1:2500 mapping shows `shaft (disused)'.
SS 9110 3712. (NGR from SMR account). Adit.
SS 91493 37037. `Poorsland Adit'. An exceptionally well preserved adit. It comprises a stone arched opening 1.5 m high and 1.6 m wide. Water still isssues from the opening which runs back westwards into the hillside for 5 m. To the immediate south of the adit is a platform measuring 6 m by 3.5 m, and cut by 1.5 m into the hillside. It may have supported a building at the adit mouth. To the east of the adit (c. 20 m) is the River Quarme. This was presumably bridged at SS 91522 37031, where traces of stone revetments, 7 m long and 1.2 m high, survive. On the eastern bank of the river a raised embankment or causeway 2.4 m high presumably allowed ore to be moved to the nearby road (now the A396).
SS 91608 37008. `Office Level'. In the garden of Ison Cottage is a rock-cut opening, now blocked, 1.3 m high and 2 m wide.

Additional features are a very well made track which local tradition (unsubstantiated) suggests supported a tramway. It seems more likely that this track (which runs from SS 9093 3712 to SS 9152 3693) was a carefully graded road which allowed ore to be removed by vehicle.
The Ordnance Survey 1st edition 25" mapping of 1889 (3) shows an area of spoil? and small structures? at SS 9105 3717.
Field investigation as part of RCHME Exmoor Project, January 1998. (4)

The shafts, bell pits and tramway or road associated with the Eisen Mine are clearly visible on vertical aerial photographs. Three of the shafts are surrounded by curvilinear enclosures. These features
were plotted at 1:10,000 scale during the Brendon Hills Mapping Project. (5-6)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Somerset CC SMR 29 Sep 1986
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Sellick R 1970 `The West Somerset Mineral Railway'
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Source Number : 3
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : 1st edition 25" mapping, sheet Somerset 46.11 1889
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Source Number : 4
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : R Wilson-North 8 Jan 1998 RCHME Field Investigation
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Source Number : 5
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : OS OS/73087 574-5 14-APR-1973
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Source Number : 6
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF CPE/UK/1980 4345-7 11-APR-1947
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date :
Monument End Date : 1877
Monument Start Date : 1854
Monument Type : Ironstone Mine, Adit, Shaft, Bell Pit, Road, Magazine, Office, Tramway, Enclosure
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Structure, Earthwork, Conjectural Evidence

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Somerset)
External Cross Reference Number : 34211
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 93 NW 32
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1105474
Relationship type : Is referred to by

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, NAR/SMR DATA EXCHANGE PILOT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1986-01-01
End Date : 1986-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: BRENDON HILLS MAPPING PROJECT, NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 1998-01-01
End Date : 1998-10-01