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Bampfylde Mine

Hob Uid: 35097
Location :
Devon
North Devon
North Molton
Grid Ref : SS7374432701
Summary : The remains of the Bampfylde Mine complex. A copper and iron mine is documented here in 1346, but the remaining works date to the 17th century and later. Abandoned in 1778, the mine was reopened in 1815 and finally ceased operations in 1880. The remains are visible as a series of earthworks and ruined buildings representing the crusher house, mine-captain's house and powder house. There are undoubtedly more remains than have so far been observed.
More information : (SS 738328) Bamfylde Mines at Heasley Mills were extensively mined for copper in the 17th and early 18th centuries. After being abandoned before 1778 and then re-opened about 1815 they were finally closed down in the 1880s. (1)

The remains of the Bampfylde copper (and iron) mining complex are centred at SS 7390 3268. They occupy the steep sided and predominantly wooded and afforested valley of the River Mole (here flowing north-south), and cover approximatley 9 ha.

Documentary evidence suggests that copper was being mined here from the 14th century (2). Intense activity began at the end of the 17th century. By 1724 workings existed on either side of the valley, and pumping was by water power. The mine is marked by Donn in 1765 (3). There is a sectional drawing through the mine workings on the eastern side of the River Mole dated 1772 (4). Work ceased shortly after this and the mine was only re-opened in 1803-4. The 19th century saw a continuing exploitation of the workings, by various companies. By mid-century an attempt was made to work the gold deposits within the copper lodes, but it proved uneconomic. The 1870's saw an increasing interest in iron production, and a corresponding fall in the levels of copper production. Copper production appears to have ceased altogether in 1880, and the North Devon Mining Co. was finally closed in 1885 (2).

The copper deposits are on three principal west-east lodes on either side of the valley. These were worked by a system of shafts and adits. Power was supplied by water from the 1720's onwards, and a system of leats brought water into the complex from the north and north-east (see SS 73 SW 15 and 24). The remains of five wheel pits are visible at SS 73793281, SS 73793273, SS 7389 3279, SS 7392 3265 and SS 7392 3251. These were used variously for pumping and winding and for processing. In association with one of the pits (at SS 7392 3265) is a crusher house. It is a rectangular structure measuring 4.5m by 3.5m internally and standing to 5.2m in height. The walls are 0.8m thick, and there is a doorway 1.2m wide at the eastern end of the south wall. The wheel pit itself measures 9.5m in length, and is cigar shaped with a central width of 2.2m which tapers towards either end to 1.4m. It is 3.2m deep.

The wheel pit at SS 7392 3251, at the southern end of the complex is probably associated with the exploitation of iron at Bampfylde in the 1870's. It is some 5.5m long, 1.4m wide and stands to 1.5m in height. Adjacent to it on the east side is a structure 3.7m square internally. It stands to a maximum of 2m in height and has a doorway, 1.2m wide, at the western end of the south wall. Immediately adjacent to it is a stockpile of iron ore. The iron workings associated with it are some 75m to the west (2). The wheel was fed by a leat from the north, on the eastern slopes of the Mole valley (see plan). This was probably a continuation of SS 73 SW 15.
The processing of the copper ore was carried out in the area around SS 7390 3265. All that now survives in this area are the remains of a series of rectangular ponds within a deep gulley (or lobby) running parallel with the River Mole, but separated from it by a massive embankment of spoil 4.5m high. To the east is a north-south roughly level area. A photograph taken in 1870 shows a number of buildings in this area, perhaps associated with the dressing of the ore (5, p179). A platform at SS 7393 3278 with traces of stone footings upon it is all that remains of this feature. To the south the River Mole occupies a cutting 2.5m deep for some 220m. The early Ordnance Survey editions show that this stretch of the river originally was connected only with the series of ponds already described. As such, therefore, it was probably built to act as a tailings pond for the complex. After the abandonment of the mines the River Mole presumably burst through from the course shown on the early Ordnance Survey editions and occupied the deeper artificial cutting.

At SS 7387 3280 are the remians of the Mine-Captain's house. This is depicted on the Ordnance Survey 1st edition 25" mapping of 1886, but is shown roofless by the 2nd edition of 1906. The building survives as a complex of rooms and disjointed sections of walling nowhere higher than 0.9m, with heaps of collapsed masonry.

On the western side of the River Mole and adjacent to the modern road at SS 7383 3275 are the remains of a possible row of rectangular structures measuring 28.8m by 4.1m, with walls standing to 0.8m. On the western side of the road at SS 7382 3273 are the remains of further structures overlaid by spoil or dumping. Only the eastern and extreme southern tip of the complex is visible.

At SS 7383 3266 are the remains of a small rectangular building measuring 2.7m by 2.0m internally and with walls 1.4m in height and 0.6m thick. It is alleged to be a powder house. The remains of a former engine house are visible at SS 7357 3274. They consist of a rectangular block with walls surviving to a little above ground level, except at the north end of the eastern side where they are 2.5m high. A pair of stone lined pits 1.3m square, to the west are associated with the head gear for the shaft.

The central part of the Bampfylde complex was surveyed at 1:1250, March 1993 (6-9).

The shafts and several of the buildings associated with Bampfylde Mine are clearly visible on aerial photographs of the area which were examined as part of the Exmoor National Park National Mapping Project in 2009 (10-11).

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Gen View of Agriculture 1813 (C Vancouver)
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Source Number : 2
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Claughton PF unpublished report in Devon SMR parish file.
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Source Number : 11
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF CPE/UK/1980 3380-81 11-APR-1947
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Source Number : 2
Source : Devonshire Association reports and transactions
Source details : (A H Slee)
Page(s) : 217
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Vol(s) : 70, 1938
Source Number : 3
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Donn B 1765 "A map of the County of Devon".
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Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Blake J "A section of the Eastern Part of the West Wood Copper Mines at North Molton". Photographic copy in NMR.
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Source Number : 5
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Dixon D 1983 "Mining and the Community in the parishes of North Molton, South Molton, Molland and Twitchen, Devonshire" unpub. PhD thesis, University of Southampton.
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Source Number : 6
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Wilson-North WR 6-APR-93 RCHME Field Investigation.
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Source Number : 8
Source : Bampfylde copper and iron mining complex/ink survey
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Source Number : 9
Source : Bampfylde copper and iron mining complex/pencil survey
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Source Number : 10
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 106G/UK/1420 3442-43 15-APR-1946
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Documented 1346
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1066
Monument Type : Copper Mine, Ironstone Mine
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Opened C17
Monument End Date : 1770
Monument Start Date : 1600
Monument Type : Copper Mine, Ironstone Mine
Evidence : Earthwork, Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Abandoned 1778
Monument End Date : 1778
Monument Start Date : 1778
Monument Type : Ironstone Mine, Copper Mine
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Extant 1815-1880
Monument End Date : 1880
Monument Start Date : 1815
Monument Type : Copper Mine, Ironstone Mine, Adit, Leat, Shaft, Spoil Heap, Crushing Mill, Dressing Floor, Wheel Pit, Bob Setting, Boiler House, Chimney, Horizontal Steam Engine, Powder Magazine, Transmission Rods, Engine House
Evidence : Earthwork, Ruined Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 709
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 398775
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1581
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 33710
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 46112
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 46852
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 46853
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 46857
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 46856
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 46867
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : HER Number (Exmoor National Park)
External Cross Reference Number : MDE1219
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 73 SW 8
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 917543
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1462009
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 917392
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 917543
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 917642
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 917662
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: WEST EXMOOR PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1993-01-01
End Date : 1996-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2007-04-01
End Date : 2009-07-01