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HER Number:MDV106396
Name:Leat to West of River Lumburn


Leat shown on early 20th century map, to west of River Lumburn, north of Shillamill Viaduct.


Grid Reference:SX 463 723
Map Sheet:SX47SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishGulworthy
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishTAVISTOCK

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Structures, earthworks and below-ground mining features associated with Wheal Crebor Mine including a former canal and railway, east of Buctor Farm

Other References/Statuses

  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • LEAT (XIX to XX - 1880 AD to 1906 AD (Between))

Full description

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

Leat shown running south from River Lumburn, just to the south of the Tavistock canal aquaduct, to a small building to the north-west of the Shillamill Viaduct, and from there south-east back into the river at the point it flows under the viaduct.
Map object based on this source.

Payne, S., 2014, Buctor Farm Environment Plan (Personal Comment). SDV356350.

Leat taking water from the Lumburn near the canal bridge at circa 246265,72606, running southwards to pumping house with waterwheel at 246475,72123. A weir on modern maps just south of the bridge is not depicted on historic maps but could be associated with this water management system.

Ordnance Survey, 2014, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV355681.

Map object based on this source.

Buck, C., 2015, Buctor Farm, Tavistock (Report - Assessment). SDV359746.

This study was commissioned by the landowner on behalf of Natural England as part of a Higher Level Environmental Stewardship Agreement Scheme and produced by Cornwall Archaeological Unit, Cornwall Council.

In the late 1890s the Morwelldown Water Works Company was formed to supply water to a number of Bedford Estates farms, gravity fed from a central reservoir in the Morwelldown Plantation (SX 45757 71603) – this being seen a cheaper alternative than individually supplying ‘mains’ water to a number of farms. ‘ ‘Two pump houses were built, supplying water to farms as far away as Orestocks in the south and Chipshop in the north’ (R Waterhouse pers comm).

The water supply was via a long leat starting at the base of the Lumburn canal aqueduct, via a weir. Although parts of the leat date from the inception of the Shillamill Manganese mill (Site 15 - c1840), its upper 250 metres and the weir date from the installation of this pump house (between 1884 and 1906). ‘The weir is partly constructed of large recycled granite blocks and slabs, at least one of which is a doorpost from an early 17th century high status building. Its sluice was housed between well-constructed stone walls with triangular section granite cappings. The sluice has gone, but a mesh filter to keep vegetable matter out of the leat survives in situ’ (R Waterhouse pers comm). The leat route (see Fig 40, site inventory), runs along the floor of the Lumburn Valley and intersects (cutting through) the former lower mine waste spoil tip (Site 47), before continuing along the valley floor (in places following the former 1840’s Manganese Mill leat; Site 15). The leat enters the pump house (MDV106400) on the west side via a small earth/stone aqueduct. The tail-race for the water leaves the building via a small tunnel set into its east side before re-joining the River Lumburn further down the valley.

Waterhouse, R., 2017, The Tavistock Canal. Its History and Archaeology, 240, fig 2.10 (Monograph). SDV361789.

Morwelldown Waterworks Leat of c.1890. See publication for further details.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV355681Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2014. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.
SDV356350Personal Comment: Payne, S.. 2014. Buctor Farm Environment Plan.
SDV359746Report - Assessment: Buck, C.. 2015. Buctor Farm, Tavistock. Cornwall Archaeological Unit. 2015R055. Digital.
SDV361789Monograph: Waterhouse, R.. 2017. The Tavistock Canal. Its History and Archaeology. The Tavistock Canal. Its History and Archaeology. Paperback Volume. 240, fig 2.10.

Associated Monuments

MDV106400Related to: Pumping House to North-west of Shillamill Viaduct (Building)
MDV106404Related to: Reservoir in Morwelldown Plantation (Monument)
MDV21285Related to: Shillamill, Gulworthy (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7058 - Archaeological Management Plan, Buctor Farm, Tavistock (Ref: 2015R055)

Date Last Edited:May 9 2019 5:49PM