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HER Number:MDV114098
Name:The Vulcan Ironworks, Chagford


No longer extant. To the rear of Bowden's stores, is the site of the Vulcan Iron Works, which was also the location of the first Chagford fire station between 1864-1941; the engine was kept in a shed next to Bowden's forge.


Grid Reference:SX 699 875
Map Sheet:SX68NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishChagford
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishCHAGFORD

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • IRON WORKS (XIX - 1830 AD to 1860 AD (Between))
  • FIRE STATION (XIX to Mid 20th Century - 1864 AD to 1961 AD (Between))

Full description

Devon County Council, 1838-1848, Tithe Mosaic, approximately 1838-1848 (Cartographic). SDV349431.

Nothing much is shown on the Tithe Map at the rear of this plot(s); 97/98 on the apportionment. One building shown is thought to have been a barn; see related record for Webber's stores.

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

The late 19th century historic map shows a range of new buildings have been constructed, which presumably include the iron works and the site of the fire engine. Map object based on this source.

Rice, I., 2002, The Book of Chagford. A Town Apart, 71-2, 114, 117 (Monograph). SDV356605.

Chagford’s first properly constituted, paid, trained and equipped fire brigade was established in 1864 with a captain, 12 uniformed firemen and a nearly-new manual Shand Mason fire engine all provided by the Exeter office of the Royal Insurance Company. This was unusual for a town as small as Chagford at the time.
The fire engine was kept in a shed next to Mr Bowden’s Forge and it was drawn to the site of emergencies by a pair of horses obtained locally when required. The alarm was originally raised by ‘clashing’ the church bells haphazardly but problems with the bell cage in 1895 led to the use of ‘maroons’, as used to summon the crews of lifeboats.
There were several smithy sites in Chagford, of which the Vulcan Iron Works was sited here, at what is now the rear of Bowden's shop. As well as the normal farm work of shoeing horses and making other farm implements and fittings, the Chagford smithies undertook quite a lot of manufacture of new machinery. The remains of the iron-framed water wheel at Lapford Mill in mid-Devon bears the mark of the Vulcan Iron Works, which suggests a foundry as well as a forge.

Ordnance Survey, 2016, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV359352.

The modern map indicates that little shown on the late 19th century historic map remains unchanged. One building appears to have been retained however, a rectangular building aligned north-west by south-east lying across the end of the plot. Further modern buildings have been added south-west of this structure. Map object based on this source.

Visit Chagford, 2016, Visit Chagford website, Accessed 22/01/2016 (Website). SDV359375.

James Bowden (1837 - 1921) came from Meavy in 1862 and bought the Forge in Mill Street from a Mr Ireland. This became Vulcan Iron Works as it developed into making agricultural tools and machinery alongside the shoeing of horses. The forge closed in 1956.

Brown, A., 2018, 46-48 The Square, Chagford, Devon Phase 1 area results of archaeological monitoring and recording (Report - Watching Brief). SDV363750.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV349431Cartographic: Devon County Council. 1838-1848. Tithe Mosaic, approximately 1838-1848. Digitised Tithe Map. Digital.
SDV356605Monograph: Rice, I.. 2002. The Book of Chagford. A Town Apart. The Book of Chagford. Hardback Volume. 71-2, 114, 117.
SDV359352Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2016. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.
SDV359375Website: Visit Chagford. 2016. Visit Chagford website. http://www.visitchagford.com. Website. Accessed 22/01/2016.

Associated Monuments

MDV33174Related to: 31 New Street, Chagford (Building)
MDV114103Related to: Barn behind The Ring of Bells, Chagford (Building)
MDV114102Related to: Barns behind Webbers and Son, Chagford (Building)
MDV33265Related to: Belmont, Mill Street, Chagford (Building)
MDV114106Related to: James Bowden and Son, Chagford (Building)
MDV114129Related to: Lloyds Bank, Chagford (Building)
MDV80270Related to: Outbuildings at Gregory's Forge, Chagford (Building)
MDV114175Related to: The Crown Iron Works, Chagford (Monument)
MDV114079Related to: Webbers and Son, Chagford (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6909 - Historic Building Survey of Webbers Hardware Stores, The Square, Chagford (Ref: 2015.01)
  • EDV8302 - Monitoring and recording at 46-48 The Square (Ref: ACD1543)

Date Last Edited:Jul 20 2020 11:13AM