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HER Number:MDV22881
Name:Bedford Consols or Wheal Gawton Mine


Also known as Wheal Tool and Gawton Beam, this mine is thought to have had mid-17th century origins. Originally worked from surface level for tin, its two closely-aligned lodes were worked by two separate copper-mining concerns (Wheal Tool and Wheal Gawton) in the 18th to early 19th century. Combined in the 1850s as Bedford Consols.


Grid Reference:SX 457 693
Map Sheet:SX46NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishGulworthy
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishTAVISTOCK

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX46NE/551

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • TIN MINE (First mentioned, XVII - 1635 AD to 1675 AD (Between))
  • COPPER MINE (Constructed, XVIII to XIX - 1800 AD to 1899 AD (Between))

Full description

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV1142.

Worksheet contains details of above and copy of 1906 25" map (worksheet).

OS 1885, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV256256.

1885 map marks the mine as "copper, disused".2 shafts with a building nearby are shown to the ne, with another shaft and a building to the sw. The remains appear fairly widely scattered (os 1885).

OS 1906, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV256257.

Similar details are shown on the 1906 map, but one building at sx45946933 is no longer there (os 1906).

OS 1953, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV256258.

Main details also on modern 25" map, the remaining building is shown as a ruin an old level is also marked. There is no evidence for activity associated with the 20th century working (os 1953).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV256260.

Dines, h. G. /the metalliferous mining region of sw england vol 2/(1956)678- 679.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV256261.

Des=os 6" map/(1885)copy in parish file.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV256262.

Des=os 25" map/(1906)copy on worksheet.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV256263.

Des=os 25" map/(1953).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV256264.

Des=worksheet/weddell, p.(21/2/1984)in parish file.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV256265.

Richardson, p. H. G. /british mining/44(1992)129/mines of dartmoor and the tamar valley after 1913.

Dines, H. G., Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV265453.

Bedford consols. Copper. Worked intermittently for a period of over 40 years, records available for some years between 1854 and 1879. It was reactivated in 1915 and during the 1920s for arsenic as well as copper. Details of shafts and geology given (dines).

Cranstone, D., 1993, Monuments Protection Programme: The Copper Industry. Step 1 Report, Figure 20 (Report - non-specific). SDV355893.

Cranstone, D., 1993, Monuments Protection Programme: The Zinc Industry. Step 1 Report, Figure 7 (Report - non-specific). SDV355889.

Buck, C., 2006, Gawton Mine, Devon: Archaeological Assessment, 9-12 (Report - Assessment). SDV344672.

Bedford Consols, other wise known as Wheal Gawton Mine, began operations in 1848 when a lease was issued for 21 years. Initially the company concentrated on Copper or Main Lode, sinking four shafts known as Fullers, Baylys, Sims and Torkingtons. In 1856 three more shafts were sunk at the eastern end of the lode, and an engine house and water wheel erected. The mine is shown as Wheal Gawton on the Bedford Estate map and the Bedford Consols/Gawton lodes/shafts map, both dated 1867. By 1868 only one of the four shafts was being used, and the waterwheel and steam engine are said to have not been used much by the company. The site is believed to have been abandoned soon after when the mine concentrated on Kings Shaft, in the Gawton Quay site. Other details: Figures 5-6.

Waterhouse, R., 2017, The Tavistock Canal. Its History and Archaeology, 210-11, fig 6.68 (Monograph). SDV361789.

Wheal Tool is one of the setts mentioned in documentation as having been trialled / worked by the Tavistock Canal Company between 1816-28, although there has previously been some uncertainty over the location of this mine.
It is now known that it was a small working straddling the southern edge of Maddacleave Wood and the northern edge of Gawton Wood; may be identifiable with the tinwork known as Gawton Beam (listed by Cake in 1778, it had mid-17th century origins).
Pair of closely aligned lodes were worked in ancient times from surface for tin and by two separate copper-mining concerns in the 18th to early 19th centuries; one was Wheal Tool; the other Wheal Gawton.
In the 1850s the two lodes were combined under the name Bedford Consols. Finally closed in 1902. See Waterhouse for further details.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV1142Migrated Record:
SDV256256Migrated Record: OS 1885.
SDV256257Migrated Record: OS 1906.
SDV256258Migrated Record: OS 1953.
SDV256260Migrated Record:
SDV256261Migrated Record:
SDV256262Migrated Record:
SDV256263Migrated Record:
SDV256264Migrated Record:
SDV256265Migrated Record:
SDV265453Migrated Record: Dines, H. G..
SDV344672Report - Assessment: Buck, C.. 2006. Gawton Mine, Devon: Archaeological Assessment. Cornwall County Council Report. 2006R023. A4 Stapled + Digital. 9-12.
SDV355889Report - non-specific: Cranstone, D.. 1993. Monuments Protection Programme: The Zinc Industry. Step 1 Report. English Heritage Report. Digital + A4. Figure 7.
SDV355893Report - non-specific: Cranstone, D.. 1993. Monuments Protection Programme: The Copper Industry. Step 1 Report. English Heritage Report. Digital + A4. Figure 20.
SDV361789Monograph: Waterhouse, R.. 2017. The Tavistock Canal. Its History and Archaeology. The Tavistock Canal. Its History and Archaeology. Paperback Volume. 210-11, fig 6.68.

Associated Monuments

MDV77627Parent of: Air Shaft in Morwelldown Plantation (Monument)
MDV77626Parent of: Capstan in Morwelldown Plantation (Monument)
MDV77617Parent of: Engine and Boiler House in Morwelldown Plantation (Monument)
MDV77618Parent of: Engine Shaft in Morwelldown Plantation (Monument)
MDV77630Parent of: Flat Rod Building in Maddacleave Wood (Monument)
MDV77638Parent of: Flat Rod Cutting in Maddacleave Wood (Monument)
MDV77652Parent of: Horse Whim at Whim Shaft in Maddacleave Wood (Monument)
MDV77646Parent of: Lode Back Pits near Sims Shaft, Maddacleave Wood (Monument)
MDV77656Parent of: Mine Buildings in Maddacleave Wood (Monument)
MDV77655Parent of: Mine Waste Heap near Shallow Adit Portal, Maddacleave Wood (Monument)
MDV77612Parent of: North Shaft in Morwelldown Plantation (Monument)
MDV77653Parent of: Possible Angle Bob Pit in Maddacleave Wood (Monument)
MDV77657Parent of: Possible Former Sump House in Maddacleave Wood (Monument)
MDV77629Parent of: Possible Horse Whim in Morwelldown Plantation (Monument)
MDV77659Parent of: Possible Mine Magazine in Maddacleave Wood (Monument)
MDV77661Parent of: Possible Sump Shaft in Maddacleave Wood (Monument)
MDV22882Parent of: Powder Magazine, Bedford Consols Mine (Monument)
MDV77614Parent of: Probable Dressing Floor in Morwelldown Plantation (Monument)
MDV77615Parent of: Reservoir Pond in Morwelldown Plantation (Monument)
MDV77654Parent of: Shallow Adit Portal, Maddacleave Wood (Monument)
MDV77641Parent of: Sims Shaft, Maddacleave Wood (Monument)
MDV77643Parent of: Spoil Heaps near Sims Shaft, Maddacleave Wood (Monument)
MDV77603Parent of: Wheal Tool Mine (Monument)
MDV77613Parent of: Wheel Pit in Morwelldown Plantation (Monument)
MDV77650Parent of: Whim Shaft, Maddacleave Wood (Monument)
MDV5490Related to: Gawton Mine, West Devon (Monument)
MDV123232Related to: Tavistock Canal (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4746 - Archaeological Assessment of Gawton Mine, Devon
  • EDV4747 - Field Survey of Gawton Mine

Date Last Edited:Mar 31 2021 3:55PM