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HER Number:MDV24833
Name:Crane Lake Mine


Also known as Wheal Katherine Tin Mine. Earthwork remains of a tin mine and associated tinworks including tin processing which was documented in 1792. The mine subsequently changed its name to Wheal Katherine and was part of Eylesbarrow Mine. An archaeological field survey in 1994 recorded a range of features which included openworks, reservoirs, leats, pits and shafts covering an area of 20 hectares. Two openworks were surveyed, these measured up to 25 metres in width and 8 metres in depth. Both were well preserved with sharply cut sides and were supplied by water from the reservoirs by a series of leats and channels. Several hundred pits were also recorded. These ranged in diameter from 3 metres to 15 metres and were up to 1.5 metres deep.


Grid Reference:SX 608 684
Map Sheet:SX66NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX66NW127
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 1063879
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX66NW/166
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX66NW/213/22
  • Old SAM Ref: 34468

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • TRIAL PIT (Early Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1750 AD)
  • ADIT (Constructed, XVIII - 1792 AD (Between) to 1792 AD (Between))
  • EXTRACTIVE PIT (Constructed, XVIII - 1792 AD (Between) to 1792 AD (Between))
  • MINE SHAFT (Constructed, XVIII - 1792 AD (Between) to 1792 AD (Between))
  • TIN MINE (Constructed, XVIII - 1792 AD (Between) to 1792 AD (Between))
  • TIN WORKS (Constructed, XVIII - 1792 AD (Between) to 1792 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1946 - 1949, Royal Air Force Aerial Photographs, 1890/4355 (Aerial Photograph). SDV342938.

Small openwork at Grid Reference SX60656828.

Cook, R. M. L., 1974, Eylesbarrow (1814- 1852): A Study of a Dartmoor Tin Mine, 161-214 (Article in Serial). SDV231127.

Gerrard, S., 1990-2002, Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset., MPP 157318 & 157291 (Report - Survey). SDV277946.

MPP 157318 (09/05/2002) SX60816837 Prospecting trench 20 metres west of Plym Ford, forming part of Wheal Katherine tin mine. Pit 4 metres wide and 1.6 metres deep with some material upcast on the south side but most removed by water. At the southern end is a linear mound which measures 6 metres wide by 1.1 metres high. The prospecting trench diverts around both sides of this mound. Grass, heather and rushes.).2
MPP 157291 (15/05/2002) SX60706836 Streamwork 350 metres west of Plym Ford forming part of Wheal Katherine Tin Mine.
Wheal Katherine, 340m west-south-west of Plym Ford, forming an outlying part of Eylesbarrow Tin Mine. A series of dumps and hollows lie in the base of this substantial gully. Stones protrude in places. This streamwork is earlier than all of the activity associated with Wheal Katherine.

Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England, 1993-1998, Dartmoor Royal Forest Project (Report - Survey). SDV346608.

(01/11/1994) Centred SX 608684. Approximately 20ha of post-medieval tinworking remains in the area of the former Crane Lake Mine (TDA, 1974) latterly called Wheal Katherine and part of the Eylesbarrow Mine sett (Monument HOB UID 438809). The remains are concentrated to the east of a massive streamwork (Monument HOB UID 1063602) on Crane Lake and comprise openworks, reservoirs, leats, tin pits and shafts.
The tin lodes in this area extend in a southwest to northeast direction and this is reflected in the orientation of the openworks. The two examples in this area (a and b), adjoining the earlier workings on Crane Lake, are particularly large measuring up to 25m wide and 8.0m deep with well preserved sharply cut sides. The shorter, west, working is unusual in that its upper, southwest, end has apparently been cut through solid granite. Though on the same alignment it is interesting to note that these two workings are slightly staggered either side of Crane Lake. A further, rather amorphous opencast working (c), conforming to the general lode orientation, lies to the east of the two more typical examples.
The water supply system associated with openwork (a) remains largely in situ. Water was brought by a leat from the headmire of Crane Lake to a massive reservoir (d) which fed the north side of the workings via several short channels. A smaller reservoir (e) serviced by the same leat supplied the east edge of the Crane Lake streamworks which may have been reworked during this period. Opencast workings at (f) above the north bank of the River Plym were apparently supplied with water by leats (g) from reservoir (d) and from the river itself.
Several hundred tin pits ranging from 3.0m to 15m in diameter lie across this area. While most appear to be randomly positioned a significant number follow the underlying lodes. Few remain more than 1.5m deep.
Crane Lake Mine, recorded as operating in 1792 (TDA, 1974), obtained ore from deeper shafts, two of which (h) were situated in or near openwork (a). These were drained by an adit (j). A further adit (k) lies at the lower end of the west openwork (b).
Processing of the ore probably took place in the streamworked area adjacent to Crane Lake where several structures belonging to mid 19th century operations (Monument HOB UID 438809) are visible. It is likely that the latter reused some of the earlier structures but the ground evidence is inconclusive. However, it seems likely that the water supply system for openwork (a) was reconditioned to feed another reservoir (l) above this probable processing area. The topography of the immediate area suggests that the water from this feature was designed for use in tin processing rather than extraction.

Newman, P., 1999, Eylesbarrow (Ailsborough) Tin Mine, 5 Figure 4 (Report - Survey). SDV352201.

Many trial pits identified on the earthwork plan at Wheal Katherine. Early tin working in this area was documented from the 16th century but dated from at least the 12th century if not in the Prehistoric era.

Newman, P., 1999, Eylesbarrow (Ailsborough) Tin Mine, 5, Figure 4 (Report - Survey). SDV352201.

Openwork at Crane Lake with solid rock faces on the western side of Wheal Katherine Tin Mine.

Newman, P., 1999, Eylesbarrow (Ailsborough) Tin Mine, Figure 4 (Article in Serial). SDV231130.

Steamwork on the west side of Wheal Katherine Tin Mine.

English Heritage, 2014, National Heritage List for England, 1021056 (National Heritage List for England). SDV355683.

Remains of Wheal Katherine Tin Mine.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV231127Article in Serial: Cook, R. M. L.. 1974. Eylesbarrow (1814- 1852): A Study of a Dartmoor Tin Mine. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 106. Paperback Volume. 161-214.
SDV231130Article in Serial: Newman, P.. 1999. Eylesbarrow (Ailsborough) Tin Mine. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 57. Paperback Volume. Figure 4.
SDV277946Report - Survey: Gerrard, S.. 1990-2002. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Mixed Archive Material + Digital. MPP 157318 & 157291.
SDV342938Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 - 1949. Royal Air Force Aerial Photographs. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Digital). 1890/4355.
SDV346608Report - Survey: Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England. 1993-1998. Dartmoor Royal Forest Project. Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England Field/Recording In. Unknown. [Mapped feature: #134983 ]
SDV352201Report - Survey: Newman, P.. 1999. Eylesbarrow (Ailsborough) Tin Mine. English Heritage Survey Report. A4 Spiral Bound. 5, Figure 4.
SDV355683National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2014. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Website. 1021056.

Associated Monuments

MDV61849Parent of: Wheal Katherine Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV61849Related to: Wheal Katherine Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV3330Related to: Eylesbarrow (Ailsborough) Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV66532Related to: Leat between Eylesbarrow and Wheal Katherine Tin Mines (Monument)
MDV66533Related to: Openwork Gully at Wheal Katherine Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV25041Related to: Streamworking along the upper Plym Valley and its tributaries (Monument)
MDV64740Related to: Streamworks at Wheal Katherine Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV61849Parent of: Wheal Katherine Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV61849Related to: Wheal Katherine Tin Mine (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6239 - Eylesbarrow (Ailsborough) Tin Mine
  • EDV8409 - Dartmoor Royal Forest Project

Date Last Edited:Jan 11 2022 1:39PM