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HER Number:MDV24937
Name:Phillips Leat, Shaugh Prior

Summary

The Phillips Leat was constructed by William Phillips in approximately 1835 to carry water to his newly leased clay works on Lee Moor. The leat took water from the River Plym, above Langcombe Brook, under Little Gnats Head, and during its working life was known as the Little Gnats Head Leat. Shortly after its construction an agreement was made that after use in China Clay Works, the water was utilised in Hemerdon Tin Mine. The Phillips Leat was abandoned sometime around 1877.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 591 659
Map Sheet:SX56NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishShaugh Prior
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishSHAUGH PRIOR
Ecclesiastical ParishSHEEPSTOR

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX56NE/386
  • Old SAM Ref: 24230(PART)(P)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • LEAT (XIX - 1835 AD to 1879 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/CPE/UK/1890, 4284, 4286 (Aerial Photograph). SDV169268.

Hemery, E., 1983, High Dartmoor, 197-199 (Monograph). SDV249702.

The Phillips Leat was constructed by William Phillips in approximately 1835 to carry water to his newly leased clay works on Lee Moor. The leat took water from the River Plym, above Langcombe Brook, under Little Gnats Head, and during its working life was known as the Little Gnats Head Leat.
Shortly after its construction an agreement was made that after use in China Clay Works, the water was utilised in Hemerdon Tin Mine.

National Monuments Record, 1983, SF2134, 47-54 (Aerial Photograph). SDV231262.

Visible on the aerial photograph.

Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP (Cartographic). SDV319854.

Leat on north slope of Hentor Warren, running between the 355 and 360 metre contours. Cuts across field system MDV24936. Eastern termination SX59046578, western termination at junction with Shavercombe Brook SX59496610.
Leat on Willing Walls Warren running between the 1100 and 1125ft contour. SX58296500. Termination? after crossing Hentor Brook at boundary of Hentor Warren small field system at SX58826532.
(Two separate records for this leat have been combined).

Gerrard, S., 1990-2002, Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset., MPP 140761, 7/11/1995 (Report - Survey). SDV277946.

The Phillips Leat cuts through Hentor Warren from SX59496608 to SX59796529, and was constructed by William Phillips in approximately 1835 to carry water to his newly leased clay works on Lee Moor. The leat took water from the River Plym, above Langcombe Brook, under Little Gnats Head, and during its working life was known as the Little Gnats Head Leat. Shortly after its construction an agreement was made that after use in the china clay works, the water was carried to serve Hemerdon Tin Mine. In 1877 the Bottle Hill Mine closed and the Lee Moor China Clay Works were able to use the former mine leat, which to this day remains operational and is known as the Lee Moor China Clay Leat (MDV24933). The Phillips Leat was therefore abandoned sometime around 1877.
Within the scheduled area the leat survives as a 1525 metres long, 1 metre wide and 0.5 metres deep channel flanked on the downslope side by a 2 metre wide and 0.4 metre high bank which was thrown up during its construction. At SX59056568 a bridge has been built over the leat and this survives as an arrangement of long flat stones. On its route through Hentor Warren the leat cuts through a number of earlier archaeological features, including an enclosure, a field system and animal runs. It is considered very likely that the route taken between Shavercombe Brook and Hentor Farm followed the course of an earlier leat which carried water to the farm.
Section between SX58316474 to SX58406427: The leat survives as a 430 metre long, 1 metre wide and 0.5 metre deep channel flanked on the downslope side by 2 metre wide and 0.4 metre high bank which was thrown up during its construction. The leat cuts through the field system associated with the medieval farmstead.

Gerrard, S., 1993-2002, Monument Protection Programme Alternative Action Report (Report - non-specific). SDV145710.

Visited in 2002. Considered under the Monument Protection Programme but not recommended for scheduling.

Butler, J., 1994, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Three - The South-West, Map 49 (Monograph). SDV137656.

National Trust and English Heritage, 1994, The Upper Plym Valley: The Management of an Historic Landscape, 151-2, 102 520 (Report - non-specific). SDV166309.

The leat conveyed water across Langcombe Brook, across Shavercombe Brook just below the waterfall and across Shavercombe Down. The leat cuts through the field system here and skirts past the eastern side of Hentor House. The leat continued across Hentor Brook, round Willings Walls to the head of Spanish Lake where it then coursed down a steep slope to the south-west along a watercourse, known as Spring Tide. This eventually issued into Big Pond, after crossing the Bottle Hill Mine Leat (now the China Clay Leat, Monument 47) by aqueduct.
In 1877 the Bottle Hill Mine closed and the Lee Moor China Clay works were able to use the former mine leat. Subsequently, in around 1879 the Phillips Leat was abandoned. In August 1972 the China Clay company constructed an earthwork dam (Monument X3) at the top of Spring Tide to divert the water from the leat and Cotor Brook into Spanish Lake. A deep gully (Monument X5) now by-passes the dam.
The leat is mostly well-preserved. It seems to have been interrupted by a tinner’s gully, east of Shavercombe Brook; though this may be natural erosion. There are also a few breaks in the bank, north of Hentor Farm. The leat consists of a 1 metre wide ditch, flanked on west downhill side by a 2 metre wide bank, though these proportions vary slightly. Stones are occasionally visible in the bank.
Dimensions: River Plym to Langcombe Brook: 360 metres
Langcombe Brook to Shavercombe Brook: 1720 metres
Shavercombe Brook to Hentor Brook: 1525 metres
Hentor Brook to southern surveyed limit: 1130 metres
Total length: 4735 metres, Total length of River Plym to Big Pond: 6335 metres

GeoInformation Group Ltd, 2010, 1:625 2010 Colour (12.5cm resolution) (Aerial Photograph). SDV346026.

Leat is visible on the aerial photograph although the section east of Shavercombe Tor is unclear. Map object based on this source.

Ordnance Survey, 2015, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV357601.

Parts of the course of the leat still depicted on the modern mapping. Map object based on this source.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV137656Monograph: Butler, J.. 1994. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Three - The South-West. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Three - The South-West. Three. Paperback Volume. Map 49.
SDV145710Report - non-specific: Gerrard, S.. 1993-2002. Monument Protection Programme Alternative Action Report. English Heritage. Unknown.
SDV166309Report - non-specific: National Trust and English Heritage. 1994. The Upper Plym Valley: The Management of an Historic Landscape. National Trust Archaeological Survey Report. 102.130. A4 Comb Bound. 151-2, 102 520.
SDV169268Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/CPE/UK/1890. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 4284, 4286.
SDV231262Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. 1983. SF2134. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph. Unknown. 47-54.
SDV249702Monograph: Hemery, E.. 1983. High Dartmoor. High Dartmoor. Hardback Volume. 197-199.
SDV277946Report - Survey: Gerrard, S.. 1990-2002. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Mixed Archive Material + Digital. MPP 140761, 7/11/1995.
SDV319854Cartographic: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Aerial Photograph P. Cartographic.
SDV346026Aerial Photograph: GeoInformation Group Ltd. 2010. 1:625 2010 Colour (12.5cm resolution). 2010 Aerial Photographs. Digital.
SDV357601Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2015. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV28531Related to: Enclosure with huts, Shaugh Prior (Monument)
MDV29994Related to: Farmstead to east of Spanish Lake and Little Trowlesworthy Tor, Shaugh Prior (Monument)
MDV24936Related to: Field system in Hentor Warren (Monument)
MDV1799Related to: Hemerdon Mine (Monument)
MDV55433Related to: Hentor House, Shaugh Prior (Monument)
MDV24933Related to: Lee Moor China Clay Leat, Shaugh Prior (Monument)
MDV56861Related to: Part of an openwork and prospecting features on the northern side of the Shavercombe Brook (Monument)
MDV55474Related to: Pillow mound near leat near Shavercombe Tor (Monument)
MDV25260Related to: Ruined building adjacent to leat south of Hentor Farm (Building)
MDV55482Related to: Two mortar emplacements on line of the Phillips Leat (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8148 - The Upper Plym Valley: The Management of an Historic Landscape
  • EDV8155 - Plym Valley Survey

Date Last Edited:Oct 15 2019 1:38PM