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HER Number:MDV25242
Name:Southern Crownhill Down Medieval Tin Streamwork

Summary

A very extensive area of medieval and Post-medieval tin streamworks are visible as earthworks on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards extending for circa 1.7km across Crownhill Down. The streamworks exceed 200m in width and cover an area of more than 20ha. Numerous roughly circular pits are visible cutting the streamwork earthworks, indicating later prospection or mining of the streamworks. The earthworks have probably been destroyed by modern open cast mining.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 563 594
Map Sheet:SX55NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishSparkwell
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishPLYMPTON ST.MARY

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 910308
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 910308
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX55NE/140

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • STREAMWORKS (XV to Post Medieval - 1401 AD to 1750 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1946, 106G/UK/1190, 4251-2,3252-3 (Aerial Photograph). SDV170515.

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/106G/UK/1190, RAF/106G/UK/1190 RP 3252-3253 27-FEB-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV363067.

Extensive streamwork earthworks are visible.

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/CPE/UK/1890, RAF/CPE/UK/1890 FP 1126-1127 10-DEC-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV169268.

Extensive streamwork earthworks are visible.

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

Royal Air Force, 1964, RAF/58/6399, RAF/58/6399 F66 0381-0382 02-JUL-1964 (Aerial Photograph). SDV363068.

Extensive streamwork earthworks are visible. Later prospecting pits are also visible.

Gilbertson, D. + Collis, J., 1982, Mapping Three Millennia of Settlement and Land Use on Crownhill Down, South West Dartmoor (Article in Serial). SDV362901.

Earliest mention of tinworks in the area dates to 13th and 14th century. "On Crownwell Downe and at Hawkesborough" tinworks are recorded between 1563 and 1633, doubtless the extensive area running east to west across the western part of the Crownhill Down with its attendant leats.

Devon County Council, 1985, DAP 5501, DAP 5501/08A 23-JUL-1985 (FI) (Aerial Photograph). SDV354834.

Extensive streamwork earthworks are visible. Later prospecting pits are also visible.

Griffith, F. M., 1985, DAP/FI, 8a,9,19 (Aerial Photograph). SDV241736.

Gilbertson, D. + Collis, J., 1985, Linear Banks on Crownhill Down, Dartmoor (Article in Serial). SDV337244.

Earliest mention of tinworks in the area dates to 13th and 14th century. "On Crownwell Downe and at Hawkesborough" tinworks are recorded between 1563 and 1633, doubtless the extensive area running east to west across the western part of the Crownhill Down with its attendant leats.

Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, SX55NE (Cartographic). SDV337243.

A large area of streamwork extending from SX57225952 in the east, to SX55885944 in the west. Extending for a length of 1300 metres and 200 metres wide, covering an area of approximately 15 hectares. The nature of the streamwork changes in the west, west of the road, with larger scale heaps. East of the road there appear to be shafts/pits included in the streamwork area. A shaft is present on the edge of this area at SX56805957. This streamwork extends into the woodland in the east but it is not visible on the aerial photograph.

Griffith, F. M., 1988, DAP/KA, 5-12 (Aerial Photograph). SDV337242.

Griffith, F., 1988, Devon's Past. An Aerial View, 29 (Monograph). SDV64198.

Greeves, T. A. P., 1990, An Assessment of Dartmoor Tinworking, 19 (Report - Assessment). SDV343684.

Crownhill Down. Visually impressive east to west belt of tinworks with reservoirs, leats, shafts and adits associated with them. Contains evidence for transition from streamwork to openwork and underground mining. Good documentation from early 16th to 19th century.

Cranstone, D. + Rimmington, N., 1995, Monuments Protection Programme: The Tin Industry- Introduction to Step 3 Site Assessments, 20, Site Number 42. (Report - non-specific). SDV357952.

Site Number 42. Crownhill Down streamworks. (SX 565 595).
Definite national importance.

Cranstone, D. + Hedley, I., 1995, Monuments Protection Programme: The Tin Industry Step 3 Site Assessments, Site Number 42 (Report - non-specific). SDV357946.

Site Number 42.
Crownhill Down streamworks (SX 565 595).
Prime metal: Tin.
Description: Extensive eluvial streamworks on low moorland close to Plymouth, well preserved away from modern road. Contains unusual hafts or pits and very clear diversionary channels along sides.
Landscape: Within china-clay- dominate landscape of SW Dartmoor. Of amenity and educational value.
Archaeology: Considerable potential for detailed survey.
Period: 16th-19th century.
Assessment: An interesting site with unusual features, and educational value due to roadside location close to Plymouth.
Action: Schedule.
Management: Detailed survey to defining site boundaries, and for management.

Additional Information:
The site is well preserved, except near the road, where the features tend to be degraded (suggesting robbing for use as road metalling). The northern side contains a number of large pits. These are interpreted by Greaves and SMR as evidence for shaft mining developing from streaming. However, the spoil tips are suspiciously similar in size to the pits, suggesting an alternative interpretation as prospecting pits for a possible reworking of the stream works. Small finger tips are also present, perhaps from trial adits or open levels (again probably for prospecting rather than production). A few much smaller ‘classic’ prospecting pits are present outside the streamwork.

The site is of importance for these unusual features, and for its good 16th-19th century documentation.

Environment Agency, 1998-2017, LiDAR DTM data (1m resolution) EA: South Devon Coast to Dartmoor, LIDAR SX5659 Environment Agency DTM 01-JAN-1998 to 31-MAY-2017 (Cartographic). SDV361470.

Extensive streamwork earthworks are visible.

National Monuments Record, 2002, 910308 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV343958.

Tin streamwork on the south-western slope of Crownhill Down. The tinwork covers about 16 hectares and is oriented east to west and probably dates to the Medieval or Post medieval period. Within the streamworks are the remains of the later Wheal Florence Tin Mine. Other details: NMR Number SX55NE25.

Fletcher, M., 2002, The Archaeological Landscape of Crownhill Down and Ridding Down: Survey Report, 5-6 (Report - Survey). SDV343412.

Large 1.3 kilometre long tin streamwork extending east to west across the southern part of Crownhill Down which worked shallow alluvial deposits. The tin work is unusual in having a haphazard dumping system and a high number of later pits within the streamwork. The remains of Wheal Florence or Wheal Albert Tin Mine are also found within the streamwork. Other details:
Figures 3 and 4 and Crownhill Down Survey.

Dyer, M. J., 2003, Archaeological Survey, Evaluation and Recording of a Trial Extraction Site at Hemerdon Pit, Crownhill Down, 2 (Report - Evaluation). SDV159627.

Gaimster, M., 2012, Post-Medieval Fieldwork in Britain and Northern Ireland in 2011 (Article in Serial). SDV361576.

CROWNHILL DOWN (SX 564 594). In advance of development work, a programme of survey and excavation of the substantial multi-phase tinwork was carried out by independent consultant S. Gerrard. Tin extraction probably commenced in the Bronze Age, but most of the surviving visible remains may date from the 16th century or later. Targeted re-working of some small areas utilizing streamworking methods may have continued until the 19th century, but later years were generally dominated by various forms of mining. In a long and complicated mining history, the most significant discovery to date has been the identification of a large number of tailings ponds . Most of these ponds are situated within the tinworks, but some have been found in adjacent areas. Large-scale tailings ponds have not previously been identified elsewhere, and in 2012 it is hoped to carry out excavation to establish how they were formed. Work will also focus on a number of structures including a tinner’s building, a dressing floor and the various types of extraction earthworks.

Google, 2019, Google Earth Pro, EARTH.GOOGLE.COM 22-JUN-2018 ACCESSED 04-JUL-2019 (Aerial Photograph). SDV363088.

Hegarty, C., Knight, S. and Sims, R., 2019-2020, The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping Survey. Area 2, Avon Valley to Plymouth (AI&M, formerly NMP) (Interpretation). SDV362982.

An extensive area of irregular earthworks and disturbed ground surface is visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s as earthworks across Crownhill Down. The earthworks extend west to east for circa 1.7km and exceed 200m in width, covering an area of more than 20ha.
The earthworks are the remains of tin streamworks of medieval and Post-medieval date.
Numerous roughly circular pits are visible on aerial photographs of 1964 and 1985, cutting the streamwork earthworks. The majority of these are 2 to 8m in diameter, increasing in density towards the eastern end of the streamworks, and are interpreted as later prospecting pits. A smaller number of larger pits of circa 10-12m are visible, surrounded by more substantial spoil mounds, concentrated along the northern edge of the streamworks at at circa SX56675911 and SX56395951. These may simply be larger prospecting pits or could include evidence of later shafts or shafts contemporary with the streamworks exploiting deeper deposits.
The lidar derived imagery reveals that the streamwork earthworks probably continued further west than was previously recorded, extending under Hooksburry Woods to the east bank of the Tory Brook
The earthworks remain clearly visible on images derived from lidar data captured between 1998 and 2014 but have subsequently been largely destroyed by modern open cast mining.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV159627Report - Evaluation: Dyer, M. J.. 2003. Archaeological Survey, Evaluation and Recording of a Trial Extraction Site at Hemerdon Pit, Crownhill Down. Exeter Archaeology Report. 03.65. A4 stapled + Digital. 2.
SDV169268Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/CPE/UK/1890. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/CPE/UK/1890 FP 1126-1127 10-DEC-1946.
SDV170515Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. 106G/UK/1190. Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 4251-2,3252-3.
SDV241736Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1985. DAP/FI. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 8a,9,19.
SDV337242Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1988. DAP/KA. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 5-12.
SDV337243Cartographic: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. SX55NE. Air Photographs Unit. Map (Paper).
SDV337244Article in Serial: Gilbertson, D. + Collis, J.. 1985. Linear Banks on Crownhill Down, Dartmoor. Landscape History. 7. Unknown.
SDV342938Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 - 1949. Royal Air Force Aerial Photographs. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Digital).
SDV343412Report - Survey: Fletcher, M.. 2002. The Archaeological Landscape of Crownhill Down and Ridding Down: Survey Report. English Heritage Report. AI/31/2002. A4 Stapled + Digital. 5-6.
SDV343684Report - Assessment: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1990. An Assessment of Dartmoor Tinworking. Digital. 19.
SDV343958National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2002. 910308. National Monuments Record Index. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV354834Aerial Photograph: Devon County Council. 1985. DAP 5501. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). DAP 5501/08A 23-JUL-1985 (FI).
SDV357946Report - non-specific: Cranstone, D. + Hedley, I.. 1995. Monuments Protection Programme: The Tin Industry Step 3 Site Assessments. Monument Protection Programme. Foolscap. Site Number 42.
SDV357952Report - non-specific: Cranstone, D. + Rimmington, N.. 1995. Monuments Protection Programme: The Tin Industry- Introduction to Step 3 Site Assessments. Monument Protection Programme. A4 Comb Bound + Digital. 20, Site Number 42..
SDV361470Cartographic: Environment Agency. 1998-2017. LiDAR DTM data (1m resolution) EA: South Devon Coast to Dartmoor. Environment Agency LiDAR data. Digital. LIDAR SX5659 Environment Agency DTM 01-JAN-1998 to 31-MAY-2017.
SDV361576Article in Serial: Gaimster, M.. 2012. Post-Medieval Fieldwork in Britain and Northern Ireland in 2011. Post-Medieval Archaeology. 46. Unknown.
SDV362901Article in Serial: Gilbertson, D. + Collis, J.. 1982. Mapping Three Millennia of Settlement and Land Use on Crownhill Down, South West Dartmoor. Field Studies. 5. Digital.
SDV362982Interpretation: Hegarty, C., Knight, S. and Sims, R.. 2019-2020. The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping Survey. Area 2, Avon Valley to Plymouth (AI&M, formerly NMP). Historic England Research Report. Digital.
SDV363067Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/106G/UK/1190. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/106G/UK/1190 RP 3252-3253 27-FEB-1946.
SDV363068Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1964. RAF/58/6399. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/58/6399 F66 0381-0382 02-JUL-1964.
SDV363088Aerial Photograph: Google. 2019. Google Earth Pro. Various. Digital. EARTH.GOOGLE.COM 22-JUN-2018 ACCESSED 04-JUL-2019.
SDV64198Monograph: Griffith, F.. 1988. Devon's Past. An Aerial View. Devon's Past. An Aerial View. Paperback Volume. 29.

Associated Monuments

MDV25258Parent of: Shafts at Wheal Sidney Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV25258Related to: Shafts at Wheal Sidney Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV12689Related to: Building within Streamwork on south side of Crownhill Down (Monument)
MDV25254Related to: Medieval Leat on the south of Crownhill Down (Monument)
MDV25246Related to: Medieval Leat on the south side of Crownhill Down (Monument)
MDV25253Related to: Medieval Leat on the south side of Crownhill Down (Monument)
MDV25257Related to: Medieval Leat on the south side of Crownhill Down (Monument)
MDV25255Related to: Medieval Leat on the west side of Crownhill Down (Monument)
MDV12690Related to: Post Medieval Prospecting Pits on south-west side of Crownhill Down (Monument)
MDV25258Parent of: Shafts at Wheal Sidney Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV25258Related to: Shafts at Wheal Sidney Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV12698Related to: Two Prehistoric Barrows on south side of Crownhill Down (Monument)
MDV1798Related to: Wheal Florence Tin Mine on Crownhill Down (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4559 - Archaeological Landscape of Crownhill Down and Riddding Down
  • EDV8098 - The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping (formerly NMP) Survey, Area 2, Avon Valley to Plymouth (Ref: ACD2040)

Date Last Edited:Jan 25 2021 11:13AM