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HER Number:MDV27106
Name:Mineworking remains near Sharp Tor


Two opencast tin workings on the middle and lower slopes of Sharp Tor above the right bank of the Rattle Brook. These workings are accompanied by a number of shafts, tin pits, leats and buildings relating to a number of phases of activity.


Grid Reference:SX 558 846
Map Sheet:SX58SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishLydford
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Earthwork and structural remains of post-medieval or earlier tin working remains near Sharp Tor, including opencast tin workings, pits, shafts, reservoir and buildings

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX 58 SE 82
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX58SE/64
  • Pastscape: 1393451
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • TRIAL PIT (Early Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1750 AD (Between))
  • MINE SHAFT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1750 AD (Between))
  • OPEN CUT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1750 AD (Between))
  • RESERVOIR (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1750 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 13/04/1947, RAF/CPE/UK/1995, 2378 (Aerial Photograph). SDV224714.

Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, Aerial Photograph Project (Interpretation). SDV319854.

Small group of trial pits on south-east slope of Rattlebrook Hill.

Greeves, T. A. P., 2003-2004, Wheal Frederick Mine (Article in Serial). SDV359759.

National Monument Record, 2016, Pastscape, Accessed 13/09/2016 (Website). SDV359354.

Centred SX 55918461. Two opencast tin workings lie on the middle and lower slopes of Sharp Tor above the right bank of the Rattle Brook. These workings are accompanied by a number of shafts, tin pits, leats and buildings relating to a number of phases of activity.
Centred SX 55758469. A crescentic openwork measuring 280 metres long, 12 metres wide and up to 7 metres deep. Around 20 shallow tin pits and three larger shafts abutt the northern edge of this working while a large linear spoliheap marks the southern side. The extreme eastern end of the working has been converted into a tinners reservoir measuring 24 metres east to west by 7.5 metres wide and a maximum of 1.3 metres deep. This feature still retains water and the remains of the former sluice lie in the south-eastern corner. A water channel extends 75 metres downhill from the sluice before becoming obscured by vegetation and peat growth. A second reservoir, marked by a curving bank 2.0 metres wide and 0.6 metres high, lies at SX 55868462. These features were probably constructed to serve the larger, eastern, openwork centred at SX 56118453. Commencing on the banks of the Rattle Brook the second openwork extends uphill to the west for 250 metres. The main part of the working measures a maximum of 50 metres wide and 17 metres deep and is accompanied by a number of narrower linear workings and tin pits which may be roughly contemporary.
Later reworking is attested to by an adit at the foot of the site adjacent to the river, several large shafts in the floor of the main working and the remains of two buildings at SX 56168458 and SX 56098457.
There is no evidence to suggest that the ore was processed on site though a leat, starting on the Rattle Brook at SX 56018516 and probably associated with the later phase of operations, can be traced into the central part of the working. Its use remains enigmatic.
Both openworks have their origins in the post-medieval period. The last phase of operation was carried out during the 1840s and 1860s when they lay within the Wheal Frederick sett (1393486) described by Greeves (citing Greeves, T., 2003 Wheal Frederick Mine Dartmoor Magazine Winter 2003/4).
A number of buildings and structures are clearly associated with these extensive workings. Located on the northern edge are four structures. SX56078457 The footings of a ruined building internally 4.3 metres by 3.3 metres with collapsed walling 0.5 metres high and spread to 1.6 metres wide. The northern side comprises a collapsed mound, 1.2 metres high, which may be the remains of a fireplace and chimney. The entrance was probably in the south-west side. Lower down the fairly steep hillside on a level shelf or terrace are three structures in a line.
SX 56098457 The central structure, probably a dwelling or workshop measures 4.5 metres by 3.6 metres with at the northern end a 1.1 metres high mound of tumbled material which may be the remains of a collapsed chimney and fireplace. The only visible entrance in the 0.5 metres to 0.7 metres high spread walls is in the south-west corner.
Joined to the southern side of the building at SX 56098657 is what may be a yard. It measures 4.2 metres by 3.0 metres with partially collapsed walling 0.7 metres high and 1.0 metres wide. There is an entrance in the west side.
To the north of the building centred at SX56098458 is a long, narrow enclosure of uncertain function. It measures 9.7 metres by 3.4 metres wide internally with a 0.5 metre high, 2.4 metre wide bank. It may be a small garden plot.
At the foot of the hillslope at SX56168458 set within extensive tin streamworkings is a tinners hut. It measures 4.3 metres by 2.8 metres and is buillt into a tinners spoil mound. Parts of the walling are coursed facing up to 1.3 metres high. There is a fine entrance on the south-west side leading to a 5.6 metre long sunken area of uncertain function. The structure appears to have been constructed with an old water channel (citing Probert, S.A.J., English Heritage Field Investigation, 14/02/2004).

Sources / Further Reading

SDV224714Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 13/04/1947. RAF/CPE/UK/1995. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 2378.
SDV319854Interpretation: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. Aerial Photograph Project. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Aerial Photograph P. Cartographic.
SDV359354Website: National Monument Record. 2016. Pastscape. http://www.pastscape.org.uk. Website. Accessed 13/09/2016.
SDV359759Article in Serial: Greeves, T. A. P.. 2003-2004. Wheal Frederick Mine. Dartmoor Magazine. Unknown.

Associated Monuments

MDV28090Related to: Streamworks on the Rattle Brook (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Sep 13 2016 12:36PM