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HER Number:MDV27841
Name:Openworks on south side of Water Hill

Summary

An area of Medieval or later opencast tin lode workings covering approximately an area of 17 hectares on the southwest slopes of Water Hill. The openworks exploited lodes on an approximately southwest-northeast orientation and measure between 4 metres and 15 metres wide and up to 8 metres deep. There are also tin prospecting pits scattered over much of the area.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 668 808
Map Sheet:SX68SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX68SE/258
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • OPEN CUT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD (Between))

Full description

Newman, P., 10/12/1992, Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England Field Investigation (Report - Survey). SDV352719.

Site visit 10th December 1992. Centred SX 66928086. An area of opencast lode tinworking, covering approximately 17 hectares of the southwest slope of Water Hill, 300 metres north of Statts Bridge. The openworks are divisible into four separate elements, all of which exploited lodes on an approximately south-west - north-east orientation. The workings measure between 4 metres and 15 metres wide and depth varies between 1 metres and 8 metres. The openworks were served by a total of seven reservoirs, now dry and silted, at SX 66858096, SX 66878100, SX 66848101, SX 66878102, SX 66838086,
SX 67068087 and SX 67178103. These consists of crescentic or linear, turf covered upcast banks, the digging of which created a shallow hollow on the uphill side in which water could be stored. Average dimentions of the banks are 16 metres long by 4 metres wide and up to 1.2 metres high. Scarps to the rear of the hollow, where present, measure on average 0.8 metres deep. Sluice openings, which have survived on five of the reservoirs, of up to 0.7 metres wide are placed either centrally or to one end of the bank. Between one and three distribution channels, with average dimensions of 1.2 metres by 0.8 metres deep, directed water from the sluices into the working areas. A particularly large linear reservoir lies at SX 67178103, with an upcast bank measuring 35 metres by 6.5 and 1.5 metres high. Tin prospecting pits are scattered over much of the working area with dense concentrations at SX 66958117, SX 66978106 and SX 67128125 and an alignment between SX 67038082 and SX 67098185.
Three leats (SX 68 SE 183/184/186) intersect two of the openworks at right angles at SX 66848097, SX 66888102 and SX 67048091, SX 66988081 where earth embankments have been constructed to convey them across. The leats clearly post-date these workings.
SX 66768085 to SX 66968105 A curvilinear openwork extending north-east from the Wheal Caroline track. An area of disturbance below the track at SX 66728088, including a narrow gully and some spoil heaps, is also likely to be a part of this working.
SX 67738086 to SX 66838094 A linear openwork which extends north-east from the Wheal Caroline track.
SX 66748077 to SX 66928086 A linear openwork which extends north-east from the Wheel Caroline track. The middle oportion of the working was adapted after its abandonment, into a wheelpit for the later Wheel Caroline mine and the gully is now divided into three seperate sectoins. A deep linear channel, some 4 metres wide by 2 to 3 metres deep extends between the upper section of this openwork at SX 66898084 to a second openwork 100m to the south at SX 66918074.
SX 66778071 to SX 67138098 A slightly curving narrow linear openwork which extends between the Wheel Caroline track and a point to the southof the summit of Water Hill. The upper section of the working has been reworked after the abandonment of opencast techniques and a shaft has been dug within the gully.


Royal Air Force, 13/04/1947, CPE/UK/1995, 4362 (Aerial Photograph). SDV217286.


The Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments of England Aerial Photograph Unit, 1985, The Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments of England Aerial Photograph Project (Interpretation). SDV340940.

Linear openwork visible on south-west facing slope below Water Hill.


English Heritage, 2005, Industrial Survey Information (Report - Survey). SDV346396.

Area of openworks recorded.


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

Area of openworks visible on aerial photograph.


Newman, P., 2011, The Field Archaeology of Dartmoor, 154 (Monograph). SDV351349.

Openworks were a method of exploiting tin lodes by which both tin and overburden were removed. Many of these workings are documented in the 16th and 17th centuries, their main period of operation, and are often referred to as beamworks. The field remains comprise massive cuttings, with sloping sides up to 12 metres deep.


English Heritage, 2013, Pastscape (Website). SDV352645.

An area of Medieval or later opencast lode tinworking, covering approximately an area of 17 hectares on the southwest slopes of Water Hill. An archaeological field survey in 1992 recorded the earthworks. The openworks exploited lodes on an approximately southwest-northeast orientation and measure between 4 metres and 15 metres wide and up to 8 metres deep. Water was supplied from seven reservoirs, of which five have sluice openings surviving. Between one and three distribution channels, with average dimensions of 1.2 metres by 0.8 metres deep, directed water from the sluices into the working areas. Tin prospecting pits are scattered over much of the working area. NMR No. SX68SE290. Record last updated: 2009.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV217286Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 13/04/1947. CPE/UK/1995. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 4362.
SDV340940Interpretation: The Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments of England Aerial Photograph Unit. 1985. The Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments of England Aerial Photograph Project. The Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments of England Aerial Photograph Project. Map (Paper).
SDV346026Aerial Photograph: GeoInformation Group Ltd. 2010. 1:625 2010 Colour (12.5cm resolution). 2010 Aerial Photographs. Digital.
SDV346396Report - Survey: English Heritage. 2005. Industrial Survey Information. English Heritage. Digital. [Mapped feature: #85897 ]
SDV351349Monograph: Newman, P.. 2011. The Field Archaeology of Dartmoor. The Field Archaeology of Dartmoor. Paperback Volume. 154.
SDV352645Website: English Heritage. 2013. Pastscape. http://www.pastscape.org.uk. Website.
SDV352719Report - Survey: Newman, P.. 10/12/1992. Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England Field Investigation. Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England Field Investigation. Unknown.

Associated Monuments

MDV105305Related to: Wheelpit 270 metres north of Statts Bridge (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Nov 4 2013 9:55AM