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HER Number:MDV2848
Name:Butter Brook Tin Mill, Harford


Butter Brook tin mill a blowing house on the left bank of Butter Brook with associated leat and several artefacts


Grid Reference:SX 642 592
Map Sheet:SX65NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishHarford
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishHARFORD

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX65NW1
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 441256
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX65NW/16
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX65NW/16/1
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX65NW/16/2
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX65NW/16/3

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • SLAG (Unknown date)
  • SMELTERY (Constructed, Early Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD (Between) to 1750 AD (Between))
  • TIN MILL (Constructed, Early Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD (Between) to 1750 AD (Between))

Full description

Kelly, E. R., 1866, Post Office Directory of Devonshire, 857 (Monograph). SDV148666.

Kelly, E. R., 1873, Post Office Directory of Devonshire, 191 (Monograph). SDV148667.

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

Rectangular building shown on 19th century map.

Worth, R. H., 1933, Blowing Houses in the Valleys of the Sheepstor Brook, the Meavy, the Erme and the Avon, 319-321, Plate 36, Figures 32-3 (Article in Serial). SDV235818.

The blowing house with its leat clearly visible lies on the left bank of the Butter Brook. It measures 34 feet by 16 feet internally. Two probable machinery socket stones lie within the house. Part of a broken mould was also found inside, and another partly-formed mould lies outside, along with two broken mortar stones.

Worth, R. H., 1940, The Dartmoor Blowing House, 218-9 (Article in Serial). SDV154693.

Blowing house. Left bank of Butter Brook, north-east of Tor Rocks.
The building measures 34' x 16' internally. The leat is clearly traceable from above a small waterfall some 70 yds upstream A part of a broken mould lies within the house, the depth of the mould was 3ins. Outside the house lies a stone in which a mould has been partly formed; the present dimensions are 13 1/2" x 11 1/2" and 1 1/2" deep. There are two broken mortar-stones, each now with one mortar. The mortars measure 8" diameter by 3" deep and 7 1/2" diameter x 3" deep respectively. Within the house are two stones in each of which is a round hole, 1 1/2" diameter, the inner surfaces worn smooth and polished with use, evidently sockets for the axle of some machinery. [sited at SX 64205921].

Worth, R. H., 1941, Dartmoor: 1788 - 1808, 211-212 (Article in Serial). SDV160667.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1950/1982, SX65NW1 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV148662.

(24/03/1950) The description and dimensions by R. H. Worth (1940) are accurate, only one broken mortar stone was found however.
(21/02/1952) Located and surveyed.
(26/10/1982) Medieval blowing house on Butter Brook. The blowing house lies against the bottom of a river cliff on the south side of Butter Brook at circa 236 metres OD. Its leat is visible to the east leading back towards the heavily worked upper reaches of the river. The roughly rectangular house measures 13.1 metres by 2 metres overall with roughly-dressed dry walling of large stone 0.9 metres thick and up to 0.8 metres high. The apparent entrance gap is roughly central to the north-west side. This was the site of the wheelpit. The leat leads up to this point and the ground here is shaped to receive the wheel. Inside the house there is a broken mortar stone with one and a half holes visible. No other remains were seen. Outside, only the partly formed mould and a possible test piece or sample mould are visible. The latter has numerous holes 0.02 metres in diameter and circa 0.05 metres deep. Resurveyed at 1:1:2500 on MSD.

National Monuments Record, 1976, NMR SX6459, 2/229-232 (Aerial Photograph). SDV168294.

Photograph taken on 22nd April 1976.

Hankin, C. F., 1977-1980, Harford Parish Checklist (Worksheet). SDV149931.

Only partly-made mould stone could be found; just outside the building, on the north west side. Only one mortar stone could be found, and only one "round-hole" of 1.5 inch diameter in large vertical stone on the west side of the building. The round hole is 4.5 inches into the stone. The mortar stone lies within the blowing house, but is sometimes moved around by young people who make picnic fires there. The stone shows the remains of two mortars, but it has been broken across both of them so that only one hemisphere 0.20 metres diameter, of one mortar remains, and only a sector 0.17 metres diameter of the other on the opposite side of the stone. Both mortars appear to have been 0.7 metres deep. The mould stone lies in the north-west corner of the blowing house.

Greeves, T. A. P., 1981, List of Known Devon Tin Mills c1450 - c1750, Number 16 (Report - non-specific). SDV319826.

Listed as a pre-1700 tin mill. Blowing mill?/stamping mill undocumented. Field evidence. Working of granite in area.

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

One wall of blowing house appears to be visible on aerial photograph. This blowing house appears at the end of a bank.

Greeves, T. + Robinson, R., 1985, Butter Brook Blowing Mill (Report - Survey). SDV148658.

Site surveyed at 1:100 on 31st January 1985. Plans in possession of T. Greeves.

Greeves, T. A. P., 1987, List of donations to the Plymouth Museum (Un-published). SDV243606.

(Undated) - Butterbrook Mill - iron nail found in eroding south bank of structure.
31/1/1985 - Smithing 'scoria' found west of 'unfinished' mould at Butterbrook Mill.
31/1/1985 - Slag found in eroded riverbank west of Butterbrook Mill.

Greeves, T. A. P., 1990, An Assessment of Dartmoor Tinworking, Number 38 (Report - Assessment). SDV343684.

Ordnance Survey, 2020, MasterMap 2020 (Cartographic). SDV363413.

'Blowing House (remains of)' shown on modern mapping.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV148658Report - Survey: Greeves, T. + Robinson, R.. 1985. Butter Brook Blowing Mill.
SDV148662Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1950/1982. SX65NW1. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV148666Monograph: Kelly, E. R.. 1866. Post Office Directory of Devonshire. Post Office Directory of Devonshire. 857.
SDV148667Monograph: Kelly, E. R.. 1873. Post Office Directory of Devonshire. Post Office Directory of Devonshire. 191.
SDV149931Worksheet: Hankin, C. F.. 1977-1980. Harford Parish Checklist. Parish Checklist. Digital.
SDV154693Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1940. The Dartmoor Blowing House. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 72. Paperback Volume. 218-9.
SDV160667Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1941. Dartmoor: 1788 - 1808. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 73. Unknown. 211-212.
SDV168294Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. 1976. NMR SX6459. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph. Unknown. 2/229-232.
SDV235818Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1933. Blowing Houses in the Valleys of the Sheepstor Brook, the Meavy, the Erme and the Avon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 65. Unknown. 319-321, Plate 36, Figures 32-3.
SDV243606Un-published: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1987. List of donations to the Plymouth Museum. Unknown.
SDV319826Report - non-specific: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1981. List of Known Devon Tin Mills c1450 - c1750. List of Known Devon Tin Mills c1450 - c1750. 35. Unknown. Number 16.
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.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV343684Report - Assessment: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1990. An Assessment of Dartmoor Tinworking. Digital. Number 38.
SDV363413Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2020. MasterMap 2020. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #113356 ]

Associated Monuments

MDV13123Related to: Boundary east of Tor Rocks, Harford (Monument)
MDV13134Related to: Harford Rectory Leat (Monument)

Associated Finds

  • FDV4040 - NAIL (Unknown date)

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Dec 17 2021 9:37AM