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HER Number:MDV3327
Name:Stamping Mill Number 5 at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine


Stamping Mill Number 5 to the south of the Sheepstor-Nuns Cross track and to the west of the Smelting House at the 19th century Eylesbarrow Tin Mine


Grid Reference:SX 591 676
Map Sheet:SX56NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishSheepstor
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishSHEEPSTOR

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 1300551
  • National Monuments Record: 438809
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX56NE/17/4
  • Old SAM Ref: 34467(P)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • STAMPING MILL (Built, XVIII to Mid 20th Century - 1800 AD (Between) to 1950 AD (Between))

Full description

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

'Blowing House (Ruin)' shown on 19th century map with an enclosure to the north but no earthworks shown to the west.

Cook, R. M. L., 1974, Eylesbarrow (1814- 1852): A Study of a Dartmoor Tin Mine, 188-193, Figures 1-3 (Article in Serial). SDV231127.

The Cornish Type water powered stamping mills at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine performed the function of pulverisation of the tin ore. The ruins of 7 stamping mills can be seen of which 6 form a series extending down the hillside south-west of the engine wheel house. Each mill is associated with an extensive dressing floor. All in use or being built when the earliest extant plan of the mine was produced circa 1820. The first mill lies to the north of the Sheepstor-Nuns Cross track. The other five are on the southern side of the track. Stamping mill number 7 is apart in the Crane Lake area. The mills on the hillside series are connected to the main track by short track now covered with heather. There are two types of mill. Numbers 1-5 are a simple form which had stamps on one side of the wheel only. The other two had the stamps symetrically disposed on either side of the wheelpit. The end of the axle furthest from the wheel was supported in a bearing mounted on a large rectangular granite block. Each such block is drilled on its upper surface with four holes. No more than four stamps could be accommodated in each mill. Conspicuous leat embankments are associated with all the mills at Eylesbarrow. Indications that crushing was done on a thick bed at least 610 millimetres deep of coarse sand/gravel rammed in between masonry walls. No sign of thick stone slabs or paving in the stamping areas. Several new sites proposed for stamps in later periods of working, but never put into practice. A 17 foot diameter wheel and 6 heads of stamps are listed in the 1852 sales advertisement. The dressing floors were laid out in steps or terraces with sufficient space and fall for the numerous operations to be carried out. Plentiful supply of water. Sequence of mills and floors planned and constructed at more or less the same time. The 7 extensive unpaved dressing floors are each bounded on three sides by low embankments faced with granite. Each mill was a self contained unit. The floors of stamping mills 6 and 7 were modified to cope with the larger quantities of the stamped material they produced. Two or three buddles associated with each mill. Originally the buddles were about 610 millimetres deep, the sides being formed of a number of close-fitting granite slabs. A channel sometimes below ground leads from the lower end of each pit where there are two vertically set blocks, grooved longitudinally on their opposing faces. Besides the square buddles there were other settling pits located further from the top retaining walls. On some of the floors, surface channels can be found which connect certain pits. Form and layout of the larger pits is not identical for each floor. Nothing is known of the detailed operation of these pits. In close proximity to the floors of stamping mills 1,3,4,5,7 are remains of small buildings, approximately 3 metres by 2 metres, called 'reck houses'. Leading to each is a water channel. The floor appears to have been on two levels, one being about 0.6 metres above the other. Final working up to smelting grade done in simple tossing kieves.

Gerrard, S., 1990-2002, Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset., MPP 157211 (Report - Survey). SDV277946.

Site visited on 9th may 2002. Stamping mill 1240 metres south-west of Eylesbarrow, forming part of Eylesbarrow Tin Mine. Wheelpit measures 0.95 metres wide and is denoted by a wall standing up to 1.6 metres high which has been consolidated in the recent past, but this is now crumbling. Wheelpit is filled with rubble.

Bodman, M., 1998, Water-Powered Sites in Devon, 23/28 (Report - non-specific). SDV305931.

Newman, P., 1999, Eylesbarrow (Ailsborough) Tin Mine (Article in Serial). SDV231130.

Stamping Mill Number 5 in sequence at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine. Possibly used to crush cold slag taken from the furnace in order to liberate trapped globules of metallic tin. Power from its wheel was also used to power the bellows of a blast furnace. Was in use from circa 1820 onwards. Has a 'reck house' nearby. The small stamping mill and dressing floor is attached to the western exterior of the smelting house wheelpit. It has a revetted rear wall defining a level terrace with two stone-lined buddles. The location of the stamping mill and smelting house is shown on the survey.

Newman, P., 1999, Eylesbarrow (Ailsborough) Tin Mine, 24, 25-28, Figures 2, 16 (Report - Survey). SDV352201.

Stamping Mill Number 5 at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine is attached to the western side of the Smelting House but has features similar to Stamping Mills Numbers 1-3. All the stamping mills consist of a level stance cut into the slope with a revetted retaining wall on the upslope side and return wall on one or both ends. The rectangular open ended wheelpits are sited at right angles to the revetment. Upslope of the wheelpits are raised leat embankment which would have supported wooden launders. A stamping area can be identified at each mill immediately adjacent to the wheel which consists of a stone revetted level platform raised above the dressing floor onto which the Cornish Type stamps would fall onto the ore contained within a timber coffer. The upper surfaces have robust granite kerbs. The mills would have used the wet stamping process washing the crushed particles through a perforated grate into a stone-lined settling pit sited on the dressing floor. Below the main dressing floors are a range of secondary 'buddles' and tailings pits which would have further refined the tin concentrate. The water-borne concentrate and waste would be transported between processes via a system of wooden launders, channels and underground conduits.

Whitbourne, A., 2001, Visit to Eylesbarrow Mine, 2-3 (Article in Serial). SDV231129.

National Monument Record, 2013, 1300551, SX56NE251 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV352574.

A tin smelting house and water powered stamping mill to Eylesbarrow Tin Mine. The mill was one of six mills to serve the mine and was operational between 1822 and 1831. The structures were included in an English Heritage archaeological field survey of the tin mine in 1999. The wheelpit is an integral part of the smelting house structure which strongly suggests that the stamping mill was constructed as part of the same building phase. The entire complex is sited at the foot of a scarp which originally formed the outer edge off the Drizzlecombe streamwork. A partially stone-clad leat embankment is sited 9.7 metres to the rear of the wheelpit, which delivered water onto the overshot wheel. Attached to the exterior of the wheelpit is a small stamping mill and dressing floor.

National Monuments Record, 2013, 438809, SX56NE108 (Website). SDV231126.

One of six stamping mills at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine.

English Heritage, 2013, Eylesbarrow Tin Mine and associated remains (Schedule Document). SDV231131.

Eylesbarrow Tin Mine contains a broad range of different forms of evidence relating to prospecting, exploitation and processing of both tin deposits and lodes. In particular, the 19th century mining remains represent an important source of information concerning the character of a large scale water powered tin mine, where all the original elements survive in an excellent condition. The survival of so many stamping mills together with a smelting house and full range of mining remains and associated buildings is indeed unique in the South West of England. The monument includes six separate stamping mills and a smelting house as well as a large number of ancillary buildings constructed to serve the mine. Amongst these are a count house, dormitory accommodation, blacksmith's shop, powder houses, sample house and various storage buildings.

Ordnance Survey, 2013, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV350786.

Feature not shown on modern mapping.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV231126Website: National Monuments Record. 2013. 438809. National Monuments Record Database. Website. SX56NE108.
SDV231127Article in Serial: Cook, R. M. L.. 1974. Eylesbarrow (1814- 1852): A Study of a Dartmoor Tin Mine. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 106. Paperback Volume. 188-193, Figures 1-3.
SDV231129Article in Serial: Whitbourne, A.. 2001. Visit to Eylesbarrow Mine. Dartmoor Tin Working Research Group Newsletter. 22. Unknown. 2-3.
SDV231130Article in Serial: Newman, P.. 1999. Eylesbarrow (Ailsborough) Tin Mine. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 57. Paperback Volume.
SDV231131Schedule Document: English Heritage. 2013. Eylesbarrow Tin Mine and associated remains. The Schedule of Monuments. Website.
SDV277946Report - Survey: Gerrard, S.. 1990-2002. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Mixed Archive Material + Digital. MPP 157211.
SDV305931Report - non-specific: Bodman, M.. 1998. Water-Powered Sites in Devon. A4 Spiral Bound. 23/28.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV350786Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2013. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.
SDV352201Report - Survey: Newman, P.. 1999. Eylesbarrow (Ailsborough) Tin Mine. English Heritage Survey Report. A4 Spiral Bound. 24, 25-28, Figures 2, 16. [Mapped feature: #87794 ]
SDV352574National Monuments Record Database: National Monument Record. 2013. 1300551. National Monuments Record Database. Website. SX56NE251.

Associated Monuments

MDV3330Part of: Eylesbarrow (Ailsborough) Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV4011Related to: Blast Furnace in the Smelting House at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV66436Related to: Dressing Floor at Stamping Mill 5 at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV3332Related to: Leat 1 at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV66437Related to: Leat Embankment north-west of Smelting House at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV64713Related to: Leat serving the southern part of Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV66513Related to: Linhay at west end of Stamping Mill 5 at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV66439Related to: Quarry at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV66438Related to: Reck House at Stamping Mill Number 5 at Eylesbarrow (Building)
MDV4012Related to: Reverberatory Furnace in the Smelting House at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV66442Related to: Several Sections of Leat at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV4010Related to: Smelting House at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV3578Related to: Stamping Mill Number 1 at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV3579Related to: Stamping Mill Number 2 at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV3580Related to: Stamping Mill Number 3 at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV3581Related to: Stamping Mill Number 4 at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV3582Related to: Stamping Mill Number 6 at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4966 - Survey of Drizzlecombe, Eylesbarrow, Ditsworthy and Hartor. The Eylesbarrow archaeological landscape
  • EDV6239 - Eylesbarrow (Ailsborough) Tin Mine
  • EDV7443 - Condition survey of archaeological sites in Ringmoor Training Area
  • EDV7569 - Condition survey of Ringmoor Down training area
  • EDV8155 - Plym Valley Survey: EH Project (Feb 2001 - Dec 2002)
  • EDV8227 - Ringmoor Training Area: Monument Baseline Condition Survey

Date Last Edited:Aug 22 2023 2:48PM