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HER Number:MDV3512
Name:Engine Wheelpit 1 at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine


Engine Wheelpit 1 forming part of the 19th century Eylesbarrow Tin Mine


Grid Reference:SX 595 680
Map Sheet:SX56NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishSheepstor
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishSHEEPSTOR

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX56NE/187
  • Old SAM Ref: 34467

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • WHEEL PIT (XVIII to XIX - 1751 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

Devon County Council, 1838-1848, Tithe Mosaic, approximately 1838-1848 (Cartographic). SDV349431.

Rectangular feature shown on 19th century Tithe Map. A channel from a reservoir to the south-east is shown entering the east end of the wheelpit and a linear feature runs south-west from the west end of the wheelpit.

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

Rectangular structure shown on 19th century map.

Cook, R. M. L., 1974, Eylesbarrow (1814- 1852): A Study of a Dartmoor Tin Mine, 179-180 (Article in Serial). SDV231127.

Eylesbarrow. The rectangular engine wheel-house is now in a very ruined condition. The thick granite walls stand to a max height of 1.37 metres. Unlikely that the wheel was completely enclosed in a roofed building. The central wheelpit is almost obscured by tumbled masonry. The north-east wall had two apertures through each of which a flatrod alignment passed from the wheel cranks uphill to the shafts. Both sets of rods were supported on iron pulleys which were pivoted in lubricated recesses in granite blocks. Some variation necessary to support the inflexible rod system over uneven ground. Some stones only just visible, others are 610 millimetres high. Each block was recessed to accomodate one end of the iron axle of the pulley. A bearing generally took the form of a groove in the upper horizontal surface of the block, but where the operating level of the rods was at or below the ground surface, the bearings were blind holes drilled in the inner faces of the supporting blocks. The blocks were set at intervals of about 6.10 metres, most of them are extant. During operation the rotary motion of the engine wheel was converted by the cranks into a reciprocating motion of the rods which was thus available at the heads of Engine Shafts for working the pumps within. The southern system of supports has been traced to Barrack Shaft 400 metres from the engine wheel house, and onto a second shaft 660 metres from the wheel house. The northern series of supports can be followed to a shaft 189 metres from the wheel house and onto a point close to Philp Shaft, 483 metres from the wheelhouse. Northern alignment interrupted before 1842 by the erection of a farm building (an adapted mine building) and its associated enclosures.

Gerrard, S., 1990-2002, Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset., MPP 157186 (Report - Survey). SDV277946.

Site visited on 9th May 2002. Engine Wheelpit 720 metres south-west of Eylesbarrow, forming part of Eylesbarrow Tin Mine. Massive drystone wall formed by substantial blocks stands up to 1.3 metres high. Within this structure is the wheelpit itself which survives as a rectangular hollow filled with large rocks. Leading away to the northeast are two separate lines of flat rod stones. Two recesses in the north-east wall denote the position through which the rods passed from the wheel. Grass. Bank added to the outside of an original freestanding structure. At south-west end of wheelpit is the bob pit denoted by a large granite revetment standing up to 1.7 metres high. Rubble lies mainly within the eastern part of this structure. Grass, heather and rushes. The walls protrude up to 0.2 metres through a rubble mound standing 0.8 metres high. Attached enclosure is formed by a single face drystone wall which faces outward. The inside is formed by a slight bank. The wall is up to 0.9 metres high. Grass and heather.

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

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

The first Engine Wheel was recorded in 1815 when cutting 370 metres of the Engine Leat The main structure is 13.8 metres by 5.7 metres. A rectangular stone-lined pit 5.5 metres by 4.3 metres for the balance bob is located to the south-west of the wheelpit. Features are located on 1:500 survey map.

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

Whitford Shaft was renamed Henry's Engine after conversion from mining to pumping. A recess shows where power from the flat rod was transferred from horizontal to vertical before entering a tunnel to Price Deacon Shaft.

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

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

Feature shown on digital survey.

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

Rectangular feature shown on aerial photograph.

English Heritage, 2013, Eylesbarrow Tin Mine and associated remains, 1021055 (Schedule Document). SDV231131.

The 19th century Eylesbarrow Tin Mine opened in 1814 and continued until 1852. During this time several companies were formed to run the mine and most failed to make a profit. Eylesbarrow's importance stems from its unrivalled array of 19th century mining remains making it the largest and most informative example of a large scale water powered tin mine in Britain. At least 27 shafts and five adits were cut to reach the tin lodes, seven whim platforms and two water powered engine wheels were built to power the lifting and pumping machinery, a series of tramways were made to carry the ore to six separate stamping mills and, to complete the picture, a smelting house was constructed to smelt the processed tin from the stamping mills. The size of the operation is further emphasised by the 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.

Three sides of a rectangular feature shown on modern mapping.

English Heritage, 2013, Pastscape, 1300630 (Website). SDV352645.

A water wheelpit at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine which contained the waterwheel to power the below-ground pumping equipment at the mine. The installation of this wheel is documented to 1814. The wheelpit was surveyed as part of an English Heritage archaeological field survey of the tin mine in 1999. It is constructed from granite, partly sunk below ground level and embanked with earth around the long sides. The main structure has internal dimensions of 13.8 metres by 5.7 metres. It is likely that the wheel was housed within an inner structure of less than 2 metres wide, but its outline is now obscured by collapsed masonry. The breast of the waterwheel was unlikely to be less than 0.60 metres. A rectangular, stone-lined pit of 5.5 metres by 4.3 metres which contained the balance bob is sited to the southwest end of the wheelpit and the tail race.

Various, 2018-2019, PALs Condition Recording forms, WLK-DT37 (Worksheet). SDV362781.

Visited 17/7/2019. Whelpit covered with grass with a few netles and thistles. Overall condition very good. Photo taken.

Various, 2018-2019, PALs Condition Recording photographs, WLK-DT37 (Photograph). SDV363073.

Photo looking 070° showing grass cover with a few nettles and thistles.

Greeves, T., July 1979, Devon Studies Week. Notes for Afternoon Excursion, Thursday, July 12th 1979 (Un-published). SDV230997.

Site visited on 12th July 1987. Built about 1820 and in use until about 1847.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV230997Un-published: Greeves, T.. July 1979. Devon Studies Week. Notes for Afternoon Excursion, Thursday, July 12th 1979. Digital.
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. 179-180.
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. 1021055.
SDV277946Report - Survey: Gerrard, S.. 1990-2002. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Mixed Archive Material + Digital. MPP 157186.
SDV305931Report - non-specific: Bodman, M.. 1998. Water-Powered Sites in Devon. A4 Spiral Bound. 23,23.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV346026Aerial Photograph: GeoInformation Group Ltd. 2010. 1:625 2010 Colour (12.5cm resolution). 2010 Aerial Photographs. Digital. [Mapped feature: #88462 ]
SDV346396Report - Survey: English Heritage. 2005. Industrial Survey Information. English Heritage. Digital.
SDV349431Cartographic: Devon County Council. 1838-1848. Tithe Mosaic, approximately 1838-1848. Digitised Tithe Map. Digital.
SDV350786Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2013. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.
SDV352645Website: English Heritage. 2013. Pastscape. http://www.pastscape.org.uk. Website. 1300630.
SDV362781Worksheet: Various. 2018-2019. PALs Condition Recording forms. PALs Condition Assessment Project Forms. Digital. WLK-DT37.
SDV363073Photograph: Various. 2018-2019. PALs Condition Recording photographs. PALs Condition Assessment Project Forms. Digital. WLK-DT37.

Associated Monuments

MDV3330Part of: Eylesbarrow (Ailsborough) Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV66412Related to: Building (j) and Enclosure south-east of Engine Wheel 1 at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Building)
MDV3577Related to: Engine Wheelpit 2 at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV66515Related to: Leat 2 at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV66443Related to: Reservoir at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV66413Related to: Wheelpit at Stamping Mill Number 1 at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4966 - Survey of Drizzlecombe, Eylesbarrow, Ditsworthy and Hartor
  • EDV6239 - Eylesbarrow (Ailsborough) Tin Mine

Date Last Edited:Sep 16 2019 6:09PM