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HER Number:MDV3581
Name:Stamping Mill Number 4 at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine


Stamping Mill Number 4 to the south of the Sheepstor-Nuns Cross track at the 19th century Eylesbarrow Tin Mine


Grid Reference:SX 592 677
Map Sheet:SX56NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishSheepstor
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishSHEEPSTOR

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 1300540
  • National Monuments Record: 438809
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX56NE/195
  • Old SAM Ref: 34467

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • STAMPING MILL (XIX - 1801 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

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

Feature shown on 19th century map as a two sided structure open to the east and south.

Cook, R. M. L., 1974, Eylesbarrow (1814- 1852): A Study of a Dartmoor Tin Mine, 184-193, 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.

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

Not visible aerial photographs.

Gerrard, S., 1990-2002, Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset., MPP 157200. (Report - Survey). SDV277946.

Site visited on 9th May 2002. Stamping mill 1100 metres south-west of Eylesbarrow, forming part of Eylesbarrow Tin Mine. A 1 metre wide wheelpit with drystone walls standing up to 0.9 metres high. The wheelpit is filled with large blocks of loose rubble. The western wall survives well and the eastern one less so. Covered in grass, heather and nettles.

Greeves, T. A. P., 1997, Tin Stamping Mills of Dartmoor after AD 1750, 6-8 (Article in Serial). SDV346020.

Eylesbarrow, Stamping Mill Number 4; has extensive dressing floor, and stamps on one side of wheel only. Has a 'reck house' nearby.

Bodman, M., 1998, Water-Powered Sites in Devon, 23/27 (Report - non-specific). SDV305931.

Newman, P., 1999, Eylesbarrow (Ailsborough) Tin Mine, 105-148 (Article in Serial). SDV231130.

This was the earliest stamping mill established at Eylesbarrow in 1804. Buddles are lined with single dressed granite slabs and small earth mounds to support the jagging boards survive. The rear revetment wall is of drystone construction with vertical faces. Features are shown on 1:500 survey.

Newman , P., 1999, Eylesbarrow (Ailsborough) Tin Mine, 22-23, 25-28, Figures 2, 10-11 (Report - Survey). SDV352201.

The 'higher' stamping mill referred to in 1814 at 'Ailsboro Mines' was likely to have been Stamping Mill Number 4 which had an independent water supply from the River Plym. All the stamping mills at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine 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, 1300540, 1300540 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV352484.

A water powered stamping mill and associated dressing floor which processed tin ore at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine. The mill is one of six which served the mine and was also one of three which were constructed in 1814. An archaeological field survey by English Heritage in 1999 found the mill to comprise a level stance of ground with a revetted retaining wall. At right angles to the wall is a rectangular, stone wheelpit measuring 5.7 metres by 1 metre. Upslope is a raised earth leat embankment, which would have supported a wooden launder channel at the correct height to bring water to the overshot wheel. The water source was the Eylesbarrow Stamps leat which diverted water from the River Plym. A possible stamping area was also identified. It consists of a 2.4 metre by 2.7 metre stone revetted level platform, raised above the dressing floor onto which the set of Cornish stamps would operate. The mill used the wet stamping process whereby a flow of water was passed over the base of the stamps, washing the crushed particles through a perforated grate, into a stone lined settling pit sited on the dressing floor. The settling pits into which the crushed tinstone would run from the stamps measure 2.8 metres by 1.2 metres long, one has a lining of flat granite slabs partially visible. Below the main dressing floor are three secondary buddles and tailings pits. They measure between 4.5 metres and 5.7 metres long by 2.8 metres, and survive to a maximum depth of 0.8 metres deep.

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, a smelting house and 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.

Three sided structure shown on modern mapping open to the south.

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

Site visited on 12th July 1979. Constructed about 1820. One of a series of tin stamping mills served by a leat.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV230997Un-published: Greeves, T.. July 1979. Devon Studies Week. Notes for Afternoon Excursion, Thursday, July 12th 1979. Digital.
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. 184-193, 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. 105-148.
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 157200..
SDV305931Report - non-specific: Bodman, M.. 1998. Water-Powered Sites in Devon. A4 Spiral Bound. 23/27.
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.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV346020Article in Serial: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1997. Tin Stamping Mills of Dartmoor after AD 1750. Dartmoor Magazine. 49. Paperback Volume. 6-8.
SDV350786Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2013. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #88807 ]
SDV352201Report - Survey: Newman , P.. 1999. Eylesbarrow (Ailsborough) Tin Mine. English Heritage Survey Report. A4 Spiral Bound. 22-23, 25-28, Figures 2, 10-11.
SDV352484National Monuments Record Database: National Monument Record. 2013. 1300540. National Monuments Record Database. Website. 1300540.

Associated Monuments

MDV3330Part of: Eylesbarrow (Ailsborough) Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV66440Related to: Building (k) west of the Stamping Mill 4 at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Building)
MDV66427Related to: Dressing Floor at Stamping Mill 4 at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV66514Related to: Irregular-shaped Field west of Stamping Mill 4 at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV3332Related to: Leat 1 at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV66422Related to: Leat embankment south of Stamping Mill 2 at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV66425Related to: Leat embankment south-west of Stamping Mill 3 at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV66429Related to: Reck House at Stamping Mill Number 4 at Eylesbarrow (Building)
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)
MDV3327Related to: Stamping Mill Number 5 at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV3582Related to: Stamping Mill Number 6 at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV66504Related to: Tramway 1 at Eyleasbarrow 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:Jul 7 2014 10:14AM