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HER Number:MDV4010
Name:Smelting House at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine

Summary

Eylesbarrow Smelting House to the north-east of Stamping Mill Number 5 at the 19th century Eylesbarrow Tin Mine

Location

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: 438009
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX56NE/17
  • Old SAM County Ref: 1001
  • Old SAM Ref: 34467

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • SMELTING HOUSE (XVIII to XX - 1751 AD 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 as a rectangular building with a small extension on the south-east corner and an irregualar shaped enclosure to the north. South-east extension based on this source.


Ordnance Survey, 1904 - 1906, Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map (Cartographic). SDV325644.

'Blowing House' shown on early 20th century map as a rectangular building.


Worth, R. H., 1930, Proceedings at the Annual Meeting (Article in Serial). SDV231168.


Worth, R. H., 1940, The Dartmoor Blowing House, 223, Pl. 40 (Article in Serial). SDV154693.


Minchinton, W. E., 1973, Industrial Archaeology in Devon, 24 (Monograph). SDV7016.


Cook, R. M. L., 1974, Eylesbarrow (1814- 1852): A Study of a Dartmoor Tin Mine, 193-4,161-214 (Article in Serial). SDV231127.

Eylesbarrow. The remains of the smelting house occupy a site adjacent to Stamping Mill Number 5. Now in ruins; was at work in the early years of the 19th century. It has a well marked wheel pit, and was the last tin smelting place at work on Dartmoor. The smelting house was constructed in 1820, with blast and re- verbatory furnaces. It was a rectangular building with thick granite walls. At the south-east corner is annexed an enclosed part which may have served for the storage of furnace fuel, black tin or metallic blocks. Extending from a point on the north long wall of the main building are the remains of a low horizontal flue which originally terminated in a short stack. The flue is not straight but has a 115 degree angle after 7.6 metres. Alongside the west wall is the wheelpit of Stamping Mill Number 5. A heather grown track branching off the main mine track leads down to the smelting house. Three granite pillars standing in the vicinity are thought to have supported the roof of a small linhay erected after the smelter had ceased operation. Two furnaces, one the blast or blowing type and the other working on the reverberatory principle. The remains of the two furnaces are located at opposite ends of the building.


Robinson, R., 1984, List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1984, 17th February 1984 (Un-published). SDV343082.

Site visited on 17th February 1984.


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

Not visible aerial photographs.


Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 1989, Scheduled Monument Consent Letter, 5th January 1989 (Correspondence). SDV216406.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted for consolidation of ruinous parts of remains.


Greeves, T. A. P., 1990, An Assessment of Dartmoor Tinworking, 40 (Report - Assessment). SDV343684.


Gerrard, S., 1990-2002, Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset., MPP 157210 (Report - Survey). SDV277946.

Site visited on 9th May 2002. Smelting House 1225 metres south-west of Eylesbarrow, forming part of Eylesbarrow Tin Mine. Interior of smelting house is strewn with rubble and a number of large cut blocks. At the western end of the building are the remains of the blast furnace whilst towards the eastern end are the remnants of the reverbatory furnace. The wall at the north-east end is up to 1.2 metres high. Attached to the south-east corner of the smelting house is a lean-to structure with 0.6 metre high drystone walls. The interior of this structure is also filled with rubble. Covered in grass and nettles.


Greeves, T. A. P., 1996, Tin Smelting in Devon in the 18th & 19th Centuries, 84-90 (Article in Serial). SDV240078.


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


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

The smelting house consists of a rectangular building 17.9 metres by 6.1 metres internally with an external wheelpit on the south-west end 9 metres by 0.8 mmetres wide. The walls have collapsed almost to ground level and the interior layout is becoming difficult to define but remains of the reverberatory and blast furnaces are still visible. The area has been surveyed at 1:500 showing the relative position of features.


Newman , P., 1999, Eylesbarrow (Ailsborough) Tin Mine, 33-35,Figures 2, 16-17 (Report - Survey). SDV352201.

The smelting house at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine was first mentioned in 1822 when it was the only one operating on the high moors and was the last to work on Dartmoor. It appears to have ceased operating by 1831 and had partially collapsed by the 1880s. The smelting house consists of a rectangular building with internal dimensions of 17.9 metres by 6.1 metres with a small external compartment on the south-east side of 2.5 metres by 4 metres and an external wheelpit on the south-west end 9 metres long by 0.8 metres wide which also served the adjacent Stamping Mill Number 5. The walls have collapsed almost to ground level but a few granite blocks indicate the sites of the reverberatory furnace at the north-eastern end of the building and the blast furnace at the south-western end. The flue on the northern side of the smelting house consists of a stone-lined tunnel 0.6 metres by 0.4 metres in section which terminates at the vestigial remains of a square chimney stack. The water supply was from the same leat which supplied Stamping Mill Number 4 and continued to Stamping Mill Number 6. The furnaces would have required many tons of coal for the reverberatory furnace and peat charcoal for the blast furnace and the remains of several ancillary buildings may have been fuel stores.
Several traces of walling are found to the south and southwest of the smelting house which represent further ruined structures and processing areas. A low wall between the smelting house and the 'reck' house has a semi-circular niche in one end similar to secondary dressing areas at Stamping Mills Number 6 and 7. Other structures may have been fuel stores for the coal and peat charcoal for the two furnaces.


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

Records indicate this site was used to smelt tin from Bottle Hill and Vitifer Mines as well as Eylesbarrow Tin Mine.


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 smelting house comprises a rectangular building with internal dimensions of 17.9 metres by 6.1 metres and has an external wheelpit on the southwest end measuring 9 metres long by 0.8 metres wide. The building contained the remains of a reverberatory furnace and blast furnace. Nearby are also the remains of a possible fuel store and chimney stack. 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.
Site visited on 14th December 1978 and found to be in fair condition.


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

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 an 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.
The smelting house is of particularly significance because it is the only surviving example on Dartmoor and black tin from other mines was brought here during its nine year life. It survives as a substantial rectangular building containing a blast and reverberatory furnace. The house shares a wheelpit with an adjacent stamping mill and the remnants of a flue lead away upslope towards the remains of a chimney stack. During the nine years that the smelting furnace produced tin metal a total of 276 tons (280 tonnes) were smelted. All the black tin produced at Eylesbarrow before 1822 and after 1831 was probably sent to Cornwall for smelting.
Site visited in January 1977 when several mortar stones were found on the site and tin slag still was visible on the stones.


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

Building shown on modern mapping.


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

Site visited on 12 July 1979. Smelting house in operation from 1822-1831. Had both blast and a reverberatory furnace. Produced approximately 276 tons of metallic tin which was sent to Tavistock for coinage. Value of tin may have approached 30,000 pounds sterling. Ores from other mines (eg at Plympton and Postbridge) were sent here to be smelted.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV154693Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1940. The Dartmoor Blowing House. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 72. 223, Pl. 40.
SDV216406Correspondence: Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 1989. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. A5 Single Sheet. 5th January 1989.
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. 193-4,161-214.
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.
SDV231168Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1930. Proceedings at the Annual Meeting. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 62.
SDV240078Article in Serial: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1996. Tin Smelting in Devon in the 18th & 19th Centuries. Mining History: Bulletin PDMHS. The Archaeology of Mining and Metallurgy in South-West Britain. 13, Number 2. A4 Paperback. 84-90.
SDV277946Report - Survey: Gerrard, S.. 1990-2002. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Mixed Archive Material + Digital. MPP 157210.
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.
SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV343082Un-published: Robinson, R.. 1984. List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1984. Lists of Field Monument Warden Visits. Printout. 17th February 1984.
SDV343684Report - Assessment: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1990. An Assessment of Dartmoor Tinworking. Digital. 40.
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: #90598 ]
SDV352201Report - Survey: Newman , P.. 1999. Eylesbarrow (Ailsborough) Tin Mine. English Heritage Survey Report. A4 Spiral Bound. 33-35,Figures 2, 16-17.
SDV352574National Monuments Record Database: National Monument Record. 2013. 1300551. National Monuments Record Database. Website. SX56NE251.
SDV7016Monograph: Minchinton, W. E.. 1973. Industrial Archaeology in Devon. Industrial Archaeology in Devon. Paperback Volume. 24.

Associated Monuments

MDV4011Parent of: Blast Furnace in the Smelting House at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV4013Parent of: Flue north of the Smelting House at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV4012Parent of: Reverberatory Furnace in the Smelting House at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV3330Part of: Eylesbarrow (Ailsborough) Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV66437Part of: Leat Embankment north-west of 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)
MDV64713Related to: Leat Serving the Southern part of Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV66439Related to: Quarry at Eylesbarrow Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV66438Related to: Reck House at Stamping Mill Number 5 at Eylesbarrow (Building)
MDV66442Related to: Several Sections of Leat 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)
MDV3327Related to: Stamping Mill Number 5 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
  • EDV6239 - Eylesbarrow (Ailsborough) Tin Mine

Date Last Edited:Sep 9 2014 1:00PM