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HER Number:MDV4093
Name:Mount Foundry, Tavistock

Summary

Mount Foundry, or Higher or Upper Foundry, opened circa 1804 and closed in 1891. A large two storey stone building remains, which is listed. Excavations in 2007 revealed evidence for many phases and alterations during the working life of the foundry.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 485 746
Map Sheet:SX47SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishTavistock
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishTAVISTOCK

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX47SE/50

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • FOUNDRY (XIX - 1801 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

Wessex Archaeology, Mount Foundry Tavistock (Poster). SDV351509.

Poster showing plan of the site, artistic impression of principal buildings, plan of 2007 excavations, and photographs of remains of belly-helve hammers and a reconstruction of them.


Shorter, A. H., 1947 - 1949, A Classification of Old Mills in Devon and Cornwall, 279 (Article in Serial). SDV102853.

The Tavistock Iron Works, comprising a foundry, an edge tool manufactory, an anchor smithery, etc. , with nine powerful waterwheels, boring, turning and grinding mill, were advertised for sale in 1815.


Minchinton, W. E., 1973, Industrial Archaeology in Devon, 21 (Monograph). SDV7016.

Gill and Rundle's Foundry, Parkwood Road. This is a very good example of the building of an early 19th century foundry. It is now used as a store, it is solidly built of stone with arched windows and a slate roof.


Department of Environment, 1983, Tavistock, 28 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV272550.

No 41a, Parkwood Road (Kaminski's Storehouse). Early 19th century. Built as Gill and Rundles' foundry and later became a wool combing factory. Two storeys stone rubble with granite dressings. Slate roof. Eight round-headed windows and elliptical entrance arch to east. To west, one storey stone extension. Three round-headed arches in gable including huge blocked central one with keystone. Included for industrial historical interest as probably the oldest foundry in Tavistock.


The Tavistock and District Local History Society, 1994, About Tavistock: An Historical Introduction and Six Town Walks, 53 (Monograph). SDV354806.


Exeter Archaeology, 1997, Archaeological Assessment of the Development of the Dockrell Yachts Site, Parkwood Road, Tavistock, 3 (Report - Assessment). SDV344557.

Higher Foundry was served by a leat which came off the 'ancient mill leat' that flowed along Brook Street. Operated in conjunction with 'Lower Foundry' (MDV61918). See report for full details.


Bodman, M., 1998, Water-Powered Sites in Devon, 30.28 (Report - non-specific). SDV305931.

Described in 1815 as ‘bar iron works foundery’ with ‘edge tool manufactory’ and ‘anchor smithery’. The plant included nine waterwheels, eight hammers, air and blast furnaces and blowing cylinders. The property included a house with stables, gardens and cottages. The Victorian two storey stone building with slate roofs was converted to a builders merchant.


Warren, S., 2002, Evaluation. Listed Foundry Building. Parkwood Road, Tavistock, 3.1 (Report - Evaluation). SDV348734.


Kaminski, T., 2003, Demolition of Industrial Buildings and Change of Use from Builders Merchants to Dwellings. (Planning Application). SDV351160.

2003 planning application plans and associated papers regarding proposed demolition of industrial buildings and development of site for residential use, including conversion of listed building to nine dwellings.


Bodman, M., 2003, Watermills and Other Water-Powered Sites in Devon, 221 (Report - Interim). SDV325576.


Freeman, M., 2005, The Tavistock Foundries, Part 1. (Pamphlet). SDV344999.

A lease signed in 1808 recorded the erection of the Higher Foundry on land to the north of the earlier Lower Foundry, including a former shear-grinding mill, an old tucking mill on the Millbrook, and meadows and gardens. Over 200 years there have been many changes in the layout of the site, and plans are preserved with some of the leases.


Wessex Archaeology, 2006, Mount Foundry, Tavistock, Devon. Building Recording, 5 (Report - non-specific). SDV347975.

The surviving buildings consist of the Listed Building, the remains of the combing sheds for the worsted factory and a 20th century two storey building. The combing sheds have asymmetrical roofs and were once attached to the west side of the north half of the Listed Building. At the time of the building recording they had been partly demolished and were no longer attached. All other structures and buildings had been demolished. See report for full details.


Wessex Archaeology, 2006, Mount Foundry, Tavistock, Devon: Archaeological Impact Assessment (Report - Assessment). SDV351159.

The site for proposed residential development is that of Rundle and Gill's Mount Foundry, a brass and iron foundry complex that was established in the early years of the 19th century. The foundry closed in 1891 and then operated until 1965 as a wool combing factory. The impact assessment concluded that it is likely the proposed groundworks will have an impact on industrial archaeological remains, and it is recommended that certain areas are targeted with archaeological evaluation trenches, while the contractor's groundworks are observed by an archaeologist in other areas of the site. See report for full details.


Wessex Archaeology, 2007, Mount Foundry, Tavistock, Devon. Archaeological Evaluation Report (Report - Evaluation). SDV347974.

During archaeological evaluation prior to redevelopment of the site of the former Mount Foundry, four trial trenches were excavated, all of which produced structural remains of the former foundry, and other industrial remains. Building remains could be positively correlated to historic foundry facilities mapped between 1842 and 1906. See report for full details.


Wessex Archaeology, 2007, Site of the Former Mount Foundry and Tavistock Foundry, Tavistock, Devon. Archaeological Assessment Report and Updated Project Design (Report - non-specific). SDV347973.

The excavations revealed important elements at the centre of the early foundry complex, covering the period 1804-1864. Almost all the functions of a small foundry were represented, including a cupola furnace and a casting floor, hammer mills and a boring mill, several elements being relatively well preserved , and together representing an unusual survival of this period.


Buck, C., 2007, Tavistock Iron Works: 19th Century Historical Timeline (Report - non-specific). SDV356421.

The foundry was built circa 1800 and from about 1804 was expanded northwards to create a second and larger foundry with extensive workshops. The major source of water and power for the foundry was from a new leat taken upstream of the older Millbrook. A description of the higher foundry is given in 1815 which shows it to have included two blast and two air furnaces, one each for brass and iron, hammer mills, a grinding, boring and turning mill, an edge tool manufactory and smithies, all powered by nine waterwheels. In Kellys Directory for 1838 it is described as an 'extensive iron works with a foundry attached'. The foundry suffered through competition from other foundries and the depression in the mining business, although it was exporting mining machinery to Brazil. Operations at the foundry were suspended for a time in the late 1870s as the mining depression grew worse. It finally closed in 1891 and the plant and machinery was sold. In 1897 it became a woolcombing and woollen mill. See report for further details.


Wessex Archaeology, 2008, Mount Foundry, Tavistock: An Early 19th Century Iron and Brass Foundry in West Devon, 17 (Report - non-specific). SDV351156.

The former Rundle and Gill's Mount Foundry (later Tavistock Foundry) was a brass and iron foundry complex extablished in the early years of the 19th century. The 2007 excavations on this site produced evidence for many phases and alterations during its working life as a foundry and engineering works, and later as a woollen mill. See report for full details.


Trevarthen, M., 2009, Mount Foundry, Tavistock. An Early 19th Century Iron and Brass Foundry in West Devon, 217-247 (Article in Serial). SDV344802.

Mount Foundry, or Higher or Upper Foundry, opened circa 1804 and closed in 1891, the plant and machinery being sold. The premises subsequently became a woolcombing and woollen mill. The 1907 Ordnance Survey map shows that the former hammer mill, stores, offices and workshops on the west side of the site had been demolished as had the former moulding shop. A large wool combing factory was built against the northern part of the site to the west of the former fitting shops. Woolcombing ceased on the site in 1965. Excavations in 2007 in advance of redevelopment investigated the sites of the boring mill, the hammer mill which retained the remains of the hammer sub frames and anvil bases together with their associated wheelpits for the waterwheels that originally drove the machinery, the cupola furnace and casting area together with the remains of other buildings associated with the foundry. The excavations revealed evidence for many phases and alterations during the working life of the foundry. Most of the functions of the foundry were represented indicating that the area recorded was the nucelus of the 1805 foundry. The remains of structures relating to that of the later woollen mill were also uncovered. See article for full details.


Mettler, A.E., 2010, Field Book to the Plan of Tavistock: 1751 and 1752, 65 (Monograph). SDV350389.

W1 is described as 'The Sheer Grinding Mill and Orchard'


The Tavistock Wynne Map Heritage Project, 2012, Tavistock 1752, W1 (Website). SDV350360.


Waterhouse, R., 2017, The Tavistock Canal. Its History and Archaeology, 254-57, 281, figs 8.7-8.10, 8.50 (Monograph). SDV361789.

History of the foundry given and plans of the foundry and 1845 sketch. Also mentioned is the Tavistock Smelting House; part of the premises of the Mount Foundry, first referred to in 1815 (fig 8.50). Presumably went out of use by 1854. Waterhouse includes a plan based on the 1845 lease plan, which shows the possible site of the tin smelting house at the south-western end of the site, near the course of the leat.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV102853Article in Serial: Shorter, A. H.. 1947 - 1949. A Classification of Old Mills in Devon and Cornwall. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 23. Unknown. 279.
SDV272550List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1983. Tavistock. Historic Houses Register. A4 Comb Bound. 28.
SDV305931Report - non-specific: Bodman, M.. 1998. Water-Powered Sites in Devon. A4 Spiral Bound. 30.28.
SDV325576Report - Interim: Bodman, M.. 2003. Watermills and Other Water-Powered Sites in Devon. A4 Spiral Bound. 221.
SDV344557Report - Assessment: Exeter Archaeology. 1997. Archaeological Assessment of the Development of the Dockrell Yachts Site, Parkwood Road, Tavistock. Exeter Archaeology Report. 97.39. A4 Stapled + Digital. 3.
SDV344802Article in Serial: Trevarthen, M.. 2009. Mount Foundry, Tavistock. An Early 19th Century Iron and Brass Foundry in West Devon. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 67. Paperback Volume. 217-247.
SDV344999Pamphlet: Freeman, M.. 2005. The Tavistock Foundries, Part 1.. A4 Folded.
SDV347973Report - non-specific: Wessex Archaeology. 2007. Site of the Former Mount Foundry and Tavistock Foundry, Tavistock, Devon. Archaeological Assessment Report and Updated Project Design. Wessex Archaeology Report. 63995.01. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV347974Report - Evaluation: Wessex Archaeology. 2007. Mount Foundry, Tavistock, Devon. Archaeological Evaluation Report. Wessex Archaeology Report. 63991.03. A4 stapled + Digital.
SDV347975Report - non-specific: Wessex Archaeology. 2006. Mount Foundry, Tavistock, Devon. Building Recording. Wessex Archaeology Report. 63990.02. A4 Stapled + Digital. 5.
SDV348734Report - Evaluation: Warren, S.. 2002. Evaluation. Listed Foundry Building. Parkwood Road, Tavistock. A4 Grip Bound + Digital. 3.1.
SDV350360Website: The Tavistock Wynne Map Heritage Project. 2012. Tavistock 1752. http://www.tavistock1752.co.uk/index.cfm. Website. W1.
SDV350389Monograph: Mettler, A.E.. 2010. Field Book to the Plan of Tavistock: 1751 and 1752. Field Book to the Plan of Tavistock: 1751 and 1752. Paperback Volume. 65.
SDV351156Report - non-specific: Wessex Archaeology. 2008. Mount Foundry, Tavistock: An Early 19th Century Iron and Brass Foundry in West Devon. Wessex Archaeology Report. 63996.01. A4 Bound + Digital. 17.
SDV351159Report - Assessment: Wessex Archaeology. 2006. Mount Foundry, Tavistock, Devon: Archaeological Impact Assessment. Wessex Archaeology Report. 63990.01. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV351160Planning Application: Kaminski, T.. 2003. Demolition of Industrial Buildings and Change of Use from Builders Merchants to Dwellings.. West Devon Borough Council. A4 Unbound + Digital.
SDV351509Poster: Wessex Archaeology. Mount Foundry Tavistock. Digital.
SDV354806Monograph: The Tavistock and District Local History Society. 1994. About Tavistock: An Historical Introduction and Six Town Walks. About Tavistock: An Historical Introduction and Six Town Walks. A5 Paperback. 53.
SDV356421Report - non-specific: Buck, C.. 2007. Tavistock Iron Works: 19th Century Historical Timeline. Historic Environment Service (Projects) Cornwall County Council. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV361789Monograph: Waterhouse, R.. 2017. The Tavistock Canal. Its History and Archaeology. The Tavistock Canal. Its History and Archaeology. Paperback Volume. 254-57, 281, figs 8.7-8.10, 8.50.
SDV7016Monograph: Minchinton, W. E.. 1973. Industrial Archaeology in Devon. Industrial Archaeology in Devon. Paperback Volume. 21.

Associated Monuments

MDV23112Parent of: Ferrum House, 15 Parkwood Road, Tavistock (Building)
MDV78214Parent of: Former Fitting Shop and Erecting Shed, Mount Foundry (Monument)
MDV103809Parent of: Workshops, Mount Foundry (Building)
MDV61767Related to: Leat from Head Weir to Mount's Foundry, Tavistock (Monument)
MDV61918Related to: Lower Foundry, Tavistock (Monument)
MDV19146Related to: Mill Brook, Tavistock (Monument)
MDV73904Related to: Shillamill, Canal Aqueduct (Monument)
MDV123232Related to: Tavistock Canal, Main record (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4807 - Archaeological Investigations at Mount Foundry, Tavistock
  • EDV5424 - Evaluation at Mount Foundry
  • EDV5425 - Building Recording at Mount Foundry
  • EDV5719 - Evaluation of Foundry Building, Parkwood Road, Tavistock

Date Last Edited:Jan 17 2019 10:01AM