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HER Number:MDV41530
Name:Whitsam Down Mine, Bere Ferrers

Summary

Remains of Whitsam Down Mine include chimney and associated earthworks. Documentary evidence for medieval origins, but visible features likely to be of later date. Earthworks of sub-oval and irregularly shaped pits, cuttings and banks associated with this mine are visible on visualisations derived from lidar data captured in 2019.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 437 663
Map Sheet:SX46NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBere Ferrers
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBERE FERRERS

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX46NW/540

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • MINE (XIV to XIX - 1301 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

Claughton, P., 13/09/1995, Diversion of Public Footpath in the Vicinity of Medieval Silver Workings, Whitsam Down, Bere Ferrers. (Correspondence). SDV343875.

A number of shafts are marked in the area of Whitsam Down (on plan dated 1809), but none accurately enough to pin-point on the ground today. At that date there was a pumping engine installed on the northern part of the site. The chimney is marked on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map, but the exact site of the engine shaft is not determined. The full extent of the workings, as part of East Tamar Consols 1845-61, is not known The northern part of the site, in the area of the recent sinkage, has the appearance of being extensively worked. The principal ore deposits were found in a north-south crosscourse from Buttspill to South Tamar Consols, and is in evidence where the collapse has occurred at about SX43816632. North and south of the collapse the gunnis, left when the crosscourse was worked, is arched over close to the surface to support the ground above. Indications are that deeper vertical shafts were sunk to cut the crosscourse at depth. In comparison the southern part of the site appears to have been worked by shallow shafts only.

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

An area of possible rough ground is shown in this location.

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

Earthworks are depicted in this location.

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

Earthworks are depicted in this location.

Booker, F., 1967, Industrial Archaeology of the Tamar Valley, 54-60, 67 (Monograph). SDV240774.

Hamilton Jenkin, Dr. A. K., 1974, Mines of Devon. Volume 1: The Southern Area, 36-38 (Monograph). SDV336694.

Mayer, P., 1990, Calstock and Bere Alston Silver/Lead Mines in the 14th Century, 79-95 (Article in Serial). SDV343017.

Cranstone, D., 1991, The Lead Industry, Site 1I (Report - non-specific). SDV90317.

Whitsam Down Mine. Slight rake-type earthworks at south end of site, giving way on steeper slope to small opencuts, tips of dressing waste and earthworks of buddle-like features. The site may well have medieval origins, but the visible features are likely to be of later date, the dressing waste probably produced by 18th-19th century reprocessing of earlier tips.

Site may well have medieval origins, but visible features likley to be of later date. Recommended for protection as part of multi-period landscape.

Claughton, P., 1994, Silver-Lead - A Restricted Resource: Technological Choice in Devon Mines, 57-8 (Article in Serial). SDV337126.

Sections of the Bere Ferrers mine at Wittesham Down were leased out to 'Ram' in the mid 15th century. Other details: Table 2.

Claughton, P. F., 1996, The Lumburn Leat - evidence for new pumping technology at Bere Ferrers in the 15th Century, 35-6, 38 (Article in Serial). SDV229681.

Mine drainage may have benefited from power supplied by the 16 kilometre 16th century Lumburn leat from the vicinity of Millhill west of Tavistock. Other details: Figure 2.

Dyer, M. J. + Manning, P. T., 1998, Objective 5B: Lower Tamar Valley Recreation and Land Management Iinitiative: Cultural Heritage Appraisal, 49 (Report - non-specific). SDV319814.

Buck, C., 1998, Preliminary Assessment of Industrial Sites of Archaeological Importance in the Tamar Valley, 54-5 (Report - Assessment). SDV336795.

In 1845 documents show Whitsam Mine was amalgamated with Lockridge and East Tamar (Furzehill) under the name of East Tamar Consols.

Environment Agency, 2000-2019, LiDAR DTM data (1m resolution) EA: Tamar Aerial Survey project area, LIDAR Environment Agency LAST RETURN 19-APR-2019 (Cartographic). SDV363954.

Sub-oval and irregularly shaped pits, cuttings and banks are visible as earthworks.

Claughton, P. F., 2003, Silver Mining in England and Wales, 1066-1500 (Post-Graduate Thesis). SDV81879.

Rippon, S. + Claughton, P. + Smart, C., 2009, Mining in a Medieval Landscape: The Royal Silver Mines of the Tamar Valley, 62, 67, 75, (Monograph). SDV344097.

Possibly known as 'Middledale' or Middle Mine' in 14th century, and Wittesham Down in the 15th century. A section of the lode was arched over on the northern slope of Whitsam Down, using mortared stone, to support later activity. Other details: Figure 3.5, 3.7, 6.1, 6.16.

Hegarty, C., Houghton, E., Knight, S. and Sims, R., 2020-2021, Tamar/Lidar; A Single Source Approach to Landscape Survey and Socially Distanced Community Archaeology Area 1 (AI&M project) (Interpretation). SDV363945.

Sub-oval and irregularly shaped pits and banks, between 5-45 metres long, and cuttings, up to 90 metres long, are visible as earthworks on visualisations derived from lidar data captured in 2019. The visible earthworks occupy an area of circa 0.7 hectares of steep north-west and south facing slope.
No features are depicted in this location on the mid-19th century Parish Tithe Map which shows this area as comprising possible rough ground. The pits and banks do, however, correspond with several earthworks on both the late-19th century and early-20th century First and Second Edition Ordnance Survey maps.
The earthworks are interpreted as the extractive pits, shafts and spoil heaps associated with this mine, that had possibly passed out of use by the late-19th century.
The earthworks are not clearly visible on other available aerial imagery owing to thick tree cover.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV229681Article in Serial: Claughton, P. F.. 1996. The Lumburn Leat - evidence for new pumping technology at Bere Ferrers in the 15th Century. Mining History: Bulletin PDMHS. The Archaeology of Mining and Metallurgy in. 13, Number 2. A4 Paperback. 35-6, 38.
SDV240774Monograph: Booker, F.. 1967. Industrial Archaeology of the Tamar Valley. Industrial Archaeology of the Tamar Valley. A5 Hardback. 54-60, 67.
SDV319814Report - non-specific: Dyer, M. J. + Manning, P. T.. 1998. Objective 5B: Lower Tamar Valley Recreation and Land Management Iinitiative: Cultural Heritage Appraisal. Exeter Archaeology Report. 98.60. A4 Stapled + Digital. 49.
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). [Mapped feature: #91132 ]
SDV336694Monograph: Hamilton Jenkin, Dr. A. K.. 1974. Mines of Devon. Volume 1: The Southern Area. Mines of Devon. Volume 1: The Southern Area. One. Hardback Volume. 36-38.
SDV336795Report - Assessment: Buck, C.. 1998. Preliminary Assessment of Industrial Sites of Archaeological Importance in the Tamar Valley. Cornwall Archaeological Unit Report. A4 Stapled + Digital. 54-5.
SDV337126Article in Serial: Claughton, P.. 1994. Silver-Lead - A Restricted Resource: Technological Choice in Devon Mines. Mining History: Bulletin PDMHS. 12, Number 3. Photocopy + Digital. 57-8.
SDV343017Article in Serial: Mayer, P.. 1990. Calstock and Bere Alston Silver/Lead Mines in the 14th Century. Cornish Archaeology. 29. Paperback Volume. 79-95.
SDV343875Correspondence: Claughton, P.. 13/09/1995. Diversion of Public Footpath in the Vicinity of Medieval Silver Workings, Whitsam Down, Bere Ferrers.. Letter and Map. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV344097Monograph: Rippon, S. + Claughton, P. + Smart, C.. 2009. Mining in a Medieval Landscape: The Royal Silver Mines of the Tamar Valley. Mining in a Medieval Landscape: The Royal Silver Mines of the Tamar Valley. Paperback Volume. 62, 67, 75,.
SDV349431Cartographic: Devon County Council. 1838-1848. Tithe Mosaic, approximately 1838-1848. Digitised Tithe Map. Digital.
SDV363945Interpretation: Hegarty, C., Houghton, E., Knight, S. and Sims, R.. 2020-2021. Tamar/Lidar; A Single Source Approach to Landscape Survey and Socially Distanced Community Archaeology Area 1 (AI&M project). Historic England Research Report. Digital.
SDV363954Cartographic: Environment Agency. 2000-2019. LiDAR DTM data (1m resolution) EA: Tamar Aerial Survey project area. Environment Agency LiDAR data. Digital. LIDAR Environment Agency LAST RETURN 19-APR-2019.
SDV81879Post-Graduate Thesis: Claughton, P. F.. 2003. Silver Mining in England and Wales, 1066-1500. University of Exeter Thesis. A4 Comb Bound + Digital.
SDV90317Report - non-specific: Cranstone, D.. 1991. The Lead Industry. English Heritage Monuments Protection Programme Step 3 Site Assessments. A4 Unbound. Site 1I.

Associated Monuments

MDV72856Parent of: Chimney at Whitsam Down Mine, Bere Ferrers (Monument)
MDV72856Related to: Chimney at Whitsam Down Mine, Bere Ferrers (Monument)
MDV56632Parent of: Engine House at Whitsam Down Mine (Monument)
MDV56633Parent of: Wheelpit at Whitsam Down Mine (Monument)
MDV56635Related to: Adit at Whitsam Down Mine (Monument)
MDV72856Parent of: Chimney at Whitsam Down Mine, Bere Ferrers (Monument)
MDV72856Related to: Chimney at Whitsam Down Mine, Bere Ferrers (Monument)
MDV76073Related to: Leat near Lockridge and Whitsam Down Mines (Monument)
MDV41528Related to: Part of Furzehill Mine, or Birch Mine (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8345 - Tamar/Lidar; A Single Source Approach to Landscape Survey and Socially Distanced Community Archaeology Area 1 (AI&M) (Ref: ACD2380)

Date Last Edited:May 12 2021 9:50AM