HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Devon & Dartmoor HER Result
Devon & Dartmoor HERPrintable version | About Devon & Dartmoor HER | Visit Devon & Dartmoor HER online...

See important guidance on the use of this record.

If you have any comments or new information about this record, please email us.

HER Number:MDV4297
Name:Downing's House, a tinner's hut or cache, Cornwood


Alternate name: Smugglers Hole. Medieval or later tinner's cache situated in a small valley on the right bank of the River Erme, upstream from Piles Copse. Evidence of an entrance on the western, uphill side. The structure was in good condition at the time of survey in 1976.


Grid Reference:SX 639 629
Map Sheet:SX66SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishCornwood
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishCORNWOOD

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Structural remains of a medieval or later tinners' hut or cache west of the River Erme

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX66SW15
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 442205
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX66SW/50
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • TINNERS CACHE (Constructed, Early Medieval to Early 20th Century - 1066 AD (Between) to 1901 AD (Between))

Full description

Falcon, T. A., 1902-1903, Dartmoor Mining, 226, plate (Article in Serial). SDV154698.

Beehive hut on a small tributary (west) of the Erme, above Piles Wood and Stalldon Burrows.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1950/1976, SX66SW15 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV165728.

(01/04/1950) Beehive hut. A semi-circular dome shaped hut composed of stones, with an entrance leading to a small doorway 1.0 metre by 0.7 metres high in the western side. In good condition. Hut measures 1.5 by 1.1 metres and 0.7 metres high.
(10/08/1976) Downing's House (name unconfirmed) is situated at approximately 305.0 metres OD. It is semi-circular, measures 2.6 metres by 3.5 metres and is 1.4 metres high with a corbelled roof. The entrance is 1.0 metres wide and 0.7 metres high is on the west, uphill side. A small rubble built wall protects the entrance.
The structure is in good condition. Surveyed at 1:10 000 on MSD.

Ordnance Survey, 1963-1996, 1963-1996 National Grid OS Metric (Cartographic). SDV350058.

(SX 63946292) 'Tinner's Hut' depicted on historic map (1968).

Harris, H., 1968, Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor, 18 (Monograph). SDV149229.

Downing's House, a tinner's cache situated in a small valley on the right bank of the River Erme, upstream from Piles Copse. It is locally known as 'Smuggler's Hole'.

National Monuments Record, 1976, NMR SX6363, 4 (Aerial Photograph). SDV156571.

Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP (Cartographic). SDV319854.

Visible on aerial photographs and recorded on map overlay.

Ordnance Survey, 2016, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV359352.

'Downing's House' 'Tinner's Hut' depicted on the modern mapping.

Newman, P., 2018, Erme Valley Survey data (GIS and Excel spreadsheet) (Cartographic). SDV361913.

Newman, P., 2018, The Upper Erme Valley, Dartmoor National Park, Devon: An Archaeological Survey, Appendix 1, Figure 44 (Report - Survey). SDV362921.

Downing’s House. A small, roofed structure, probable tinners’ hut or cache, sits on the north side of a minor western tributary of the River Erme, a few meters west of the modern track. The interior is an approximate rectangle of 2.2 metres by 1 metre and the roof height is approximately 0.8 metres. The walls and roof are constructed from overlapping granite slabs, giving a domed appearance from the outside, hence the structure is often referred to as a beehive hut. An entrance, with a single lintel survives on the western side.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV149229Monograph: Harris, H.. 1968. Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor. Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor. A5 Hardback. 18.
SDV154698Article in Serial: Falcon, T. A.. 1902-1903. Dartmoor Mining. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 2. 226, plate.
SDV156571Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. 1976. NMR SX6363. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph. 4.
SDV165728Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1950/1976. SX66SW15. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV319854Cartographic: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Aerial Photograph P. Cartographic.
SDV350058Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1963-1996. 1963-1996 National Grid OS Metric. Digital Mapping. Digital.
SDV359352Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2016. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #91529 ]
SDV361913Cartographic: Newman, P.. 2018. Erme Valley Survey data (GIS and Excel spreadsheet). GIS ShapeFile. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV13224Related to: Tin streamworks along the valley of the River Erme, Cornwood and Harford (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8082 - Survey of the Upper Erme Valley

Date Last Edited:Jan 24 2022 11:10AM