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HER Number:MDV43324
Name:The Cooperage, Gawton Mine


The cooperage was probably built to deal with traffic in ores before Gawton mine was in production and was later adapted and enlarged to deal with the mines products and raw materials.


Grid Reference:SX 450 688
Map Sheet:SX46NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishGulworthy
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishTAVISTOCK

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX46NE/527/2
  • Old SAM County Ref: 1024

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • INDUSTRIAL BUILDING (Built, XIX - 1840 AD to 1899 AD (Between))

Full description

Timms, S., 1985, An Archaeological Assessment of the Remains of the Quay, Mine and Arsenic Works at Gawton, Tavistock Hamlets, 2.1-2.3, appendix (Report - Assessment). SDV352213.

2.1 - Pair of large stone buildings. 1842, 1895 ('cooperage'), 1906, 1953, 1984. Fair. Divided by passageway. Walls are battered and buttressed.
2.2 - Building across courtyard to the south of 2.1. 1842, 1906 ('Cr'), 1953, 1984. Fair condition.
2.3 - Building to the east of 2.2. 1895, 1906, 1953, 1984. fair, single storey.

Dixon, T. + Matthews, A. + Pye A. R. + Slater, W. D., 1988, Gawton Mine and Arsenic Works. The Field Survey. 1988, Fig.12 (Report - Survey). SDV222516.

The cooperage was probably built to deal with traffic in ores before Gawton mine was in production. It was later adapted and enlarged to deal with the mine's products and raw materials, particularly coal storage. The term 'cooperage' is used on the 1895 plan, and part of the area was presumably used for barrel-making, and possibly filling/storing. It consists of three elements: (i) square yard with two covered structures in northern half, (ii) range of buildings along its south side, (iii) small open fronted building (linhay) and the yard on its east side.

The square yard (i) seems the earliest element. High, shillet rubble walls with external buttresses (except to south wall). Walls seem to survive to original height of 3-4m above present ground level. Gateways in centre of north and west walls. Two broad windows or loading bays at first floor level in north wall. In the yard are two sets of three pillars which presumably supported the structures shown on the 1842 tithe map. The northern is marked 'coal store' on 1875 map. They are aligned north-south, and flank a central access from the north gate. The western pillars survive to a height of circa 0.5m, the eastern ones to 3m-3.5m. Dribbles of tar on outer buttresses of wall suggest these were originally roofed. Two brick archways led from the east structure, through the yard wall into the later yard (f) to the east. Two doorways at south east corner of the yard, one of which is blocked.

The range of buildings (ii) along the south side of the yard seems a secondary development dating between 1770 and 1842. Formed of three units (a), (b) and (c) which seem to be of a single phase, apart from a secondary dividing wall between (a) and (b). North wall of range consists of south wall of yard (i) heightened by circa 1.7m. Two storeys; upper floor unlit. Unit (a) has two windows and possible door in south wall. Door at west end of unit partially blocked at later period. South west corner has collapsed. Fireplace in north wall; rectangular chimney. Blocked doorway in first floor south wall, but no trace of stairway (although wall partially collapsed at this point). Unit (b) separated from (a) by secondary shillet wall to first floor level. Ground floor doorway with window to east. No fireplace. First floor doorway through south wall with external steps from east. Remains of small cupboard with wooden shelves in dividing walls. Unit (c) subdivided from (b) by primary high shillet wall incorporating chimney and fireplaces on both floors. Small scale of fireplaces suggests domestic use. Door or window in ground floor south wall. Probable door in east wall. South wall partially collapsed; east wall totally collapsed. First floor opening in south wall above that on ground floor, probably possessed a granite threshold which now lies on the ground. Similarilar opening in north wall has granite threshold and timber lintel.

The linhay (iii) complex seems to have been added between 1842 and 1867. Consists of 3 units (d), (e) and (f). Unit (d) single storey, rectangular building at south east corner of cooperage yard. Appears to have been open to south. West end consists of the yard wall. North wall largely collapsed. Access was by a doorway into the yard through its west wall, a possible doorway through its north wall, and through the open south front. Unit (e). Between 1842 and 1867 part of the east wall of the cooperage yard was demolished and the yard extended to the east, either as a covered yard or a structure. North wall of this yard/building survives, although leaning heavily to south. Blocked joist holes suggest there was once a floored two-storey structure here. South wall is north wall of (d). Low, ruinous wall at east end, and evidence of blocked gateway. Area (f) walled yard to north of (e), labelled 'cart shed and yard' on 1875 map. Low, collapsed east wall. No evidence of north wall, although one does appear on maps. There is access to the cooperage (i) by two brick archways. Other details: pls 3-4. Survey - Spring/Summer 1988.

Weddell, P. J. + Pye, A. R., 1989, Gawton Mine and Arsenic Works: The Documentary Research 1988 (Report - non-specific). SDV263249.

Buck, C., 2003, Gawton Mine, Devon, 11 (Report - Survey). SDV222530.

Main warehouse/ore floor at Gawton mine, 26m x 26m with 4m high masonry walls and wide openings in the west and north walls. Repair of damage to the smaller doorway on the east side caused by ivy was recommended in 2003. Other details: Figs 5, 13.

Buck, C., 2006, Gawton Mine, Devon: Archaeological Assessment, 49-50 (Report - Assessment). SDV344672.

The open walled yard was possibly the earliest feature on this site, and the original 3 - 4 metre high perimeter wall survives.The long building on the south side of the coal yard is in relatively sound condition, and substantial remnants survive. It was constructed on the south side of the original walled yard, utilising its high wall as the rear wall. The front wall (south facing) had window and door openings, and was two storeys high with a hipped slate roof. The two single storey northern buildings were presumably used for storage. There are no walls of these buildings remaining within the walled compound, only six masonry columns that would have supported their roofs. Other details: Figure 36, sites 47-49.

Buck, C., 2006, Gawton Mine, Devon: Impact Assessment Report, 25-28 (Report - Assessment). SDV348353.

The Tamar Valley Mining Heritage Project has proposed that a programme of building conservation and public safety works be undertaken to a number of sites within Gawton Quay and Mine. Once selective tree and vegetation clearance has taken place within the earlier coal yard walls and the buildings built against them, and a structural survey undertaken, an assessment of the nature and extent of the consolidation works can be made. It appears that little conservation work is necessary, however if there are works to be carried out they will focus on structural remediation measures. Some likely sites for conservation works include the round brick arch doorways on the east side and a wall to the south of these that is leaning inwards, and the six masonry stone pillars in the northern buildings. Other details: Figure 4, sites 47-49; figures 15-16.

Ordnance Survey, 2011, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV346129.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV222516Report - Survey: Dixon, T. + Matthews, A. + Pye A. R. + Slater, W. D.. 1988. Gawton Mine and Arsenic Works. The Field Survey. 1988. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 89.02. A4 Stapled + Digital. Fig.12.
SDV222530Report - Survey: Buck, C.. 2003. Gawton Mine, Devon. Cornwall Archaeological Unit Report. 2003R086. A4 Stapled + Digital. 11.
SDV263249Report - non-specific: Weddell, P. J. + Pye, A. R.. 1989. Gawton Mine and Arsenic Works: The Documentary Research 1988. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 89.01. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV344672Report - Assessment: Buck, C.. 2006. Gawton Mine, Devon: Archaeological Assessment. Cornwall County Council Report. 2006R023. A4 Stapled + Digital. 49-50.
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #91687 ]
SDV348353Report - Assessment: Buck, C.. 2006. Gawton Mine, Devon: Impact Assessment Report. Cornwall County Council Report. A4 Stapled + Digital. 25-28.
SDV352213Report - Assessment: Timms, S.. 1985. An Archaeological Assessment of the Remains of the Quay, Mine and Arsenic Works at Gawton, Tavistock Hamlets. Devon County Council. A4 Stapled + Digital. 2.1-2.3, appendix.

Associated Monuments

MDV5490Part of: Gawton Mine, West Devon (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV3170 - Unnamed Event
  • EDV4746 - Archaeological Assessment of Gawton Mine, Devon
  • EDV4747 - Field Survey of Gawton Mine

Date Last Edited:Aug 28 2019 11:16AM