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HER Number:MDV53013
Name:Tin mill in Redwater Valley, above Challacombe

Summary

Early 20th century tin treatment plant comprising at least three round buddles and a small wheelpit, situated on the Redwater Valley floor on the east side of the West Webburn River.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 68 79
Map Sheet:SX67NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishManaton
Civil ParishWidecombe in the Moor
DistrictTeignbridge
Ecclesiastical ParishMANATON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 915206
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67NE/311

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • TIN MILL (XX - 1927 AD to 1927 AD (Between))

Full description

Linehan, C. D., 1966, Deserted Sites and Rabbit-Warrens on Dartmoor, Devon, 144 (Article in Serial). SDV307246.

The remains of a tin blowing-mill can be seen above the village of Challacombe on the bank of the brook. This could have been the site of a mill recorded in 1303.


Greeves, T. A. P., 1986, Tin Mines and Miners of Dartmoor, A photographic record, 60 (Monograph). SDV351363.

Two images; one of the trommel units in the lower part of the Redwater Valley (dated approximately 1929), and the second of the buddles under construction dated approximately 1927.


Pattison, P., 1990, Field investigation, 15/06/1990 (Report - Survey). SDV356547.

SX 68877911. An early 20th century tin treatment plant comprising three round buddles and a small wheelpit, situated on the Redwater Valley floor on the east side of the West Webburn River.
Leats supplying both buddles and wheel survive just outside to both east and west (see related records).
This small plant was built around 1927 by Torr Trust Limited Co for the initial treatment of tin concentrate obtained on the surface from alluvial deposits and reworking waste dumps from earlier streamworking in the immediate vicinity (the "lower workings" of the Golden Dagger sett). From here it was carted up the valley to the tin dressing floors at SX 6855 7990 for further refining.


Agricultural Development Advisory Service, 1991, Challacombe Farm Postbridge, Devon (Duchy Farms Project), 29, Map D1 (Report - Assessment). SDV356546.

Tin treatment plant comprising a rectangular wheelpit and several buddles.


English Heritage, 2005, Industrial Survey Information (Report - Survey). SDV346396.

Depicted on the survey data.


GeoInformation Group Ltd, 2010, 1:625 2010 Colour (12.5cm resolution) (Aerial Photograph). SDV346026.

Area of buddles adjacent to wheelpit visible on aerial photograph.


Welch, B. + Welch, T., 2014, 1:100 survey of the Redwater wheel pit and buddles (Plan - measured). SDV356560.


Watson, P., 2014, 20th century Alluvial Tin Working in the Redwater Valley (Un-published). SDV357834.

The Redwater valley below the Golden Dagger mine was reworked for its alluvial tin deposits in the 1920s by Dartmoor Tin Mines Limited and Torr Trust Limited. Dartmoor Tin began work in 1923 for a short period during which a considerable sum was spent modernizing the mill at Golden Dagger. Early in 1925 Torr Trust comenced operations which continued until 1930, although financial returns may have been limited.
Attempts were made in 1937 to reopen the Golden Dagger mine, whether this was to continue working the alluvial material or reopen the mine is not clear and this operation appears to have been short lived. Golden Daggers operations appear to have been the subject of complaints of pollution of the river throughout the 20th century workings by the Dart Board of Conservators.
The site in the Redwater valley includes three buddles, the smaller being used for treating the heads, higher grade concentrate. These buddles all appear to be largely of timber construction suggesting their temporary nature.
The site is adjacent to the Redwater Brook and is largely waterlogged with extensive reed growth. After an initial examination and clearance of the site, including the wheelpit, which as well as the usual animal bones and ‘rubbish’ contained a number of corroded narrow gauge rails from the tramway laid up the valley to the mill, the site was surveyed in 2013.
The three buddles were identified primarily by the stone and concrete central distribution cones, which still had their steel bearing ‘pins’ in place. The remains of several posts were also found being part of the timber frames supporting the buddle mechanisms. A fourth small buddle was found on the left hand side of the site when viewed from the wheelpit. This small buddle is of different construction, the sides being of stone rather than wood, which was used on the other three. Was this small buddle of an earlier period than the others; Plate 57 in Greeves’s (1986) book shows a small stone walled buddle with its own waterwheel in operation, the other photographs show a site under construction?
Traces of the leat or leats serving the site were also surveyed for some distance up the valley.
Whilst no trace could be found of the tailrace from the wheelpit, taking levels suggested it would have been discharged into the brook quite close to the site.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV307246Article in Serial: Linehan, C. D.. 1966. Deserted Sites and Rabbit-Warrens on Dartmoor, Devon. Medieval Archaeology. 10. Digital. 144.
SDV346026Aerial Photograph: GeoInformation Group Ltd. 2010. 1:625 2010 Colour (12.5cm resolution). 2010 Aerial Photographs. Digital. [Mapped feature: #94531 ]
SDV346396Report - Survey: English Heritage. 2005. Industrial Survey Information. English Heritage. Digital.
SDV351363Monograph: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1986. Tin Mines and Miners of Dartmoor, A photographic record. Tin Mines and Miners of Dartmoor, A photographic record. Paperback Volume. 60.
SDV356546Report - Assessment: Agricultural Development Advisory Service. 1991. Challacombe Farm Postbridge, Devon (Duchy Farms Project). Agricultural Development Advisory Service. A3 Comb Bound. 29, Map D1.
SDV356547Report - Survey: Pattison, P.. 1990. Field investigation. Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England Archaeological Survey. Digital. 15/06/1990.
SDV356560Plan - measured: Welch, B. + Welch, T.. 2014. 1:100 survey of the Redwater wheel pit and buddles. 1:100. A4 Single Sheet.
SDV357834Un-published: Watson, P.. 2014. 20th century Alluvial Tin Working in the Redwater Valley. Dartmoor Tinworking Research Group. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV106851Parent of: Buddles in Redwater Valley, above Challacombe (Monument)
MDV106852Parent of: Wheelpit in Redwater Valley, above Challacombe (Monument)
MDV6106Related to: BUILDING in the Parish of Manaton (Building)
MDV106853Related to: Leat in Redwater Valley, above Challacombe (Monument)
MDV106854Related to: Leats in Redwater Valley, above Challacombe (Monument)
MDV106846Related to: Streamworks west of Challacombe Down (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6476 - The Redwater wheel pit and buddles

Date Last Edited:Feb 6 2015 4:01PM