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HER Number:MDV55152
Name:Week Ford Tin Mills


Remains of two water powered blowing and stamping houses, documented as 'Wikeford Mills' in 1608. A field survey in 1980 found the buildings located 10 metres apart served by a short section of leat. The walls survived to a maximum height of 2 metres and within the interior were mortarstones and mouldstones. These building are Medieval or later in date. Excavation on the associated tailings produced charcoal from well-stratified, tin-slag rich layers, which was radiocarbon-dated to the 8th century. However, further research on the site is necessary before a claim that tin smelting dating to the Saxon period can be confirmed.


Grid Reference:SX 661 723
Map Sheet:SX67SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Buildings Record: NRI01
  • National Monuments Record: SX67SE65
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 443046
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67SE/24
  • Old SAM Ref: 796
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SX67SE65

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • LEAT (Constructed, Early Medieval to Early 20th Century - 1066 AD (Between) to 1901 AD (Between))
  • STAMPING MILL (Constructed, Early Medieval to Early 20th Century - 1066 AD (Between) to 1901 AD (Between))
  • WATERMILL (Constructed, Early Medieval to Early 20th Century - 1066 AD (Between) to 1901 AD (Between))

Full description

Worth, R. H., 1940, The Dartmoor Blowing House, 201-3, 214-5 (Article in Serial). SDV154693.

The remains of two blowing houses, using a common leat (Plans) arranged one above the other on a steep hillside. There are several mortar stones and at the upper blowing house there is a mould stone.

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

(SX 6618 7233) Blowing House (NR) (Remains of) (NAT).

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1980, SX67SE65 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV218919.

(25/03/1980) The remains of two rubble-filled blowing houses, both in in fair condition and as planned by Worth (1940).
A leat from O Brook to the east is very poorly defined across the moor-land but where it leaves a wheel pit of blowing house 'B' there is a channel 2.0m. wide at the top, 0.5m. wide at the bottom, and 0.7m. deep. It is 20m. long and does not go directly to blowing house 'A', as Worth indicates on his plan, but runs parallel to it at a distance of 2.5m, and terminates in an area of marsh at the foot of the hillslope.
If this is the leat, and there seems no reason for cutting a channel after the house had fallen into disuse, either the lower house had the water diverted to it by a sluice, or, it was disused when the upper one was constructed with a new direct tailing leat.
Surveyed at 1:2500 on MSD.

Greeves, T. A. P., 1981, Medieval Industry, 92, 94 (Article in Serial). SDV275197.

Listed as a pre-1700 tin-mill. An unglazed body sherd of St Germans type ware (C15th to ca 1550) was found at the lower mill recently. The earliest documentary evidence is dated to 1608 when both mills were known as 'Wikeford Milles'.

Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England, 1987-1993, Duchy Farms Project Survey Visit (Report - Survey). SDV350839.

Earl, B., 1989, Tin Smelting at Week Ford, Dartmoor. A Brief Note, 119 (Article in Serial). SDV356227.

Week Ford tin mills. Also known as Beara Mills. First recorded in 1608. Further mentioned in 1730 and 1737. The remains consist of two substantial granite ruins circa 10 metres apart. Two leats served the mills. Despite conflicting evidence for primacy it should be noted that Lower mill is in the better position and appears to represent more phases of activity than Upper Mill, with at least one structural rebuild, a furnace refurbishment, and perhaps a change of function. The 1608 document uses the plural, suggesting that both were in use at that time. Abandonment is likely to have been during the 18th century or earlier, especially for Lower Mill.

Greeves, T., 1990, Eighth-Century Tin Smelting on Dartmoor. Do We Really have the Evidence?, 45-6 (Article in Serial). SDV356228.

Newman, P., 1993, Week Ford Tin Mills, Dartmoor, 192-5 (Article in Serial). SDV350371.

Earl's calibrated radio carbon date of AD640-800 (60%) or AD570-890 (95%) is disputed by Greeves, owing to the amount of disturbance to the findspot of the sample.

Cranstone, D. + Hedley, I., 1995, Monuments Protection Programme: The Tin Industry Step 3 Site Assessments, Devon 36 (Report - non-specific). SDV357946.

Two well preserved water-powered blowing and stamping houses situated 10 metres apart.

English Heritage, 2014, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV355683.

Blowing houses at Week Ford.

Historic England, 2021-2022, NRHE to HER website, Accessed 23/06/2022 (Website). SDV364039.

[443046 / SX67SE65] NRI01: Recorded by NRIM [Recorded by M Park, undated, Record No. DV10. National Record of Industrial Monuments, Two sets of index cards in the NMR Archive, arranged by county and by industry].

Greeves, T. + Stanbrook, E., Apr 2013, Combestone Farm, Holne, Devon. A History, 24 (Report - non-specific). SDV356154.

Documentary references to' Wikeford Milles' in 1608 and to a mill at 'Weekeford' in 1609.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV154693Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1940. The Dartmoor Blowing House. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 72. Paperback Volume. 201-3, 214-5.
SDV218919Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1980. SX67SE65. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV275197Article in Serial: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1981. Medieval Industry. Council for British Archaeology Research Report. 40. Unknown. 92, 94.
SDV350058Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1963-1996. 1963-1996 National Grid OS Metric. Digital Mapping. Digital. (1963).
SDV350371Article in Serial: Newman, P.. 1993. Week Ford Tin Mills, Dartmoor. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 51. Paperback Volume. 192-5.
SDV350839Report - Survey: Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England. 1987-1993. Duchy Farms Project Survey Visit. Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England Archaeological Survey. Unknown.
SDV355683National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2014. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Website.
SDV356154Report - non-specific: Greeves, T. + Stanbrook, E.. Apr 2013. Combestone Farm, Holne, Devon. A History. A4 Comb Bound. 24.
SDV356227Article in Serial: Earl, B.. 1989. Tin Smelting at Week Ford, Dartmoor. A Brief Note. Journal of the Historical Metallurgy Society. 23.2. Unknown. 119.
SDV356228Article in Serial: Greeves, T.. 1990. Eighth-Century Tin Smelting on Dartmoor. Do We Really have the Evidence?. Journal of the Historical Metallurgy Society. 24.1. Unknown. 45-6.
SDV357946Report - non-specific: Cranstone, D. + Hedley, I.. 1995. Monuments Protection Programme: The Tin Industry Step 3 Site Assessments. Monument Protection Programme. Foolscap. Devon 36.
SDV364039Website: Historic England. 2021-2022. NRHE to HER website. https://nrhe-to-her.esdm.co.uk/NRHE. Website. Accessed 23/06/2022.

Associated Monuments

MDV6402Parent of: Week Ford Lower Mill (Building)
MDV6401Parent of: Week Ford Upper Mill (Building)

Associated Finds

  • FDV7980 - MORTAR STONE (Early Medieval to Early 20th Century - 1066 AD to 1901 AD)
  • FDV7981 - MOULDSTONE (Early Medieval to Early 20th Century - 1066 AD to 1901 AD)

Associated Events

  • EDV8328 - Excavation at Week Ford blowing mill (Ref: 636276)
  • EDV8409 - Dartmoor Royal Forest Project
  • EDV8423 - Duchy Farms Project

Date Last Edited:Jun 23 2022 10:01AM