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HER Number:MDV6282
Name:Gobbett Tin Mine, Dartmoor Forest


A post Medieval tin mine which was known to be operational between 1836-74 when it was owned by three successive companies, Dartmoor United Tin Mines, Dartmoor Consoles and Swincombe Vale. The mine was closed in 1876 and was disused in 1886. Earlier activity on the site includes Medieval streamworks (Monument HOB UID 908690) and a pre 1700 tin mill (Monument HOB UID 443355) and openworks. An archaeological field survey in 1988 also recorded a beamwork comprising a 330 metre long linear trench up to 23 metres wide and 7 metres deep, cut by 19th century mine shafts. Also present are leats, a wheel pit which held an overshot wheel, a dressing floor with tailing pits and buddles, and the remains of mine buildings.


Grid Reference:SX 646 727
Map Sheet:SX67SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX67SW318
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 1483848
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67SW/155
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67SW/44
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • TIN MINE (Built, XIX - 1836 AD (Between) to 1874 AD (Between))

Full description

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV237526.

Des=mining journal/(1840), (1870-1873). Des=memoirs geological survey/338 dartmoor.

South West Heritage Trust, 1838-1848, Digitised Tithe Maps and Transcribed Apportionments (Cartographic). SDV359954.

Wood, 1850, Map of Dartmoor (Cartographic). SDV340908.

Worth, R. N., 1876, Ashburton Stannery, 311 (Article in Serial). SDV237527.

Collins, J. H., 1912, Observations on the West of England Mining Region (Monograph). SDV323594.

H. M. Stationary Office, 1929, Abandoned Mines (Monograph). SDV215700.

Ramsden, J. V., 1952, Notes on the Mines of Devonshire, 95, fig.1 (Article in Serial). SDV60737.

Ordnance Survey, 1953-1969, 1953-1969 National Grid OS A edition imperial, (1954) (Cartographic). SDV352727.

'Gobbett Tin Mine' shown on 1954 6 inch historic map.

Harris, H., 1968, Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor, 206 (Monograph). SDV149229.

Gobbett, tin-mine. Open cuttings and dumps are all that remain of this tin mine, which was operated in the mid 19th century. Much of the stone from its buildings was used in the construction of the swincombe reservoir. After earlier working and a probably short spell of inactivity, machinery was installed in 1865, following which working continued until the 1870s. Yields were small. (source unclear - Harris?).

Fox, A., 1969, Swincombe Survey, 23 (Report - Survey). SDV250998.

(Estimated 1968) A large adit running east into the hillside is visible, and a scatter of debris.

Hamilton Jenkin, Dr. A. K., 1974, Mines of Devon. Volume 1: The Southern Area, 97-99 (Monograph). SDV336694.

Greeves, T. A. P., 1981, The Devon Tin Industry 1450-1750: An archaeological and historical survey (Post-Graduate Thesis). SDV351371.

Hemery, E., 1983, High Dartmoor, 367 (Monograph). SDV249702.

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

'Mine' shown on aerial photograph transcription - no reference given.

Greeves, T. A. P., 1985, Steeperton Tor Tin Mine, Dartmoor, 110 (Article in Serial). SDV310154.

Greeves, T. A. P., 1986, Tin Mines and Miners of Dartmoor, A photographic record, 16, 60-61 (Monograph). SDV351363.

Devon County Council Photographic Unit, 1988, DAP/JW, 1-2a (Aerial Photograph). SDV214895.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1988, SX67SW318 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV237529.

(24/08/1988) Gobbett Tin Mine, centred at SX64677282, including a tin mill (see Monument HOB UID 443355), openwork, mining buildings, wheelpit, buddles, tailings pits, shafts and leats, forming a tin extraction and refining complex on the south side.
Tin mining at Gobbett revived in the 19th century; records exist for the years 1836-74 of three successive companies: Dartmoor United Tin Mines, Dartmoor Consoles, and Swincombe Vale. Two 24 feet waterwheels are recorded 1836-40, one for pumping and one for ore stamping. One of these was described as in a "feeble state" in 1874 (citing Hamilton Jenkin, 1974, 97-99). In 1876 a Distress Warrant was served on the mine and machinery was sold to meet the debt (Harris, 1986, 206). The mine is shown as disused by the Ordnance Survey in 1886 (First Edition map).
It is clear that there was earlier working at Gobbett; openworks are regarded as pre-1700, and tin-mills operated essentially between circa 1450 and 1700 (Hemery, 1983, 367). There is also a reference to Gobbett in the early 17th century as workings "besides Hextworthye" (Greeves, 1981, The Devon Tin Industry 1450-1750, thesis). The extensive streamworks just west of the mine complex, stretching along the Swincombe and Deep Swincombe (see Monument HOB UID 908690), attest the exploitation of alluvial tin well back into the Medieval period. Like many mining concerns, working is likely to have been sporadic.
Earlier workings:
A) Beamwork at SX 64857281. A huge ragged linear trench extends for 330 metres along the south side of the Hexworthy - Sherberton road between SX64697282 and SX65007277. It is aligned east-west following the general orientation of Dartmoor tin lodes. The excavation is between 15 metres and 23 metres across and up to 7 metres deep to its blunted V-shaped base. There may be considerable infill from eroded material concealing a much deeper feature, as recorded by Greeves. Situated along the beamwork are several shafts, in three cases with ramped access tracks cutting in across the edge from the southwest; these are probably the 19th century deep workings. The beamwork is illustrated on the Lydford Tithe Map of 1840 showing one of the shafts towards the west end. However about one third of the present extent at the east end is not depicted, perhaps indicating that it is 19th century openworking (Lydford Tithe Map). The beamwork is not recorded in 1802-3 (Ordnance Survey drawing).
B) Tin Mill (Blowing House) SX64517279 (see Monument HOB UID 443355) (Hemery, 1983).
A large-scale plan of the tin mine at 1:100 has been provided by T Greeves and R Robinson (no other source details provided.)
Later workings. There has been considerable damage to the 19th century structures at Gobbett; Hemery records specific instances (Harris, 1986, 206) and the modern road to Swincombe Reservoir has cut across the site of the treatment works. Tin dressing was carried out at SX64647278. The main surviving elements are:
C) Two water leats. One, taken off the River Swincombe at SX64317269, is probably an adaptation of the earlier leat serving the tin mill. It runs about 440 metres, dropping about 5 metres, cut into the steep hillside above the works and fades at SX64697277. It ends at no particular point, and may have been superceded by the second leat, or was damaged and its course lost by the construction of the Swincombe Reservoir road. It could have driven the mine pumps by the known second water wheel which however remains unlocated.
The second leat leaves the River Swincombe at SX64027245 where stone blocks in the river bed represent remains of a small weir for the diversion of water. It runs for about 900 metres, its east section reflecting the line of the first leat, but a few metres above it. AT SX64677274, an offshoot leads to a launder support (D), the main line ending at SX64697275 at the base of a second launder support (E). Both leats are substantial channels averaging 1.5 metres wide and 0.8 metres deep, with upcast banks on the downslope sides averaging 2.3 metres wide and 8 metres high.
D) SX64667275. Launder support. A rectangular structure 10 metres long by 3 metres wide and up to 1.7 metres high; apparently earth and stone revetted by random-coursed, rough-dressed, large granite blocks.
E) SX64697275. Probable start of a launder. The end of a leat is slightly raised here with a revetment of a few large granite blocks.
F) SX64657277. Wheelpit. Now largely rubble-filed, but clearly distinguishable. At least 14 metres long and 1.8 metres wide, the wheelpit is lined with a combination of medium-sized, dressed, random-coursed granite blocks, and some larger, long granite slabs to a visible depth of 0.6 metres. It is terraced into the hillside and would have housed an overshot wheel fed by a high, wooden, launder launched from (D) several metres above.
G) A much robbed rectangular building lies immediately west of the wheelpit. Further, fragmentary walls lie to the east and northwest. The 19th century stamping machinery is to be expected in this area.
H) SX64627277. The bases of two round buddles. Each is a slightly elevated circular platform with an embanked rim. The west buddle has an internal diameter of 7.5 metres with a rim 0.8 metres high; the east buddle is 7 metres in diameter with a rim 0.5 metres high.
J) SX64637279. Two rectangular pits with embanked perimeters. The larger pit is 8.5 metres by 6.2 metres, the smaller is 5 metres square, both with banks 1.5 metres wide and 0.8 metres high. These are possibly tailings pits for catching very fine tin particles at the end of the dressing process.
H, J and K are placed on an artificial platform raised about one metre above the wet Gobbett Plain.
L) SX64637383. A large circular feature with an embanked rim. Its overall diameter is 13 metres. It is possibly a large buddle base but it is placed well away from the rest of the works.
M) SX64667283. The foundation course only of a rectangular building 9 metres by 5.8 metres, divided internally into three cells. Its mortared walls of dressed, coursed stones are 0.55 metres wide and up to 0.4 metres high. The building is shown unroofed in 1886 (First Edition Ordnance Survey map).
N) SX64687284. A rectangular building measuring 9 metres by 7 metres consists of a turf-covered platform 0.7metres high with walling of coursed small-medium sized stone, 0.7 metres-1 metre wide. It is placed against the west side of a granite field wall, on the other side of which is an L-shaped wall, the remains of a small room or building. The whole structure was roofed and occupied in 1886 (OS map).
P) SX64687281. Remains of a long, rectangular building terraced into the slope beneath Gobett Cottage. The rear wall, really a revetment of coursed, medium-sized, dressed granite, survives to a height of 1.5 metres. Other walling can be seen only at the northeast end, but the structure was at least 23 metres long and certainly 6 metres wide. Only the northeast end is shown as a roofed structure in 1886.
Q) SX64707281. Gobbett Cottage. Foundations of a long, rectangular building 15 metres by 5 metres together with an enclosed garden. It was still occupied in 1905; a photograph of that date is published in Greeves. At this time it comprised two homes but was originally part of the mine (Greeves, 1986, Tin Mines and Miners of Dartmoor: A Photographic Record, 16, 60-61).
R) SX64707278. A causeway 2.5 metres wide and up to 1.5 metres high, revetted on the north-east with coursed walling. It runs for 21 metres from the present road, leading to a track which once came from the mine shafts. Ore was probably brought along it for treatment.

Greeves, T. A. P., 1990, An Assessment of Dartmoor Tinworking, 22 (Report - Assessment). SDV343684.

Griffith, F. M., 1990, DAP/QF, 9-15 (Aerial Photograph). SDV140063.

Cranstone, D. + Hedley, I., 1995, Monuments Protection Programme: The Tin Industry Step 3 Site Assessments, Devon 39b (Report - non-specific). SDV357946.

Tin mine with well preserved beamworks, many leats and a dressing floor.

Bruce, B., 1999, Field excursion to Gobbett Tin Mine and Deep Swincombe 10/10/1998, 4-5 (Article in Serial). SDV235654.

Large openwork running east-west with a leat to the eastern end and a possible reservoir. The openwork suggested a 15th or 16th century date but the earliest documentary reference names the tinwork of 'Gobbett beside Hextworthye' in the early 17th century. By the early 1840's the mine was working as 'Dartmoor United Tin Mines' and various buildings, shafts, adits, waterwheels and stamping mills were in operation. Five separate shafts are mentioned, the deepest being 73m which would have required pumping.

Welch, B. + Welch, T., 2016, Gobbett Tin Mine (Plan - measured). SDV363061.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV140063Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1990. DAP/QF. Devon Aerial Photograph. 9-15.
SDV149229Monograph: Harris, H.. 1968. Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor. Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor. A5 Hardback. 206.
SDV214895Aerial Photograph: Devon County Council Photographic Unit. 1988. DAP/JW. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 1-2a.
SDV215700Monograph: H. M. Stationary Office. 1929. Abandoned Mines. Abandoned Mines. Unknown.
SDV235654Article in Serial: Bruce, B.. 1999. Field excursion to Gobbett Tin Mine and Deep Swincombe 10/10/1998. Dartmoor Tinworking Research Group Newsletter. 16. Unknown. 4-5.
SDV237526Migrated Record:
SDV237527Article in Serial: Worth, R. N.. 1876. Ashburton Stannery. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 8. Digital. 311.
SDV237529Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1988. SX67SW318. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. unjk.
SDV249702Monograph: Hemery, E.. 1983. High Dartmoor. High Dartmoor. Hardback Volume. 367.
SDV250998Report - Survey: Fox, A.. 1969. Swincombe Survey. Unknown. 23.
SDV310154Article in Serial: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1985. Steeperton Tor Tin Mine, Dartmoor. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 117. 110.
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.
SDV323594Monograph: Collins, J. H.. 1912. Observations on the West of England Mining Region. Observations on the West of England Mining Region. Unknown.
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. 97-99.
SDV340908Cartographic: Wood. 1850. Map of Dartmoor. Unknown.
SDV343684Report - Assessment: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1990. An Assessment of Dartmoor Tinworking. Digital. 22.
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. 16, 60-61.
SDV351371Post-Graduate Thesis: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1981. The Devon Tin Industry 1450-1750: An archaeological and historical survey. The Devon Tin Industry 1450-1750. A4 Hardback.
SDV352727Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1953-1969. 1953-1969 National Grid OS A edition imperial. Digital Mapping. Digital. (1954).
SDV357946Report - non-specific: Cranstone, D. + Hedley, I.. 1995. Monuments Protection Programme: The Tin Industry Step 3 Site Assessments. Monument Protection Programme. Foolscap. Devon 39b.
SDV359954Cartographic: South West Heritage Trust. 1838-1848. Digitised Tithe Maps and Transcribed Apportionments. Tithe Map and Apportionment. Digital.
SDV60737Article in Serial: Ramsden, J. V.. 1952. Notes on the Mines of Devonshire. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 84. A5 Hardback. 95, fig.1.

Associated Monuments

MDV6283Parent of: Compton, part of Gobbett's Mine, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV6284Parent of: Derby Hole, part of Gobbett's Tin Mine, Hexworthy (Monument)
MDV20673Parent of: Deserted dwelling at Gobbett Tin Mine (Building)
MDV6270Parent of: Gobbett blowing house (Monument)
MDV26094Parent of: OPEN CUT in the Parish of Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV6271Parent of: STAMPING MILL in the Parish of Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV62657Parent of: WATER WHEEL in the Parish of Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV63771Related to: FINDSPOT in the Parish of Dartmoor Forest (Find Spot)
MDV26077Related to: Gobbett Tunnel, Hexworthy (Monument)
MDV26078Related to: Leats associated with Gobbett Tin mine (Monument)
MDV42318Related to: MACHINERY in the Parish of Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV54454Related to: Openwork north-west of Sherberton (Monument)
MDV30897Related to: SLAG in the Parish of Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV54448Related to: WALL in the Parish of Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV26076Related to: Wall, Gobbett Mine (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8112 - Plane table survey of Gobbett Tin Mine
  • EDV8632 - Sherberton Farm, Duchy Farms Survey
  • EDV8409 - Dartmoor Royal Forest Project

Date Last Edited:Jun 26 2023 4:35PM