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HER Number:MDV6286
Name:Whiteworks Tin Mine


A tin mine which was operational during various periods of the 19th century. The mine was known to have been in action in 1820 but closed in 1826. It was working again in the 1860s and closed some time after 1876. The stamps, waterwheel and launder were still remaining in 1890. Subsidence in 1942 caused further obliteration of some of the old workings. An archaeological field survey in 1989 recorded the most notable surviving feature of the mining complex as being the large number of shafts generally orientated northeast-southwest or northwest-southeast, and openworks and additional shafts on Peat Cot Hill. Water for the mine was supplied by leats. At least eight leats were identified during the survey, the most complete example being Whiteworks Engine Stream. One of the features the least supplied water to were the water wheels, two waterwheel pits were recorded in the survey. Other surviving features included whims, two of which were visible as raised revetted platforms, a stamps platform and possible dressing floor and mine buildings.


Grid Reference:SX 609 710
Map Sheet:SX67SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Earthwork and structural remains of a section of the late 18th century Devonport Leat running from Nun's Cross to Princetown including extensive tinning remains at Whiteworks Tin Mine

Other References/Statuses

  • National Buildings Record: 110825
  • National Buildings Record: 112224
  • National Monuments Record: SX67SW69
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 443444
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67SW/45

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • DRESSING FLOOR (Constructed, XIX - 1801 AD (Between) to 1900 AD (Between))
  • EXTRACTIVE PIT (Constructed, XIX - 1801 AD (Between) to 1900 AD (Between))
  • HORSE WHIM (Constructed, XIX - 1801 AD (Between) to 1900 AD (Between))
  • STAMPS (Constructed, XIX - 1801 AD (Between) to 1900 AD (Between))
  • TIN MINE (Constructed, XIX - 1801 AD (Between) to 1900 AD (Between))
  • WHEEL PIT (Constructed, XIX - 1801 AD (Between) to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

Duchy of Cornwall, 1818, Map of Freehold and Early Enclosures of Dartmoor (Cartographic). SDV237263.

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

Collins, J. H., 1895, Mineralogy of Cornwall and Devon (Monograph). SDV242421.

Crossing, W., 1901, A Hundred Years on Dartmoor (Monograph). SDV350954.

Crossing, W., 1903, Present-day Life on Dartmoor (Article in Serial). SDV228152.

Ordnance Survey, 1904 - 1906, Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map (Cartographic). SDV325644.

'Whiteworks Tin Mine (disused)' and 'Shafts' marked on Ordnance Survey 6 inch (1906) map.

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

Crossing, W., 1912 (1965), Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor (Monograph). SDV320981.

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

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/CPE/UK/1890, 4358 (Aerial Photograph). SDV169268.

Ramsden, J. V., 1952, Notes on the Mines of Devonshire, 101, fig.1 (Article in Serial). SDV60737.

Whiteworks, Tin-Mine. Plan R 43 C and Duchy of Cornwall Office, Liskeard. There was Medieval tin working in the area, but the earliest known date for the modern workings appears to be in the 1780s (Duchy of Cornwall Dartmore proceedings 26/11/1790). Details of the sale of the mine equipment in 1818 give a good picture of the inventory of a small mine.

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

(SX 614710) 'Whiteworks Tin Mine (Disused)' (NAT).

Harris, H., 1968, Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor, 40 (Monograph). SDV149229.

Whiteworks Tin Mine was being worked during the 19th century at various dates; it is known to have been in action in 1820, though closed in 1826, and working in the 1860's. In 1870 it was producing a little tin and between then and 1876 produced 96 tons. Work seems to have ceased soon after the last records, though the stamps, waterwheel and launder were still remaining in 1890. Subsidence in 1942 caused further obliteration of some of the old workings.

Fox, A., 1969, Swincombe Survey, 12 (Report - Survey). SDV250998.

(February 1969) The vein system of the mine was obviously thoroughly examined from the surface. No tin is visible among heaps of granite waste. The adit mouth can be made out, and shafts and caved-in workings. Several deep opencasts (letter from Beer cited in Fox).

National Monument Record, 1977, NMR SX6170, 1 (Aerial Photograph). SDV258331.

Greeves, T. A. P., 1980, A History of Whiteworks Tin Mine 1790-1848, 11-16 (Article in Serial). SDV237485.

'White Work' mine was one of 11 mines working on Dartmoor in 1799. It has been operating successfully since the mid 1780's. It was owned by simpson & co who were also the proprietors of Videford and Rundlestone Mines.
From this point a large volume of documentation is available, detailed up to 1848 by greeves (1980).

Hemery, E., 1983, High Dartmoor, 344 (Monograph). SDV249702.

Additional reference.

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.

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

Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England, 1987-1993, Duchy Farms Project Survey Visit, S. Probert, plan (1:2500) (Report - Survey). SDV350839.

(18/05/1989) Whiteworks Mine, centred SX 612710, is situated on the NW fringe of Fox Tor Mires some 3.5km SSE of Princetown. The history of the mine has been dealt with in detail up to 1848 by Greeves (1980), the period between 1848 and 1914 is apparently to be the subject of a further article.
The most obvious features of the site are the large numbers of shafts generally orientated NE-SW or NW-SE on the slight shelf above the mires and the large NW-SE openworks intermingled with more shafts on the steep SE slope of Peat Cot Hill. Most of the larger shafts are enclosed by stockproof drystone walls.
Four blocked and partially collapsed adits, at SX 61197121, SX 61277119, SX 61297119 and SX 61117099, are visible in the N part of the site. Others may be obscured by later workings.
The medieval workings suggested by Greeves cannot be positively identified. Some streamworks (Monument HOB UID 910233) exist along the Strane River to the east but the prominent pits and shafts visible at the mine have usually been assigned to the C16th or later. The large openworks on Peat Cot Hill were in existence by 1818 (Map of Freeholds and early enclosures on Dartmoor 1818) and are again likely to date from the same period. Some small denuded shafts are visible in and probably predate the small enclosures first depicted in 1839 (Tithe Map). They are also likely to relate to the post- medieval exploitation of the area.
Three whims at SX 61167090, SX 61177902 and SX 61347079 have diameters of around 11m. The latter two are represented by raised revetted platforms 1.2m and 0.6m high while the former is 0.6m below the surrounding ground level. A holed stone, presumably the whim bearing, is in situ at SX 61177092 while four similar stones have been incorporated into the south boundary wall of the mine.
At least eight leats were dug to bring water to Whiteworks. The most complete is the Whiteworks Engine Stream (Monument HOB UID 910368) which, coupled with another leat (Monument HOB UID 620339) rising to the north, powered the waterwheels for most of the 19th century. The courses of the other, probably earlier, leats (Monument HOB UID 910486, 911658, 912008, 620344 and 620348) have been disturbed and become indistinct soon after entering the mind area. One, Monument HOB UID 912008, is cut by a trackway between two of the early enclosures and is visible between SX 61317099 and SX 61477084. It probably fed a wheel in or near the site of the lower wheelpit.
After their convergence at SX 61187087 the Whiteworks Engine Stream and north leat flow southeast towards the higher and lower wheelpits at SX 61317083 and SX 61527078 respectively. Later C19th activity in the southeast corner of the site has led to new leat channels being created and others being abandoned as shafts cut their paths.
The higher wheelpit consists of a rectangular stone-lined pit 4.5m north-south by approximately 1.2m east-west and 0.6m below the present ground level; it is now largely rubble filled. The lower is represented by a rectangular ramp-like structure 5m east-west by 3.5m north-south standing 1.9m high at its east end. A wheelpit in this position was photographed by Burnard in 1889 (Greeves, 1986). The pit has since been infilled, its surrounding walls now provide three sides of the "ramp". Immediately north of this feature is a small rectangular platform 12.5m north-south by 6.5m east-west on which stood the stamps, shown partially dismantled by Burnard. A further platform surrounded on three sides by an earth and stone bank 0.7m high lies to the northeast, this may be the dressing floor. There is no visible stamping area adjacent to the higher wheelpit though a small rectangular structure is depicted adjacent to the pit on the OS first edition 6" (1888) (see also: Greeves, 1980, 1818 Map of Freeholds and early enclosures on Dartmoor, Duchy Records Office, Tithe Map, Greeves, 1986).
Two short lengths of tramroad are depicted on the same map. The section between SX 61217094 and SX 61357084 measures 1.6m to 2.2m wide and runs at ground level. The trackbed of the southeast part running from SX 61367082 to SX 61477079 is also extant and with two other sections between SX 61207088 and SX 61257086 and SX 61167088 and SX 6137082 formed later lines conveying excavated material to the stamps. These later lines measure around 2.5m wide and are, at their northwest ends, built up to a maximum height of 0.7m above the present ground level. The indentations of sleepers are still visible at 1.2m intervals. A further section visible as a stoney bank 1.8m wide and 0.25m high and ran from SX 61377082 to SX 61367077. The line depicted by the OS between SX 61477079 on the south boundary of the mine and the lower stamps is not visible on the ground though a raised wooden ?ramp in the correct position is shown by Burnard.
Between SX 61507097 and SX 61577092 two low turf banks flank a narrow strip of land 4.5m to 2.0m wide that leads from a sunken trackway to the W bank of the Strane River. This feature defies interpretation.
The remains of several buildings lie either side of the trackway running northeast-southwest through the site. The Duchy of Cornwall Liskeard office possesses a plan of the mine dated 1840 which reportedly depicts and names not only all the shafts and adits but also a count house and smiths shop. So far only the mine captain's house at SX 61287115 has been identified. Only cottages at SX 61127094 are now inhabited.
The area northwest of the Davenport Leat (Monument HOB UID 1463454) remains to be fully investigated.
Fowtor (sic: Foxtor?) Mires have been extensively worked since the medieval period. About 20ha around the streams that empty into the mires exhibit signs of tin streaming (Monument HOB UID 910357 and 910233) and large girts extend south to Caters Beam and Nakers Hill. The streamworks south of the mires may have been reworked during the 18th and 19th centuries by the various operators of Whiteworks Mine. A small stamping mill at SX 61457000 (Monument HOB UID 910421) drew water from the Whiteworks Engine Stream and presumably processed ore from this enterprise. A series of large openworks and shafts
(Monument HOB UID 910498) east of the mine were also probably worked during this period. Within this area is a small rectangular building (Monument HOB UID 443385) constructed from drill-split blocks.

Griffith, F. M., 1988, DAP/JV, 7-10 (Aerial Photograph). SDV242037.

Griffith, F. M., 1990, DAP/QG, 1-3 (Aerial Photograph). SDV144136.

Greeves, T. A. P., 1997, Dartmoor Mines in 1799, 7-8 (Article in Serial). SDV262863.

Bodman, M., 1998, Water-Powered Sites in Devon (Report - non-specific). SDV305931.

Unknown, Unknown, Memoirs of the Geological Survey, 338 Dartmoor (Report - Survey). SDV350955.

338 Dartmoor.

Unknown, SX67SW69 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV237490.


Sources / Further Reading

SDV144136Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1990. DAP/QG. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 1-3.
SDV149229Monograph: Harris, H.. 1968. Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor. Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor. A5 Hardback. 40.
SDV169268Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/CPE/UK/1890. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 4358.
SDV215700Monograph: H. M. Stationary Office. 1929. Abandoned Mines. Abandoned Mines. Unknown.
SDV228152Article in Serial: Crossing, W.. 1903. Present-day Life on Dartmoor. Western Morning News. Unknown.
SDV237263Cartographic: Duchy of Cornwall. 1818. Map of Freehold and Early Enclosures of Dartmoor. Unknown.
SDV237485Article in Serial: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1980. A History of Whiteworks Tin Mine 1790-1848. Plymouth Mineral and Mining Club Journal. 11. Digital. 11-16.
SDV237490Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Unknown. SX67SW69.
SDV242037Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1988. DAP/JV. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 7-10.
SDV242421Monograph: Collins, J. H.. 1895. Mineralogy of Cornwall and Devon. Mineralogy of Cornwall and Devon. Unknown.
SDV249702Monograph: Hemery, E.. 1983. High Dartmoor. High Dartmoor. Hardback Volume. 344.
SDV250998Report - Survey: Fox, A.. 1969. Swincombe Survey. Unknown. 12.
SDV258331Aerial Photograph: National Monument Record. 1977. NMR SX6170. National Monument Record Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 1.
SDV262863Article in Serial: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1997. Dartmoor Mines in 1799. Dartmoor Tin Working Research Group Newsletter. Unknown. 7-8.
SDV305931Report - non-specific: Bodman, M.. 1998. Water-Powered Sites in Devon. A4 Spiral Bound.
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.
SDV320981Monograph: Crossing, W.. 1912 (1965). Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor. Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor. Hardback Volume.
SDV323594Monograph: Collins, J. H.. 1912. Observations on the West of England Mining Region. Observations on the West of England Mining Region. Unknown.
SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV340908Cartographic: Wood. 1850. Map of Dartmoor. Unknown.
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. S. Probert, plan (1:2500). [Mapped feature: #137915 ]
SDV350954Monograph: Crossing, W.. 1901. A Hundred Years on Dartmoor. A Hundred Years on Dartmoor. Unknown.
SDV350955Report - Survey: Unknown. Unknown. Memoirs of the Geological Survey. Unknown. 338 Dartmoor.
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.
SDV352727Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1953-1969. 1953-1969 National Grid OS A edition imperial. Digital Mapping. Digital. [1954].
SDV60737Article in Serial: Ramsden, J. V.. 1952. Notes on the Mines of Devonshire. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 84. A5 Hardback. 101, fig.1.

Associated Monuments

MDV132946Parent of: Leat serving Whiteworks Mine (Monument)
MDV132947Parent of: Leat serving Whiteworks Mine (Monument)
MDV26006Parent of: Leats supplying Whiteworks (Monument)
MDV26129Parent of: Mine shaft at Whiteworks Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV26002Parent of: Ruined building at Whiteworks (Building)
MDV26003Parent of: Ruined building at Whiteworks (Building)
MDV26001Parent of: Tin miners Cottages, Whiteworks (Building)
MDV6367Parent of: Tinner's hut east of Whiteworks (Building)
MDV25985Parent of: TRIAL PIT in the Parish of Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV25986Parent of: TRIAL PIT in the Parish of Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV26123Parent of: TRIAL PIT in the Parish of Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV26124Parent of: TRIAL PIT in the Parish of Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV26125Parent of: TRIAL PIT in the Parish of Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV26063Parent of: Wall at Whiteworks Tin Mine (Monument)
MDV26004Related to: Field system around Whiteworks (Monument)
MDV12201Related to: New London Cottages, Princetown (Building)
MDV26120Related to: OPEN CUT in the Parish of Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV123176Related to: Ruined building at Whiteworks (Building)
MDV123177Related to: Ruined buildings at Whiteworks (Building)
MDV19902Related to: The Devonport Leat, Dartmoor (Monument)
MDV26011Related to: Whiteworks Engine Stream (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8629 - Peat Cot Farm Duchy Farms Survey
  • EDV8409 - Dartmoor Royal Forest Project

Date Last Edited:Jul 17 2023 12:07PM