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HER Number:MDV63055
Name:The Lumburn Leat

Summary

The Lumburn Leat, a 16 kilometres long watercourse constructed in the 15th century to power a suction lift pump, to remove water from the Crown Silver Mines at Bere Ferrers.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 455 714
Map Sheet:SX47SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBere Ferrers
Civil ParishGulworthy
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishTAVISTOCK

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Wheal Jenny and the Lumburn Leat. Earthworks of site of 19th century mine and 15th century leat
  • SHINE: Structures, earthworks and below-ground mining features associated with Wheal Crebor Mine including a former canal and railway, east of Buctor Farm

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX46NE/621
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • LEAT (XV - 1470 AD to 1480 AD (Between))

Full description

Claughton, P., 02/03/2004, Fifteenth Century Leat Cuttings and Tunnels in Shillamill and Broadmoorham Woods, Tavistock (Correspondence). SDV336558.


Greeves, T. A. P., 1991, Untitled Source, 16, 3 (Monograph). SDV336667.


Claughton, P., 1994, Early Leat in Shillamill Wood, Tavistock Hamlets (Correspondence). SDV337130.


Claughton, P., 1994, Silver-Lead - A Restricted Resource: Technological Choice in Devon Mines, 54-59 (Article in Serial). SDV337126.


Hedley, L. and Cranstone, D., 1995, Monuments Protection Programme, Zinc, Copper, Minor Metal Step Three: Site Assessment- Shillamill Leat, Number 2 (Report - non-specific). SDV357723.

Shillamill Leat (SS4623 7193). Prime metal- Silver. Description- Extensive (4.5 kilometres), possibly mid-15th century leat with a number of surviving disseminated lengths which include hand cut tunnels. Landscape- Situated with the extensive Tamar/Tavy copper mining landscape. Limited de facto access. Arch- Low, Period- Probably mid-15th century. Assessment- Leat is important as early surviving example of water management system associated with lead and silver smelting. Action- Schedule well-preserved representative lengths including those with hand cut tunnels. Grading- Definite national importance.


Hedley, L. and Cranstone, D., 1995, Monuments Protection Programme, Zinc, Copper, Minor Metals Step Three: Vein Minerals, Introduction to Step 3 Site Assessments, 9, 20 (Report - non-specific). SDV357666.

2. Shillamill Leat SS 4623 7193- SS 4661 6886 (grid reference should be SX rather than SS).
Definite national importance.
Silver; Leat- no modification, Structures other- no modification.


Claughton, P., 1995, The Lumburn Leat, In Shillamill Wood, Tavistock Hamlets (Correspondence). SDV337128.


Claughton, P. F., 1996, The Lumburn Leat - evidence for new pumping technology at Bere Ferrers in the 15th Century, 35-40 (Article in Serial). SDV229681.

The Lumburn Leat is a 16 kilometres long watercourse, running from Millhill near Tavistock into the mines north of Lockridge Hill. It was constructed in the 15th century to power a suction lift pump to remove water from the Crown Silver mines at Bere Ferrers. Its source is one of the tributaries of the river Lumburn, the abstraction point being at Ogbear Farm. A short section of the leat is visible from the abstraction point at SX44347510 running to a storage pond at SX444750. Continuation of the leat can then be seen as an earthwork ledge, along the 120 metre contour, to disappear into the road hedge at SX44777485. The leat continues as a well-defined earthwork in Ogbear Wood and is respected by an ancient hedgebank. A sluice gate 180 metres into the wood suggests use in the recent past. The leat is cut by a quarry but visible again to the south, although overlain with spoil at circa SX45157449. The line of the leat is next marked by a ledge at the top of the allotment gardens associated with Millhill Cottages but is then lost in the landscaping around the cottage at Artiscombe Leigh. South of the lane from Three Oaks to Middle Lumburn Bridge and to the northwest of the house at Artiscombe Farm, the course appears to rollow a ledge on the downslope side of the hedgebank to a small stream and possible pond at SX44787403. In recent times the flow of the leat was reversed at this point to feed a pond supplying a waterwheel at Artiscombe Farm.
Firm visible evidence for the course of the leat between Artiscombe and Shillamill Wood has yet to be identified but it appears to have followed the hedgebank on the 120 metre contour line on the prominent hillside to the west of Newton Wood. In Shillamill Wood it follows well-defined earthworks southwards to rock outcrops to the east of Stonage Rocks at circa SX46427151 Where a series of cuttings with three tunnels have been made in the rock face. From the tunnels to the Shillamill to Orestocks road, the line of the leat is a well defined earthwork ledge, up to 3 metres wide, on a steep wooded hillside. South east of the road the line can be traced as a ledge below the hedge bank. It is briefly lost in cultivated ground but can be identified in Ramsham Wood where it has in part been obliterated by quarrying. It leaves the wood at SX46717082 and is lost in cultivated ground but appears again as a hedgebank 320 metres south-east of Hartshole Farm.
At SX46167057, immediately west of the southern end of the old railway tunnel, the line of the leat can be identified as a ledge in the field on the downslope side of the road. It follows the contour southwards to the corner of the wood at SX46097036 where it forms the western boundary of the wood for 80 metres before being lost in the lane. It appears as a shallow ditch running south-east on the north-east side of the farm buildings at Broadwell and continues from SX46197026 as a ledge on the downslope of the hedgebank to the lane.
At the northern end of Blackmoorham Wood the leat can be seen as a rock cutting emerging from the railway embankment. A tunnel took the leat through a spur called 'Raven's Rock' from where it continued south through Little Duke Mine, where the open workings cut into it. Beyond the mine the leat continues as a well defined earthwork following the 115 metre contour round to the south-west. It is lost under the railway embankment but reappears as a field boundary 150 metres south east of Hocklake Farm before being lost as it crosses the shallow valley running down to the river Tavy. It reappears in the woods as a slight earthwork. On leaving the wood at SX46616886 the course of the leat is lost until it reappears as a hedgebank alignment to the north-east of Rumleigh Lodge.
Between here and the mines cultivation has removed much of the evidence. Earthworks are visible, however, in the area of Wheal Jenny and the line of fomer hedgebanks to the south-west of Philleigh Farm originally followed the course of the leat. A further length of hedge alignment commences 290 metres south-east of Bere Alston station running south of west for 300 metres to the road. The continuation of the hedge alignment has been removed but its route can still be traced towards Collins Bridge turning south towards Goldstreet. All visible trace of the final stretch into the mine has been lost under cultivation and construction of the railway.


Claughton, P., 1996, Untitled Source (Worksheet). SDV337129.


Rippon, S. + Claughton, P. + Smart, C., 2009, Mining in a Medieval Landscape: The Royal Silver Mines of the Tamar Valley, 9, 112, 114-120, 134 (Monograph). SDV344097.

The Lumburn Leat is an impressive linear earthwork which runs for 16 kilometres from Ogbear, west of Tavistock, down the Lumburn and Tavy valleys, around Morwell Down and across to Lockridge Hill. It was constructed between 1470 and 1480 in order to power suction lift pumps used to drain the mines, and in several places had to be tunnelled through bedrock, making it one of the most impressive feats of medieval engineering in Devon. Surviving stretches of leat form a continuous feature, gradually declining in elevation from source to end. A differential global positioning system allowed the probable line of the leat to be traced where it no longer survives as an earthwork, by revealing a distinct break of slope. Elsewhere its line is marked by field boundaries. Other details: Figures 5.3 - 5.10.


Newman, P., 2011, Mining in the Tavy Valley, West Devon. An Assessment of Archaeological Potential, 64 (Report - Assessment). SDV347105.

The Lumburn Leat. A medieval leat, now dry and silted, which conveyed water from the Lumburn River west of Tavistock to power waterwheels at the silver mines of Bere Ferrers. Other details: No. 68.


Buck, C., 2015, Buctor Farm, Tavistock (Report - Assessment). SDV359746.

This study was commissioned by the landowner on behalf of Natural England as part of a Higher Level Environmental Stewardship Agreement Scheme and produced by Cornwall Archaeological Unit, Cornwall Council.

Background
The leat sluice feed – may provide evidence that either sluices were used to limit flooding or over filling of the leat during wet times, or alternatively other feeds were taken off the leat to feed other mills (whether stamping or corn mills), for example in this case there was in this proximity a Knocking Mill (Site 58), or alternatively, Shillamill at the bottom of the valley. It is more likely that the leat was used for these other schemes after its primary use ended in the late 15th century. Tunnelling through the local rock outcrops in the Tavy Valley (Site 7.2) to continue the course of the leat has also occurred in later years in the Tamar Valley (Buck 2005, 22, Fig 13).

Survey
Figure 40, the site inventory map shows the route of the Lumburn leat within the study area. Figure 15, the 1946 aerial photo of the study area shows that there is very little evidence of the leat as it crosses the landholding form east to west – until it enters Shillamill Wood. It is likely that the hedge line which marks part of its route across farmland, is formed on the lower side of the leats channel. In woodland the leat is approximately 0.7m wide, and its upslope bank 0.7 to 1.1 metre high, again often with a hedge-line surmounted on the downslope side (refer to Fig 18).

Site 7.1 the leat feed is approximately 1 metre wide across the base, and it takes a sharp turn before it reaches a small rock outcrop, to turn northwards. The Stonage Rock tunnels are described and photographed in detail (Claughton et al 2009, 119). Unfortunately access to the tunnels themselves

(Site 7.2), were restricted due to dense vegetation – and their site on the edge of the limit of the study area.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV229681Article in Serial: Claughton, P. F.. 1996. The Lumburn Leat - evidence for new pumping technology at Bere Ferrers in the 15th Century. Mining History: Bulletin PDMHS. The Archaeology of Mining and Metallurgy in. 13, Number 2. A4 Paperback. 35-40.
SDV336558Correspondence: Claughton, P.. 02/03/2004. Fifteenth Century Leat Cuttings and Tunnels in Shillamill and Broadmoorham Woods, Tavistock. Email. A4 Single Sheet + Digital.
SDV336667Monograph: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1991. An Assessment of Copper Mining in Devon (Copper, Brass, Tin). Unknown. 16, 3.
SDV337126Article in Serial: Claughton, P.. 1994. Silver-Lead - A Restricted Resource: Technological Choice in Devon Mines. Mining History: Bulletin PDMHS. 12, Number 3. Photocopy + Digital. 54-59.
SDV337128Correspondence: Claughton, P.. 1995. The Lumburn Leat, In Shillamill Wood, Tavistock Hamlets. Letter to F. Griffith. Letter.
SDV337129Worksheet: Claughton, P.. 1996. Worksheet.
SDV337130Correspondence: Claughton, P.. 1994. Early Leat in Shillamill Wood, Tavistock Hamlets. Letter to F. Griffith. Letter.
SDV344097Monograph: Rippon, S. + Claughton, P. + Smart, C.. 2009. Mining in a Medieval Landscape: The Royal Silver Mines of the Tamar Valley. Mining in a Medieval Landscape: The Royal Silver Mines of the Tamar Valley. Paperback Volume. 9, 112, 114-120, 134.
SDV347105Report - Assessment: Newman, P.. 2011. Mining in the Tavy Valley, West Devon. An Assessment of Archaeological Potential. SW Landscape Investigations Report. A4 Stapled + Digital. 64.
SDV357666Report - non-specific: Hedley, L. and Cranstone, D.. 1995. Monuments Protection Programme, Zinc, Copper, Minor Metals Step Three: Vein Minerals, Introduction to Step 3 Site Assessments. English Heritage. A4 Bound. 9, 20.
SDV357723Report - non-specific: Hedley, L. and Cranstone, D.. 1995. Monuments Protection Programme, Zinc, Copper, Minor Metal Step Three: Site Assessment- Shillamill Leat. English Heritage. A4 Unbound. Number 2.
SDV359746Report - Assessment: Buck, C.. 2015. Buctor Farm, Tavistock. Cornwall Archaeological Unit. 2015R055. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV5443Related to: Lockridge Silver and Lead Mine (Monument)
MDV63062Related to: POND in the Parish of Gulworthy, Lamerton (Monument)
MDV63066Related to: Pond on Lumburn Leat at Artiscombe Farmstead (Monument)
MDV51347Related to: QUARRY in the Parish of Gulworthy (Monument)
MDV63076Related to: QUARRY in the Parish of Gulworthy (Monument)
MDV52879Related to: SHAFT in the Parish of Gulworthy (Monument)
MDV59107Related to: Sluicegate north of Artiscombe Farmstead (Monument)
MDV63056Related to: Tunnel at Raven's Rock (Monument)
MDV63073Related to: Tunnels, Gulworthy (Monument)
MDV63121Related to: Waterwheel at Artiscombe Farmstead (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7058 - Archaeological Management Plan, Buctor Farm, Tavistock (Ref: 2015R055)

Date Last Edited:May 9 2019 5:50PM