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HER Number:MDV63088
Name:Smelting House at Postbridge

Summary

Site of the earliest and shortest lived smelting house in Devon. It is recorded as having smelted tin twice in 1786 but out of use by 1791. Known locally as 'The Barracks'.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 648 788
Map Sheet:SX67NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX67NW27
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67NW/24/1
  • Pastscape: 442584

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • SMELTING HOUSE (Built, XVIII - 1701 AD to 1800 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

Site of Blowing House marked.

Greeves, T. A. P., 1996, Tin Smelting in Devon in the 18th & 19th Centuries, 84-90 (Article in Serial). SDV240078.

The earliest and shortest lived smelting house in Devon was located a short distance to the south of the clapper bridge on the west bank of the East Dart River. It was constructed by William Warren for the Dartmoor Mining and Smelting Company which was involved at Vitifer mine 2.5 miles to the northeast. It is described as a 'tin smelting house' and as a 'blowing house' suggesting it had both a blast and a reverberating furnace. It is recorded as having smelted tin twice in 1786 and being out of use by 1791. It was known locally as 'The Barracks'. In the late 1790's John Swete described 'a smelting house and other necessary building' contiguous with the front shell of a large house with a tenement for labourers behind. The site has suffered from quarrying and other activity and no certain parts of the smelting complex can be identified. Two identical granite mouldstones, one of which survives, were recorded by Burnard and Worth.

Swete, J. (ed. Gray T. + Rowe, M.), 2000, Travels in Georgian Devon. The Illustrated Journals of the Reverend John Swete. Vol. 4, 41 (Monograph). SDV339713.

Description of buildings provided; the 'front shell of a large house', which had been built around 1783-5 by a Mr Warren, who was Conductor of the mines in the neighbourhood. Contiguous to this the smelting house and other necessary buildings had been raised. (Visited 11.11.1797)

Lane, K. + Horsham, R., July 1998, DTRG AGM Postbridge Excursion, 2-4 (Article in Serial). SDV214902.

The site has suffered from quarrying and other activities that have removed or covered the evidence of smelting although a possible leat and wheel pit can still be seen.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV214902Article in Serial: Lane, K. + Horsham, R.. July 1998. DTRG AGM Postbridge Excursion. Dartmoor Tin Working Research Group Newsletter. 15. Unknown. 2-4.
SDV240078Article in Serial: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1996. Tin Smelting in Devon in the 18th & 19th Centuries. Mining History: Bulletin PDMHS. The Archaeology of Mining and Metallurgy in South-West Britain. 13, Number 2. A4 Paperback. 84-90.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV339713Monograph: Swete, J. (ed. Gray T. + Rowe, M.). 2000. Travels in Georgian Devon. The Illustrated Journals of the Reverend John Swete. Vol. 4. Travels in Georgian Devon. The Illustrated Journals of the Reverend John Sw. 4. Hardback Volume. 41.

Associated Monuments

MDV5859Related to: FINDSPOT in the Parish of Dartmoor Forest (Find Spot)
MDV105841Related to: House south of Postbridge clapper bridge (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8487 - Excavation at blowing house near Postbridge, The Barracks

Date Last Edited:Feb 1 2021 3:26PM