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HER Number:MDV6402
Name:Week Ford Lower Mill


Given that the furnace survives so well, it is likely that this building was functioning as a blowing mill in its final phase. The furnace appears to have been rebuilt at least once, using material from an earlier smelting phase.
An unglazed sherd of 'cistern' (end of the 15th to mid-16th century) and a rim sherd of 16th/17th century pot were recovered from Lower Mill at Week Ford.


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

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67SE/24/1
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67SE/24/3
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67SE/24/5
  • Old SAM County Ref: 796

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • BLOWING HOUSE (Built, Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1750 AD (Between))

Full description

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV218990.

Des=robinson, r. /list of doe fmw visits/(19/1/1983)in smr. Vis=27/10/1982 (robinson) doe fmw visit.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV218991.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV218993.

Parsons, h. /tda/88(1956)193-195/the dartmoor blowing house(some recent investigations).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV218994.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV218995.

Des=duco london/dartmoor proceedings 1203-1735/fol.29.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV218996.

Des=dro/accessions list/widecombe/documents in possession of e. J. Eales.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV218998.

Burnard, r. /tpi/11(1891)151/opening address.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV218999.

Anon/mining journal/(22/8/1891)947.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV219002.

Greeves, t. In crossley, d. W.(ed)/medieval industry:cba research report 40/ (1981)88,92/drawing(in smr).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV219004.

Gerrard, s. + greeves, t. A. P. /trg/2(1992)4/summary report on the excavation of upper merrivale tin blowing and stamping mill.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV219005.

Earl, b. /j. Hist. Met. Soc/23.2(1989)119/tin smelting at week ford, dartmoor:a brief note.

GREEVES,1981, Untitled Source (Report - Survey). SDV218982.

Discussion of find of unglazed body sherd of xvi century st. German's ware given (greeves, in crossley,1981).

PERS. COMM, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV298183.

The pot sherd found by greeves has been dated by john allan (pers comm) between end of 15c to c.1550. This potentially offers an earlier working date than documentation would suggest.

Bray, A. E., 1879, The Borders of the Tamar and the Tavy (Vol 2) New 3rd? Edition, 376 (Article in Serial). SDV218924.

Burnard, R., 1888 - 1889, On the Track of the 'Old Men', Dartmoor, 105-6 (Article in Serial). SDV154694.

Crossing, W., 1890 - 1891, Western Antiquary, 12 (Monograph). SDV154702.

Crossing, W., 1912 (1965), Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor, 466 (1912 version) (Monograph). SDV320981.

Worth, R. H., 1940, Notes on some Dartmoor Blowing Houses, 201-3, pl.13 fig.1-3 (Article in Serial). SDV218987.

Worth, R. H., 1940, The Dartmoor Blowing House (Article in Serial). SDV154693.

Worth, R. H., 1940, The Dartmoor Blowing House, 215 (Article in Serial). SDV154693.

Greeves, T. A. P., 1981, List of Known Devon Tin Mills c1450 - c1750, No.85 (Report - non-specific). SDV319826.

Blowing mill/stamping mill. Documented as mills in 1608, 1730, 1737. Field evidence.

Greeves, T. A. P., 1987, List of donations to the Plymouth Museum, (15/06/1987) (Un-published). SDV243606.

(12/07/1978) SX 6618 7233 An unglazed sherd of 'cistern' (end 15th/mid-16th century) was recovered from Lower Mill at Week Ford.
(19/06/1986) SX 6617 7238 Rim sherd of 16th/17th century pot from Lower Week Ford Mill.

Greeves, T. A. P., 1990, An Assessment of Dartmoor Tinworking, 39 (Report - Assessment). SDV343684.

Newman, P., 1993, Week Ford Tin Mills, Dartmoor, 185-198 (Article in Serial). SDV350371.

Week ford lower tin mill (beara house). Week ford 2; about 10m downhill from the other blowing house. The water, having passed over the wheel of the upperhouse was conducted to the wheel of the lower, the steep hillside permitting this double use. The wheelpit of no 2 is no longer clearly marked, but the bank which confined the water is distinct. There is a small chamber built at one corner. The doorway of the house is well marked with a stone sill, and a jamb grooved for the wood frame. The upper house has similar stone jambs. There are two window openings. Two possible furnaces are indicated, one a recess in the wall and the other in the centre of the width of the building, but nearer to one end. This much resembles a similar furnace at merivale. There is a mouldstone; possible weight of the ingot is about 87kg. There are many mortar stones, of which two or three show three mortars in a row. The mortars are large, some being 255mm in diameter. There are two extensions at the south east corner, the entrance is at the north side. There are the remains of two mould blocks outside the entrance. The leat is on the east side building(leng 10.6m, widt 4.9m), wall thic 840mm, chamber(leng 2m, widt 1.5m), mortar(max diam 255mm, dept 230mm), mouldstone(top(leng 400mm, widt 305mm), bottom(leng 318mm, widt 230mm) dept(max 140mm, min 127mm)) (worth,1940 pp.214-5).
Surveyed in 1991. Overall internal dimensions 10.2m by 4.7m. N wall and section of e wall built against an earthen mound which may represent a vestige of the hillside into which the building was cut. S wall is also revetted against the hillside, with a drop of c.1.6m from external ground level. Much of the masonry has collapsed and the interior is completely covered with tumble. There are opposing entrances in e + w walls. That in the w is 1m wide and has 2 surviving jambs, both with vertical grooves to accommodate woodwork of the door. E entrance, which is approached from outside by a hollow path cut into the foot of the slope, has an opening of 1.5m and one upright jamb. Both have granite threshold stones. Furnace cited centrally between e + w walls, to s of entrances. It is constructed of granite slabs, with back + e sides in situ, and is built into a low revetment which creates a slightly raised floor in the s portion of the mill. Built into the se corner of the furnace is a fragment of broken mouldstone, with one corner of the mould surviving. The main mouldstone lies just within the w door; its upper surface level with the mill interior. It may be in situ, although burnard reported finding 2 fragments of a mould which he re-united and placed in their present position. The fracture is still visible across the upper face. Wheelpit is attached to w exterior, but totally obscured by fallen masonry. Position revealed by alignment of leat + tailrace, and presence of an aperture in w wall, through which driveshaft would have passed. This consists of an opening 0.9m by 0.55m capped by a single stone lentil. Tailrace filled with tumble, though its course is clearer toward n end of building. In sw corner of building a recess 1m by 1-2m may have accommodated machinery, or may have been a chute into which unprocessed material was tipped into the building from above. A second chamber, attached to se side, is 1.3m wide. The n wall, if it had one, is now obscured by a large tree which h[v1]as disrupted the area. Its function is unclear, but it belongs to the same structural phase as the s wall of the mill. The main e wall has collapsed, leaving no scar on the s wall, to which it had been butted and which still stands to 1.6m. Several mature trees have rooted in the structure, and threaten the survival of the walls. Burnard noted that the largest tree, sited within the partition wall, had (in 1888) a girth of 1.7m; he considered it to be of great age.
Given that the furnace survives so well, it is likely that this building was functioning as a blowing mill in its final phase. The furnace appears to have been rebuilt at least once, using material from an earlier smelting phase. Work at upper merrivale has shown that mortarstones within interior tumble (as at week) are likely to have been used as building material where the fabric has been altered or rebuilt after the mortarstones have been discarded, and are so positioned because of inward collapse of walls within the surviving structure. They are not necessarily associated with a final stamping phase (see gerrard + greeves) (newman).

Sources / Further Reading

SDV154693Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1940. The Dartmoor Blowing House. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 72. 215.
SDV154694Article in Serial: Burnard, R.. 1888 - 1889. On the Track of the 'Old Men', Dartmoor. Transactions of the Plymouth Institute. 10. 105-6.
SDV154702Monograph: Crossing, W.. 1890 - 1891. Western Antiquary. Western Antiquary. 10. 12.
SDV218924Article in Serial: Bray, A. E.. 1879. The Borders of the Tamar and the Tavy (Vol 2) New 3rd? Edition. The Borders of the Tamar and the Tavy. 2. Digital. 376.
SDV218982Report - Survey: GREEVES,1981.
SDV218987Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1940. Notes on some Dartmoor Blowing Houses. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 72. Paperback Volume. 201-3, pl.13 fig.1-3.
SDV218990Migrated Record:
SDV218991Migrated Record:
SDV218993Migrated Record:
SDV218994Migrated Record:
SDV218995Migrated Record:
SDV218996Migrated Record:
SDV218998Migrated Record:
SDV218999Migrated Record:
SDV219002Migrated Record:
SDV219004Migrated Record:
SDV219005Migrated Record:
SDV243606Un-published: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1987. List of donations to the Plymouth Museum. Unknown. (15/06/1987).
SDV298183Migrated Record: PERS. COMM.
SDV319826Report - non-specific: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1981. List of Known Devon Tin Mills c1450 - c1750. List of Known Devon Tin Mills c1450 - c1750. 35. Unknown. No.85.
SDV320981Monograph: Crossing, W.. 1912 (1965). Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor. Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor. Hardback Volume. 466 (1912 version).
SDV343684Report - Assessment: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1990. An Assessment of Dartmoor Tinworking. Digital. 39.
SDV350371Article in Serial: Newman, P.. 1993. Week Ford Tin Mills, Dartmoor. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 51. Paperback Volume. 185-198.

Associated Monuments

MDV55152Part of: Week Ford Tin Mills (Monument)

Associated Finds

  • FDV4000 - SHERD (XV to XVI - 1475 AD to 1575 AD)
  • FDV4774 - RIM SHERD (XVI to XVII - 1501 AD to 1699 AD)

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Feb 2 2021 10:09AM