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HER Number:MDV6637
Name:East Birch Tor Tin Mine, North Bovey

Summary

East Birch Tor Tin Mine opened in 1836. Worked in the 1860s as Headland Tin Mine. A tin mine situated within the West Webburn valley floor between Challacombe and Headland Warren. The mine was operational between 1836 and 1927 and much of the mine and its associated features were depicted on a site map of 1852. These features include eight of the shaftheads; Dix's Shaft, Etheridge's Shaft, Penrose's Shaft, New Shaft, South Adit Shaft, Old Engine Shaft, West Engine Shaft and South Footway Shaft. Many of the other features were recorded during an archaeological field survey in 2001.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 692 808
Map Sheet:SX68SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishNorth Bovey
DistrictTeignbridge
Ecclesiastical ParishNORTH BOVEY

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX68SE356
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 1344904
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX68SE/65
  • Old SAM Ref Revised: 34499

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • MINE SHAFT (Constructed, XIX to Early 20th Century - 1836 AD (Between) to 1927 AD (Between))
  • TIN MINE (Constructed, XIX to Early 20th Century - 1836 AD (Between) to 1927 AD (Between))

Full description

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

'Headland Tin Mine (Disused)' shown on 19th century map.

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

'Headland Tin Mine (Disused)' shown on early 20th century map.

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

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

Royal Air Force, 1946 - 1949, Royal Air Force Aerial Photographs, 1995, 4358 (Aerial Photograph). SDV342938.

Photograph taken on 13th April 1947.

Ramsden, J. V., 1952, Notes on the Mines of Devonshire, 96, Figure 1 (Article in Serial). SDV60737.

Headland Tin Mine. To the east of the Vitifer-Birch Tor area was the small Headland Mine, active in the 1860s, on the site of earlier workings. Very conspicuous over the hillside are the long deep scars left by mining operations.

Harris, H., 1968, Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor, 210 (Monograph). SDV149229.

Broughton, D. G., 1968-1969, The Birch Tor & Vitifer tin mining complex (Article in Serial). SDV291528.

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

National Monuments Record, 1979, SF1508, 35 (Aerial Photograph). SDV346563.

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

Visible and recorded.

Butler, J., 1991, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Two - The North, 25-26 Map 24, Figure 24.6 (Monograph). SDV219155.

East Birch Tor Mine with a vast openwork extending from the West Webburn in the east to the Redwater Brook in the west. Interest in the mining potential of the valley seems to have revived in the first half of the 19th century. A number of shafts were sunk below Headland Farm eventually reaching 24 fathoms with adit levels driven east and west along the lodes. These have been filled in and are now merely shallow depressions surrounded by a rim of upcast. Work eventually ceased in 1867 and the sett was virtually abandoned until 1903 when intermittent operations resumed until 1927. Below Headland Farm the centre of the mine includes a few ruined buildings which once housed the stamps and dressing floors. Two water wheels nearby were supplied by short leats from the West Webburn and Grimslake. A third leat for draining the shafts lies a kilometres downstream, the line of trenches visible beside the track having been cut to take the returning pump rods. Unusually ore was raised from at least one of the shafts by horse whim.

Greeves, T. A. P., 1991, Tinworking at Heathercombe, Manaton (Un-published). SDV280255.

Headland site of lode working likely to have medieval origins of 1450-1600.

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

East Birch Tor mine which had a 30 foot waterwheel and two for stamps.

Newman, P., 2002, Headland Warren and the Birch Tor and Vitifer Mines (Report - Survey). SDV363213.

(23/07/2001) Centred SX 6927 8099 East Birch Tor Tin Mine which is documented between 1836 and 1927. The remains are scattered along much of the West Webburn valley floor between Challacombe and Headland Warren where evidence of shafts, an adit, spoil heaps, wheelpits (Monument HOB UID 1344936), a dressing floor (Monument HOB UID 1344959), leats, a flatrod system (Monument HOB UID 917771) and buildings (Monument HOB UID 1344999) are to be seen. Many features of the mine were delineated on a map of 1852. Clear evidence for 8 of the documented shaftheads survives:
1: Dix's Shaft SX 6930 8101. Has a very large spoil mound collar and evidence of a stone bob pit.
2: Etheridge's Shaft SX 6930 8093.
Large diameter shaft with massive spoil mounds surrounding. Has a very well-preserved rectangular stone bob pit on the south side measuring 3.3 by 2.8m. Now filled with rubbish.
3: Penrose's Shaft SX 6920 8089 Sited within old openwork (Monument HOB UID 1344849).
4: New Shaft SX 6912 8093 Sited within old openwork (Monument HOB UID 1344856) traces of revetment to east of shaft.
5: South Adit Shaft SX 6939 8099 Sited within openwork on east side of Headland Track. Now filled with rubbish.
6: Old Engine Shaft SX 6934 8090
7: West Engine shaft SX 6923 8096. Massive spoil heap surrounds shaft head.
8: South Footway shaft SX 6940 8071.
and an adit named Deep Adit in 1852 is visible at SX 6943 8058. The portal is now blocked and water issues from within.
Documentation for the mine has been summarised by D.G Broughton (1968).
Parts of the mine within the Challacombe holding were investigated by RCHME in 1990, including: the flatrod (Monument HOB UID 917771) an adit (Monument HOB UID 918015); stamping mills and dressing floors (Monument HOB UIDs 917796, 442497 and 915375).

Ordnance Survey, 2022, Mastermap 2022 (Cartographic). SDV364674.

'Headland Tin Mine (disused)' shown on modern mapping.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV149229Monograph: Harris, H.. 1968. Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor. Industrial Archaeology of Dartmoor. A5 Hardback. 210.
SDV215700Monograph: H. M. Stationary Office. 1929. Abandoned Mines. Abandoned Mines. Unknown.
SDV219155Monograph: Butler, J.. 1991. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Two - The North. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Two - The North. Two. Paperback Volume. 25-26 Map 24, Figure 24.6.
SDV280255Un-published: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1991. Tinworking at Heathercombe, Manaton. A4 Comb Bound.
SDV291528Article in Serial: Broughton, D. G.. 1968-1969. The Birch Tor & Vitifer tin mining complex. Transactions of the Cornish Institute. 24. Unknown.
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.
SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
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.
SDV342938Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 - 1949. Royal Air Force Aerial Photographs. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Digital). 1995, 4358.
SDV346563Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. 1979. SF1508. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 35.
SDV363213Report - Survey: Newman, P.. 2002. Headland Warren and the Birch Tor and Vitifer Mines. English Heritage. A1/34/2002. A4 Comb Bound + Digital. [Mapped feature: #136727 ]
SDV364674Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2022. Mastermap 2022. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.
SDV60737Article in Serial: Ramsden, J. V.. 1952. Notes on the Mines of Devonshire. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 84. A5 Hardback. 96, Figure 1.

Associated Monuments

MDV61816Parent of: Boundary stone at East Birch Tor tin mine, Headland Warren, North Bovey (Monument)
MDV132505Parent of: Buildings at East Birch Tor Tin Mine (Building)
MDV132666Parent of: Leat at East Birch Tor Mine (Monument)
MDV132660Parent of: Mine building and wheelpit at East Birch Tor Mine (Monument)
MDV132701Parent of: Openwork on steep eastern flank of Challacombe Down (Monument)
MDV54568Parent of: Pump rod or flat rod gully south of Headland Warren (Monument)
MDV132507Parent of: Shaft at East Birch Tor Tin Mine also known as Headland Tin Mine, North Bovey (Monument)
MDV132508Parent of: Shaft at East Birch Tor Tin Mine also known as Headland Tin Mine, North Bovey (Monument)
MDV132506Parent of: Shafts at East Birch Tor Tin Mine, North Bovey (Monument)
MDV66233Parent of: Stamping mill and dressing floor, East Birch Tor Mine (Monument)
MDV132667Parent of: Streamworks in the upper valley of the West Webburn (Monument)
MDV20860Parent of: Tinworks on the west bank of the West Webburn River (Monument)
MDV132659Parent of: Wheelpit at East Birch Tor Mine (Monument)
MDV6638Related to: Birch Tor and Vitifer Tin Mine, North Bovey (Monument)
MDV6635Related to: Golden Dagger Tin Mine, Manaton (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7139 - Headland Warren and the Birch Tor and Vitifer Mines Survey (Ref: A1/20/2001, A1/34/2002)
  • EDV8517 - Investigation of Challacombe stone row, Headland Warren
  • EDV8423 - Duchy Farms Project

Date Last Edited:May 4 2022 1:05PM