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HER Number:MDV6646
Name:STREAMWORKS in the Parish of Manaton


Challacombe down. Crescent-shaped pond at head of huge excavation of tinwork (french + linehan).


Grid Reference:SX 691 802
Map Sheet:SX68SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishManaton
Ecclesiastical ParishMANATON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX68SE/74

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • STREAMWORKS (Early Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1750 AD (Between))

Full description

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV148.

Tin streaming gullies and debris (os).

PATTISON, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV151316.

At least another 96 small tinpits lie scattered across the down. Two, at sx69028014 are narrow slots 11.2 and 7.2m long, 2m wide and 0.6m deep, with spoil spread to the w. N) sx69108012: two curving, linear, u-shaped ditches averaging 1.5m wide and 0.4m deep with very slight banks on the downhill sides. They run from a field boundary to scudley beam. They appear to lie across ridge and furrow and one is disturbed by a tin pit. They are probably small leats taking drainage water from the fields into the openwork for use in the extraction and washing processes. P) sx69128030: a low stony foundation 0.8m wide and 0.3m high defines what seems to be a small rectangular building with internal dimensions of 3 by 1.9m. Surveyed at 1:2500 (pattison).

FRENCH + LINEHAN, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV285539.

Challacombe down. Crescent-shaped pond at head of huge excavation of tinwork (french + linehan).

RCHM APP 1985, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV306866.

Visible and recorded (rchm app 1985).

RCHME, Untitled Source (Report - Survey). SDV306867.

Vis=9/8/1990 (rchme) extensive remains of tin extraction in the form of openworks, leats, tin pits, adits and shafts forming a complex industrial landscape on challacombe down. In reality the features are part of multi-period tin extraction extending n into headland warren and w into the n end of challacombe farm, an area which constituted the south lodes of east birch tor mine in the 19c.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV306868.

Many of the features investigated cut into bounadries of a field system. A) sx69168020 "scudley beam. " a massive openwork aligned e-w cut into the e slope of challacombe down from base to crest, a very impressive trench up to 75m wide and 15m deep. It reaches max dimensions above sx69208019, with steep, smooth turf-covered sides falling to a narrow base. The top section is visible rock-cut, its vertical sides 6m deep, with large chunks of fallen rock in the base. A stream issues at sx69278019, below which the trench narrows and fades. The bottom section centred sx69388018 consists of a fan of streamed linear channels and spoil mounds, evidence for exploitation of tin ground which had probably accumulated as a product of erosion of the lode higher up. The track from challacombe to headland warren is built across this streaming and below it what must have been further rich alluvial deposits have been removed by an open excavation some 75m across cutting right down in to the valley floor, probably in the later 19c. A smaller trench, possibly following a branch off the main lode, or a channel bringing water into the openwork, leaves the n side from a point halfway up, cutting diagonally across the contours and lynchets of field system, eventually turning directly uphill, ending at sx69108026 adjacent to g. It is of blunted v-shaped profile, up to 9m wide and between 0.9 and 1.8m deep.

Untitled Source (Report - Survey). SDV306869.

Vis=at sx69098019 is a flat-bottomed subrectangular depression measuring 7.1m e-w by 5.1m and 0.8 to 1.6m deep, formed at the junction of four ditched banks of field system. The north-easternmost field ditch is widened northwards forming a linear hollow 13m long, 1.5m wide at base and 1m deep, a clear extension of the depression. This is the feature french and linehan may be refering to as a "crescent-shaped pond" and this interpretation is probably correct: surface water draining into the field ditches probably collected here and was stored untill needed in scudley beam.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV306870.

The openwork is called "scudley beam" and labelled "tinworks" on an estate map of 1787. It is clearly a feature of some antiquity given that lynchets of field system curve into it on both sides: a furlong boundary runs along the n edge. Openworks are generally regarded as pre-1700. B) sx69368038: an openwork; a large trench cut from close to the valley floor wsw upslope with a marked dog-leg. It is 7-15m wide with a v-shaped profile 3.3-3.9m deep; the sides are steep, smooth and turf-covered sides. Along the s side is a continuous mound of spoil averaging 7m wide and up to 2.5m high, composed mostly of small, broken rock fragments. The lower end is traversed by the challacombe-headland warren track and a flat-rod gulley, below which it bifurcates into shallow u-shaped tranches with spoil between, fading just before the valley floor and a leat. At the top end rock outcrop is visible. Two features join the upper end: a leat comes in from the s and a straight linear trench 3.3m long and 0.8m deep extends w uphill for 67m. The latter may have been chasing the lode further but it also leads to another leat and could itself have been a watercourse. Water may have been required for the extraction and washing prosseses. The whole work cuts across lynchets of field systemc) sx69318023: an adit, a linear trench 14m long, 1.5m wide at base and 1.8m deep cut horizontally into the hillside. The e end leads onto a large mound, 15m across up to 3m high, composed of spoil and other material deposited by water which still issues from the adit. It is shown by broughton as functional c.1852. Water from this adit was utilised by a leat which leads from its n edge to openwork b. D) sx69108027: a surface lodework in the form of a straight, sharply v-shaped trench 138m long, averaging 3.8m wide and 1.4m deep. There is a continuous mound of spoil deposited along the s edge, averaging 4.4m wide and 1.4m high, consisting of piles of small-medium broken rock. A small amount of spoil is deposited along the n edge. Towards its centre, from the base of the 1.7m deep trench a 16m length of vertical-sided gallery 1.3m wide is cut into rock for at least another 2m depth. This gallery is probably the excavated tin lode. To the s of feature d are several treches both parallel to and at right angles to it. Some of these are for small scale extraction while others are channels distributing water among the various workings. E) sx69148024: a v-shaped trench 8m wide and 1.2m deep, cutting diagonally across the contours from scudley beam to d which appears to overlie its end. It cuts across the diagonal trench branching off scudley beam. Small amounts of spoil lie on the e side. It is possibly a water channel or small working. F) a line of at least 107 tin pits leading from the summit at sx69028037 down the heather-covered w slope of challacombe down to sx68528025 and connecting to an openwork. They are probably a combination of trial pits to locate lodes and deeper pits/shafts for extraction. Most are small and oval along the contours, averaging 2.5m by 1.5m across and 0.4m deep with spoil collar mounds on the downslope side. The most notable larger features are at:.

Untitled Source (Report - Survey). SDV306871.

Vis=g) sx68918029: a large subcircular pit 7.5 by 6.2m and 1.8m deep with steep sides falling to a narrow base and a large upcast collar mound 1.9m high around the downslope side.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV306872.

H) sx68948030: two large and one small pits in series, the larger ones 6 by 4.5m and 2.2m deep and 8.6 by 8.1m and 2.5m deep. Their spoil mounds overlap and are up to 1.75m high. J) sx68868025: an adit 14m long and 1-2.8m wide and 0.7-3m deep cut horizontally into the hillside, with spoil banks on both n and s sides averaging 1m high. The w end leads onto a spoil mound c.10 by 8.5m and 2m high.

Untitled Source (Report - Survey). SDV306873.

Vis=k) sx68908020: a line of 16 tin pots, including 5 interconnected, mostly small as in f and probably exploitating the same lode as d. It runs into the line of pits f at its lower end.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV306874.

L) sx69018024: a large pit 6.2m by 4.9m in the base of which is a rock-cut gallery 1.3m wide and extending down to 3.6m depth at least. It appears to continue sw underground and may in fact connect several smaller pits which have a continuous spoil mound along their s edges.

Untitled Source (Report - Survey). SDV306875.

Vis=m) sx69058022: a series of interconnected pits forming a curved line and ending in a large pit on the n, measuring 14 by 6m and 2.9m deep. A continuous spoil mound on the e side is 1-1.5m high.

CRADDOCK, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV306877.

Possible bronze age tin working on challacombe down may have been associated with the bronze age enclosure of grimspound (sx68se/69). Some tin workings, notably scudley beam, pre-date the surrounding c13 lynchets. Many of the small tin workings on dartmoor are in the immediate vicinity of hut circles (craddock).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV306879.

Des=long, g. /a suryey of lands etc belonging to the re william hoid viscount courtnay/(1789)/in private possession.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV306880.

French, h. + linehan, c. D. /tda/95(1963)178/abandoned medieval sites in widecombe in the moor. Appendix a. Methods of tin mining.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV306881.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV306882.

Des=greeves, t. A. P. /the archaeolgical potential of the devon tin rep 40/(1981)85-95.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV306883.

Broughton, d. G. /trans cornish inst engrs/24(1968-9)25-49; fig 4/the birch tor and vitifer tin mining complex.

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV306884.

Aph=raf cpe/uk 1995/4357-4358(13/4/1947).

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV306885.

Aph=nmr sx6980/1/33-5/(14/4/1977).

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV306886.

Aph=nmr sx6980/5/399/(18/5/1977).

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV306887.

Aph=nmr/fxg 54/79/9/11.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV306888.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV306889.

Des=pattison, p. /(9/8/1990)/rchme field investigation.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV306890.

Des=craddock, p. T. + craddock, b. R. /the beginnings of metallurgy in south west britain: hypotheses & evidence/in newman, p.(ed)/the archaeology of mining & metallurgy in south west britain/(1996)52-63/(mining history: bulletins pdmhs, vol 13 no 2).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV306891.

Des=greeves, t. /tinworking at heathercombe, manaton/(1991)/in pf.

Greeves, T. A. P., Untitled Source (Worksheet). SDV69961.

Scudley beam lode workings likely to have medieval origins, 1450-1600 (greeves).

Sources / Further Reading

SDV148Migrated Record:
SDV151316Migrated Record: PATTISON.
SDV285539Migrated Record: FRENCH + LINEHAN.
SDV306866Migrated Record: RCHM APP 1985.
SDV306867Report - Survey: RCHME.
SDV306868Migrated Record:
SDV306869Report - Survey:
SDV306870Migrated Record:
SDV306871Report - Survey:
SDV306872Migrated Record:
SDV306873Report - Survey:
SDV306874Migrated Record:
SDV306875Report - Survey:
SDV306877Migrated Record: CRADDOCK.
SDV306879Migrated Record:
SDV306880Migrated Record:
SDV306881Migrated Record:
SDV306882Migrated Record:
SDV306883Migrated Record:
SDV306884Aerial Photograph:
SDV306885Aerial Photograph:
SDV306886Aerial Photograph:
SDV306887Aerial Photograph:
SDV306888Migrated Record:
SDV306889Migrated Record:
SDV306890Migrated Record:
SDV306891Migrated Record:
SDV69961Worksheet: Greeves, T. A. P..

Associated Monuments

MDV8778Related to: Grimspound enclosed settlement, Manaton (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:May 20 2016 3:08PM