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HER Number:MDV7712
Name:Wheal Prosper Mine


Early-mid 19th century mine. The remains comprises an openwork, shafts, adits, spoil dumps, buildings, leats and dressing floors.


Grid Reference:SX 572 796
Map Sheet:SX57NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Earthwork and walling remains of streamworking and tinners buildings associated with the post-medieval Wheal Prosper Tin Mine on Langstone Moor
  • SHINE: Earthwork remains of post-medieval streamworking associated with Wheal Prosper Tin Mine north of Cocks Hill

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX 57 NE 48
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57NE/49
  • Pastscape: 439709
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • TIN MINE (XVIII to XIX - 1800 AD to 1849 AD (Between))

Full description

Greeves, T. A. P., 1975, Wheal Prosper: a little-known Dartmoor Tin Mine, 6-7, 15 (Article in Serial). SDV269254.

Possibly first mentioned 1806. Ceased operations 1854. A large openwork runs east-west to the river, with one or two possible shafts. A leat runs from the Walkham above this, and the wheelpit, settling pits and a small dressing floor can be discerned. The mine appears to have been worked between 1848 and 1854. Further downstream is an adit (SX57NE/55).

Le Messuerier, B., 1976, Wheal Prosper Mine (Worksheet). SDV269256.

Atkinson, M. + Burt, R. + Waite, P., 1978, Dartmoor Mines. The Mines of the Granite Mass (Monograph). SDV346394.

Le Messurier, B., 1978, Post-Prehistoric Structures in Central North Dartmoor, 14/5/1976 (Un-published). SDV269282.

On west bank of the River Walkham, fast falling into the river. Floor of grass and much fallen stone. Possible fireplace at west end of main house. Walls of stone and earth oriented east-west.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1979, SX57NE48, 15/10/1979 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV269257.

Opencast workings and adits occur in an area of 4 hectares, but only two or three buildings appear to have survived. One, published at SX 57347934 on the Ordnance Survey 6 inch 1962 historic mapping is a drystone structure 9.0 metres square, subdivided down the centre and with walling up to 1.6 metres high. The foundations of another, 17.0 metres to the north-west at SX 57327935 consist of a bank of stones 0.6 metres high forming three sides of a building 5.4 metres by 4.3 metres, open on the east. (Not surveyed because of scale factors). The main building shown at 1:10 000 on MSD. (See ground photograph).

Hemery, E., 1983, High Dartmoor, 1039-40 (Monograph). SDV249702.

Operated in 1790, when it was the only mine at work in south-west part of the Forest, according to the collector of toll tin.

Greeves, T. A. P., 1990, An Assessment of Dartmoor Tinworking, 25 (Report - Assessment). SDV343684.

Evidence of around 1840 and approximately 1805 stamping mills at SX57357938 and SX57387937 at Wheal Prosper.

Newman, P., 1995, Field Survey in the Walkham Valley, 4-5 (Article in Serial). SDV275799.

Site of Wheal Prosper Mine comprises an openwork, shafts, adits, spoil dumps, buildings, leats and dressing floors. Documentary references are mainly from 1840s and 1850s. The remains represent two episodes of extraction.

Greeves, T. A. P., 1997, Tin Stamping Mills of Dartmoor after AD 1750, 6-8 (Article in Serial). SDV346020.

Newman, P., 2004, Merrivale Range Baseline Condition Survey, 30/11/2004 (Report - Survey). SDV346874.

Merrivale Range Baseline Condition Survey visit. All features are as described in 1994. The site remains in stable condition under short grass.

Cartographic Engineering, 2006, Dartmoor 2006 1:1250 Aerial Photography (digital) (Aerial Photograph). SDV345590.

Remains of the spoil pits, openworks and some of the mine buildings are clearly visible on the aerial photography.

Newman, P., 2018, Archaeological Sites within Merrivale Training Area, Dartmoor National Park, Devon: A condition survey on behalf of Defence Infrastructure Organisation, 07/03/2018 (Report - Survey). SDV361635.

Wheal Prosper tin mine on the east side of Cocks Hill near the River Walkham. Evidence includes an openwork, a wheelpit, dressing floor, buildings, shafts, adits and a leat.

National Monument Record, 2018, Pastscape, (1994 data) (Website). SDV360651.

Centred SX 57307937. The remains of Wheal Prosper Mine lie on the moderate east-facing slope above the right bank of the River Walkham, 400 metres east-north-east of White Barrow. The mine, apparently operational in the later 18th and 19th centuries, exploited deposits recognised in previous periods as the vicinity displays evidence of most of the extractive techniques used by the tin industry on Dartmoor. The letters in the text refer to features on the 1:2500 plan which has been archived in the National Monuments Record.
The valley floor possesses the linear spoil heaps of streamworking (see SX 57 NE 70) while tin pits, openworks and lode back works of the later periods lie in an east to west line extending up the slope from the Walkham at SX 57347937 to SX 57057940 with a shorter lode back work between SX 57357939 and SX 57247940, 20 metres to the north. The now blocked shafts (a) of the last extractive phase, that were associated with Wheal Prosper, lie in the base of the openworks and were formerly supplemented by two adits (b) at the foot of the slope. A further adit (c) and a mutilated shaft head (d), some 400 metres south of the main workings, also probably date from this final phase.
A wheelpit and dressing floor (e) and a possible buddle (f) point to a degree of on-site tin dressing. The stone-lined and partially rubble filled wheelpit measures 5.0 metres long, 0.9 metres wide with a maximum depth of 1.2 metres. It was formerly supplied by a leat starting at SX 57378001 on the right bank of the Walkham. The channel is visible to SX 57357942 where it has become obscured by a hillslope bog. At SX 57377954 the channel forked with the lower course also probably feeding the waterwheel and now visible to SX 57367941 where it too becomes hidden by the bog. Both channels average 1.2 metres wide and 0.4 metres deep. Immediately north of the wheelpit is an almost triangular dressing floor measuring 13.6 metres (north to south) by an average of 5.3 metres. Two small well-defined settling tanks about 3.8 metres long, 1.2 metres wide and 0.5 metres deep are cut into the floor of this platform. There is no surviving evidence of the stamps that also occupied this area. The probable buddle lies approximately 30 metres to the south and is visible as an embanked circular platform, 5.6 metres in diameter and a maximum of 1.1 metres deep. There is no obvious water supply associated with this feature. The remains of at least five buildings are also apparent. The principal building, (g), lies slightly south of the workings at the foot of the slope. It comprises a single room, 8.5 metres (east to west) by 3.2 metres, with an entrance located centrally in the south wall. There are no obvious internal features. The area immediately to the south of the building is partially enclosed by an L-shaped revetment open to the east. The four other structures are arranged almost equidistant in an east to west line in the base of the openwork. All are in a very ruinous condition and few features can be determined though one, (h), appears to possess a fireplace in its east end.
Access to the site was via the Lich Way which crosses the Walkham at the ford 150 metres south of the mine. This track was probably upgraded and slightly diverted to the north-east to run to Wheal Prosper. It now exists as a well-defined hollow way running from just north of White Barrow to the mine with three short branches leading to the ford where it resumes its original course (citing Probert, S. A. J. + Riley, H. M., 18/08/1994, Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments in England Field Investigation).

Sources / Further Reading

SDV249702Monograph: Hemery, E.. 1983. High Dartmoor. High Dartmoor. Hardback Volume. 1039-40.
SDV269254Article in Serial: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1975. Wheal Prosper: a little-known Dartmoor Tin Mine. Plymouth Mineral and Mining Club Journal. Vol 6, No 1. 6-7, 15.
SDV269256Worksheet: Le Messuerier, B.. 1976. Wheal Prosper Mine. Worksheet. Digital.
SDV269257Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1979. SX57NE48. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index. 15/10/1979.
SDV269282Un-published: Le Messurier, B.. 1978. Post-Prehistoric Structures in Central North Dartmoor. Manuscript. 14/5/1976.
SDV275799Article in Serial: Newman, P.. 1995. Field Survey in the Walkham Valley. Dartmoor Tin Working Research Group Newsletter. 9. Unknown. 4-5.
SDV343684Report - Assessment: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1990. An Assessment of Dartmoor Tinworking. Digital. 25.
SDV345590Aerial Photograph: Cartographic Engineering. 2006. Dartmoor 2006 1:1250 Aerial Photography (digital). Digital.
SDV346020Article in Serial: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1997. Tin Stamping Mills of Dartmoor after AD 1750. Dartmoor Magazine. 49. Paperback Volume. 6-8.
SDV346394Monograph: Atkinson, M. + Burt, R. + Waite, P.. 1978. Dartmoor Mines. The Mines of the Granite Mass. Dartmoor Mines. The Mines of the Granite Mass. Paperback Volume.
SDV346874Report - Survey: Newman, P.. 2004. Merrivale Range Baseline Condition Survey. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Report. Unknown. 30/11/2004.
SDV360651Website: National Monument Record. 2018. Pastscape. http://www.pastscape.org.uk. Website. (1994 data).
SDV361635Report - Survey: Newman, P.. 2018. Archaeological Sites within Merrivale Training Area, Dartmoor National Park, Devon: A condition survey on behalf of Defence Infrastructure Organisation. South-west Landscape Investigations. A4 Comb Bound. 07/03/2018. [Mapped feature: #113134 ]

Associated Monuments

MDV12200Parent of: Adit and trial pits on Cocks Hill, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV63707Related to: LEAT in the Parish of Dartmoor Forest (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7441 - Condition survey of the archaeological sites of Merrivale Training Area
  • EDV7570 - Condition survey of Merrivale Range training area
  • EDV8291 - Okehampton Range: Monument Baseline Condition Survey

Date Last Edited:Aug 18 2020 1:19PM