HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Devon & Dartmoor HER Result
Devon & Dartmoor HERPrintable version | About Devon & Dartmoor HER | Visit Devon & Dartmoor HER online...

See important guidance on the use of this record.

If you have any comments or new information about this record, please email us.

HER Number:MDV79951
Name:Taylor's Shaft, Tavistock Canal Tunnel


Previously recorded as a probable capped mine shaft, this is the remains of Taylor's Shaft; one of eight constructed in the early 19th century on the course of the Tavistock Canal Tunnel on Morwelldown. An irregularly shaped mound is visible on aerial photographs as an earthwork to the north of Morwelldown Plantation.


Grid Reference:SX 459 719
Map Sheet:SX47SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishGulworthy
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishTAVISTOCK

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • SHAFT (Constructed, XIX - 1804 AD to 1811 AD (Not applicable))

Full description

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

Irregularly shaped feature shown on 1880s-1890s 25 inch Ordnance Survey map.

Cornwall Archaeological Unit, 2001-2002, Tamar Valley National Mapping Programme Transcriptions and Database Records, RAF/CPE/UK/2501/F20/4110-11 (Interpretation). SDV346287.

The transcription of an earthwork mound from earthwork evidence visible on aerial photographs RAF/CPE/UK/2501/F20/4110-11 corresponds to a database record of an earthwork mound to the south of Buctor. The mound probably relates to the mine or ventilation shaft. Map object based on this source.

Ordnance Survey, 2011, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV346129.

Map object based on this Source.

Newman, P., 2011, Mining in the Tavy Valley, West Devon. An Assessment of Archaeological Potential, 59 (Report - Assessment). SDV347105.

Probable disused capped shaft shown on Ordnance Survey first edition 25 inch map to in field to south of Wheal Crebor. Tump visible on google earth. Other details: No. 30.

Watts, S., 2011, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV347143.

Note that the feature is over the line of the Tavistock Canal tunnel and could be related to this rather than being a mine shaft.

Buck, C., 2015, Buctor Farm, Tavistock (Report - Assessment). SDV359746.

This study was commissioned by the landowner on behalf of Natural England as part of a Higher Level Environmental Stewardship Agreement Scheme and produced by Cornwall Archaeological Unit, Cornwall Council.

This shaft is neither labelled nor shown on any mine plan or map within this report. It is sunk on the tunnel alignment as both an air/ventilation shaft for the workers, and used as a medium through which waste material could be brought to surface rather than taken back to the tunnel mouth – via a horse-whim.

The shaft opening is not visible at surface, but it is sited within the large mound, surmounted by trees. There are three elongated linear (tramway) tip lines forming the mound – approximately 4m height above downslope ground level, and approximately 1m above upslope ground level. The horse-whim would have been relatively near the shaft – but neither this site nor the shaft is visible (Fig 17).


This site area has a medium significance rating, given the lack of any other supporting archaeological site evidence.

Given the trampling of the ground at this site, animals may well use it for shelter or shade. Thought should be given to locating and fencing the shaft site and providing a shaft warning marker.

Hegarty, C., Knight, S. and Sims, R., 2016, Backlog Recording of the Tamar Valley National Mapping Programme Survey (Personal Comment). SDV359374.

The aerial photograph reference given in the Tamar Valley NMP transcription attributes is incomplete; the date of the photograph is not included.

Waterhouse, R., 2017, The Tavistock Canal. Its History and Archaeology, 363-67, 378, fig 10.72, 10.78, 10.80, 10.89 (Monograph). SDV361789.

Eight shafts were sunk on the line of the tunnel, of which seven were completed (Remfry's was aborted due to hitting an Elvan dyke 16 fathoms from the surface).
Taylor's Shaft is 28 fathoms (51 metres) and was sunk between 1804-1811. It lies on open farmland north of Morwelldown Plantation in a field with a large semi-circular overgrown dump on the north side of its (presumably capped) shaft. Traces of a circular horse engine platform are terraced into the hillside to the south. Described in the 1804 as being close to the farm of Great Buctor (abandoned 1840-1860s), no trace of this farmstead remains.
Earthwork plan of Taylor's Shaft included in publication.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital).
SDV346287Interpretation: Cornwall Archaeological Unit. 2001-2002. Tamar Valley National Mapping Programme Transcriptions and Database Records. National Mapping Programme. Map (Digital). RAF/CPE/UK/2501/F20/4110-11.
SDV347105Report - Assessment: Newman, P.. 2011. Mining in the Tavy Valley, West Devon. An Assessment of Archaeological Potential. SW Landscape Investigations Report. A4 Stapled + Digital. 59.
SDV347143Personal Comment: Watts, S.. 2011. Not Applicable.
SDV359374Personal Comment: Hegarty, C., Knight, S. and Sims, R.. 2016. Backlog Recording of the Tamar Valley National Mapping Programme Survey. Not Applicable.
SDV359746Report - Assessment: Buck, C.. 2015. Buctor Farm, Tavistock. Cornwall Archaeological Unit. 2015R055. Digital.
SDV361789Monograph: Waterhouse, R.. 2017. The Tavistock Canal. Its History and Archaeology. The Tavistock Canal. Its History and Archaeology. Paperback Volume. 363-67, 378, fig 10.72, 10.78, 10.80, 10.89.

Associated Monuments

MDV124666Related to: Air Shaft, Tavistock Canal Tunnel (Monument)
MDV124657Related to: Bray's Shaft, Tavistock Canal Tunnel (Monument)
MDV79932Related to: Hitchen's Shaft, Tavistock Canal Tunnel (Monument)
MDV124663Related to: Remfry's Shaft, Tavistock Canal Tunnel (Monument)
MDV124665Related to: Rowe's Shaft, Tavistock Canal Tunnel (Monument)
MDV4069Related to: Tavistock Canal Tunnel (Monument)
MDV124659Related to: Williams' Shaft, Tavistock Canal Tunnel (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6911 - Tamar Valley National Mapping Programme
  • EDV7058 - Archaeological Management Plan, Buctor Farm, Tavistock (Ref: 2015R055)
  • EDV8013 - Survey of the Tavistock Canal Tunnel on Morwelldown

Date Last Edited:Jan 17 2019 1:44PM