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HER Number:MDV80000
Name:Owlacombe Mine Cottage, Ashburton


The mine cottage was constructed in two phases; firstly as a two roomed, single-cell gabled building with external access to the upper floor. In around 1906 the building was doubled in size, creating a two-celled building with twin-gabled elevations. It is thought to have been used as a changing or counting house for Owlacombe Mine, later Ashburton United Mine. Was in use as a dwelling in at least the mid-20th century but disused by the mid-1990s. Following the construction of a new dwelling to the north, the cottage was altered with most of the northern section demolished. The southern (older cell) remains to half the original height, roofed with some of the original materials.


Grid Reference:SX 770 733
Map Sheet:SX77SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishAshburton
Ecclesiastical ParishASHBURTON

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • COTTAGE NON SPECIFIC (Built, XVIII to XIX - 1800 AD to 1899 AD (Between))

Full description

1840, Tithe Map (Cartographic). SDV339770.

The Tithe Map shows small buildings in the area of the cottage; one of which might be the single cell cottage.

Griffiths, D. M., 1994, 5/31/312/94/03 (Planning Application). SDV347196.

(Site visited 14/11/1994). Small, gabled two-cell dwelling appears to date to the mid-late 19th century, originally constructed as a miner’s cottage, rather than a farmhouse. No objection to demolition. Planning permission granted on 11/01/1995.

Greeves, T. A. P., 1997, Owlacombe Mine Cottage, Ashburton (Correspondence). SDV347197.

Letters to Dartmoor National Park Planning Authority in regard to the original plan to demolish the mine cottage, stressing the importance of the structure related to the original mine. Photograph of the structure in around 1910 and plan from the early 20th century apparently showing the building marked as either 'change house' or 'counting house'. Other details: Planning application: 5/31/312/94/03.

Thorp, R. J. L., 1997, Owlacombe Mine Cottage, Ashburton, 1-7 (Report - Survey). SDV347195.

The cottage was empty and due for demolition in 1997, having been replaced by a new house nearby. It is unclear whether this demolition has taken place.
Owlacombe Farm and the mine cottage are located within an area of disused mine works and the cottage itself is a two cell building, each cell with its own roof, producing twin-gabled elevations to front and rear. A two-storey building, it was built in two phases from local stone rubble. The earliest part of the cottage is the southern cell, which comprised a small one-room plan two-storey building, likely to have been built in the early 19th century. Each room was heated but they were not connected; the upper floor appears to have had its own external access. The purpose of this building is unclear but it was clearly associated with the mining activity but appears domestic in size and by the provision of heating and glazed windows. The separate access to the floors is not usual however, for a dwelling. It is unlikely to have functioned as a ‘miner’s dry’ and may instead have been used as changing rooms, bothy (shelter for mine workers) or perhaps office space.
In the early 20th century (probably around 1906), the cottage was doubled in size, with a new cell added on the northern end. The old external access to the first floor was dismantled and the doorway blocked up. A new stair was built into the north-west corner of the southern room. An insubstantial lean to across the whole eastern end of the building was also apparently added at this time. This was probably timber-framed and had been demolished at the time of this report. The interior of the southern cottage was renovated during the same period as the addition of the new structures. These alterations can be dated to around 1906, when a new company took over running the mine. The new building was probably still not used as a dwelling as all four rooms were heated but none of the fireplaces were large enough for kitchen use and the lean-to seems to have housed any services. It is likely therefore that this building remained in use as changing rooms or bothy.

O'Connor, S. + O' Connor, F., 1998, Owlacombe Mine Cottage, Ashburton (Correspondence). SDV347198.

(Previous correspondence is noted in planning file concerning whether the southern section of the old cottage should be retained either by preserving the foundations of the structure to maintain a footprint of the building, or even retain the walls of the ruins up to a height of 1.0 meter to indicate the previous building.) This letter to Dartmoor National Park Authority indicates that following works to the cottage it was possible to save more of the old cottage and roof than previously expected (including the staircase and original rafters) and plans are submitted to retain the structure of the building up to half its original height and reinstate the original pitched and tiled roof. The back (west) wall of the northern part of the structure and a low section of the north wall is also to be kept but to roof this area as a pergola to maintain light levels to the new house. This space will remain open on the eastern side. Other details: Planning application: 5/31/312/94/03.

GeoInformation Group Ltd, 2010, 1:625 2010 Colour (12.5cm resolution) (Aerial Photograph). SDV346026.

Aerial photography from 2010 shows the retained (renovated) southern cell of the building and the roofed area between this and the new house that occupies the position of the northern cell of the miner's cottage.

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

Mine cottage shown to the south-west of the newer house. This has been considerably altered (see previous source details).

Sources / Further Reading

SDV339770Cartographic: 1840. Tithe Map. Tithe Map and Apportionment. Map (Paper).
SDV346026Aerial Photograph: GeoInformation Group Ltd. 2010. 1:625 2010 Colour (12.5cm resolution). 2010 Aerial Photographs. Digital.
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #106801 ]
SDV347195Report - Survey: Thorp, R. J. L.. 1997. Owlacombe Mine Cottage, Ashburton. Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants Report. K531. A4 Comb Bound. 1-7.
SDV347196Planning Application: Griffiths, D. M.. 1994. 5/31/312/94/03. Dartmoor National Park Planning Authority. Digital.
SDV347197Correspondence: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1997. Owlacombe Mine Cottage, Ashburton. Letter. Digital.
SDV347198Correspondence: O'Connor, S. + O' Connor, F.. 1998. Owlacombe Mine Cottage, Ashburton. Letter + Plan. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV8190Part of: Owlacombe Mine, Ashburton (Monument)
MDV104362Related to: Cottage south-west of Owlacombe Bridge (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV5033 - Recording of Owlacombe Mine Cottage

Date Last Edited:Feb 19 2018 4:23PM