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HER Number:MDV86346
Name:Ventilation Shaft at Wheal Exmouth Mine, Christow


Tall, rather ornate octagonal ventilation shaft about 140 metres south of Canonteign Barton.


Grid Reference:SX 837 830
Map Sheet:SX88SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishChristow
Ecclesiastical ParishCHRISTOW

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • VENTILATION SHAFT (XIX - 1801 AD to 1900 AD)

Full description

Weston, K., 2011, Chimney at Wheal Exmouth, Dartmoor, Devon (Report - Assessment). SDV359780.

Conservation team returned to the property on the 12th October to carry out a high level inspection. When viewed at a distance from ground level earlier in the year (February 2011) it appeared that the top of the shaft may have been filled with earth. However, this was not the case. As the attached photographs show the internal face on the uppermost section of stonework is in a poor condition with a friable mortar, joints that have severely eroded in places, and a covering of vegetation. On this section of the shaft it may be the case that the plant roots are now helping to hold the masonry together. On the external face the stonework has severely deteriorated between the quoins with eroded and degraded mortar joints. The condition of the external stonework is shown on pages 4 and 5 of the photographs. Past repairs with a cement mortar spread over the face of the stonework between the quoins has not helped the durability of the stonework.
On the west side the column of stonework that stands above the main body of the shaft is in a poor condition. There are some loose and unstable stones on the top of the column and any consolidation work on the inner face would be difficult and potentially dangerous. For safety reasons it was advised that the stonework should be taken down by approximately 3.0 to 3.5 metres before any other work was done on the shaft.
After the taking down the work over the full height of the chimney will involve the careful removal of all the vegetation including the roots, the resetting/rebuilding of any loose stonework on the top, the general consolidation of the stonework using a suitable lime mortar, and the cutting back of adjacent tree branches. A capping on the top would improve the lateral stability of the uppermost stonework and also give weather protection to the internal face.

Weston, K., 2011, Chimneys at Wheal Exmouth, Dartmoor, Devon (Report - Assessment). SDV359779.

The octagonal shaft is reduced in height with a sloping top. There are a few open joints on the face of the stonework and on the top section the face of the stonework between the quoins has eroded back. Also the top section on the north side, near to the engine house, has an outward lean. The stones at the very top of the north side (shown on page 5 of the photographs) may be potentially unstable but a close inspection is needed to ascertain their condition. Overall the external condition of the stonework on the chimney appears to be reasonable, and the shaft does not appear to have any stability problems, but the internal condition of the chimney is an unknown. The top of the shaft is filled with material that has plants growing from it, while at the base an infill can be seen from the small access tunnel, as shown on page 6 of the photographs. It is said that the shaft has been filled and the underside of the fill material at the base suggests placed material, but there is no obvious reason for filling the shaft. A tree grows from the base of the chimney with roots that penetrate through the stonework (pages 6 and 7 of the photographs) and it should be removed and the stump poisoned before serious damage occurs. Similarly the tree growing close to the base of the chimney should be removed.

Google, 2012, Google Streetview (Website). SDV348799.

Tall stone-built, octagonal ventilation shaft adjacent to former engine house.

English Heritage, 2013, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV350785.

Octagonal ventilation shaft about 140 metres south of Canonteign Barton. Octagonal ventilation shaft at Wheal Exmouth lead and barytes mine. 1853. Stone rubble with granite ashlar quoins. Tall tapering octagonal shaft, battered at the base and incomplete at the top in an unusually ornamental style to match the adjacent engine house. Wheal Exmouth, operating from the 1850s to 1880 employed 70 underground workers in 1863. The site of the mine was visible from Canonteign House (q.v.), the Exmouth seat built in 1828 but later screened from it by tree planting. The ornate style was presumably employed for the sake of the view from Canonteign House.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV348799Website: Google. 2012. Google Streetview. http://maps.google.co.uk. Website. [Mapped feature: #108717 ]
SDV350785National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2013. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital.
SDV359779Report - Assessment: Weston, K.. 2011. Chimneys at Wheal Exmouth, Dartmoor, Devon. English Heritage Conservation Engineering Team. Digital.
SDV359780Report - Assessment: Weston, K.. 2011. Chimney at Wheal Exmouth, Dartmoor, Devon. English Heritage Conservation Engineering Team. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV9376Part of: Wheal Exmouth Mine, Christow (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Oct 3 2016 3:59PM