Historic settlement, fields and tin openwork at Shavercombe Foot 400m north of Shavercombe Tor


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015745

Date first listed: 16-Oct-2000


Ordnance survey map of Historic settlement, fields and tin openwork at Shavercombe Foot 400m north of Shavercombe Tor
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1015745 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 22-Jan-2019 at 12:16:37.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: South Hams (District Authority)

Parish: Shaugh Prior

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 59367 66562


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

The settlement at Shavercombe Foot is certainly of historic date and was undoubtedly occupied in the 19th century. It may have medieval origins, but most likely represents an 18th century small scale colonisation of the Moor by a part-time tinner. Settlements of this type are common in Cornwall, but are much rarer on Dartmoor, although examples do exist in the vicinity of some tinworks. As a group of monuments they represent one of the few sources of archaeological information concerning the relationship between tinworking and agriculture and well preserved examples surviving in the vicinity of tinworks are therefore considered particularly important. One of the earliest forms of tin mine known in the south west of England is the openwork. They survive as steep sided elongated gullies and are often associated with leats and reservoirs. Openworks were formed by opencast quarrying of a tin lode. Although relatively rare in Cornwall, they form a characteristic element of the Dartmoor landscape. Many of the examples on the Moor probably date to the medieval period, although some may be later.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


This monument includes an historic settlement, at least two fields, part of a tin openwork and several prospecting features situated on the northern side of the Shavercombe Brook. The historic settlement includes a small, well-preserved, two-compartment, rectangular structure with two external annexes and an attached yard. Its walls are of drystone construction, 1.2m wide and the faces are clearly visible, particularly on the north east side of the north western compartment. The internal partition lies 13.2m from the north western end and a depression at the south western end may denote a doorway between the two compartments. There are two possible external entrances, both into the larger north western compartment. That in the north eastern wall is indicated by a 0.9m wide gap, 3.8m from the north west end. The other, and more convincing entry point, is flanked by regular masonry on the south eastern side of a 0.8m wide gap situated in the south western wall, 7m from the north western end. Attached to the outer face of the south western wall on either side of the entrance are two small square annexes. The larger one on the north western side of the entrance encloses an area measuring 2.5m by 3m and is defined by a 1.2m wide wall. A gap in the north western wall may have provided access. The smaller annexe on the south east side of entrance measures 1.8 sq m and is defined by a 0.6m wide wall. A small yard attached to the south east end of the structure measures 15m long by 14m wide and is defined by a 2.6m wide and 0.3m high rubble wall. Leading north eastward from the north eastern side of this yard is a boundary bank which measures 1.5m wide and 0.2m high. An associated ditch lies immediately south east of this bank and measures 2m wide by 0.3m deep. The northern end of this boundary is truncated by the tin openwork. The settlement lies within another field which had also been truncated by the openwork. This field measures 95m by at least 125m and is defined by a 3m wide rubble wall standing up to 0.5m high. Within the field are a number of narrow shallow gullies which are probably the result of tin prospecting. This settlement may be Hentor Cot, the residence of a farm labourer, employed by Peter Nicholls of Hentor Farm in the early 19th century. However, the settlement is likely to have had an earlier origin. The large field is likely to have been out of use by the 19th century as it appears to have been truncated by the openwork. The length of openwork within the monument survives as a 5m deep and 20m wide steep sided gully. The openwork was formed by the opencast quarrying of tin ore. On the southern side of the openwork are a series of much narrower and shallower gullies. These probably represent the remnants of prospecting trenches excavated with the aid of running water. Further lengths of the openwork and other tinwork structures in the vicinity of the monument are not included in the scheduling because they are not currently considered to be of national importance. However, other archaeological features surviving in the vicinity of this monument are the subjects of separate schedulings. This monument is in the care of the Secretary of State.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 24228

Legacy System: RSM


Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory

End of official listing