Ringleshutes tinwork


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020098

Date first listed: 18-Sep-2001


Ordnance survey map of Ringleshutes tinwork
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Dec-2018 at 14:16:40.


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

County: Devon

District: South Hams (District Authority)

Parish: Holne

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 67212 69827


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

Reasons for Designation

Tin has been exploited on Dartmoor since the prehistoric period and surviving remains are numerous, well-preserved and diverse, with the two main types of tinwork being streamworks and mines. The three different forms of tinwork used to mine lode tin were lode-back pits, openworks and shafts. Lode-back pits survive as shallow shafts which were sunk onto the lode outcrop to extract cassiterite. These pits generally occur in linear groups following the line of the lode, with associated spoil dumps. Many tin lodes have been worked at the surface by digging pits onto the backs or surface exposures of the lode to remove the mineral that lay above the water table. Openworks are also known as beams and they were formed by opencast quarrying along the length of the lode. The term openwork refers to the field evidence for opencast quarrying of the lode, which produced relatively narrow and elongated gulleys. Shaft mining is synonymous with underground extraction, with access to the lode being through near vertical or horizontal tunnels known as shafts and adits. Underground workings are often complex in character, with considerable layout variations reflecting developing extraction techniques. Within the vicinity of most mines are found the remains of prospecting activity. This generally takes the form of small pits and gulleys. Some mines have associated surface buildings which provided a variety of services for the working miners. The ore quarried from all three forms of mine was taken for processing to nearby stamping mills. A national survey of the tin industry in England was completed in 1999. This demonstrated the number and diversity of surviving remains and the significance of some areas for understanding the origins and development of the industry. Dartmoor is one such area and here a representative selection of sites with significant surviving remains has been identified as nationally important.

The Ringleshutes tinwork contains a range of different forms of evidence relating to prospecting and exploitation of both tin deposits and lodes. In particular, a fine group of prospecting trenches survive in close proximity to a well-preserved and informative group of openworks and lode back pits. The later evidence for shaft and adit mining contributes to an understanding of the monument without much damage to the earlier archaeological features.


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


The monument includes a tinwork situated on the slopes of Holne Ridge overlooking the valley of the River Dart. The tinwork includes a range of different earthwork and structural remains denoting the variety of prospecting and extraction methods employed through the ages. The earliest earthworks belong to the streamwork and these survive as low linear dumps mostly lying parallel to each other and confined to a broad gully. The streamwork was formed during the extraction of tin deposits using water to separate the heavy tin from the lighter silts, sands and gravels. Once the streamwork was abandoned, the tinners turned their attentions to the lode tin within the area. The first stage was extensive prospecting using both pits and trenches. Large numbers of these features survive within the vicinity of the tinwork. The pits were excavated solely by hand but the trenches were formed by using both shovels and running water. The water was brought to the area in leats and stored in reservoirs. Once the lodes had been identified they were extracted using different mining techniques. Foremost among these was the use of opencast quarries known as openworks to extract the lode tin and these survive as deep, steep sided gullys trending approximately west to east. At one point an openwork cuts through earlier streamwork earthworks. The second form of evidence relating to mining survives as series of deep pits and these are known as areas of lode back tinworking. This form of exploitation consists of deep pits being cut onto the back of the lode with the tin ore encountered being raised to the surface. When extraction became difficult the pit was abandoned and a new one opened elsewhere on the lode. The resulting archaeological remains include a linear series of deep pits each associated with a spoil dump. The final form of mining found at Ringleshutes is represented by four particularly large pits, called shafts, and two adits. These would have been dug to reach the tin ore below the depth accessible by openworks and lode back pits. Next to the eastern shaft is a rectangular building which represents the site of an engine house used to provide power for drainage and lifting machinery. The ore raised to the surface through this shaft was transported on a tramway to the dressing floor where it was processed. The dressing floor is built upon the earlier streamwork and includes two large settling pits, two rectangular buddles, a building, wheelpit and series of channels. The final product from this processing area would have been black tin which would have then been transported elsewhere for smelting. A single large rectangular building at NGR SX67647009 probably provided shelter, storage and mine administration facilities for the tinwork. This building is divided into at least five rooms and measures 26.5m long by 4.5m wide internally and the walls now stand up to 0.8m high. The boundary stones within the monument are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

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: 24091

Legacy System: RSM


Title: Holne Moor Survey Source Date: 1997 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: 1:2500 plan

End of official listing