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Tinworks and other archaeological remains in the Meavy valley at Stanlake, Black Tor, Hart Tor and Cramber Tor

List Entry Summary

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Tinworks and other archaeological remains in the Meavy valley at Stanlake, Black Tor, Hart Tor and Cramber Tor

List entry Number: 1020129

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: West Devon

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Walkhampton

National Park: DARTMOOR

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 16-Feb-1953

Date of most recent amendment: 09-Apr-2001

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 24106

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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

Reasons for Designation

Dartmoor is the largest expanse of open moorland in southern Britain and, because of exceptional conditions of preservation, it is also one of the most complete examples of an upland relict landscape in the whole country. The great wealth and diversity of archaeological remains provide direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the early prehistoric period onwards. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, major land boundaries, trackways, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains, gives significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land use through time. On Dartmoor, tin streamworks represent intermittent tin working activity dating from the medieval period to the 20th century. During this time previously abandoned works were often brought back into production, while some streamworks are still not exhausted, raising the possibility that they may become viable once again. Streamworks exploited tin deposits that had been detached from the parent lode and redeposited by streams and rivers within either alluvial deposits in valley bottoms or in eluvial deposits in shallow, steeper tributaries on hillsides. The technique involved large scale extraction (which has left major earthworks visible in the landscape) and the use of water to separate tin from the lighter clays and silts which contained it. The water derived either from canalised streams or reservoirs fed by specially constructed leats which can be seen running for several miles along the contours of many hillsides. The streamworks themselves survive as a series of spoil dumps, channels and disused work areas which indicate their character and development. Streamworking was particularly prevalent on Dartmoor, being by far the most numerous and extensive type of tinwork on the moor. Remains are to be found in most valley bottoms and on many hillsides, where they make a dominant contribution to landscape character as well as providing unusually detailed evidence for medieval industry. Streamworks on Dartmoor will be considered for scheduling where they are well preserved and representative of the industry in this area, or where there is a demonstrable relationship with medieval and later settlement and its associated remains.

The tinworks and other archaeological remains in the Meavy Valley at Stanlake, Black Tor, Hart Tor and Cramber Tor survive well and together represent an important insight into the character of upland exploitation. In particular, the wide variety of tin prospecting, extraction and processing sites represent a very special collection of sites connected with the early tin industry. The stone rows are a rare survival nationally and, together with the cairns, provide an illustration of the nature and intensity of ritual and burial activity on the Moor.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a series of alluvial tin streamworks, an eluvial streamwork, shafts, openworks, lode back tinworks, prospecting pits and trenches, a reservoir, tin bound stone, a wheelpit, two stamping mills, several leats, adits, tinners' buildings and caches. Amongst other archaeological remains are two stone alignments, at least four cairns, a stone hut circle settlement, an enclosure and a length of reave, all of prehistoric date. Further remains of historic date include a hollow way and World War II mortar emplacement. These features and structures lie within the upper part of the Meavy Valley within the Burrator Reservoir catchment area. The alluvial streamworks are adjacent to the River Meavy and Hart Tor Brook and survive as a series of well-preserved earthworks which suggest multi-phase exploitation of the tin deposits. In broad terms the large dumps lying parallel with the rivers are considered to be medieval, whilst the narrow dumps lying at an angle are thought to represent post-medieval activity. The layout of the dumps clearly illustrates the systematic manner in which the tin deposits were exploited. An area of eluvial streamworking earthworks at NGR SX57807202 represents exploitation of tin detached from the nearby lodes which were later exploited using opencast quarries known as openworks. At least eight discrete openworks survive at this location and each includes a deep, steep sided gully. Another openwork cuts into the lower slopes of Hart Tor at NGR SX57807169 and another two slice into the hillside at the upper end of the Hart Tor Brook. The monument contains at least 14 discrete 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 evidence relating to tin mining includes a small number of shafts and two adits. Shafts are vertical or near vertical tunnels leading from the surface to provide access to underground workings. At the surface they include a substantial pit associated with a large spoil dump. Many shafts were capped when abandoned and others may therefore survive hidden below their cap. Associated with the shaft on the lower slopes of Black Tor are two adits. An adit is a level tunnel driven into the hillside to facilitate access, drainage and haulage of ore to the surface. The adits at NGR SX57377151 survive as narrow gulleys surrounded on three sides by a low bank. Spoil from the lower adit rests on top of earlier alluvial tin streamwork earthworks. Crucial to almost every activity within the tinworks was a supply of water. Water was carried to where it was needed in artificial channels called leats and sometimes stored in reservoirs. At least 17 separate leats survive within the monument carrying water to a variety of different processes. Most served prospecting trenches, others carried water to stamping mills, some supplied streamworks and one supplied water to a farm. The use of water to prospect for tin is known from contemporary documentary sources, but other techniques were employed. Foremost amongst these was the digging of shallow pits to locate and then examine the character of any lode encountered. Several hundred of these pits exist within the monument and survive as small rectangular or oval hollows each with an associated crescent shaped bank, normally lying downslope of the pit. Within or adjacent to the tinworks are a number of structures built by the tinners to provide shelter or storage for tools and tin. Three of these structures are large enough to have sheltered workers, whilst the two smallest ones consist of small chambers built within earlier spoil dumps. These structures are known as caches and would have been used to hide tools and tin oxide. The tin ore from the openworks, lode back pits, shafts and adits needed to be crushed and dressed to release the cassiterite (tin oxide), also known as black tin. Within the monument there are two stamping mills where much of the ore mined from the tinworks would have been crushed and dressed. Both mills are situated below Black Tor Falls. The mill on the eastern bank is built into earlier streamwork earthworks and survives as a two roomed structure with the walls standing up to 2.2m high with the door lintel remaining in its original position. In each room, a mortar stone on which the ore was crushed by mechanically driven stamps is visible. The wheelpit for the wheel that powered the stamps is clearly visible on the northern side of the mill. The mill on the western bank survives as a single roomed structure associated with at least four mortar stones and two axle stones on which the wheel axle rotated. Adjacent to this mill are a series of shallow linear depressions which probably represent the site of a dressing floor where the crushed ore was hydraulically separated to release the black tin. Archaeological remains of prehistoric date also survive within the monument. Foremost amongst these is a ritual complex including at least two stone alignments and four cairns. The northern alignment is orientated from ENE to WSW and includes a 122m long, double row of at least 93 upright stones, with an average height of 0.32m. The spacing of the stones is irregular and the distance between the rows varies between 1.5m and 2m. A cairn with an encircling kerb stands at the ENE end of the double stone alignment. The mound measures 6.8m in diameter and 0.4m high and the kerb includes 15 orthostats forming a ring with a diameter of 9m. A slight hollow in the centre of the mound suggests robbing or partial early excavation. The single stone alignment lies to the south of the double row and is orientated approximately NNE to SSW and includes a 56.4m long row of at least 16 upright stones with an average height of 0.29m. The larger stones within this row lie towards the eastern end, which is denoted by a cairn. This cairn measures 8m in diameter and stands up to 0.8m high. A slight hollow in the centre of the mound suggests that this mound has also been investigated. The third cairn lies 20m south of the double stone alignment and includes an 8.8m diameter and 0.7m high flat topped mound. A kerb of stones is visible around the eastern edge of the mound and survives elsewhere around the circumference as a buried feature. A hollow in the centre of this cairn suggests previous antiquarian interest in this mound. The fourth cairn lies on the western side of the River Meavy and survives as a 4m diameter mound standing up to 0.8m high. Both stone alignments have seen limited damage as a result of medieval and post-medieval tinworking. A 3m wide and 1.6m deep prospecting trench cuts the double alignment and, further downslope, is a leat carrying water to tin stamping mills at Keaglesborough. A streamwork runs past the lower end of the double stone alignment, and may have truncated it. A short distance south of the stone alignments is a substantial rubble bank leading northward from the Hart Tor Brook. This bank forms part of a contour reave that originally also extended for nearly 2km southward from this monument. At NGR SX57387153 is a small enclosure defined by an orthostatic wall whose eastern side has been removed by alluvial tin streamworking. On the south side of the monument there is an enclosed stone hut circle settlement which is situated on a north facing slope on the edge of the Hart Tor Brook. The interior is sub-circular and measures 98m east to west by 70m north to south with a 4m wide entrance on its west side. Within the enclosure there are 11 stone hut circles, a tinner's building and traces of lynchets and plots defined by low rubble walls. Attached to the outer face of the enclosure on the south east side is a small field-plot. All the stone hut circles were examined by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee in 1896. This work recovered charcoal, pot boilers, rubbers, flint scrapers and pottery. Amongst structures of historic date not associated with tin extraction are a mortar emplacement, field boundaries associated with Stanlake Farm and a hollow way leading to a ford across the River Meavy. The modern structures associated with the collection of water for the pipeline carrying water to the Devonport Leat, the pipeline itself and the ground directly above it, the associated service structures and the aqueduct carrying the Devonport Leat across the River Meavy are all excluded from the scheduling; the ground beneath all these features is, however, included. The concrete take off at the confluence of the River Meavy and Hart Tor Brook is totally excluded from the scheduling.

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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Gerrard, G A M, The Early Cornish Tin Industry, (1986), 165-166
Baring-Gould, S, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Third Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, , Vol. 28, (1896), 191-192
Gerrard, S, 'Meavy Valley Archaeology - Site Report No. 10' in Hart Tor Tinworks, , Vol. 10, (1998), 9
Gerrard, S, 'Meavy Valley Archaeology - Site Report No. 10' in Hart Tor Tinworks, , Vol. 10, (1998), 18
Gerrard, S, 'Meavy Valley Archaeology - Site Report No. 10' in Hart Tor Tinworks, , Vol. 10, (1998), 19
Gerrard, S, 'Meavy Valley Archaeology - Site Report No. 10' in Hart Tor Tinworks, , Vol. 10, (1998), 26
Gerrard, S, 'Meavy Valley Archaeology - Site Report No. 10' in Hart Tor Tinworks, , Vol. 10, (1998), 9
Gerrard, S, 'Meavy Valley Archaeology - Site Report No. 10' in Hart Tor Tinworks, , Vol. 10, (1998), 17
Gerrard, S, 'Meavy Valley Archaeology - Site Report No. 10' in Hart Tor Tinworks, , Vol. 10, (1998), 13-14
Gerrard, S, 'Meavy Valley Archaeology - Site Report No. 10' in Hart Tor Tinworks, , Vol. 10, (1998), 13-15
Gerrard, S, 'Meavy Valley Archaeology - Site Report No. 9' in Hart Tor Stone Rows and Cairns, , Vol. 9, (1999), 9
Gerrard, S, 'Meavy Valley Archaeology - Site Report No. 9' in Hart Tor Stone Rows and Cairns, , Vol. 9, (1999), 11
Gerrard, S, 'Meavy Valley Archaeology - Site Report No. 9' in Hart Tor Stone Rows and Cairns, , Vol. 9, (1999), 13
Gerrard, S, 'Meavy Valley Archaeology - Site Report No. 6' in Stanlake Alluvial Streamwork, , Vol. 6, (1998), 21
Gerrard, S, 'Meavy Valley Archaeology - Site Report No. 6' in Stanlake Alluvial Streamwork, , Vol. 6, (1998), 7
Gerrard, S, 'Meavy Valley Archaeology - Site Report No. 6' in Stanlake Alluvial Streamwork, , Vol. 6, (1998), 8-10
Gerrard, S, 'Meavy Valley Archaeology - Site Report No. 6' in Stanlake Alluvial Streamwork, , Vol. 6, (1998), 10
Gerrard, S, 'Meavy Valley Archaeology - Site Report No. 3' in Black Tor Falls Tin Mills, , Vol. 5, (1997), 23
Gerrard, S, 'Meavy Valley Archaeology - Site Report No. 3' in Black Tor Falls Tin Mills, , Vol. 5, (1997), 23
Gerrard, S, 'Meavy Valley Archaeology - Site Report No. 3' in Black Tor Falls Tin Mills, , Vol. 5, (1997), 29
Gerrard, S, 'Meavy Valley Archaeology - Site Report No. 3' in Black Tor Falls Tin Mills, , Vol. 5, (1997), 9
Gerrard, S, 'Meavy Valley Archaeology - Site Report No. 3' in Black Tor Falls Tin Mills, , Vol. 5, (1997), 14
Gerrard, S, 'Meavy Valley Archaeology - Site Report No. 3' in Black Tor Falls Tin Mills, , Vol. 5, (1997), 18
Gerrard, S, 'Meavy Valley Archaeology - Site Report No. 3' in Black Tor Falls Tin Mills, , Vol. 5, (1997), 19
Gerrard, S, 'Meavy Valley Archaeology - Site Report No. 3' in Black Tor Falls Tin Mills, , Vol. 5, (1997), 7
Other
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE19,
Fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (1999)
Fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (1999)
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
Lethbridge, D, (1997)
National Archaeological Record, SX57SE3619,

National Grid Reference: SX 58164 71501

Map

Map
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End of official listing