Brimpts Mine, three prehistoric settlements and associated reaves 550m north west of Outer Huccaby Ring


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1021049

Date first listed: 08-Sep-2003


Ordnance survey map of Brimpts Mine, three prehistoric settlements and associated reaves 550m north west of Outer Huccaby Ring
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: West Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Dartmoor Forest

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 65625 74707


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. Stone hut circles and hut settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers on Dartmoor. They mostly date from the Bronze Age, with the earliest examples on the Moor in this building tradition dating to about 1700 BC. The stone-based round houses consist of low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area; remains of the turf or thatch roof are not preserved. The huts may occur singly or in small or large groups and may lie in the open or be enclosed by a bank of earth and stone. Although they are common on the Moor, their longevity and their relationship with other monument types provide important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

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. Brimpts Mine, three prehistoric settlements and associated reaves 550m north west of Outer Huccaby Ring survive well. Information concerning the use of this area at different times is known to survive. Brimpts Mine represents a good example of a small water powered tin mine where different mining techniques were employed over a period of time. The prehistoric settlements form part of a settlement pattern which provides an important insight into the character of settlement and land use on the fringes of the more substantial coaxial field systems.


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


The monument includes structures and earthworks associated with Brimpts Mine, three prehistoric settlements with associated enclosures, fields and reaves situated on a spur leading from Laughter Tor overlooking the valleys of the West and East Dart Rivers. Tin mining at Brimpts Mine may have started during the early part of the 16th century and continued sporadically until 1855. Amongst the earliest surviving remains are an openwork measuring up to 10m wide by 4m deep and a group of lodeback pits. The adit and shaft belong to the later period and it was from these that tin was extracted for processing in the nearby stamping mill and dressing floors. The wheelpit in which a wheel rotated sits next to a platform on which stamping machinery once sat. This wheel also provided a source of power for pumping machinery at the engine shaft. The power was transferred to the shaft via a series of interconnecting rods known as flat rods. A trench through which these rods passed survives in the area north of the wheelpit. Dressing of the stamped ore appears to have been carried out at three separate locations. The dressing floor next to the stamps survives as an irregular shaped platform denoted on two sides by a drystone revetment. Cut into the surface of this platform are a series of stone lined pits representing the site of settling pits and buddles. The second dressing floor at SX65307469 survives as a rectangular terraced area with a 0.8m high drystone revetment on all sides except the south which is denoted by a wall and bank. A triangular hollow cut into the platform represents the site of a buddle. The third dressing floor is at SX65327465 and survives as an 8.5m long by 4m wide rectangular hollow measuring up to 0.6m deep. Other structures associated with the mine include a building at SX65317471, a whim platform at SX65307512 and a group of three mine buildings at SX65207512.

The two northern prehistoric settlements are connected to each other by a length of reave which was refurbished during historic times. The eastern settlement survives as an oval enclosure containing two stone hut circles, whilst the western one includes a stone hut circle linked to a small circular enclosure sitting within a second, and much larger, sub-rectangular enclosure. The third settlement lies south east of Brimpts Mine stamping mill and includes two stone hut circles and an associated irregular aggregate field system from which a reave leads eastward. An area of disturbed ground at SX65397470 may represent the much truncated remnants of a cairn.

Further archaeological remains of historic date survive within the monument and amongst these are a short length of unfinished drystone walling, a medieval field system complete with ridge and furrow and a small bridge built to carry a track over the flatrods.

Modern fence posts and the short length of track 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.


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

Legacy System number: 34461

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Bird, R, Hirst, P, The Brimpts Tin Mines, (1996), 45
Bird, R, Hirst, P, The Brimpts Tin Mines, (1996)
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 123
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 55
Title: Duchy Farms Survey - Brimpts Farm Source Date: 1988 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: 1:10000 plan

End of official listing