Ancient Monuments

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Ringleshutes tinwork

A Scheduled Monument in Holne, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5133 / 50°30'47"N

Longitude: -3.8737 / 3°52'25"W

OS Eastings: 267250.212894

OS Northings: 69845.683766

OS Grid: SX672698

Mapcode National: GBR QB.30PB

Mapcode Global: FRA 27SP.ST5

Entry Name: Ringleshutes tinwork

Scheduled Date: 18 September 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020098

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24091

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Holne

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Holne St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


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
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.

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.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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

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.

Source: Historic England


Title: Holne Moor Survey
Source Date: 1997
1:2500 plan

Source: Historic England

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