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

A Scheduled Monument in Dartmoor Forest, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5563 / 50°33'22"N

Longitude: -3.9022 / 3°54'7"W

OS Eastings: 265353.6737

OS Northings: 74672.7917

OS Grid: SX653746

Mapcode National: GBR Q7.MCCY

Mapcode Global: FRA 27QL.FMD

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

Scheduled Date: 8 September 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021049

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34461

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Dartmoor Forest

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 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

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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.

Source: Historic England


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
1:10000 plan

Source: Historic England

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