Ancient Monuments

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Foxhole Mine and other tinworks south east of Arms Tor

A Scheduled Monument in Bridestowe, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6542 / 50°39'15"N

Longitude: -4.0549 / 4°3'17"W

OS Eastings: 254839.907965

OS Northings: 85851.215398

OS Grid: SX548858

Mapcode National: GBR Q0.829P

Mapcode Global: FRA 27DB.VGJ

Entry Name: Foxhole Mine and other tinworks south east of Arms Tor

Scheduled Date: 22 December 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021214

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34478

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Bridestowe

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Lydford St Petroc

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument includes Foxhole Mine, the core part of Doetor Brook alluvial
tin streamwork and associated mining remains including openworks,
reservoirs, prospecting trenches and pits, buildings and an adit situated
on either side of the upper reaches of the Doetor Brook.

Foxhole Mine is represented by a stamping mill, a group of buildings and a
dressing floor. The water supply to the mill was carried to the wheel on a
leat embankment and timber launder. The leat embankment survives as a
revetted bank standing up to 1.7m high, on which sits a leat measuring
0.9m wide and up to 0.7m deep. The timber launder survives only as a
buried feature. The stamping mill survives as a substantial wheelpit
measuring 8m long by 1.3m wide and the machinery would have sat on a stone
faced platform on the eastern side. The tailrace leading from the wheelpit
is stone lined, measures 24m long by 1m wide and is 0.7m deep. The tin ore
crushed under the stamps was carried to the nearby dressing floor which
survives as two circular buddles together with a number of channels and
hollows contained within a terraced area denoted by a drystone revetment.
Two buildings associated with the mine survive to the west of the dressing
floor. The largest of these, is probably the Count House and survives as a
two-roomed building with an extension. The mortared granite walls stand up
to 2.9m high and still have traces of plaster adhering to them in places.
Heating was provided by fireplaces against each of the short walls and
lighting was provided by east facing windows which overlook the dressing
floor. The second building survives as a 3.3m long by 2.2m wide structure
denoted by earthworks and drystone revetment. This building has a north
facing doorway.

Leading northward from the mine is a length of tramway which cuts through
earlier streamwork earthworks. The tramway is revetted in places, measures
2.6m wide and still possesses a number of stone sleepers. The tramway
crosses the Doetor Brook on a small clapper bridge formed by eight slabs
laid across the stream. Ore would have been carried to the stamping mill
along this tramway. Foxhole Mine which is also known as Wheal Frederick is
considered to have been active in the middle part of the 19th century,
although no output figures are known.

Leading north and south from Foxhole Mine is a substantial alluvial tin
streamwork. This streamwork was formed during the extraction of tin
deposits using water to separate the heavy tin from the lighter silts,
sands and gravels. Earthworks surviving within the gully formed by
streamworking illustrate clearly the extractive methods used by the
tinners. This streamwork probably represents the earliest phase of
extraction in the area and when abandoned, the tinners turned their
attentions to smaller scale eluvial deposits. At least three areas of
eluvial tin streamwork earthworks survive within the monument with the
largest situated at NGR SX55208627. Many of the dumps in this streamwork
are curved in shape and lie parallel to each other. At the upper
streamwork most of the dumps are revetted with large rocks and stand up to
1.2m high.

Once the tin deposits were exploited, the tinners turned their attention
to the lodes. The first stage was extensive prospecting using pits,
trenches and an adit. The pits and adit 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 exploited using opencast quarries
known as openworks to extract the lode tin. These survive as deep, steep
sided gullys which trend approximately west-east. Small buildings
surviving within the vicinity probably represent shelters used by the

The surface of the trackway leading from east-west across the northern
part of the monument is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
below 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

Foxhole Mine and the other tinworks south of Great Links Tor contain a
broad range of different forms of evidence relating to prospecting,
exploitation and processing of both tin deposits and lodes. The 19th
century mining remains represent an important source of information
concerning the character of a small scale water powered tin mine, where
the original elements survive in excellent condition and, in particular,
the circular buddles may be the earliest surviving examples on Dartmoor.
The earlier tinworking remains provide a useful insight into the different
methods used over time to find and extract different types of tin deposit
and lode tin.

Source: Historic England


MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (2002)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (2002)

Source: Historic England

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