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Gobbett Mine and Area

Our walk - description

Hexworth-Huccaby

A really interesting area with much to explore. Many of the items are 5 minute stops but there is a lot to occupy us and the Forest Inn is nearby.

Points of Interest to look at on the way...

  • Dunnabridge Pound and Judges Chair
  • Hexworthy Bridge – a pleasant and peaceful scenic spot
  • St Raphael’s Church, once a school, where the old desks are pews

The Main Attraction

  • Tinners’ workings at Gobbet Mine
  • John Bishop’s House – Impressive granite doorway. Nearby gatepost of Thomas Tyrwhitts estate
  • Dolly Trebble’s house
  • Magnificent Dartmoor views from Combestone Tor. Requires no effort at all. An after lunch diversion if we feel like it.
  • Brimpts Mine - Another mine somewhat cleared and restored by enthusiasts. May need a day on its own.

Crossing, Worth, and Widgery are names irresistably linked to Dartmoor. There is a fourth that most certainly should be and that is Jeremy Butler. Jeremy is a fine name although as we have learned recently a career in the diplomatic corp is best avoided. The five volumes of his Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities are superb scholarly references to the archaeological sites on the moor. Out of print and a tad expensive snap one up whenever you see one.

The following websites give good background interest for this excursion.

Dartmoor CAM Dunnabridge
Waymarking
Dartmoor CAM Hexworthy
Richard Knight
dartmoor-chris
Legendary Dartmoor

Gobbett map

Click to enlarge

Mine

Gobbett Mine Description by Butler

Buller Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities Vol 4. Page 212

Reserves were far from exhausted even by the late nineteenth century for tim mines were still in both ends of the valley at Whiteworks and at Gobbett where the shaft reached 40 fathoms. Work ceased at Gobbett about 1874 and the site was levelled, some walling and turf covered undulations are all that remain amongst the earlier streamworks. Leats and channels descend the hillside to the wheelpit just below the road and the buddles and dressing floor beyond, and nearby an openwork of earlier date , accompanies the road uphill. On the slopes above an adit of the mine has been fenced off, taken over by and extended through the hillside by the old Paignton Water Board to carry water from Swincombe intake to the Venford treatment plant.

A hundred metres away the intake road passes close to a tin mill associated with the older workings upstream. Practically all the walling of the building has gone but there is a fine collection of mortars, and mould stones scattered around the site, relics of the stamps and smelting process once carried on here. More unusual is the pair of well preserved millstones for further crushing of the ore prior to smelting and operated, Worth suggested, by man or horsepower. Much of the comparatively short leat from the Swincombe was taken over to supply Gobbett Mine and only the last few metres to the building and the tail race have not been re-cut.

The Tin Mill Butler describes as containg a "fine collection" is indeed an absolute feast.

Description by Sabine Baring-Gould from A book of Dartmoor

Near this is Gobbetts Mine, a very interesting spot, for here are samples of the modern deep mining shaft, the shallow workings, and the deep, open cuttings of the earlier times, and the stream works of the "old men." Thus we have on one spot a compendium of the history of mining for tin. Among the relics lying about are the remains of an old

millstone
Crazing-Mill Stone, Upper Gobbetts

crazing-mill, consisting of the upper and the nether stones. The nether stone is 3 feet 10 inches in diameter, and 10 inches thick. In the periphery is a groove forming a lip, that served readily to discharge the ground material.
The upper stone has a roughly convex back, and an eye as well as four holes drilled in it. Into these holes posts were fitted, which carried two bars, so that the stone was made to revolve by horse or man power, like the arrangement of a capstan.
The hole or eye of the nether stone was for the purpose of receiving a conical plug, the apex of which penetrated partly into the eye of the upper stone, and served the double purpose of keeping the runner stone in position and of distributing the feed equally on the grinding-surfaces. To further assist

crazing
Method of Using the Mill-stone. Section.

this are four curved master-turrows or grooves, radiating from the eye of the grinding-surface of the upper stone. The mill, worked by men or by horses, was of slow speed, and water was introduced to assist the propulsion of the ground material towards the grooved lip in the periphery of the stone. This and the feed were, of course, introduced through the circular hole in the top stone.
On the site of what was evidently the blowing-house is a mould-stone, about 4 feet by 3. The mould is 15 inches long by 11 inches wide at one end, and 10 inches at the other, and 4 to 5 inches deep. There are also cavities for sample ingots.
Other stones lie about with hollows worked in them, that seem to have been mortar-stones, used for pounding up the ore, at a period earlier than that at which the crazing-mill was introduced.

John Bishop's house has some good granite work and nearby is fairy bridge. The fairy that someone erected there has long since been vandalised.

Dolly Trebble's Cottage is worth looking at because of her story. Sabine Baring-Gould tells it nicely on this page.