Tuesday 4 September 2018

4000 years (1)  Dartmoor is an area unequalled in Southern Britain for its collection of visible remains of human occupation covering some 4000 years. The preservation of these remains has been due to their existence in a large area of high moorland, but little disturbed by later agricultural or other activities, that involve the breaking of the soil.

The nearest comparable collection is on the western slopes of the mountain mass of Merioneth in North Wales . But Dartmoor, which lies nearer tothe Continent from which successive groups of settlers came , is likely to yield the more valuable information . Scientific study requires that the area be considered as a whole.

Irreparable damage has already been done in the part farther north, including the Tavy Valley, and it is therefore the more necessary to preserve what remains. (2) The Plym valley is one of the richest areas in the whole of Dartmoor in respect of antiquities. Detailed evidence is being Submitted on behalf of the Council of British Archaeology and the Devon Archaeological Exploration Society.

Their schedule and map list over 60 sites of pre-Roman date.

The central region of Devon was occupied by the Saxons soon after 682 AD.

It was divided into vast estates,

and one of these divisions included all land within the boundaries of the riversTeignand Bovey,

with Moreton as its major settlement.

The present parish of over 6,000 acres (24 km2) is the residue of that ancient royal estate.

It remained a royal estate immediately after the Norman Conquest of 1066, as is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, where it is listed as the 45th of the 72 Devonshire holdings of King William the Conqueror.

The manor was held by grand serjeanty from the king by Richard de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster (1259–1326) during the reign of King Edward I (1272-1307), for the annual yielding of one sparrow hawk.

After that time it was the seat of Sir Philip de Courtenay (d.1314), second son of Sir Hugh de Courtenay (died 1292) feudal baron of Okehampton, by his wife Eleanor le Despenser (died 1328), sister of Hugh le Despenser, 1st Earl of Winchester, and younger brother of Hugh de Courtenay, 1st/9th Earl of Devon (1276–1340) of Tiverton Castle. He died without progeny when Moreton Hampstead was inherited by his elder brother the 1st Earl of Devon, who gave Moreton Hampstead to his third son Robert de Courtenay, who made it his seat.

Robert's grandson William de Courtenay (1377-1388) died without progeny, and eventually the manor became the property of Sir Philip Courtenay (1340–1406) of Powderham, 5th or 6th son of Hugh Courtenay, 2nd Earl of Devon (1303–1377). Thenceforth it descended with Powderham and in the time of Pole (d.1635) was a possession of Francis Courtenay (1576–1638), de jure 4th Earl of Devon.

Wool and (in later years) the manufacture of woollen cloth formed the basis of the town's economy for over 700 years. The economy was evidently healthy when the town established a water-powered fulling mill before the end of the 13th century.

In 1207 King John granted a weekly market and an annual five-day fair, indicating that Moretonhampstead had developed into an important local community.

The town grew steadily through the Middle Ages and remained prosperous until the end of the 17th century, when the wool industry began to decline.

The town continued to be a local trading centre and a rest stop for travellers on the difficult routes across Dartmoor and from Exeter and Newton Abbot.

A series of fires in the 20th century destroyed many of Moretonhampstead's ancient buildings, but sufficient still remains to demonstrate the Saxon and Medieval heritage, and the later industrial prosperity.

Much of the town is designated a conservation area, with many listed buildings of architectural and historic interest.

The whole parish is within Dartmoor National Park.


In a balanced society land is inseparable from people,
It shapes them as working folk, breeds in their minds a respectful attitude toward birth and death;
and in every region, every parish, Us discipline has been the source of originality of thought and culture. In the market towns, villages and hamlets of the Dart* moor borderland the shaping process is still strong.
Agriculture gives to these places a unity and connects the upland with the rest of the county.
Modern Dartmoor also attracts many visitois annually, and it is probable that more money is earned from tourism than from agriculture. Farmers and their wives may catei for visitors in order to make a profit; but they also dispense good country fare—honey, cream, butter, bacon, roast beef and pasties —and contribute toward a proper understanding between town and country. Tourism and agriculture are likely to remain as the chief supports of the Dartmoor native.
It is agriculture that appeals most to the Dartmoor farmers and commoners; and their work is never easy because the land gi ves rise to special problems. Whether at the heart of the Mooi where the land is of poor quality—or on the borders where u is suitable for the pasturage of sheep and cattle, there is evidence ol constant struggle between man’s desire for cultivation and the slow wilfulness of the Moor to spread. In the survey devoted 11 • Land Utilization, edited by Professor Dudley Stamp, it was estimated that:
v “There are considerable possibilities of afforestation on and around Dartmoor. There are old established plantations at 1,260 to over 1,500 feet north of Princetown, large new afforested areas south of Postbridge, and the Forestry Coin mission area around the new reservoir south-west of Cnagfoid, Woodland at present is most abundant on the eastern bordei, and one surveyor noted that much had survived because ol difficulty of access.” *
In the same survey the special region from Chagford to More-tonhampstead is referred to: “The whole region is underlain by the eastern part of the Dartmoor Granite mass, and the soil is not inaptly described by the general title of Granite Gravel. There is no mistaking the land use pattern on the Land Utihzation Map, Sheet 138—patches of moorland on the higher hills, much woodland, the agricultural land mainly under the plough, the ploughland thus occupying large continuous stretches with comparatively little grassland, and that poor. There are few orchards; these are the warm light soils which have led to a marked specialization in potatoes. Throwleigh, Gidleigh, Chagford, North Bovey, Manaton, Moretonhampstead, Lustleigh, Bridford and Christow arc the parishes in this region, the first five stretching into the main mass of Dartmoor, whilst portions of Hennock and Bovey Tracey are also included. All show a high proportion of land in potatoes, but low percentage in wheat and barley (the soil may suit but the climate does not). Several surveyors have noted the difficulties of maintaining pastures at high levels “even by careful grazing because they quickly revert to rough grazing and can only be restored by ploughing.”
The Dartmoor farmer has found a difficulty in making a livelihood merely from the raising of sheep and cattle. It was estimated in 1946 that about 1,138 farmers took advantage of moorland grazing, and the Duchy of Cornwall calculated that twenty-two parishes and a number of farms remained “in Venville” even though it seems that the Venville customs are now in abeyance and Venville dues paid only irregularly.
The economic position of the Dartmoor commoners could be the subject of much controversy. Dr Ian Moore, Principal of Scale Hayne Agricultural College, Newton Abbots and an authority on the use of grassland, has told me that so far as Dartmoor is concerned there is a great potential in relation to the improvement of grassland.
“But the whole question is largely one of economics and many of the Dartmoor farmers have not the capital available to embark upon schemes of improvement, such as ploughing and re-seeding, fencing, drainage and the hke. Then, too, there is a considerable acreage of land in the country which could be improved at much less expense before Dartmoor is tackled and the whole problem largely resolves around the question of

what is needed of British agriculture. If we were driven to i point of relying upon home resources then the improvement of Dartmoor and like moorland areas would have to he faced.”
Living in liis compact stone-built house in a valley sheltered against storm the Dartmoor farmer has had to develop in himself both shrewdness and thrift. He has learned to fight for self-preservation. Traditionally these farmers derived the bulk ol their income from the sale of store cattle, store sheep and wool. The Scotch Blackface breed have increased steadily in numbci s and the Whitefaced Dartmoor is still common though very few of the Bluefaced Dartmoor are now there. South Devon and Devon cattle are kept for milk production and some improvements have been made to farm buildings to render them suitable for the sale of milk under sanitary conditions.
Some commoners in a favourable geographical position and linked to the ancient Venville tradition, arc able to own sheep though they neither own nor rent land. They farm out their sheep under what is called the “half-crease” system. A farmer takes charge of the flock and provides it with fodder, and for this service he obtains all the wool and half the lambs. This is typical of a peasant mode of agriculture and is healthy because it assists the men desirous ultimately of acquiring capital in order to buy land; and it also aids the man who while owning land has little ready money for the purchase of stock. Rights of common, if not so widely exercised are still existent, and the Moor has become a centre for grazing.
The farms are made up of small fields enclosed within the grey stone walls or hedges.
“It is estimated that in some parishes a quarter of the enclosures are less than two acres in size and there are some in which single-acre plots are a feature. These are known locally as “Borough Acres”, being survivals of a system which originated in Saxon times. The soil is generally derived from the granite and is thin and hungry, being inherently short of lime, phosphate and potash, ,but free draining and responsive to adequate treatment with dung, lime and fertilizers. The farms are well scattered over the fringes of the Moor and are frequently difficult of access. Electricity and other such amenities are more often than not absent, while water supplies arc

Civing in liis compact stone-built house in a valley sheltered against storm the Dartmoor farmer has had to develop in himself both shrewdness and thrift. He has learned to fight for self-preservation. Traditionally these farmers derived the bulk of their income from the sale of store cattle, store sheep and wool. The Scotch Blackface breed have increased steadily in numbers and the Whitefaced Dartmoor is still common though very few of the Bluefaced Dartmoor are now there. South Devon and Devon cattle are kept for milk production and some improvements have been made to farm buildings to render them suitable for the sale of milk under sanitary conditions.

what is needed of British agriculture. If we were driven to i point of relying upon home resources then the improvement of Dartmoor and like moorland areas would have to he faced.”
Lome commoners in a favourable geographical position and linked to the ancient Venville tradition, arc able to own sheep though they neither own nor rent land. They farm out their sheep under what is called the “half-crease” system. A farmer takes charge of the flock and provides it with fodder, and for this service he obtains all the wool and half the lambs. This is typical of a peasant mode of agriculture and is healthy because it assists the men desirous ultimately of acquiring capital in order to buy land; and it also aids the man who while owning land has little ready money for the purchase of stock. Rights of common, if not so widely exercised are still existent, and the Moor has become a centre for grazing.
The farms are made up of small fields enclosed within the grey stone walls or hedges.
“It is estimated that in some parishes a quarter of the enclosures are less than two acres in size and there are some in which single-acre plots are a feature. These are known locally as “Borough Acres”, being survivals of a system which originated in Saxon times. The soil is generally derived from the granite and is thin and hungry, being inherently short of lime, phosphate and potash, ,but free draining and responsive to adequate treatment with dung, lime and fertilizers. The farms are well scattered over the fringes of the Moor and are frequently difficult of access. Electricity and other such amenities are more often than not absent, while water supplies are



Derivation of the name Phœnicians—

Taw Marsh—

Artillery practice on the moors—


The East Okement—

Pounds and hut circles—Stone rows on Cosdon—Cranmere Pool—Sticklepath—Christian inscribed stones—South Zeal—West Wyke—North Wyke—The wicked Richard Weekes—South Tawton church—The West Okement—Yes Tor—Camp and Roman road—Throwleigh. A GOOD deal of pseudo-antiquarianism has been expressed relative to the name of a little moorland parish two and a half miles uphill from Okehampton. It is now calledBelstone, and it has been surmised that here stood a stone dedicated toBaal, whose worship had been introduced by the Phœnicians. I must really quote one of the finest specimens of "exquisite fooling" I have ever come across. It appeared as a sub-article in theWestern Morning Newsin 1890. It was headed: —



"Much interest, not only local but world-wide, was aroused a few months back by the announcement of a Phœnician survival at Ipplepen, in the person of Mr. Thomas Ballhatchet, descendant of the priest of the Sun Temple there, and until lately owner of the plot of land called Baalford, under Baal Tor, a priestly patrimony, which had come down to him through some eighteen or twenty centuries, together with his name and his marked Levantine features and characteristics.

"Such survivals are not infrequent among Orientals, as, for instance, the Cohens, Aaron's family, the Bengal Brahmins, the Rechabites, etc. Ballhatchet's sole peculiarity is his holding on to the land, in which, however, he is kept in countenance in England by the Purkises, who drew the body of Rufus to its grave in Winchester Cathedral on 2nd August, 1100.

"Further quiet research makes it clear beyond all manner of doubt that the Phœnician tin colony, domiciled at Totnes, and whose Sun Temple was located on their eastern sky-line at Ipplepen, have left extensive traces of their presence all the way down the Dart in the identical andunaltered names of places, a test of which the Palestine Exploration Committee record the priceless value. To give but one instance. The beautiful light-refracting diadem which makes Belliver[1]the most striking of all her sister tors, received from the Semite its consecration as 'Baallivyah,' Baal, crown of beauty or glory. The word itself occurs in Proverbs i. 9 and iv. 9, and as both Septuagint and Vulgate so render it, it must have borne that meaning in the third century B C., and in the third century A.D., and, of course, in the interval. There are many other instances quite as close, and any student of the new and fascinating science of Assyriology will continually add to them. A portrait of Ballhatchet, with some notes by an eminent and well-known Semitic scholar, may probably appear in theGraphic; in the meantime it may be pointed out that hisname is typically Babylonian. Not only is there at Pantellaria the gravestone of one Baal-yachi (Baal's beloved), but no less than three clay tablets from the Sun Temple ofSippara(the Bible Sepharvaim) bear the names of Baal-achi-iddin, Baal-achi-utsur, and Baal-achi-irriba. This last, which bears date 22 Sivan (in the eleventh year ofNabonidus, B.C. 540), just two years before the catastrophe which followed on Belshazzar's feast, is in the possession of Mr. W. G. Thorpe,F.S.A.It is in beautiful condition, and records a loan by one Dinkiva to Baal-achi-irriba (Baal will protect his brother), on the security of some slaves."

One really wonders in reading such nonsense as this whether modern education is worth much, when a man could write such trash and an editor could admit it into his paper.

Ballhatchet means the hatchet or gate to a ball,i.e. a mine.

As it happens, there is not a particle of trustworthy evidence that the Phœnicians ever traded directly with Cornwall and Devon. The intermediary traders were theVenetiof what is now Vannes, and the tin trade was carried throughGaultoMarseilles, as is shown by traces left on the old trade route. In the next place, there is no evidence that our British orIvernianancestors ever heard the name of Baal. And finally,Belstoneis not named after a stone at all, to return to the point whence we started. InDomesdayit is Bellestham, or theham, meadow of Belles or Bioll, a Saxon name that remains among us as Beale.

Belstone is situated at the lip of Taw Marsh, once a fine lake, with Steeperton Tor rising above it atthe head. Partly because the river has fretted a way through the joints of the granite, forming Belstone Cleave, and partly on account of the silting up of the lake-bed with rubble brought down by the several streams that here unite, the lake-bed is now filled up with sand and gravel and swamp.

The military authorities coveted this tract for artillery practice. They set up butts, but woman intervened. A very determined lady marched up to them, although the warning red flags fluttered, and planted herself in front of a target, took out of her reticule a packet of ham sandwiches and a flask of cold tea, and declared her intention of spending the day there. In vain did the military protest, entreat, remonstrate; she proceeded to nibble at her sandwiches and defied them to fire.

She carried the day.

Since then Taw Marsh has been the playfield of many children, and has been rambled over by visitors, but the artillery have abstained from practising on it.

The fact is that the military have made the moors aboutOkehamptonimpossible for the visitor, and those who desire to rove over it in pursuit of health have been driven from Okehampton to Belstone, and object to be moved on further.

What with the camp at Okehampton and the prisons atPrincetownand encroachments on every side, the amount of moorland left open to the rambler is greatly curtailed.

The privation is not only felt by the visitor but also by the farmer, who has a right to send outhis sheep and cattle upon the moor in summer, and in times of drought looks to this upland as his salvation.

A comparison between what the Forest of Dartmoor was at the beginning of this century and its condition to-day shows how inclosures have crept on—nay, not crept, increased by leaps; and what is true of the forest is true also of the commons that surround it. Add to the inclosed land the large tract swept by the guns at Okehampton, and the case becomes more grave still. The public have been robbed of their rights wholesale. Not a word can now be raised against the military. TheTransvaal Warhas brought home to us the need we have to become expert marksmen, and theForest of Dartmoorseems to offer itself for the purpose of a practising-ground. Nevertheless, one accepts the situation with a sigh.

There is a charming excursion up theEast Okementfrom the railway bridge to Cullever Steps, passing on the way a little fall of the river, not remarkable for height but for picturesqueness. There is no path, and the excursion demands exertion.

On Belstone Common is a stone circle and near it a fallen menhir. The circle is merely one of stones that formed a hut, which had upright slabs lining it within as well as girdling without.

Under Belstone Tor, among the "old men's workings" by the Taw, an experienced eye will detect ablowing-house, but it is much dilapidated.

TheTawand an affluent pour down from the central bog, one on each side of Steeperton Tor,and from the east the small brook dances into Taw Marsh. Beside the latter, on the slopes, are numerouspoundsandhut circles, and near its source is astone circle, of which the best uprights have been carried off for gateposts. South of it is amenhir, the Whitmoor Stone, leaning, as the ground about it is marshy. Cosdon, or, as it is incorrectly called occasionally, Cawsand, is a huge rounded hill ascending to 1,785 feet, crowned with dilapidatedcairnsand ruinedkistvaens. East of the summit, near the turf track from South Zeal, is a cairn that contained three kistvaens. One is perfect, one wrecked, and of the third only the space remained and indications whence the slabs had been torn. From these three kistvaens in one mound start three stone rows that are broken through by the track, but can be traced beyond it for some way; they have been robbed, as the householders of South Zeal have been of late freely inclosing large tracts of their common, and have taken the stones for the construction of walls about their fields.

By ascending the Taw, Cranmere Pool may be reached, but is only so far worth the visit that the walk to and from it gives a good insight into the nature of the central bogs. The pool is hardly more than a puddle. Belstone church is not interesting; it was rebuilt, all but the tower, in 1881. Under Cosdon nestles Sticklepath. "Stickle" is the Devonshire for steep. Here is a holy well near an inscribed stone. A second inscribed stone is by the roadside to Okehampton. At Belstone are two more, but none of these bear names. They are Christian monuments of the sixth, or at latest seventh, century. At Sticklepath was a curious old cob thatched chapel, but this has been unnecessarily destroyed, and a modern erection of no interest or

Inscribed Stone, Sticklepath

beauty has taken its place. South Zeal is an interesting little village, through which ran the old high-road, but which is now left on one side. For long it was a treasury of interesting old houses; many have disappeared recently, but the "Oxenham Arms," the seat of the Burgoyne family, remains, the fine old village cross, and the chapel, of granite.Above South Zeal, on West Wyke Moor, is the house that belonged to the Battishill family, with a ruined cross near it. The house has been much spoiled of late; the stone mullions have been removed from the hall window, but the ancient gateway, surmounted by the Battishill arms, and with the date 1656, remains untouched. It is curious, because one would hardly have expected a country gentleman to have erected an embattled gateway during the Commonwealth, and in the style of the early Tudor kings. In the hall window are the arms of Battishill, impaled with a coat that cannot be determined as belonging to any known family. In the same parish of South Tawton is another old house, North Wyke, that belonged to the Wyke or Weekes family. The ancient gatehouse and chapel are interesting; they belong, in my opinion, to the sixteenth century, and to the latter part of the same. The chapel has a corbel, the arms of Wykes and Gifford; and John Wyke of North Wyke, who was buried in 1591, married the daughter of Sir Roger Gifford. The gateway can hardly be earlier. The house was built by the same man, but underwent great alteration in the fashion introduced from France by Charles II., when the rooms were raised and the windows altered intocroisées.

Touching this house a tale is told.

About the year 1660 there was a John Weekes of North Wyke, who was a bachelor, and lived in the old mansion along with his sister Katherine, who was unmarried, and his mother. He was a manof weak intellect, and was consumptive. John came of age in 1658. In the event of his death without will his heir would be his uncle John, his father's brother, who died in 1680. This latter John had a son Roger.

Now it happened that there was a great scamp of the name of Richard Weekes, born at Hatherleigh, son of Francis Weekes of Honeychurch, possibly a remote connection, but not demonstrably so.

He was a gentleman pensioner of Charles II., but spent most of his leisure time in the Fleet Prison. One day this rascal came down from London, it is probable at the suggestion of consumptive John's mother and sister, who could not be sure what he, with his feeble mind, might do with the estate.

Richard ingratiated himself into the favour of John, and urged him not to risk his health in so bleak and exposed a spot as South Tawton, but to seek a warmer climate, and he invited him to Plymouth. The unsuspicious John assented.

When John was cajoled to Plymouth, Richard surrounded him with creatures of his own, a doctor and two lawyers, who, with Richard's assistance, coaxed, bullied, and persuaded the sickly John into making a deed of settlement of all his estate in favour of Richard. The unhappy man did this, but with a curious proviso enabling him to revoke his act by word as well as by deed. Richard had now completely outwitted John's mother and sister, who had been conspirators with him, on the understanding that they were to share the spoils.

After a while, when it was clear that John was

North Wyke Gate House

dying, Richard hurried him back to North Wyke, where he expired on Saturday, September 2ist,

1661, but not till he had been induced by his mother and sister to revoke his will verbally, for they had now learned how that the wily Richard had got the better of them.

Next day, Sunday, Richard Weekes arrived, booted and spurred, at the head of a party of men he had collected. With sword drawn he burst into the house, and when Katherine Weekes attempted to bar the way he knocked her down. Then he drove the widow mother into a closet and locked the door on her. He now cleared the house of the servants, and proceeded to take possession of all the documents and valuables that the mansion contained. Poor John's body lay upstairs: no regard was paid to that, and, saying "I am come to do the devil's work and my own," he drove Katherine out of the house, and she was constrained to take refuge for the night in a neighbouring farm. The widow, Mary Weekes, was then liberated and also turned out of doors.

The heir-at-law was the uncle John, against whom Mary and Katherine Weekes had conspired with the scoundrel Richard. This latter now sought Uncle John, made him drunk, and got him to sign a deed, when tipsy, conveying all his rights to the said Richard for the sum of fifty pounds paid down. Richard was now in possession. The widow thereupon brought an action in Chancery against Richard. The lawyers saw the opportunity. Here was a noble estate that might be sucked dry, and they descended on it with this end in view.

The lawsuit was protracted for forty years, from 1661 to 1701, when the heirs of the wicked Richard retained the property, but it had been so exhausted and burdened, that the suit was abandoned undecided. Richard Weekes died in 1670.

The plan resorted to in order to keep possession after the forcible entry was this. The son of Richard Weekes had married a Northmore of Well, in South Tawton, and the Northmores bought up all the debts on the estate and got possession of the mortgages, and worked them persistently and successfully against the rightful claimants till, worried and wearied out, and with empty purses, they were unable further to pursue the claim. In 1713 the estate was sold by John Weekes, the grandson of Richard, who had also married a Northmore, and North Wyke passed away from the family after having been in its possession since the reign of Henry III.

It was broken up into two farms, and the house divided into two. Recently it has, however, been repurchased by a descendant of the original possessors, in a female line, the Rev. W. Wykes Finch, and the house is being restored in excellent taste.

In South Tawton church is a fine monument of the common ancestor, John Wyke, 1591. The church has been renovated, monumental slabs sawn in half and used to line the drain round the church externally. With the exception of the sun-dial, bearing the motto from Juvenal, "Obrepet non intellecta senectus"and a Burgoyne monument and that of "Warrior Wyke," the church does not present muchof interest at present, whatever it may have done before it fell into the hands of spoilers.

The West Okement comes down from the central bogs through a fine "Valley of Rocks," dividing and forming an islet overgrown with wild rose and whortleberry. Above it stands Shilstone Tor, telling by its name that on it at one time stood a cromlech, which has been destroyed. This valley furnishes many studies for the artist.

Hence Yes Tor may be ascended, for long held to be the highest elevation on Dartmoor. The highest peak it is, rising to 2,030 feet, but it is over-topped by the rounded High Willhayes, 2,039 feet. Between Yes Tor and Mill Tor is a rather nasty bog. Mill Tor consists of a peculiar granite; the feldspar is so pure that speculators have been induced to attempt to make soda-water bottles out of it, by fusing without the adjunct of other materials.

On the extreme edge of a ridge above the East Okement, opposite Belstone Tor, is a camp, much injured by the plough. Apparently from it leads a paved raised causeway or road, presumed to be Roman; but why such a road should have been made from a precipitous headland above the Okement, and whither it led, are shrouded in mystery. Near this road, in 1897, was found a hoard of the smallest Roman coins, probably the store of some beggar, which he concealed under a rock, and died without being able to recover it. All pertained to the years between A.D. 320 and 330.

Of Okehampton I will say nothing here, as the place has had a chapter devoted to it in myBook ofthe West—too much space, some might say, for in itself it is devoid of interest. Its charm is in the scenery round, and its great attraction during the summer is the artillery camp on the down above Okehampton Park. On the other side of Belstone, Throwleigh may be visited, where there are numerous prehistoric relics. There were many others, but they have been destroyed, amongst others a fine inclosure like Grimspound, but more perfect, as the inclosing wall was not ruinous throughout, and the stones were laid in courses. The pulpit of Throwleigh church is made up of old bench-ends.

    Hemerdon Mine :Location in the county of Devon

    LocationDrakelands , near Plympton ,United Kingdom Production Products Tungsten , and Tin Type Open-cast History , Discovered 1867 Active 1918–9 , 1941–4 , and 2015–8 Owner Company Tungsten West plc Website;- tungstenwest.com ; Year of acquisition 2019 , Drakelands Mine, also known as Hemerdon Mine or Hemerdon Bal Mine , is a tungsten and tin mine , It is located 11km (7 miles) northeast of Plymouth , near Plympton , in Devon, England. It lies to the north of the villages of Sparkwell and Hemerdon , and adjacent to the large china clay pits near Lee Moor , The mine had been out of operation since 1944, except for the brief operation of a trial mine in the 1980s , Work started to re-open it in 2014, but it ceased activities in 2018. It hosts the fourth largest tin-tungsten deposit in the world.

    A new company, Tungsten West plc, commenced interim operations at the mine in 2023, after investing to alter the processing plant . A ground up review led to the recognition that the ore is not in fact Wolframite , but is in fact a related ore , Ferberite , and changes were needed to improve extraction efficiencies. In addition, a subsidiary will enhance the mine with aggregate sales as a by-product of mining.


    The Hemerdon deposit is centered upon a sub vertical, NorthNorthEast -SouthSouthWest striking , 100 + meters wide Early Permian granite dyke hosted by Devonian metasedimentary and metavolcanic rocks , Mineralisation is overwhelmingly associated with moderately to steeply NorthWest-dipping greisen-bordered quartz-ferberite cassiterite sheeted veins. The resource size and dyke host are, to date, unique in SouthWest England. The Hemerdon Bal granite is an outlying cupola intrusion surrounded by Devonian slates, known regionally as killas. Fractures in the granite and killas have been penetrated by mineralising fluids containing metallic ores in the area around the mine , Two types of vein are discernible with three different orientations, Quartz and quartz-feldspar veins form a stockwork with minor mineralisation , whilst greisen bordered veins are found in a sheeted vein system with ferberite and minor cassiterite mineralisation.

    The mineralisation begins at surface and extends to depths of at least 400 metres (1,300ft). The vein system is hosted in a dyke like granite body, extending from the Hemerdon Bal towards the Crownhill Down granite. It is flanked by killas , formed by contact metamorphism , which also contains veins although wolframite and cassiterite is found as a lower percentage of the rock bulk , Kaolinisation occurs to depths of up to 50 metres (160ft) in the granitic body.

    The locality is renowned for its high quality corodite specimens , which are among the best in Europe ; Pharmacosiderite , Cassiterite , Ferberite and Wolframite of specimen quality have also been recovered from the mine , Scorodite and Pharmacosiderite are secondary arsenate minerals , that form in the upper oxidation zones of ore bodies. They are formed from alteration of arsenopyrite , and are found in the weathered zone of the deposit,  At depths beneath the existing pit it is likely they will become scarce.

    History 1867–1959 Mine buildings World War II mill structures

    The Hemerdon tungsten-tin deposit was discovered in 1867 , In 1916 , due to war associated tungsten shortages, an exploration and development program was initiated, which outlined a tin-tungsten stockwork suitable for open-cast extraction. In 1917, Hemerdon Mines Ltd decided to construct a 140,000-tonne per year mill, and shortly afterwards open-cast ore mining operations began. The mine was operated in 1918–1919, during which time it processed 16,000 tonnes of ore . When the British government stopped accepting tungsten ores under the war pricing scheme the mine was forced to suspend mining operations.

    Several attempts were made to establish a higher and stable price for tungsten from the government, including an application supported by Winston Churchill for recognition of wolfram mining as a key industry . However, after further price decreases , milling operations were suspended and the mill components were sold off . In 1934 increased tungsten prices resulted in renewed prospecting of the deposit, along with metallurgical testwork , In 1939 further shortages of tungsten due to WorldWar2 led to Hemerdon Wolfram Ltd constructing a 90,000-tonne per year mill with 55% wolfram recovery , which began operation in 1941.

    The Ministry of Supply carried out extensive evaluation of tungsten deposits in the UK, and it was concluded by 1942 that Hemerdon offered the most potential for producing tungsten on a large scale . The government took over the mine from Hemerdon Wolfram Ltd. A resource of 2.5 million tonnes of 0.14% tungsten trioxide in addition to tin was outlined, and a new plant was hastily constructed . The new plant took over operation from the old plant in 1943, and theoretically should have been able to treat over 1million tonnes per year ; however labour shortages and mechanical faults resulted in a much lower production. Ore output from a mixture of underground and open-cast mining methods was documented as over 200,000 tonnes, with a resulting 180 tonnes of tin and  tungsten concentrate during the period of government operation . Operations ceased in June 1944 due to access to overseas supplies being restored.

    The plant was kept in place after the war, and the government was rumoured to have planned restarting production during the tungsten shortages associated with the Korean War . However, nothing came of this and following the Westwood Report in 1956, the government decided to seek a private partner to move the mine's development forwards. After further decreases in the tungsten price, resulting in the closure of the Castle-an-Dinas tungsten mine in Cornwall, the government sold off all the plant in 1959;


    However, in the mid-1960s work on the prospect was recommenced by British Tungsten Ltd, owned by Canadian entrepreneur W. A. Richardson. In 1969 a planning application for open-cast working of tin , tungsten and china clay was submitted , but it was withdrawn before a decision could be made. Further work commencing in 1970 by British Tungsten Ltd increased the resource to 5.6 million tonnes of ore .

    The leases were transferred to Hemerdon Mining and Smelting Ltd in 1976. They initiated a drilling programme shortly before they entered a joint venture to develop the project with international mining firm AMAX in 1977 . An extensive exploration programme costing in excess of $10 million was completed between 1978 and 1980 . By the end of 1978, deeper drilling enlarged the resource size to 20 million tonnes of ore. In 1979 this was expanded to 45 million tonnes . At the end of the exploration programme in 1980, over 14,000 metres (46,000ft) of diamond drilling had been undertaken, outlining a resource of 0.17% tungsten trioxide and 0.025% tin over 49.6million tonnes.

    Bulk sampling of the deposit using an underground drift for ore, and a pilot HMS and Gravity plant for processing, was undertaken in 1980 . On average recoveries of around 65% were made, although in excess of 70% was achieved . The final revision of the mining feasibility study concluded in 1982 that a within a global resource of 73 million tonnes of ore, at grades of 0.143% tungsten trioxide and 0.026% tin, there was an in pit reserve of 38million tonnes, at grades of 0.183% tungsten trioxide and 0.029% tin.

    The venture was joined by Billiton Minerals Ltd, providing further finance and expertise, and forming a consortium that planned to commence production in 1986 . The initial planning application was made in 1981, but a public enquiry and 'calling in' of the application by the Secretary of State resulted in an initial refusal of the application in 1984 . This resulted in Billiton Minerals Ltd pulling out of the consortium . Hemerdon Mining and Smelting Ltd also sold their 50% stake in the project to AMAX . After making a revised application, permission was finally obtained in 1986. By then a collapse in the prices of both tin and tungsten had damaged the economic feasibility of making an investment in opening the mine. Its tungsten assets were passed on to a newly formed holding company, Canada Tungsten Ltd, in 1986.

    Canada Tungsten implemented the planning permission that was obtained in 1986, and kept the project in its portfolio of prospects for many years. Before AMAX was sold to Phelps Dodge, it gradually transferred Canada Tungsten into the ownership of Aur Resources. In 1997, a new company, North American Tungsten plc, purchased all the tungsten assets from Aur Resources, and was listed with the aim of reopening the Cantung mine, and developing the Hemerdon and Mactung prospects.

    However, during a review of peripheral assets in 1999, it decided that with the depressed prices of tungsten, the Hemerdon prospect was not central to its future. With upkeep costs of in excess of $150,000 per annum , almost a third of the company's annual costs , attempts were made with the mineral rights holders to reduce fees. The negotiations were unsuccessful and therefore during 2000, two of the three mineral rights were surrendered . To further reduce costs, it disposed the remaining assets of the Hemerdon prospect in 2003.

    The concrete roads constructed around the Second World War mills up to the open-cast area at the top of the hill were used by the Plymouth Motor Club and Plymouth Kart Club for speed hill climbs until approximately 1972.

    Another view of the main open-cast area 2007–2018

    Sustained tungsten metal price rises resulted in a five-fold increase in the price of ammonium paratungstate (an intermediate product of tungsten), from around US $60 per STU in 2003, to in excess of US $240 per STU from 2006.This has resulted in increased tungsten mining exploration and development activities globally since 2005.

    In June 2007, ASX-listed specialty metal exploration and development company, Wolf Minerals , suspended trading of shares pending the acquisition of mineral leases.On 5 December 2007, trading recommenced following the public announcement of acquiring the mineral leases for the Hemerdon Mine project. The mineral leases were made for a period of 40 years, with the Hemerdon Mineral Trust and the Olver Trust. An agreement with Imerys to purchase remaining mineral rights and freehold land was also made . Following agreements with local landowners to acquire surface rights, Wolf Minerals renamed the project the Drakelands Mine to "recognise the local community".

    SRK Consulting were commissioned to produce a JORC-compliant resource using previous drilling data. This was released in March 2008. Subsequently, it has been updated twice by SRK Consulting to incorporate new drilling data and revised geological modelling. The resource of over 300,000 tonnes of tungsten metal makes Drakelands the fourth largest tungsten deposit in the world . In 2009, funding for a DFS (definitive feasibility study) was achieved with the support Resource Capital Funds and Traxys, completed in May 2011.Mining operations commenced in 2014 , with first ore into the plant June 2015 and first concentrate production scheduled for September 2015. The project has planning permission dating back to 1986, which is valid until 2021. If production levels were achieved as anticipated , the mine would have been the largest tungsten concentrate producer in the world. A planning application was submitted to extend the pit slightly further to the southwest to further increase reserves.

    Hemerdon Ball JORC Revised resource estimate completed by SRK Consulting in June 2010 Resource category Ore tonnage ,(Mt)Sn grade (%)WO3grade (%)Contained Sn (tonnes) Contained W (tonnes)Measured 48,530,020 Indicated 22,390,020 inferred 147,610,020. Total 218,530,020 ;

    Wolf Minerals ceased trading operations on 10 October 2018, as the mine never achieved extraction or financial targets . Despite such losses, the site is still thought to have potential as the site retains large ore deposits and valuable infrastructure.


    Tungsten West plc, which floated on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market on 21 October 2021 , took over the mine. A review was conducted starting from the basics, of what is required to fix the problems that caused Wolf Minerals to fail. A better understanding of the mineralogy , with associated changes to the processing stream, and aggregate sales lead to the mine planning to re-open at scale in 2022 , although as of February 2024 the mine had only began "interim operations" and is yet to receive regulatory permission from all authorities.


    The Drakelands processing plant relies on a number of different processes to recover tin and tungsten and discard gangue minerals such as arsenopyrite and haematite. Broadly speaking, the process involves crushing and sizing, followed by gravity separation on fine material and dense media separation (DMS) on coarse material. The concentrates from these processes are then milled, followed by flotation and roasting, finishing with magnetic separation and further gravity separation to produce the final tungsten and tin concentrates respectively.

    The processing plant was built by GR Engineering Services from Perth and consists of a primary,secondary crusher building near the mine and stockpile, feeding the main processing plant via conveyor, and a tertiary crusher building. Design recoveries of tin and tungsten are in the range of 58–66% depending on feed type (soft granite near-surface, hard granite towards depth), with grades of over 60% tungstate and tin as final products.

    Crushing and sizing

    Two Sandvik hybrid rolls crushers perform the primary and secondary crushing duties at gaps of approximately 60 and 40 millimeters respectively. These crushers were preferred over jaw crushers as they should cope better with the high clay content of the ore in the early years of operation. The secondary crusher product is conveyed into a Sepro scrubber where the material is washed to remove fines sticking to the coarser material. The majority of material from the scrubber reports to a double-deck screen, sizing at 9 and 4 millimeters. Oversize material from the scrubber and this screen (over 9millimetres) is conveyed to two Sandvik cone crushers with a closed size setting of 12–15millimeters, before returning onto the scrubber screen. Material between 9 and 4millimeters in size reports to the DMS circuit. The undersize material from the scrubber screen (less than 4millimeters) is pumped onto a second screen where it is sized at 0.5millimeters. The oversize for this screen makes up further DMS feed, and the undersize from this screen (less than 0.5millimeters) reports to a large holding tank that stores feed for the gravity circuit.

    Gravity separation

    Wolframite and cassiterite are heavy minerals, making them very suitable for recovery by gravity separation. The gravity separation process at the Drakelands processing plant starts two steps of desliming using Multotec deslime cyclones, designed to cut at 63 and 45 micron respectively. The underflow from these spirals goes to three banks of eleven 3-start MG6.3 Mineral Technologies spirals (99 spirals in total), producing a rougher concentrate that reports to the cleaner spirals, a middlings product that goes to a bank of 33 middlings spirals and tailings that go to the 25millimeters diameter thickener. The middlings spirals (also MG6.3) tailings go to the thickener, and the concentrate is sent to the cleaner spirals. The cleaner spirals (four MG6.3) tailings are recycled to the rougher spirals and the concentrate is sent to Holmans tables for further refining.

    After dewatering using Multotec cyclones, two Holman's Wilfley shaking tables are used to produce a rougher table concentrate. This concentrate is sized at 90 μm using a Derrick screen and dewatered using cyclones followed by two further steps of cleaning/recleaning (also on Holman's Wilfley shaking tables) to produce the final coarse and fine gravity concentrate. The tailings and middling from the rougher table reports back to the rougher spiral feed, whilst cleaner table middlings,tailings are sent back to the rougher tables and re-cleaner table middlings and tailings are sent back to the cleaner tables.

    Dense media separation

    The 0.5 millimeters fraction produced by the crushing,washing,sizing circuit is stored in a feed bin with approximately 4-5h capacity. A prep screen washes any remaining <0.5millimeters material that inadvertently reported to the DMS feed into an effluent tank. The over-0.5 millimetres product reports into two mixing boxes where it is mixed with primary DMS dense medium, before being pumped up to the primary DMS cyclones. There are two identical DMS circuits consisting of three Multotec cyclones fed by VSD pump set at 180kPa and a cut density close to 2.7grams /cm3, so as to separate out the majority of silicates whilst not losing any particles containing heavy minerals. The floats and sinks from these cyclones report to drain/rinse screens where the respective products are separated from the medium. Primary DMS floats go to the tailings storage facility via conveyor and large storage tanks, whilst sinks are sent to the secondary DMS circuit for further refining.

    The secondary DMS circuit further refines the primary DMS sinks, producing a final DMS concentrate (sinks). The cut point of this circuit is around 3.2g/cm3, allowing rejection of binary particles with excessive silicate content as well as any heavier gangue particles. The floats are sent to an Ersel ball mill operating in closed circuit with a double-deck sizing screen. The over-1.7millimeters portion of the mill product returns to the mill for further grinding, the −1.7 +0.5millimeters product makes up scavenger DMS feed, and the below -0.5millimeters product is combined with DMS effluent cyclone underflow to make up additional feed to the fines storage tank. The scavenger DMS circuit is identical to the secondary DMS circuit but operates on a finer feed. Floats report to the mill for further grinding and sinks make up an additional stream of DMS concentrate.

    The medium in the primary DMS circuit consists of a mixture of milled ferrosilicon and magnetite, with the exact mix regulated to maintain appropriate medium stability. The secondary and scavenger DMS correct mediums consist purely of atomised ferrosilicon. All correct mediums are kept at the correct density using a set of densifiers, supplemented by low intensity wet magnetic separators (LIMS) removing ferrosilicon from the dilute medium. The non-magnetic proportion of the LIMS feed reports to the same effluent tank that also contains the below-0.5mm proportion of the feed removed by the prep screen. The DMS effluent is dewatered using a set of cyclones, with the underflow reporting to the fines storage tank feeding the gravity circuit.

    Concentrate processing

    The feed into the concentrate processing section is made up of fines concentrate (less than 0.millimeters) and DMS concentrate ( 9 +0.5millimetres), containing mainly of wolframite, cassiterite, iron oxides, and some silicates and arsenic minerals. The DMS concentrate is fed into a regrind ball mill which operates in closed circuit with a 450 micron Derrick sizing screen. The fines concentrate reports onto this Derrick screen directly to avoid over-grinding of the finer portion of this stream. The undersize of the regrind mill sizing screen is pumped via a dewatering cyclone into a conditioning tank. In this tank, several chemicals are added to enable sulphide flotation in three Outotec Denver flotation cells, targeting removal of arsenopyrite. The sulphide concentrate (floats) is pumped to the thickener for disposal, and the underflow (roaster feed) is dewatered using a filter belt. In the soft granite the arsenic occurs mainly as scorodite, which cannot be floated.

    The roasting process involves drying using a Drytech pre-dryer that thoroughly dries the pre-concentrate before feeding into a reduction kiln. This kiln uses diesel as a reductant to generate carbon monoxide, which reacts with haematite and other iron oxides in the feed at approximately 700°C, to create magnetite or maghemite whilst leaving other minerals largely unaffected. This process changes paramagnetic haematite into ferromagnetic maghemite,magnetite. Wolframite, like hematite, is paramagnetic and without this reduction step separation of haematite and wolframite would be impossible using magnetic separators.

    The reduced ore from the kiln is cooled and fed onto a low intensity magnetic separator (LIMS) which is designed to remove the now highly magnetic iron oxides, which are sent to the tailings thickener. The non-magnetic product from the LIMS is sized at 150μm on a dry Derrick screen before free-flowing to a multi-stage high gradient disc electromagnetic separator (VOG HIMS), with the goal of separating tungsten from non-magnetic minerals such as cassiterite and silicate. These HIMS produce six streams of varying quality tungsten concentrate grading up to over 60% tungstate.

    Removal of wolframite and other paramagnetic minerals leaves a coarse and a fine non-magnetic stream rich in tin and silicates. Refining of this stream to remove silicates (mainly quartz and tourmaline) is done using Holmans Wilfley shaking tables. The tailings from this process are combined with the LIMS tailings before pumping to the tailings thickener. The concentrate is filtered on a belt filter before drying in a smaller dryer.

    See also[edit]


    1. ^Mindat online database
    2. ^"Mineweb Article". Archived fromthe originalon 8 October 2014. Retrieved11 April2008.
    3. ^Tungsten and tin mine to reopen, BBC News, 4 December 2007, 09:12 GMT
    4. ^"THE HEMERDON PROJECT (Drakelands Mine) information pack"(PDF).www.wolfminerals.com.au. June 2014. Archived fromthe original(PDF)on 1 March 2015. Retrieved6 July2015.
    5. ^"London Stock Exchange | London Stock Exchange".www.londonstockexchange.com. Retrieved25 February2024.
    6. ^Tungsten West plc
    7. ^"Devon County Council Register of Geological Sites"(PDF). Archived fromthe original(PDF)on 14 November 2012. Retrieved14 September2012.
    8. ^CSM Virtual Museum Field Excursion
    9. ^Wolf MineralsArchived22 April 2008 at theWayback Machine
    10. ^Crystal Classics ArticleArchived16 February 2008 at theWayback Machine
    11. ^Jump up to:abDevon CMLP – IP38,Devon County CouncilArchived17 May 2011 at theWayback Machine
    12. ^Cornwall’s Premier Tungsten Mine with brief comparative histories of other Wolfram Mines in Cornwall & West Devon, Cornish Hillside Publications, 2001, p128
    13. ^Statement by WSC,Churchill Archives CentreArchived14 July 2014 at theWayback Machine
    14. ^Terrell E. The Hemerdon Wolfram-Tin Mine, Mining Magazine February 1920, p75-87
    15. ^Dines HG, The Metalliferous Mining Region of SW England, HMSO, 1956, p689
    16. ^Cameron J, The Geology of Hemerdon Wolfram Mine, Devon, IMM, Oct 1951, p1
    17. ^Cameron J, The Geology of Hemerdon Wolfram Mine, Devon, IMM, Oct 1951, p121
    18. ^Tungsten Mineral Resources Consultative Committee, HMSO, 1973, p8.
    19. ^Mining Journal, 24 November 1950, p504
    20. ^Perkins JW, Geology Explained: Dartmoor and the Tamar Valley, p71, 1972
    21. ^US Bureau of Mines,Minerals yearbook metals, minerals, and fuels 1970
    22. ^US Bureau of Mines,Minerals yearbook area reports: international 1977
    23. ^Amax-Hemerdon Venture Evaluation Major Tin-Tungsten Property – Skillings Mining Review, vol.69, No.23, 7 June 1980
    24. ^US Bureau of Mines,Minerals yearbook area reports: international 1979
    25. ^Jump up to:abUS Bureau of Mines,yearbook metals and minerals 1980
    26. ^US Bureau of Mines,Minerals yearbook metals and minerals 1980
    27. ^Feasibility Study for a Mine and Concentrator Complex at Hemerdon Nr Plymouth, England. Produced for AMAX/HMSL Joint Venture, February 1982
    28. ^US Bureau of Mines,Minerals yearbook area reports: international 1983
    29. ^US Bureau of Mines,Minerals yearbook area reports: international 1984
    30. ^US Bureau of Mines,Minerals yearbook area reports: international 1985
    31. ^Mining Journal, 19 April 1985
    32. ^US Bureau of Mines,Minerals yearbook metals and minerals 1986
    33. ^Press Release 16 October 1997, North American Tungsten Corporation Ltd
    34. ^Long Form Prospectus, North American Tungsten Corporation Ltd, 14 May 2002
    35. ^"North American Tungsten Financial Statement 2005"(PDF). Archived fromthe original(PDF)on 27 May 2011. Retrieved11 April2008.
    36. ^Tungsten Price GraphArchived15 November 2008 at theWayback Machine
    37. ^Tungsten AIMR Report 2007Archived30 August 2007 at theWayback Machine
    38. ^Wolf Minerals Press Release[permanent dead link]
    39. ^Wolf Minerals Press Release[permanent dead link]
    40. ^"Drakelands Mine". Wolf Minerals Ltd. Archived fromthe originalon 11 November 2014. Retrieved10 November2014.
    41. ^Wolf Minerals Press Release[permanent dead link]
    42. ^USGS International Strategic Minerals Summary Report – Tungsten, p12
    43. ^"Hemerdon tungsten study 'positive', says Wolf Minerals". BBC. 17 May 2011. Retrieved17 May2011.
    44. ^"Work starts on £130m Devon tungsten mine".BBC News. 9 June 2014. Retrieved20 March2015.
    45. ^Wolf Minerals Presentation
    46. ^"Investor Presentation August 2015". Archived fromthe originalon 24 January 2019. Retrieved21 August2015.
    47. ^Wolf Minerals Website
    48. ^"How Hemerdon mine lost £100m in just three years". Plymouth Herald. 12 October 2018. Retrieved24 January2019.
    49. ^"Why Hemerdon tungsten mine could still be saved". Plymouth Herald. 11 October 2018. Retrieved24 January2019.
    50. ^London Stock ExchangeTungsten West plc
    51. ^Aggregates West Website
    52. ^Tungsten West Website
    53. ^"London Stock Exchange | London Stock Exchange".www.londonstockexchange.com. Retrieved28 February2024.

    Stowfordis a village and civil parishin the district of West Devon in the English county of Devon. It is situated to the west of Dartmoor. Stowford is about 1 mile west of the village of Lewdown  and about 11 miles south-west of Okehampton in Devon and 7 miles east of Launceston in Cornwall. The parish is very rural, and includes the hamlet of Sprytown.

    The parish church is dedicated to St John the Baptist and is around 14th-15th century in date. The church was restored and the north aisle rebuilt by Sir Gilbert Scott in 1874.

    An ancient stone stands at the entrance to the churchyard. It stands 170cm out of the ground, and contains an inscription dated to the 8th-11th century. The inscription reads "GUNGLEI" or "GUG.LES" and is thought to be a personal name.

    The Harris Baronetcy , of Stowford, near Launceston, in the County of Devon, was created in the Baronetage of England on 1 December 1673 for Arthur Harris, Member of Parliament for Okehamptonbetween 1671 and 1681. The Harris residence was atHayne Housein the parish of Stowford. The title became extinct on his death in 1686.


    1. 2011 census
    2. Stowford Devon, www.visionofbritain.org.uk, retrieved 25 September 2013
    3. Stowford, Genuki, retrieved 25 September 2013
    4. CHURCH OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST, Pastscape, retrieved 25 September 2013
    5. bMONUMENT NO. 438115, Pastscape, retrieved 25 September 2013

    Media related toStowfordat Wikimedia Common

    Historic England Research RecordsMonument Number 438115Hob Uid:438115Location :
    West Devon
    Grid Ref :SX4329087010Summary :Inscribed stone in Stowford churchyard, 8th-11th century date.More information :(SX 43298701) Inscribed stone (NR) (1)

    An inscribed stone stands at the entrance to the churchyard at
    Stowford. It stands five feet six inches out of the ground and
    the stone is fine-grained, not a granite. The inscription,
    which was rubbed on not cut, reads GUNGLEI (2) and is in
    lettering of about 600 AD or a little later (3). (2-3)

    SX 43288700 as described; the inscription is still clearly
    visible. (4)

    This is a pilar stone of 5th-11th century date. The text reads:
    where the bracketed letters are legible but unusual in form.Various readings of the text have been suggested, and it is presumably a personal name. The text uses insular script suggesting a date of the 8th-11th centuries. (5)



    Few places in Devon have a greater antiquity than Tavistock, if we take the Saxon period into chief account. The * stock’ of the Tavy was the most important settlement made by the Saxons on that river, and long before the Conquest it assumed the characteristics of a provincial centre of population and wealth. It was remarkable, until 1885, as being the only Parliamentary existing borough in the county not municipal; for it had never received any charter of incorporation, although it had been represented since the 23rd of Edward I.; and it retained as it’s chief officer the ancient Saxon portreeve, elected by the voices of his fellow-freeholders. The old village commune of the earliest Teutonic settlers had therefore direct succession in Tavistock. But even this does not fully indicate the antiquity of organized human settlement in the vicinity. It is a fact that must have a meaning, if this can only be defined, that nearly all the ancient inscribed stones of Devon are found upon one parallel in the south-west of the county, between Stowford on the north and Yealmpton on the south, the line passing through Tavistock as a kind of centre. These all give token of ecclesiastical influence; and two, by the Ogham writing which they bear, proof also of Irish intercourse. They probably indicate there

    Of six such monuments found upon the line noted, three will be found within the vicarage garden at Tavistock, placed there by an enthusiastic antiquary of the past generation— the Rev. E. A. Bray. Two of thesr

    stones came from Buckland Monachorum . One, which stood in a field, bears the inscription in Roman character, — 1 DOBUNNI FABRII FILI ENABARRI,’ Or simply "NABARR" — the reading adopted by Mr. C. Spence Bate. This latter word is repeated as * Nabarr ’ in Ogham, and it is a singular fact that the stone supplied the last letter wanting— ‘ b ’— to the completion of Dr. Ferguson’s South British Ogham alphabet. The second Buckland Monachorum stone was found by Mr. Bray in use as the support of the roof of a blacksmith’s shop. Here the legend is, * sabini filim accodecheti.’ The third, which had been adapted, as a foot-bridge over a little stream nearTavistock, appears to run, "neprani fili conbevi" though the last word has been read ‘ condevi.’ Of the other three inscribed stones of this group the most interesting was found lying across a brook near Fardel, Cornwood, and is now in the British Museum. This is also bilingual, with the legend both in Roman and in Ogham characters, slightly varied. It was the first stone found in England with an Ogham inscription. The legend runs, "sangranvi fanoni maqvirini ." The Stowford stone stands in Stowford churchyard, a sepulchral monument , which appears to commemorate a certain ‘ guniglei.* The lettering is very rude and peculiar site. Lustleigh, as we shall see, affords another illustration of this; though, from the fact that the stone there has been diverted from its original purpose, by no means of so marked a character. But the history of Tavistock itself begins with the establishment of the Abbey of St. Rumon. Ordulf, son of Orgar, Ealdorman of Devon, is the reputed founder. He is one of the semi-mythic heroes of the Saxon race who may be found in almost every county, a man of amazing strength— a giant, whose sport it was to stride a stream and cut off with one blow of his hunting-knife the heads of animals brought him for the purpose. He was commanded to build the Abbey in a vision, and his wife was guided by an angel to the site. There is thus ample room for discriminating criticism as to the circumstances attending the foundation, even if we ignore the counter tradition that it was the joint work of Ordulf’s father, Orgar, and himself. This much, however, does seem certain, that the Abbey was founded about the year 961; and that in 997 it was destroyed by the Danes during the inroad in which they carried fire and sword from the mouth of the Tamar to Lydford. The monastery must then have been of great size and very wealthy, though we may reject the statement that Ordulf’s magnificence made it large enough for 1,000 men. It had, however, come under royal patronage. Ordulf’s sister was that Elfryth (or Elfrida) whose career forms one of the most notable features of Anglo-Saxon annals. Though familiar, her story forms part of Devonian history, and falls into place here. Eadgar, hearing of the beauty of Elfrida, sent Eftelwold to view, with instructions to report if rumour consequences of his deceit, implored his wife to besmirch her loveliness for awhile. She, finding that whereas she was simply the wife of a noble she might have been a queen, resented the fraud, and heightened her attractions to the utmost of her power. The King came, saw, and was overcome. ^EtSelwold was conveniently killed by accident while hunting the following day with the monarch, we may presume on Dartmoor, and his widow mounted the throne. Her sons were Eadmund and iESelred, and after the murder of his half-brother, Eadweard the Martyr, by Elfrida’s orders, at Corfe Castle, the latter succeeded to the crown, and became the liberal patron of the Abbey of Tavistock. To this connection was due the fact that after its destruction by the Danes the Abbey was rebuilt with so much greater grandeur that it eclipsed every religious house in Devon, in the extent, convenience, and magnificence of its buildings.It was fortunate, too, in its early heads. Lyfing, who from his eloquence obtained the title of £ Wordsnotera,’ and in whom the Sees of Devon and Cornwall were united at Crediton, was one of them. His successor was Eldred, afterwards Archbishop of York, who crowned William the Conqueror. The final dedication was to St. Mary and St. Rumon.

    ‘ Domesday ’ places Tavistock Abbey far as the head of the religious houses in Devon, in the extent and value of its estates. Fourteen manors, besides a house at Exeter, were its landed possessions; an

    Battle of Gafulford

    Main article: Gafulford

    Galford near Lewdown is assumed to be the site of the Battle of Gafulford in the 9th century. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle states that in 825 (adjusted date) a battle was fought involving the "West Welsh" and the "Defnas". it states:-"The Westwealas (Cornish) and the Defnas (men of Devon) fought at Gafulforda". However, there is no mention of who won or who lost, whether the men of Cornwall and Devon were fighting each other or on the same side, and no mention of Egbert of Wessex. Local vicar Sabine Baring-Gould was the first to suggest that Gafulforda should be identified as Galford on the banks of the River Lew. He gave the name Galford a Celtic origin (Gafia holdfast, andffordda road),[3]though a more recent derivation is Gafol-ford meaning tax/tribute ford.[4] Others, however, have suggested that Gafulford should be placed atCamelford, some 60km further west.

               "Tincombe Lane is all uphill Or downhill, as you take it; You tumble up, and crack your crown, Or tumble down and break it.

    "Tincombe Lane is crook'd and straight,

    Here pothook, there as arrow,

    'Tis smooth to foot, 'tis full of rut,

    'Tis wide, and then, 'tis narrow.

    "Tincombe Lane is just like life,

    From when you leave your mother;

    'Tis sometimes this, 'tis sometimes that,

    'Tis one thing or the other."

    Now all is changed. A steam-roller goes up and down Tincombe Lane, the angles have been rounded, the precipitous portions made easy, the ruts filled up. And life likewise is now made easy for the rising generation—possibly too easy. Ruggedness had a charm of its own, and bred vigour of constitution and moral physique.

    Chagford having lost, by death, the whistling clerk, started a blind organist. Now, also, he is gone. Every peculiarity is being crushed out of modern life by the steam-roller, civilisation.

    Chagford Common, as I recall it, half a century ago, was strewn thick with hut circles. One ascended to it by Tincombe Lane and came into a prehistoric world, a Pompeii of a past before Rome was. It was dense with hut circles, pounds, and every sort of relic of the ancient inhabitants of the moor. But inclosures have been made, and but a very few relics of the aboriginal settlement remain. One of the most curious, the "Roundy Pound," only escaped through urgent remonstrance made to spare it. The road carried over the common annually eats up the remains of old, as the road-menders take away the stones from the hut circles to metal the highway.

    At Batworthy, one of the inclosures, there must have been anciently a manufactory of flint tools and weapons. Countless spalls of flint and a fine collection of fabricated weapons and tools have been found there, and the collection has been presented from this place to the Plymouth Municipal Museum.

    On Gidleigh Common, beside the Teign, opposite Batworthy, is Scaur Hill circle. It consists of thirty-two stones, at present, of which eight are prostrate. The highest of the stones is a little over six feet. The circle is ninety-two feet in diameter. Apparently leading towards this ring, on the Chagford side of the river, was a very long double row of stones, with a second double row or avenue branching from it.

    There was a third double row, which started from the Longstone, near Caistor Rock. This Longstone

    is still standing, but the stone rows have been

    Plan of Stone Rows Near Caster Rock-A Book of Dartmoor.jpg

    Plan of Stone Rows Near Caster Rock

    (Taken in 1851, Scale 1/12 in. to 10 feet.)

    A. The Longstone. Hence in a northerly direction the row continued for 520 feet.

    B. Cairn. C. Cairn with ring of stones.

    shamefully robbed by a farmer to build his newtake walls. I give plan of the rows as taken by me in 1851. There was another line of stones leading from the Three Boys to the Longstone. The Three Boys were three big stones that have disappeared, and the line from them has also been obliterated. This portion I unfortunately did not plan in 1851.

    In the valley of the Teign is the so-called tolmen, a natural formation. In the same slab or stone may be seen the beginnings of a second hole. But it is curious as showing that the river at one time rolled at a higher elevation than at present. The scenes on a ramble up the river from Chagford to Holy Street Mill and the mill itself are familiar to many, as having furnished subjects for pictures in the Royal Academy.

    The river Teign below Whiddon Park winds in and out among wooded precipitous hills to where the Exeter road descends in zigzags to Fingle Bridge, passing on its way Cranbrook Castle, a stone camp. The brook in the name is a corruption of burgh or burrh. On the opposite side of the valley, frowning across at Cranbrook, is Prestonbury Camp.

    With advantage the river may be followed down for several miles to Dunsford Bridge, and the opportunity is then obtained of gathering white heath which grows on the slopes. At Shilstone in Drewsteignton is the only cromlech in the county. It is a fine monument. A few years ago it fell, but has been re-erected in its old position. After recent ploughing flints may be picked up in the field where it stands.

    Gidleigh merits a visit, the road to it presenting many delicious peeps. Gidleigh possesses the ruin of a doll castle that once belonged to the Prouze family. The church contains a screen in good preservation. In the parish of Throwleigh is the interesting manor house Wanson, of which I have told a story in my Old English Home.

    But perhaps more interesting than manor houses are the old farm buildings in the neighbourhood of Chagford, rapidly disappearing or being altered out of recognition to adapt them to serve as lodging-houses to receive visitors.

    One such adaptation may be noticed in Tincombe Lane. An old house is passed, where the ancient mullioned windows have been heightened and the floors and ceilings raised, to the lasting injury of the house itself, considered from a picturesque point of view. A passable road leads up the South Teign to Fernworthy, a substantial farm in a singularly lone spot. But there was another farm even more lonely at Assacombe, where a lateral stream descends to the Teign, but it has been abandoned, and consists now of ruin only. Near it is a well-preserved double stone row leading from a cairn and finishing at a blocking-stone.

    At Fernworthy itself is a circle of upright stones and the remains of several stone rows sorely mutilated for the construction of a newtake wall. In a tumulus near these monuments was found an urn containing ashes, with a flint knife, and another, very small, of bronze or copper, and a large polished button of horn. On Chagford Common, near Watern Hill, is a double pair of rows leading from a cairn and a small menhir, to blocking -stones. Although the stones of which they are composed are small, the rows are remarkably well preserved.

    It will repay the visitor to continue his ascent of the South Teign to the Grey Wethers, two circles of stone, of which, however, many are fallen. Here exploration, such as has been conducted at Fernworthy circle, shows that the floors are deep in ashes, and this leads to the surmise that the circles were the crematories of the dead who lie in the cairns and tunnels in the neighbourhood.

    Near the source of the North Teign is Teignhead House, one of the most solitary spots in England. A shepherd resides there, but it is not for many winters that a woman can endure the isolation and retain her reason.

    And yet there remain the ruins of a house in a still more lonely situation. The moorman points it out as Browne's House.

    Although, judging from the dilapidation and the lichened condition of the stones, one could have supposed that this edifice was of great antiquity, yet it is not so by any means. There are those still alive who remember when the chimney fell; and who had heard of both the building, the occupying, and the destruction of Browne's House. Few indeed have seen the ruin, for it is in so remote a spot that only the shepherd, the rush-cutter, and the occasional fisherman approach it.

    Statues of King Lud and his sons in the porch of St Dunstan-in-the-West Church in the City of London Lud Welsh Lludd map Beli Mawr), according to Geoffrey of Monmouth's legendary History of the Kings of Britain and related medieval texts, was a king of Britain in pre-Roman times who founded London and was buried at Ludgate. He was the eldest son of Geoffrey's King Heli, and succeeded his father to the throne. He was succeeded, in turn, by his brother Cassibelanus. Lud may be connected with the Welsh mythological figure Lludd Llaw Eraint, earlier Nudd Llaw Eraint, cognate with the Irish Nuada Airgetlám, a king of the Tuatha Dé Danann, and the Brittonic god Nodens. However, he was a separate figure in Welsh tradition and is usually treated as such.[1]

    Hemerdon Mine(approx. 0.2 km; TUNGSTEN & TIN)

    Bottle Hill(approx. 0.8 km; COPPER, TIN & ARSENIC)

    Wheal Mary Hutchings(approx. 0.9 km; TIN & ARSENIC)

    Lobb Mine(approx. 0.9 km; TIN & ARSENIC)

    Sidney Mine(approx. 2.4 km; TIN & ARSENIC)

    Borringdon Consols(approx. 4.5 km; LEAD, SILVER, ZINC, ARSENOPYRITE & COPPER)

    Cann Mine(approx. 4.9 km)

    Shaugh Mine(approx. 6.0 km; IRON)

    Ivybridge Consols(approx. 8.1 km; SILVER-LEAD)

    Kit(approx. 9.0 km; TIN)

    Including Mary Hutchings, the mines lie on the southwestern slope of Hemerdon Bal, about two miles northeast of Plympton. Mary Hutchings sett lay to the west working a single lode from Engine Shaft. Hemerdon Consols worked three lodes.

    Production records report that for Mary Hutchings between 1866 and 1880 - 426 tons of black tin. Between 1873 and 1879 - 263 tons of arsenic. 188 tons of mispickel were raised between 1874-76. For Hemerdon Consols in 1855-56 23 tons of black tin were raised.

    Dartmoor, the backbone of the County of Devon.
    Convulsive movements raised and lowered the land, so that the great rock mass became part of a vast continent which included the land which we now call France.
    The ice ages came and went and, although they did not reach as far south as the embryonic Dartmoor,

    snow-slips which preceded the glaciers carried debris which was scattered over the Moor as “clitters.”
    In warmer intervals between the centuries of ice, there were great floods of rain, which weathered and split the great rock plateau and rushed down from the high land in steep, stormy torrents

    - the beginning of the Taw,the Torridge, the Plym, the Dart and the Teign. The Teign carried with it thousands of tons of rotted granite, which it laid down in its lower reaches as boulder clay. It cut for itself a narrow course through the softer rocks below the Moor and eventually poured into the sea through a sunken valley which we now call the Teign Estuary.
    At the mouth of the valley, the current of the river, checked by the sea and by broken rocks, silt and sand, built up an area of beachy mud.
    The river, deflected by this barrier, took a sharp turn to the right and cut a way for itself at the foot of the great cliff which we now call the Ness.Cador, Earl of Cornwall, pursued Childric the Saxon Kaiser
    The heaving crust of the earth had now become more stable. Life had established itself on the land and the brown bear, the mammoth and the sabre-toothed tiger were wandering over the countryside, hunting, and being hunted by, primitive man.The caves at Brixham and Torquay show traces of man’s habitation and there are signs that wild beasts lived there too.

    No doubt Palaeolithic man hunted over the hills around Teignmouth and fished in the Teign, but there is no record of inhabited caves in or near Teignmouth.
    Thousands of years later, Bronze Age man lived on Haldon and he regarded the shores of Teignmouth as a good place to obtain supplies of salt for preserving his meat and for adding savour to his food.
    References in the works of Greek and Roman writers show that in pre-Roman times there was a flourishing civilization in the West of England, based on the trade in tin, which was used in the manufacture of bronze for weapons. This civilization had its centres near the tin-working areas on the Moor, but salt had to be brought from the coastal areas, and poor villages around the coast subsisted


    Again, the site of Exeter lay some ten miles up-river from its mouth and this was important when invaders were most likely to come by sea and to attack coastal settlements. At Exeter one was safe from such attacks, or at least there was ample warning of strange ships coming into the estuary. From the volcanic hill we call Rougemont one could look right down to the mouth of the shining estuary and a strange fleet could be spotted hours before it could attack. For all these reasons Exeter made a good trading-place, and above all, of course, it had something to sell— the products of a rich and varied countryside.

    And so the stage was set for the village to grow into a town, and later still into a rich medieval city, on its hilltop in the far West of England.

    The Coming of the Romans
    The ancient British name for Exeter seems to have been Caerwysc,meaning “the fortified town on the Exe” , but an even older name occurs in the tradition of a siege by the Roman general Vespasian in the year 49.

    The tradition tells us that there was already a settlement here when Vespasian was sent westwards, and so supplements the evidence of the Hellenistic coins.

    At the time of this siege Exeter is said to have
    been called by the rather formidable name of Caer-pen-huel-goit, which means “ die fortified town on the hill near the high or great wood” .

    Such long descriptive place-names are a characteristic of Wales to this day, and it is quite likely that Exeter had some such ancient names as this in prehistoric times.

    “ The fortified town on the hill”
    aptly describes the first site of Exeter, with its earthwork on the end of the ridge or hill.

    “The high or great wood” probably refers to die wooded hills to the north of the city, what we now call Stoke Hill and Pennsylvania, which would have been densely wooded in prehistoric times.

    Stoke Woods today are a remnant of this great wood of two thousand and more years ago.
    The tradition of a siege by Vespasian has generally been discredited by modem historians, mainly on the ground that it appears in the writings of a chronicler (Geoffrey of Monmouth) who is known to be very inaccurate, if no worse.

    He tells us that Vespasian was sent down by the Emperor Claudius to subdue South-West Britain, and that he besieged Exeter for eight days without success.

    A British king then arrived from the east with an army and fought with Vespasian.
    Despite great losses on both sides neither got die victory. The next


    The rivers that flow from Dartmoor— The bogs are their cradles—

    A tailor lost on the moor—

    A man in Aune Mire , Some of the worst , Cranmere Pool—How the bogs are formed—Adventure in Redmoor Bog—Bog plants—The buckbean—Sweet gale Furze—Yellow broom—Bee-keeping.

    DARTMOOR proper consists of that upland region of granite, rising to nearly 2,000 feet above the sea, and actually shooting above that height at a few points, which is the nursery of many of the rivers of Devon.

    The Exe, indeed, has its source in Exmoor, and it disdains to receive any affluents from Dartmoor; and the Torridge takes its rise hard by the sea at Wellcombe, within a rifleshot of the Bristol Channel, nevertheless it makes a graceful sweep—tenders a salute—to Dartmoor, and in return receives the liberal flow of the Okement.

    The Otter and the Axe, being in the far east of the county, rise in the range of hills that form the natural frontier between Devon and Somerset.

    But all the other considerable streams look back upon Dartmoor as their mother.

    And what a mother! She sends them forth limpid and pure, full of laughter and leap, of flash and brawl. She does not discharge them laden with brown mud, as the Exe, nor turned like the waters of Egypt to blood, as the Creedy.

    A prudent mother, she feeds them regularly, and with considerable deliberation. Her vast bogs act as sponges, absorbing the winter rains, and only leisurely and prudently does she administer the hoarded supply, so that the rivers never run dry in the hottest and most rainless summers.

    Of bogs there are two sorts, the great parental peat deposits that cover the highland, where not too steep for them to lie, and the swamps in the bottoms formed by the oozings from the hills that have been arrested from instant discharge into the rivers by the growth of moss and water-weeds, or are checked by belts of gravel and boulder. To see the former, a visit should be made to Cranmere Pool, or to Cut Hill, or Fox Tor Mire. To get into the latter a stroll of ten minutes up a river-bank will suffice.

    The existence of the great parent bogs is due either to the fact that beneath them lies the impervious granite, as a floor, somewhat concave, or to the whole rolling upland being covered, as with a quilt, with equally impervious china-clay, the fine deposit of feldspar washed from the granite in the course of ages.

    In the depths of the moor the peat may be seen riven like floes of ice, and the rifts are sometimes twelve to fourteen feet deep, cut through black vegetable matter, the product of decay of plants through countless generations. If the bottom be sufficiently denuded it is seen to be white and smooth as a girl's shoulder—the kaolin that underlies all.

    On the hillsides, and in the bottoms, quaking-bogs may be lighted upon or tumbled into. To light upon them is easy enough, to get out of one if tumbled into is a difficult matter. They are happily small, and can be at once recognised by the vivid green pillow of moss that overlies them. This pillow is sufficiently close in texture and buoyant to support a man's weight, but it has a mischievous habit of thinning around the edge, and if the water be stepped into where this fringe is, it is quite possible for the inexperienced to go under, and be enabled at his leisure to investigate the lower surface of the covering duvet of porous moss. Whether he will be able to give to the world the benefit of his observations may be open to question.

    The thing to be done by anyone who gets into such a bog is to spread his arms out—this will prevent his sinking—and if he cannot struggle out, to wait, cooling his toes in bog water, till assistance comes. It is a difficult matter to extricate horses when they flounder in, as is not infrequently the case in hunting; every plunge sends the poor beasts in deeper.

    One afternoon, in the year 1851, I was in the Walkham valley above Merrivale Bridge digging into what at the time I fondly believed was a tumulus, but which I subsequently discovered to be a mound thrown up for the accommodation of rabbits, when a warren was contemplated on the slope of Mis Tor.

    Towards evening I was startled to see a most extraordinary object approach me a man in a draggled, dingy, and disconsolate condition, hardly able to crawl along. When he came up to me he burst into tears, and it was some time before I could get his story from him. He was a tailor of Plymouth, who had left his home to attend the funeral of a cousin at Sampford Spiney or Walkhampton, I forget which. At that time there was no railway between Tavistock and Launceston; communication was by coach.

    When the tailor, on the coach, reached Roborough Down, "'Ere you are!" said the driver. "You go along there, and you can't miss it!" indicating a direction with his whip.

    So the tailor, in his glossy black suit, and with his box-hat set jauntily on his head, descended from the coach, leaped into the road, his umbrella, also black, under his arm, and with a composed countenance started along the road that had been pointed out.

    Where and how he missed his way he could not explain, nor can I guess, but instead of finding himself at the house of mourning, and partaking there of cake and gin, and dropping a sympathetic tear, he got up on to Dartmoor, and got—with considerable dexterity—away from all roads.

    He wandered on and on, becoming hungry, feeling the gloss go out of his new black suit, and raws develop upon his top-hat as it got knocked against rocks in some of his falls.

    Night set in, and, as Homer says, "all the paths were darkened"—but where the tailor found himself there were no paths to become obscured. He lay in a bog for some time, unable to extricate himself. He lost his umbrella, and finally lost his hat. His imagination conjured up frightful objects; if he did not lose his courage, it was because, as a tailor, he had none to lose.

    He told me incredible tales of the large, glaring-eyed monsters that had stared at him as he lay in the bog. They were probably sheep, but as nine tailors fled when a snail put out its horns, no wonder that this solitary member of the profession was scared at a sheep.

    The poor wretch had eaten nothing since the morning of the preceding day. Happily I had half a Cornish pasty with me, and I gave it him. He fell on it ravenously.

    Then I showed him the way to the little inn at Merrivale Bridge, and advised him to hire a trap there and get back to Plymouth as quickly as might be.

    "I solemnly swear to you, sir," said he, "nothing will ever induce me to set foot on Dartmoor again. If I chance to see it from the Hoe, sir, I'll avert my eyes. How can people think to come here for pleasure—for pleasure, sir! But there, Chinamen eat birds'-nests. There are depraved appetites among human beings, and only unwholesome-minded individuals can love Dartmoor."

    There is a story told of one of the nastiest of mires on Dartmoor, that of Aune Head. A mire, by the way, is a peculiarly watery bog, that lies at the head of a river. It is its cradle, and a bog is distributed indiscriminately anywhere.

    A mire cannot always be traversed in safety; much depends on the season. After a dry summer it is possible to tread where it would be death in winter or after a dropping summer.

    A man is said to have been making his way through Aune Mire when he came on a top-hat reposing, brim downwards, on the sedge. He gave it a kick, whereupon a voice called out from beneath, "What be you a-doin' to my 'at?" The man replied, "Be there now a chap under'n?" "Ees, I reckon," was the reply, "and a hoss under me likewise."

    There is a track through Aune Head Mire that can be taken with safety by one who knows it.

    Fox Tor Mire once bore a very bad name. The only convict who really got away from Princetown and was not recaptured was last seen taking a beeline for Fox Tor Mire. The grappling irons at the disposal of the prison authorities were insufficient for the search of the whole marshy tract. Since the mines were started at Whiteworks much has been done to drain Fox Tor Mire, and to render it safe for grazing cattle on and about it.

    There is a nasty little mire at the head of Redaven Lake, between West Mill Tor and Yes Tor, and there is a choice collection of them, inviting the unwary to their chill embraces, on Cater's Beam, about the sources of the Plym and Blacklane Brook, the ugliest of all occupying a pan and having no visible outlet The Redlake mires are also disposed to be nasty in a wet season, and should be avoided at all times. Anyone having a fancy to study the mires and explore them for bog plants will find an elegant selection around Wild Tor, to be reached by ascending Taw Marsh and mounting Steeperton Tor, behind which he will find what he desires.

    "On the high tableland," says Mr. William Collier, "above the slopes, even higher than many tors, are the great bogs, the sources of the rivers. The great northern bog is a vast tract of very high land, nothing but bog and sedge, with ravines down which the feeders of the rivers pour. Here may be found Cranmere Pool, which is now no pool at all, but just a small piece of bare black bog. Writers of Dartmoor guide-books have been pleased to make much of this Cranmere Pool, greatly to the advantage of the living guides, who take tourists there to stare at a small bit of black bog, and leave their cards in a receptacle provided for them. The large bog itself is of interest as the source of many rivers; but there is absolutely no interest in Cranmere Pool, which is nothing but a delusion and a snare for tourists. It was a small pool years ago, where the rain water lodged; but at Okement Head hard by a fox was run to ground, a terrier was put in, and by digging out the terrier Cranmere Pool was tapped, and has never been a pool since. So much for Cranmere Pool!

    "This great northern bog, divided into two sections by Fur Tor and Fur Tor Cut, extends southwards to within a short distance of Great Mis Tor, and is a vast receptacle of rain, which it safely holds throughout the driest summer. Fur Tor Cut is a passage between the north and south parts of this great bog, evidently cut artificially for a pass for cattle and men on horseback from Tay Head, or Tavy Head, to East Dart Head, forming a pass from west to east over the very wildest part of Dartmoor. Anyone can walk over the bogs; there is no danger or difficulty to a man on foot unless he gets exhausted, as some have done. But horses, bullocks, and sheep cannot cross them. A man on horseback must take care where he goes, and this Fur Tor Cut is for his accommodation."[1]

    The Fur Tor Mire is not composed of black but of a horrible yellow slime. There is no peat in it, and to cross it one must leap from one tuft of coarse grass to another. The "mires" are formed in basins of the granite, which were originally lakes or tarns, and into which no streams fall bringing down detritus. They are slowly and surely filling with vegetable matter, water-weeds that rot and sink, and as this vegetable matter accumulates it contracts the area of the water surface. In the rear of the long sedge grass or bogbean creeps the heather, and a completely choked-up mire eventuates in a peat bog. Granite has a tendency to form saucer-like depressions. In the Bairischer Wald, the range dividing Bavaria from Bohemia, are a number of picturesque tarns, that look as though they occupied the craters of extinct volcanoes. This, however, is not the case; the rock is granite, but in this case the lakes are so deep that they have not as yet been filled with vegetable deposit. On the Cornish moors is Dosmare Pool. This is a genuine instance of the lake in a granitic district. In Redmoor, near Fox Tor, on the same moors, we have a similar saucer, with a granitic lip, over which it discharges its superfluous water, but it is already so much choked with vegetable growth as to have become a mire. Ten thousand years hence it will be a great peat bog.

    I had an adventure in Redmoor, and came nearer looking into the world beyond than has happened to me before or since. Although it occurred on the Cornish moors, it might have chanced on Dartmoor, in one of its mires, for the character of both is the same, and I was engaged in the same autumn on both sets of moors. Having been dissatisfied with the Ordnance maps of the Devon and Cornish moors, and desiring that certain omissions should be corrected, I appealed to Sir Charles Wilson, of the Survey, and he very readily sent me one of his staff, Mr. Thomas, to go over the ground with me, and fill in the particulars that deserved to be added. This was in 1891. The summer had been one of excessive rain, and the bogs were swollen to bursting. Mr. Thomas and I had been engaged, on November 5th, about Trewartha Marsh, and as the day closed in we started for the inhabited land and our lodgings at "Five Janes." But in the rapidly closing day we went out of our course, and when nearly dark found ourselves completely astray, and worst of all in a bog. We were forced to separate, and make our way as best we could, leaping from one patch of rushes or moss to another. All at once I went in over my waist, and felt myself being sucked down as though an octopus had hold of me. I cried out, but Thomas could neither see me nor assist me had he been able to approach. Providentially I had a long bamboo, like an alpenstock, in my hand, and I laid this horizontally on the surface and struggled to raise myself by it. After some time, and with desperate effort, I got myself over the bamboo, and was finally able to crawl away like a lizard on my face. My watch was stopped in my waistcoat pocket, one of my gaiters torn off by the suction of the bog, and I found that for a moment I had been submerged even over one shoulder, as it was wet, and the moss clung to it.

    On another occasion I went with two of my children, on a day when clouds were sweeping across the moor, over Langstone Moor. I was going to the collection of hut circles opposite Greenaball, on the shoulder of Mis Tor. Unhappily, we got into the bog at the head of Peter Tavy Brook. This is by no means a dangerous morass, but after a rainy season it is a nasty one to cross.

    Simultaneously down on us came the fog, dense as cotton wool. For quite half an hour we were entangled in this absurdly insignificant bog. In getting about in a mire, the only thing to be done is to leap from one spot to another where there seems to be sufficient growth of water-plants and moss to stay one up. In doing this one loses all idea of direction, and we were, I have no doubt, forming figures of eight in our endeavours to extricate ourselves. I knew that the morass was inconsiderable in extent, and that by taking a straight line it would be easy to get out of it, but in a fog it was not possible to take a bee-line. Happily, for a moment the curtain of mist lifted, and I saw on the horizon, standing up boldly, the stones of the great circle that is planted on the crest. I at once shouted to the children to follow me, and in two minutes we were on solid land.

    The Dartmoor bogs may be explored for rare plants and mosses. The buckbean will be found and recognised by its three succulent sea-green leaflets, and by its delicately beautiful white flower tinged with pink, in June and July. I found it in 1861 in abundance in Iceland, where it is called Alptar colavr, the swan's clapper. About Hamburg it is known as the "flower of liberty," and grows only within the domains of the old Hanseatic Republic. In Iceland it serves a double purpose. Its thickly interwoven roots are cut and employed in square pieces like turf or felt as a protection for the backs of horses that are laden with packs. Moreover, in crossing a bog, the clever native ponies always know that they can tread safely where they see the white flower stand aloft.

    The golden asphodel is common, and remarkably lovely, with its shades of yellow from the deep-tinted buds to the paler expanded flower. The sundew is everywhere that water lodges; the sweet gale has foliage of a pale yellowish green sprinkled over with dots, which are resinous glands. The berries also are sprinkled with the same glands. The plant has a powerful, but fresh and pleasant, odour, which insects dislike. Country people were wont to use sprigs of it, like lavender, to put with their linen, and to hang boughs above their beds. The catkins yield a quantity of wax. The sweet gale was formerly much more abundant, and was largely employed; it went by the name of the Devonshire myrtle. When boiled, the wax rises to the surface of the water. Tapers were made of it, and were so fragrant while burning, that they were employed in sick-rooms. In Prussia, at one time, they were constantly furnished for the royal household.

    The marsh helleborine, Epipactis palustris, may be gathered, and the pyramidal orchis, and butterfly and frog orchises, occasionally.

    The furze—only out of bloom when Love is out of tune—keeps away from the standing water. It is the furze which is the glory of the moor, with its dazzling gold and its honey breath, fighting for existence against the farmer who fires it every year, and envelops Dartmoor in a cloud of smoke from March to June. Why should he do this instead of employing the young shoots as fodder?

    I think that as Scotland has the thistle, Ireland the shamrock, and Wales the leek as their emblems, we Western men of Devon and Cornwall should adopt the furze. If we want a day, there is that of our apostle S. Petrock, on June 4th.

    By the streams and rivers and on hedgebanks the yellow broom blazes, yet it cannot rival in intensity of colour and in variety of tint the magnificent furze or gorse. But the latter is not a pleasant plant to walk amidst, owing to its prickles, and especial care must be observed lest it affix one of these in the knee. The spike rapidly works inwards and produces intense pain and lameness. The moment it is felt to be there, the thing to be done is immediately to extract it with a knife. From the blossoms of the furze the bees derive their aromatic honey, which makes that of Dartmoor supreme. Yet bee-keeping is a difficulty there, owing to the gales, that sweep the busy insects away, so that they fail to find their direction home. Only in sheltered combes can they be kept.

    The much-relished Swiss honey is a manufactured product of glycerine and pear-juice; but Dartmoor honey is the sublimated essence of ambrosial sweetness in taste and savour, drawn from no other source than the chalices of the golden furze, and compounded with no adventitious matter.

     "Dartmoor," in the Transactions of the Plymouth Institution, 1897-8. Dartmoor and usually called by the name of the Common of Devonshire,


                                    is parcel of the Duchy of Cornwall,

     and that the foresters and other officers of his majesty and his progenitors Kings and Queens of England have always accustomed to drive the said commons, moors and wastes of other men (lying in like manner about the said forest) home to the corn hedges and leap yeates round about the same Common and forest, some few places only exempted, and that the said foresters and officers have taken and gathered to his majesty’s use at the times of drift within the same commons such profits and other duties as they have and ought to do within the said forest;

     how be it they intend not hereby to prejudice the particular rights which any persons do claim for themselves or their tenants in any commons or several grounds in or adjoining to the said common or forest, but do leave the same to judgment of the law and to the justness of their titles which they make to the same.

    “More they do present that all the King’s tenants which are Venvill have accustomed and used to have and take time out of mind in and upon the forest of Dartmoor all things that may do them good, saving vert (which they take to be green oak) and venson, paying for the same their Venvill rents and other dues as hath been time out of mind accustomed, and doing their suits and service to his majesty’s courts of the manor and forest of Dartmoor aforesaid, and also excepting night rest, for the which every one of them have of long time out of mind -yearly paid or ought to pay 3 d., commonly called a grasewait, and also to have and take tyme out of mind common of pasture for all manner of beasts, sheep, cattle in and upon all the moors, wastes, and commons usually called the Common of Devonshire, and also turves, vagges, heath, stone, coal and other things according to their customs, paying nothing for the same but the rents, dues and services aforesaid,

     nevertheless their meaning is that the Venvill men ought not to turn or put into the said forest or common at any time or times any more or other beasts and cattle than they can or may usually winter in and upon their tenements and grounds lying within in Venvill.”

    It is not always easy to determine precisely those parishes that were described as being in Venville; such parishes were said to be

    settlements next to the Forest of Dartmoor and in addition the rights of Venville men were alleged to extend to those parishes adjoining the purlieus of the Moor. Sometimes the word “adjoining” was most liberally interpreted, and various lists were compiled from i $02 to 1848 which indicate the degree of liberality. Such lists to help to fix in the mind those parishes that come within this Venville area, sometimes in the opinion of owners and occupiers rather than in the view of law or authority.

    1502-3 Throwleigh South Tawton , South Zeal J Halstock \ Belstone J Sourton Isridestowe


    Parish unknown Chagford Hurston Colliholc Venn

    Willandhcad Jurston

    higher Jurston ; Teigncombe , liisworthy (in \ (iidlcigh Parish) J I cttaford I owcr Hookney | Kennon (in >■ North Bovcy Parish)


    Middle Cator (Ircat Cator Nats worthy t irendon I Jnnamed (in W idecombc Parish)

    M ana ton \ t liallacombej^

    I lolne I Iran Prior I Igbornugh 1829 Throwleigh South Tawton





    Gidleigh North Bovcy



    Holne Dean Prior Ugborough 1848


    Throwleigh , South Tawton , Belstone , Sourton ,Bridestowe , Throwleigh , South Tawton 'Belstone ,Sourton ,Bridestowe ,Chagford ,  Gidleigh ,North Bovey , Widecombe , Manaton , Holne Dean Prior


    Of some 650 round barrows (nearly all cairns) at least 130 of the smaller ones, mostly in low-lying situations near rivers and streams, have a central stone cist exposed.

     These cists are mostly large enough to have contained a contracted interment but unburnt bones do not survive in the acid soil of Dartmoor. Four of these cists have yielded beakers and another three have yielded other grave-goods normally found with inhumations.

     About six others have yielded cremations assumed Early Bronze Age. Of some 580 small cairns about 130 have retaining circles or kerbs, and at least 57 have a stone row proceeding from the cairn downhill, usually following the line of minimum slope.

     Dartmoor is the classic area for small cairns with retaining circles and stone rows. Many of them, however, are extremely difficult to find unless one is armed with a large-scale map, a compass and plenty of time.

    Apart from the fine cist north of Fernworthy reservoir  and one or two other notable sites, the more interesting cairns are on the ‘low’ moor south of the road between Tavistock and Moretonhampstead.

     The largest concentration of cisted cairns is around the Drizzlecombe valley in the Ditsworthy Warren and Plym Steps area, but this is difficult to reach and one has to walk a long way.

     A more accessible group is on Lakehead hill in the midst of Bellever Forest, where the Forestry Commission has made clearances around the cairns. The best known and most often illustrated site here, a cairn with ‘above ground’ cist and retaining circle and stone row, is a conjectural restoration of the late nineteenth century.

    Of the large cairns crowning many of the hills, several incorporate tors or smaller outcrops. Amongst the largest are the Three Barrows although they have been plundered for stone for centuries. The linear group on Hamel Down includes Two Barrows, the northern of which yielded in 1877 a cremation accompanied by a grooved bronze dagger and an amber pommel with gold pointille decoration (destroyed by enemy action on Plymouth in 1941).

    Rivers and navigable creeks, p. 36. Tamar, Lynher, p. 38. Tide, or Tidi, p. 40. Seaton, ib.
    Loo, or Eaft-Loo, ibid. ProfpoCt of Loo Bridge," ib. Duloo, or Weft Loo river, p. 41. fawy, ib.
    Fal, 42, and it’s harbour. Hel, or Heyl river in Kerricr, p. 43. Lo or Low river in Kerrier, p 44.
    Heyl in Penwith, ibid. Ganal creek, p. 45. River Alan, al Lamel, ibid. Wade navigable rivers in
    may be made notbeneficial, p. 47. Subject: to obftrudtions, p. 49.