For smartphones and tablets
Please click here.

ARTICLES

head image

JOIN US

Membership
from just £12!

STUDY OF TWO RUINS - THEIR SIMILARITIES

By M. Oates

Whilst photographing all the Dartmoor Tinners' Huts some years ago I found two unrecorded ruins: one in Taw Marsh, at SX 61860 90104 and one by the North Teign, at SX 64087 84796. I wondered if including them in my Tinners' Hut project would be appropriate so I contacted Dr. Tom Greeves. He replied saying he thought they might be tin mills. So I didn't include them in my project. Then recently after a visit to and a lengthy discussion with Tom about the North Teign ruin, it occurred to me that both share similar features. Therefore I set about recording them, in as much detail as possible with my limited means.

Here are the results of my survey:

  1. Both are rectangular, made from large granite moor stone blocks, have a similar thickness of wall, maximum height and have a floor area size that falls within the range of sizes for the tinners' huts I've recorded.
  2. Both have one end of granite revetment cutting into the hillside and are orientated lengthways east to west.
  3. Both have a length of bank parallel with upright stones to the south wall, creating a kind of passageway.
  4. Both blend into the landscape as if the intention was to conceal them.
  5. Both have prehistoric settlements near by. Taw Marsh: settlement centred at SX 62260 91227 (and several others on hills slopes around Taw Marsh, not shown on the OS map). North Teign: settlement on Stonetor Hill centred at SX 64560 85218

They also share some less easily described features but the two ruins are not exactly the same.

In my two drawings I have attempted to show how they may have looked. I removed the collapsed stone and built up the walls but left off the roofs. My two plans show their layout.

My conclusion is that the two structures do have similarities. This suggests a common function but what? I hope my observations will prompt more questions on this.

Features and dimensions:

North Teign SX 64087 84796:

Length:

4m

Door:

South: 1m wide

width:

3.4m

Wall thickness:

0.6m - 0.7m (North wall thicker)

Height max:

2m (East wall)

South bank/wall:

5.2m length

min:

0.3m (West wall)

Bank width:

1.4m tapers to 1.3m, (min. height 0.9m)

Floor area:

13.6 sq. m

Channel floor, south:

3.3m wide (narrowing to 2m)

Taw Marsh SX 61860 90104:

Length:

5.8m

Door:

South: 1.1m wide; North: 0.9m wide (poorly defined)

Width:

3.4m

Wall thickness:

0.8m

Height max.:

1.3m (East wall)

South bank/wall:

total curved length: 7.5m

min.:

0.3m (West wall 0.3m - 0.5m)

Bank width:

1.2m to 1m

Floor area:

19.72 sq. m

Channel floor, south:

8m tapering to 1m