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Haytor and Bagtor mines

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Article: author Stephen Holley

HAYTOR CONSOLS MINE

The Haytor Consols group contained three relatively insignificant Dartmoor mines in the vicinity of Haytor, namely Hemsworthy Mine, Bagtor Mine and Crownley Parks Mine.

Hemsworthy mine originally worked opencast by the streamers on small quartz – tourmaline strings and was further developed in the 1840's by various short-lived companies with names: Hemsworthy, Somerset, Ilsington and Teignmouth Mines. Work was little more than prospecting with small shafts and levels no more than 10 fathoms deep (Hamilton Jenkin).

Haytor Consols was started in 1851, amalgamating the three mines under a single management. At Crownley Parks an extensive area of ground had been worked for stream tin leaving an excavation up to 30 fathoms deep. Below this dressing floors were laid out on a lavish scale by the Consols company with a 30 ft wheel driving 32 head of stamps. Later this was supplemented by a second wheel to increase the stamps to 48 head (Hamilton Jenkin). The mine at Hemsworthy would appear to be the major area of development where at Engine Shaft a steam engine was set to work in May 1853 (Western Times). The shaft was sunk on the Hemsworthy North Lode reaching 168 ft, 18 fathoms below adit level which had drives 90 fathoms west and 130 fathoms east of the shaft (Dines). The adit continues in a southerly direction where it intersects two other lodes, Middle and South both of which have short east and west drives upon them. The output from this part of the sett was about 3 tons of black tin per month (Hamilton Jenkin). The shaft was connected to Crownley Parks by a 1¾ mile tramway, where at this point it was connected to the dressing floors below, by an incline.

At Crownley Parks two adits were driven below the excavation. The higher adit, known as Lord Cranstoun's, extended 115 fathoms. A little tin and some copper were raised, the copper contained within a leader 1 to 6 inches wide yielding 49 to 397 ounces of silver to the ton. The second adit was driven 90 fathoms. At one point 80 people were employed by the group. Work ceased in 1856 with the recorded output of 16 tons of black tin (Hamilton Jenkin).

In 1862 working resumed under the management of the Bagtor Mining Company. The company concentrated its' efforts at Quickbeam and Prosper Lode. On the Quickbeam Lode near Bag Tor an adit was driven and two shafts sunk on an old openwork. While on the Prosper Lode situated on Bagtor Down, two adits were driven westwards one connecting with Prosper Shaft which was sunk 132 ft. Another part of the lode was opened up by Western Shaft, situated close to a large openwork a further 250 yds west. Another adit was driven from close to the Bagtor dressing floors on a recently discovered lode. In September 1863 a 60 ft x 2.5 ft wheel was erected to drive stamps and pump the Wheal Prosper shafts and one of the quickbeam shafts via flat rods (Hamilton Jenkin). By the following year the adit on the Quickbeam Lode (not the Prosper Lode as quoted by Hamilton Jenkin) had been driven 96 fathoms and the adit on the new lode 14½ fathoms.

In 1864 the machinery and dressing plant were bought from Smith's Wood Mine nearby (Hamilton Jenkin). In the following year work had developed on the Prosper Lode and a level from the bottom of Prosper Shaft had been driven 30 fathoms west and that from Western Shaft 20 fathoms west (incorrectly stated to be a 30 fathom level on Prosper Shaft and a 20 fathom drive on Quickbeam Shaft by Hamilton Jenkin).

Towards the end of 1866 the company was wound up with sales amounting to little more than 25 tons of black tin (Hamilton Jenkin). Dines states output of 15 tons between 1863-1865.

The mine was prospected in 1912 but no work resulted.

Bibliography

Western Times 28.5.1853.

The Metaliferous Mining Region of South West England, Vol.2
H.G. Dines 1956

Mines of Devon – North and East Dartmoor
A K Hamilton Jenkin, 1961.

BAGTOR MINE REMAINS Grid Ref. SX761759

There is a veritable array of interesting remains scattered over a fairly large area to the north of the sett. A very large reservoir embankment is conspicuous and was probably built by the Bagtor Mining Company to provide sufficient water power for the 60 ft. by 2.5.ft waterwheel.

Three lodes are recorded within this part of the sett and corresponding surface workings remain. Quickbeam lode, is situated on the eastern side of the valley and some surface excavations follow the outcrop of this lode. Quickbeam shaft, sunk at the confluence of the two surface workings, is well preserved although partially filled. The lode is nicely preserved in the shaft collar and a whim plat, for winding purposes, still survives. The lode was also worked by an adit driven beneath the northern arm of the surface workings. The adit spoil heap can be found although disguised by many years growth of gorse.

Prosper lode, has been worked extensively on Bagtor Down. Dines mentions three unconnected working on this lode. Deep adit is the most inconspicuous, with a hidden portal and small spoil heap close to the stream. About two hundred yards northwest are the much more obvious dumps of shallow adit and Prosper shaft. The two workings are recognizable though both are filled or collapsed. A horse whim was again used for winding purposes at Prosper shaft and the central pivot stone still remains defiantly resisting concealment as it lies tilted on its side. What appears to be a shallow costean trench leads to the third working: a large and deep girt on the side of the hill. This extensive openwork probably dates to the late Medieval period, although in the 1860’s the Bagtor Mining Company sunk a shaft at the eastern extension of the working. According to Dines this was known as Western shaft and was 120 ft. deep with a level driven 120 ft west from the shaft bottom. Two crosscuts were driven from this level where a third lode was encountered 30 ft to the south. A whim plat survives at the site of the shaft, which was pumped via an extension of the flat rod system.

Bagtor cottage is still a major feature of the sett and is situated near the Bagtor dressing floors. During the working of the mine this would have been the Mine Captain’s house. An adjoining barn must have been the carpenter’s shop as it contains a large sawpit. Below the cottage are the dressing floors and the site of the infilled 60 ft waterwheel. A triangular shaped turnbob mounting (now collapsed) for the flat rods can be found on the Haytor Consols tramway, north of the waterwheel.

At the dressing floor there are the remains of a 16 ft diameter round buddle, some rectangular buddles plus associated walls. An infilled 30 ft waterwheel presumably powered the dressing floor machinery. Both the 60 ft and 30 ft waterwheels had underground tailraces which are still open and intact.