MDE20058 - Florence Mine / New Florence Iron Mine (Monument)
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Type and Period (1)
F8, Florence Mine. Plan 3238. Mro. [1,2,3] Adits and shafts on three veins crossing Radworthy Down Cleave. Worked for iron in the 17th Century. Reopened in 1871 until 1888. Attempts to reopen in 1918 and 1942 but flooding proved a major factor in its abandonment.  The mines here are exceptional in having steam powered pit winding and pumping gear. Machinery still visible.  The remains of the mine buildings were still visible during a site visit in November 1985. Boiler house, shaft, adit, winch gear, tramways of two different gauges. The boiler is still there, and a waggon or trolley. Sketches of structures on worksheet.  Incorporated 1871. 1852 reference to previous workings speaks of a lode "8 feet wide. Having every indication of a lead lode." 1874 plan of the southern workings shows them adit drained and on either side of the valley, the more extensive working on the northern side with three adits. The southern side also had three adits. The plan also shows the tramway. The mine went into liquidation in 1897 and the "New Florence Mine" was registered in 1880. Production figures for 1884 to 1886 include copper and lead worked at Upcott Mine (Devon HER Monument reference MDV756). Production ceased 1892.  The site of the mine is shown on the 1st and 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey maps and on the six inch 1962 map, as well as modern MasterMap data. It is labelled "New Florence Iron Mine (Disused)" and the location of various features such as ruined buildings, the tramway (MDE11484) and numerous adits and old shafts are recorded. [8-11] The site was visited in December 1994. The mine structures and other artefacts in the valley bottom were decaying and the condition of the whole was not stable, though most of the features mentioned above could still be identified. It is suggested by Bowman that some of the features described by the 1st Edition map  and Dixon  may not be shafts but rather collapsed slopes. This would indicate widespread and large voids beneath the surface of the hillside in the position of each lode. This is certainly a site where further survey would identify more features than are currently recorded.  In Domesday Book, four iron workers are recorded under the royal manor of North Molton. Mines were also mentioned here in 1346 and 1528. At the end of the 17th Century, Cornish miners worked in the mines for copper and iron. The last working was in 1942 to meet war needs. Ore from these mines may be seen in the South Molton Museum. Florence Mine, SS 755 325. This mine lies south of Heasley Mill. Extensive workings can be seen between South Radworthy and Tabor Hill. There were also mines at Molland and Stowford.  The mine was opened in 1871 and due to a reduction in the price of iron ore went into liquidation in 1879. In 1880 it re-opened as the New Florence Iron Mine closing in 1888. Several later attempts were made at reopening in 1918 and 1942 but flooding proved a major factor in its abandonment. [7,8] A shaft centred at SS 7495 3206 lies in improved pasture. Ground collapse to the southeast has resulted in a gulley some 8 metres wide and up to 5 metres deep stretching away from the shaft itself for about 30 metres. The gulley and shaft are currently being infilled with agricultural and domestic rubbish. To the southeast, presumably on the same lode, are further workings. These consist of a possible shaft at SS 7485 3174, now disturbed by a track, and an adit at SS 7490 3172 with an attendant spoil dump fanning out along the valley side. On the southeastern side of the stream the workings continue with another adit and shaft and spoil dump at SS 7495 3170. Further shallow trials survive running southeastwards up the valley side. Surveyed February 1993 at 1:2500. [14,20] Overall survey of the New Florence Mine will be undertaken later in the West Exmoor Project. A diagram which will include the remains described here will be produced at that stage. [17,18] Overall 1:2500 survey archived in NMR. [19,20] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project.  Florence Mine, an iron mine of some antiquity, enjoyed a boom from 1871 to 1888, with production averaging 3,500 tons per year. It had six adits, three each on either side of the valley. During the Second World War, the Home Ore Department investigated the site for home ore production and considered those adits on the west had been more productive as they had been stoped away almost to grass. Sampling suggested excellent low phosphorous haematite and the presence of a shaft just inside the entrance of the lowest adit promised more ore below stream level. This shaft was dewatered in autumn 1941 and work started to extend the 150 foot long adit at the bottom, although problems meant the adit could not be extended to reach the lode and work was suspended until June 1942. At this point, the 50 foot deep shaft and adit at the bottom were dewatered and the Canadian Royal Engineers arrived from Blackland Mine (MSO8714), who soon reached the lode and turned the adit on to it. 250 feet from the shaft, the adit struck old workings not shown on the abandonment plans and the water pumps were overwhelmed (the sappers escaped unharmed). The workings were dewatered and the old workings cleaned out, being found to extend 400 feet along the lode. Further excavation by the sappers found the lode petered out 30 feet beyond this point to be replaced by a clay track. Mining activity was abandoned at this point. 
- <1> SDE15761 Article in serial: Ramsden, J. V.. 1952. Notes on the Mines of Devonshire. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 84. 94, Figure 1.
- <2> SEM8452 Serial: Royal Geological Society of Cornwall. 1818-. Transactions of the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall. Volumes 7 and 12 (Pattison).
- <3> SEM7702 Article in serial: Collins, J. H.. 1912. Observations on the west of England mining region, being an account of the mineral deposits and economic geology of the region. Transactions of the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall. 14. 683.
- <4> SEM7984 Article in serial: Claughton, P.F.. 1973. The Metalliferous Mines of North Devon and Exmoor. Plymouth Mineral and Mining Club Journal. 4, Part 1. 7.
- <5> SDE60681 Article in serial: Beer, P.. 1972. 16th report of the Geological Section. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 104. 197-9.
- <6> SEM7959 Archive: Devon County Council. Various. Devon SMR / HER records / parish files - Exmoor records. Site visit and worksheet, Tonkins, 17 November 1985.
- <7> SEM7082 Monograph: Dixon, D.. 1983. Mining and the Community in the Parishes of North Molton, South Molton, Molland and Twitchen, Devonshire. 263-277.
- <8> SEM6703 Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1889, Devon 15(7).
- <9> SEM7190 Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
- <10> SEM7220 Map: Ordnance Survey. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560.
- <11> SEM8322 Map: Ordnance Survey. 2016. MasterMap.
- <12> SEM7959 Archive: Devon County Council. Various. Devon SMR / HER records / parish files - Exmoor records. Site visit and worksheet, FM Griffith, 5 December 1994.
- <13> SEM7626 Monograph: Minchinton, W.. 1976. Industrial Archaeology in Devon. Dartington Amenity Research Trust. 3rd Edition. Number 1. 14.
- <14> SMO7329 Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 18 February 1993.
- <15> SDE3410 Report: Claughton, P. F.. 1993. A List of Mines in North Devon and West Somerset. 121.
- <16> SDE322479 Article in serial: Wilson-North, R.. 1996. Recording the Iron Mines of Exmoor. Mining History: Bulletin PDMHS. The Archaeology of Mining and Metallurgy in South West-Britain. Mining History: bulletin PDMHS. 13, Number 2. 137-42. 137-142.
- <17> SMO7329 Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 22 November 1995.
- <18> SEM7691 Report: Instone, E.. 1995. English Heritage Monuments Protection Programme Industrial Monuments Assessment, Step 3 Reports: The Iron Mining Industry. Volume 2.
- <19> SMO7329 Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, July 1996.
- <20> SEM340860 Technical drawing: Wilson-North, R.. 1994. New Florence Mine/ink survey. 1:2,500. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
- <21> SEM7987 Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1052355, Extant 5 October 2021.
- <22> SEM7991 Serial: Exmoor Mines Research Group. Newsletter. MH Jones, Volume 40 (December 2012), pp 4-5.
|Grid reference||Centred SS 7519 3205 (677m by 829m) Historic mapping|
|Civil Parish||NORTH MOLTON, NORTH DEVON, DEVON|
Related Monuments/Buildings (13)
- Parent of: 19th Century magazine at New Florence Iron Mine (Monument) (MDE21454)
- Parent of: 19th Century offices at New Florence Iron Mine (Monument) (MDE21453)
- Parent of: Adit 11, Florence Mine (Monument) (MDE21462)
- Parent of: Adit 12 at Florence Mine (Monument) (MDE21234)
- Parent of: New Florence Mine Tramway (Monument) (MDE11484)
- Parent of: North Lode Workings, New Florence Iron Mine Complex (Monument) (MDE21688)
- Parent of: Possible post-medieval prospecting pit or World War Two impact crater on North Molton Ridge (Monument) (MMO3247)
- Parent of: Post-medieval adit north of Barcombe Down (Monument) (MDE13265)
- Parent of: Post-medieval and 20th Century mining machinery at New Florence Iron Mine (Monument) (MDE21452)
- Parent of: Post-medieval building at New Florence Iron Mine (Monument) (MDE21451)
- Parent of: Post-medieval extraction or prospecting earthworks on North Molton Ridge (Monument) (MMO520)
- Parent of: Shaft A, Florence Mine (Monument) (MDE21429)
- Parent of: South Lode Workings, New Florence Iron Mine (Monument) (MDE14802)
Related Events/Activities (3)
External Links (1)
- https://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=1052355 (Pastcape entry: 1052355)
- Devon SMR Monument ID: 33713
- Devon SMR Monument ID: 46882
- Devon SMR Monument ID: 46906
- Devon SMR Monument ID: 46907
- Devon SMR Monument ID: 46908
- Devon SMR Monument ID: 694
- Devon SMR: SS73SE/504
- Devon SMR: SS73SW/6
- Devon SMR: SS73SW/62
- Devon SMR: SS73SW/63
- Devon SMR: SS73SW/64
- Environmentally Sensitive Area
- Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE11480
- Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE13254
- Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE21232
- Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE21428
- National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 SE15
- National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 SW20
- NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1052355
- NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 917510
Record last edited
Oct 6 2021 11:12AM
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