MDE21275 - Berdan House, a stone crusher house at Bampfyle Copper Mine (Building)


A mid 19th Century stone crusher house, rectangular in form with a former wheel pit that housed an overshot wheel adjoining to the west. It may be the only known example of a combined gold crusher and amalgamation plant in England.

Please read the .

Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

Full Description

Stone crusher house, remains of. Probably mid 19th Century. Stone rubble walls. Now floorless and roofless. Plan: Rectangular former crusher house with retaining walls to rectangular former wheel pit adjoining to west. Exterior: First-floor and ground-floor window openings to south. First-floor window opening to north with ground-floor arched opening beneath. First-floor rectangular opening in east wall, with wooden lintel. Interior: Ledge running around walls, probably to support former first floor. Bampfylde was the principal copper mine in the area. The main period of activity here was from 1865-84, although mining has been carried out here intermittently since the later 17th Century. It is possible that the crusher dates from the early 19th Century but it probably dates from later in the 19th Century. [1] Powered by overshot wheel fed by launder from leat (MDE11438). No positive evidence of the wheelpit survives, though a large depression southwest of the Captain's house (MDE21389) is the probable site. [2] The crusher house survives as above, although condition looks unstable. [4] Bampfylde provides the only example of a 19th Century crusher installed specifically to crush iron ore. [5] Site of a square building shown on 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map with an irregular shaped building adjoining around the west and north sides with additional walls shown to the west. [7] There was a mill at Bamfylde Quarry for crushing stone and mining for copper, iron, lead and a small amount of gold. [8] The building was visited in September 2012 as part of the rapid condition survey of Exmoor's Listed Buildings 2012-13. It received a BAR score of 3A. [9] The site of mid 1850s Berdan House within the Bampfylde mining area, a combined gold crusher and amalgamation plant. This is the only known example to have been built in England and its remains and associated process residues will be of high technological importance. However, it is doubtful whether any gold deposits were economicaly exploited, or that the plant was ever actually installed. [10] A ruined building is visible on aerial photographs taken during the 1940s in this area. It appears to consist of at least two rooms, and measures 11 metres long by 9 metres wide. It may represent the remains of Berdan House, or another building associated with Bampfylde Mine. The building is not visible on later photographs, but this may be due to increased vegetation coverage. [11-13] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [14]

Sources/Archives (14)

  • <1> Index: Department of the Environment. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest . HHR: North Molton (24 November 1988).
  • <2> Monograph: Dixon, D.. 1983. Mining and the Community in the Parishes of North Molton, South Molton, Molland and Twitchen, Devonshire. 233. 239.
  • <3> Archive: Devon County Council. Various. Devon SMR / HER records / parish files - Exmoor records. Site visit, D Dixon, 1978.
  • <4> Archive: Devon County Council. Various. Devon SMR / HER records / parish files - Exmoor records. Site visit, FM Griffith and Bowman, 1994.
  • <5> 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. 137-42.
  • <6> Article in serial: Claughton, P. F.. 1992. The North Molton Copper mine; riches in the west. North Devon Heritage Journal. 4. 6. 2-7.
  • <7> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1880s.
  • <8> Monograph: University of the Third Age. 1995. Watermills in North Devon 1994. University of the Third Age. A5 Paperback.
  • <9> Report: Lawrence, G.. 2014. Exmoor National Park: Rapid condition survey of listed buildings 2012-13.
  • <10> Report: Fitzgerald, R.F.. 1995. English Heritage Monuments Protection Programme Industrial Monuments Assessment, Step 3 Reports: The minor metals industry.
  • <11> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 106G/UK/1420 3442-43 (15 April 1946).
  • <12> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/1980 3380-81 (11 April 1947).
  • <13> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 73 SW. MD002194.
  • <14> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1462009, Extant 1 December 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 7392 3265 (11m by 12m)
Map sheet SS73SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (3)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (3A): 1549/10/131
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 35819
  • Devon SMR: SS73SW/3/1
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO1795
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 SW31
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1462009

Record last edited

Dec 1 2021 2:44PM


Your feedback is welcome. If you can provide any new information about this record, please contact us.