MDE8262 - West Challacombe Mine (Monument)


West Challacombe Silver Lead Mine was in operation in the 1800s. The workings are very much overgrown and only the spoil heap is visible.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (4)

Protected Status

Full Description

West Challacombe Silver Lead Mine. [1] There are certain areas at West Challacombe and on Knap Down where workings are "ancient" but not sufficient is known to date them accurately. In the mid 1850's prospecting for silver lead was in hand at West Challacombe. New Combmartin Silver-Lead reopened at West Challacombe in 1864 but it failed with little or no production. At West Challacombe there were attempts at reworking from 1874 onwards involving the Combmartin Silver-lead Mining Co. and General Mining Investment Co. and later the West Combemartin Mining Co [2]. The remains of West Challacombe Mine (disused- [3]) are situated in an unnamed valley bottom on the north side of a stream. The exact position of the adit is no longer discernable but it was most probably at SS 5849 4736 in the centre of a hollow depicted on map [1] but now overgrown with brambles and scrub. The hollow has been encroached on by plough soil from the pasture field to the immediate north. The spoil heap associated with the mine is 10 metres to 40 metres upstream to the south-east. It is also covered with scrub and trees and there is now no trace of the apparent retaining wall depicted on its north east side on map [1]. Claughton's Map [4], depicts the area to the east of the mine (centred at SS 5858 4740 and shown on map [1] as an orchard) as being pre 1800 workings but this area has now been ploughed through and is pastureland with no evidence of previous workings. The West Challacombe Mine was not only applicable to this one site but covered an area of land, or sett, comprising the limits of the mine and also included shafts, adits and openworks along the coast from Lester Point (SS 5751 4762) to Little Hangman (SS 5851 4806) [4]. See also MDE8263-7. At SS 5858 4735 some 80 metres upstream to the east of the adit are the remains of a dam and reservoir [10]. This is not associated with the mine workings but is a modern construction built about 1975 by Mr Richards [6]. [7] Mine. C9 challacombe. Lead and silver. [8] There is an irregular (non-rail-tipped) spoilheap with probable run-in adit below and a dam just upstream. Possibly medieval to 19th century. [10] There are shafts and an adit between 200 and 300 yards south of West Challacombe Farm. There is also an adit in the cliff at Lester Point. Trials were made by Gullet in 1790 to 1792 and by Combmartin and North Devon Mining Company in 1843. The site was abandoned in 1845. Further trials for silver-lead were made between 1853 and 1854. Between 1864 and 1866 the site was promoted as New Combmartin Silver-lead Mine. There were further workings in 1873, 1874 and 1876 to 1878 as West Combmartin Mine. Hangman Hill Mine. The north part of West Challacombe Sett. Worked for iron in 1796 to 1802 and 1825 by the Royal Stannery and British Mining Association. It was worked between 1855 and 1856 as the North Devon or Combmartin New Iron Mine), and in 1867 by the Hangman Hill Iron Mining Company. [11] There are spoilheaps on the valley floor to the north of the stream which mark the site of 19th century mining activity. The pre 1800 activity was concentrated in the areas between west challacombe farm and the stream which is shown as orchard on the 1843 combe martin tithe map. [12] The 1st and 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey maps shows two sets of earthworks at SS 5850 4734 and SS 5845 4734. These are labelled "West Challacombe Silver Lead Mine". [1,13] The site is now labelled "West Challacombe Mine (disused) on 2018 MasterMap data. Only the easternmost earthworks are depicted, in an area of woodland. [14] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [15]

Sources/Archives (15)

  • <1>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1889, Devon 5(3). [Mapped features: #38361 19th Century workings, ; #44751 1790s workings?, ]
  • <2> Monograph: Claughton, P.F.. 1992. The Combe Martin Mines. Combe Martin Local History Group. Engine House Series No.1. P.24-54.
  • <3> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1963. 6 Inch Map: 1963. SS5847.
  • <4> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information. PF Claughton, Letter and maps, 22 April 1993.
  • <5> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information. HB Richards, Nethercombe, West Challacombe Lane, Combe Martin, Devon.
  • <6> Article in serial: Ramsden, J. V.. 1952. Notes on the Mines of Devonshire. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 84. P. 84 Fig. 1.
  • <7> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, F1, 12 May 1993.
  • <8> 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.
  • <9> Article in serial: Claughton, P. F.. 1973. The metalliferous mines of North Devon and Exmoor. Plymouth Mineral and Mining Club Journal. 4, Part 1.
  • <10> Report: Cranstone, D.. 1991. Assessment of Lead Industry.
  • <11> Report: Claughton, P. F.. 1993. A List of Mines in North Devon and West Somerset.
  • <12> Report: Berry, N.. 2002. Archaeological and Historic Landscape Survey of West Challacombe Farm, Combe Martin, Devon.
  • <13> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <14> Map: Ordnance Survey. 2018. MasterMap.
  • <15> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 612730, Extant 20 October 2021.

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • Coastal Risk 2014: Flood Zone 2 fluvial
  • Coastal Risk 2014: Flood Zone 3 fluvial
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 2212
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 54975
  • Devon SMR: SS54NE/10
  • Devon SMR: SS54NE/10/6
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20162
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE21607
  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 54 NE18
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • National Trust HER Record: MNA162452
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 612730



Grid reference Centred SS 5852 4739 (197m by 157m) (2 map features)
Map sheet SS54NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (5)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Related Articles (1)

Record last edited

Oct 20 2021 4:52PM


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