MDE8267 - Post-medieval lime kiln and possible counting house above Wild Pear Beach (Monument)


The ruins of a limekiln and a possible counting house are located on the eroding cliff edge above Wild Pear Beach.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

Full Description

SS 58261 47785. The remains of a lime kiln and alleged accounts house precariously situated on the eroding cliff edge above Wild Pear Beach. (The remains were inaccessible so no exact measurements could be obtained). Nothing is shown of these buildings on the 1843 tithe map [1] or the 1888 Ordnance Survey map [2] but the 1904 Ordnance Survey map [3] shows an open rectangular feature about 6 metres east to west by 5 metres. To its immediate south is a smaller round one, some 2.5m diameter. The rectangular feature now consists of fragments of the north and south walls and part of the curved east side backing into the cliff. Its west side has gone; fallen into the sea without trace. The south wall is about 2 metres high, the east and west are much less. The curving east side is presumably the remains of a kiln bowl indicating that this was a limekiln. Claughton [5] confirms that this rectangular building (seen by him in 1973) was a lime kiln and suggests it was using lime and coal brought in by sea from South Wales, by ships which returned with iron/manganese from the adjacent workings. The fact that it is depicted on the 1904 Ordnance Survey as an unannotated open, ie unroofed, feature without trace of the central bowl suggests it was already in ruin by then. The small round feature is more enigmatic. Its remains, a mere fragment of a wall, are now so slight that it is impossible to say what it was initailly. Although she made no reference to the limekiln, Toms [5] in 1902 stated "iron was found at Wild Pear Bay under Little Hangman, where may be seen the remains of an office or counting house where the mens wages were paid" but gives no authority for her comment. Though rather small, Claughton [4] suggests this may have been the circular feature to the side of the limekiln. Although this limekiln and accounts house are not depicted on the 1888/89 Ordnance Map [2] they were most probably in situ well before then as they were almost certainly associated with adjacent mining operations in the mid 19th Century (See MDE8266 and MDE8288). Published Survey 1:2500 (1963) Revised. [6] Site visit found no remains. [7] Wild Pear beach closed. Ruin seen through binoculars. Slow deterioration with high vulnerability. [8] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [9]

Sources/Archives (9)

  • <1> Map: 1843. Combe Martin Tithe Map and Apportionment.
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1888/89, Devon 1(15).
  • <3> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1904, Devon 1(15).
  • <4> Unpublished document: Claughton, P.. 22/04/1993. Letter and Maps to Royal Comission on the Historical Monuments of England.
  • <5> Monograph: Toms, K. M. 1902. Notes on Combe Martin. Herald Press. P. 37.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, F1, 28 April 1993.
  • <7> Report: Holley, S.. 1997. An Investigation of Limekilns on Exmoor for the Purposes of Conservation. 004.
  • <8> Report: National Trust. 1994. Archaeological Site Monitoring Report.
  • <9> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 614551, Extant 20 October 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 5826 4778 (21m by 18m) Historic mapping
Map sheet SS54NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 50029
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 50091
  • Devon SMR: SS54NE/139
  • Devon SMR: SS54NE/139/1
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE21468
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE21483
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 54 NE23
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • National Trust HER Record: MNA107986
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 614551
  • Shoreline Management Plan 2 (0-20)

Record last edited

Oct 20 2021 4:56PM


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