MDE8274 - Girt Down Mine (Monument)


The Girt Down Mine is located on the southern and eastern slopes of the Great Hangman. There was no central mine, rather a series of prospecting plots for iron or manganese in a leased area dating to the middle of the 19th Century.

Please read the .

Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

Full Description

The name "Girt Down" has been applied on various Ordnance Survey map Editions to the southern and eastern slopes of the Great Hangman. The 1981 Ordnance Survey map [18] shows a number of scoops in the hillside centred at SS 6028 4819, opening into the slope adjacent to the modern path on the northeastern slopes of Great Hangman. The easternmost three have been visited in the field. They are shallow open workings usually with lobes of spoil on the cliff below. They are not more than 2.4 metres deep. Further west the path has been closed due to landslip. Claughton [1,7?] has provided a sketch of an openwork and adits in this area. Their condition and precise location has not been ascertained. These remains form part of an extensive area of small scale workings which stretch over this length. [2] Girt and Holdstone Down mine. There are adits at The Rawns, just above hwm (?), and workings on the cliff top just west of The Rawn's at SS588480. There are also adits on the north side of great hangman at SS600482. A lease of both the Girt Down and Holdstone Down sections was granted in 1796, but the extent of working is not known. The Girt section was worked for iron in 1867-8 by the West of England Iron Ore Company. Work recommenced in 1872 and in 1875 the mine was taken over by the Girt and Holdstone Downs Mining Company, which wound up in 1876. In 1877 the mine was in the hands of the Comb-Martin Manganese and Haematite Iron Ore Company who worked it for a short period only. The area was reputedly worked during World War One. [3-4] The mine was worked in the 18th and 19th Centuries. It is recorded as having been destroyed. [5] It would appear that a Land Surveyor named John Leversedge (in partnership with a George Bush of Wiveliscombe) took a lease from Sir Charles Watson for Mining Rights for iron on Girt Down in 1867. [8] Unlike West Challacombe Mine (MDE8262) there seems to have been no central mine at Girt Down but rather this was a company name controlling a leased area (or sett), which encompassed a series of prospecting plots for Iron/Manganese during the middle l9th century [7]. This may well be the lease referred to above. The precise boundary of the sett was not ascertained but the individual adits and workings are centred at about SS 5915 4815. [9] Several adits are visible as earthworks on aerial photographs, located to the east of Little Hangman Cliff. They are mostly sub circular, measuring between 6 and 8 metres across. At least three are visible on aerial photographs; however, there may be other smaller adits at the same location. Documentary evidence suggests they are part of the Girt Down Mine Sett, worked for iron and manganese during the 19th Century. [10-11] Many workings are visible and annotated as 'quarry' on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey mapping. These workings often appear without annotation on the 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey map, or are annotated as 'old quarry'. [14, 15] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [16,17]

Sources/Archives (18)

  • <1> Technical drawing: Claughton, P.. Sketch Plan of Working North of Great Hangman.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 5 July 1993.
  • <3> Article in serial: Claughton, P. F.. 1973. The metalliferous mines of North Devon and Exmoor. Plymouth Mineral and Mining Club Journal. 4, Part 1. P. 5.
  • <4> Report: Claughton, P. F.. 1993. A List of Mines in North Devon and West Somerset. 098.
  • <5> Report: The National Trust. 1984. Golden Cove, Berrynarbor; Great and Little Hangman, Devon. P. 9.
  • <6> Article in serial: Ramsden, J. V.. 1952. Notes on the Mines of Devonshire. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 84. P. 95 Figure 1.
  • <7> Unpublished document: Claughton, P.. 22/04/1993. Letter and Maps to Royal Comission on the Historical Monuments of England.
  • <8> Article in monograph: Beaumont, M.. 1989. Tithes and Enclosures. Out of the World and into Combe Martin. Combe Martin Local Histor.
  • <9> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 14 May 1993.
  • <10> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/89114 653 (4 May 1989).
  • <11>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 54 NE. MD002165. [Mapped feature: #41478 Area of mine on The Rawns, ]
  • <12> Report: Berry, N.. 2002. Archaeological and Historic Landscape Survey of West Challacombe Farm, Combe Martin, Devon.
  • <13> Unpublished document: Claughton, P.. 2003. Silver Mining in England and Wales 1066-1500.
  • <14> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <15> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <16> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 616087, Extant 27 October 2021.
  • <17> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 872359, Extant 27 October 2021.
  • <18> Map: Ordnance Survey. Various. Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date) . 1:2,500, 1981 (SS 6048).



Grid reference Centred SS 5960 4816 (1029m by 238m) (3 map features)
Map sheet SS54NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (9)

Related Events/Activities (4)

External Links (4)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS54NE/121
  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS64NW/1
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 2014
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 41491
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20321
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE8990
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO264
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 54 NE30
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 64 NW21
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park Authority
  • National Trust HER Record: MNA107977
  • National Trust HER Record: MNA107985
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 616087
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 872359
  • Shoreline Management Plan 2 (0-20)
  • Shoreline Management Plan 2 (20-50)
  • Shoreline Management Plan 2 (50-100)

Record last edited

Oct 27 2021 12:46PM


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