MEM15352 - Lethbridge's Smelting Furnace (Monument)


Possible site of Sir Thomas Lethbridges' smelting site, constructed in 1840. It was deliberately covered with spoil following the closure of Bearland Wood mine in 1883. It was excavated in 1995.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

Site of Sir Thomas Lethbridges' smelting site. Site excavated but overgrown. Masonry unprotected. [1] In 1839 Sir Thomas Lethbridge, a director of a small south wales ironworks opened an adit which intersected a lode of iron ore on land he owned in Bearland Wood, at circa SS 97433573. He failed to sell the extracted ore and attempted to smelt it on site nearby, which also failed. [2] Following the closure of the mine in 1883 the site was deliberately covered with spoil, which had been partly later removed for use as hardcore. This partially exposed the building thought to be the site of Lethbridges' smelting site, which was excavated by Somerset Industrial Archaeology Society and the Exmoor Mines Research Group in 1995. [3] The excavation revealed insufficient detail to confirm the interpretation of the structure, identified as a rectangular building depicted on the first edition Ordnance Survey map, as Lethbridges' smelting site. The structure which was thought to resemble a smithy or bloomery, rather than a blast furnace. [4] The structure is located at circa SS 97453591. [5]

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Report: The Hartley Conservation Partnership + David Sekers Consulting Partnership. 2004. West Somerset Mineral Railway Conservation Plan. P.28.
  • <2> Report: Jones, M.. The Brendon Hills Iron Mines. P.1.
  • <3> Article in serial: Croft, B.. 1996. Somerset Archaeology 1995. Somerset Archaeological & Natural History Society. 139. P.173.
  • <4> Article in serial: Jones, M.. 1995. Excavations at Chargot Wood and Langham Hill. Somerset Industrial Archaeological Society Bulletin. 70. P.9-13.
  • <5> Report: Jones, M.H.. 1995. Report on Proposed Low-Key Visitor Access to Industrial Sites on the Brendon Hills. P.15.



Grid reference Centred SS 9744 3590 (7m by 12m) (Estimated from sources)
Map sheet SS93NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 93 NE 58
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1128076
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33743

Record last edited

May 28 2019 4:00PM


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