MSO7002 - Hangley Cleave Iron Mine (Monument)

Summary

Iron workings at Hangley Cleave begun by 1854, abandoned in 1857. The remains of spoil heaps, openworks, adits and shafts are visible as grass-covered features.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

Full Description

'Old iron mine' is marked with associated earthworks on the 1978 Ordnance Survey map. (1) SS 74433649. Remains of iron working at Hangley Cleave. Hangley Cleave (3) or Hangley Cleeve (4) was one of the places where older workings were evident (4) and by 1854, by means of trenches, holes and cuts into hillsides, the existence of deposits of ore in this area was proved to Frederic Knight's satisfaction. The surface indications of a vein running roughly east/west were of a very favourable character. Operations, began by the Dowlais Iron Company of Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, about March 1856, were by 'patching' or open work along the vein which on the surface was about 4.5 metres wide (5). Westward it proved to be nearly 2 metres thick, but eastward it quickly faded out. To drain the vein a drift was begun (about 115 metres to the north at SS 74443661) but when it struck the vein at a depth of 12 metres it had narrowed to under 2 metres. A shaft was sunk at this point (SS 74433649) and 1200 tons of rich brown hematite was raised at a cost of £700 before the vein petered out. Operations were abandoned in August 1857. The remains of the workings are still clearly evident about 460 metres above OD on a gentle rough grass-covered north-facing slope to the north of the road between Two Barrows and Kinsford Gate. The remains, all grass-covered and all with associated spoil heaps, consist of the open worked east/west vein, the north/south adit and drift, together with another adit or drift some 200 metres due east of the main shaft (about SS 74613646). The actual adit entrances and shaft have been blocked or caved in so it is not clear where their exact entrances were. Fragments of old tram rails are laid on the surface near to the shaft. It is not clear which are the earlier workings refered to. No survey action has been taken as most of the site is depicted, annotated Iron Mine (Disused), on the 1:2500 Ordnance Survey map of 1890 (3), but it does require a large scale survey at a future date. (2-5) Surface mining features, consisting of a trench, ‘lode-back pits’, i.e. extraction pits that follow the surface outcrop, or ‘back’ of a lode, and 19th century features were identified at Hangley Cleave by the Earlier Iron-Working on Exmoor preliminary survey. (6) Hangley Cleeve was part of the Dowlais Iron Co works. It was in operation from 1856 to 1857, although earlier workings are evident. The adit was driven 194 yards, but there were little reserves. 1200 tons was raised at a cost of £700. [7, 15] The remains of the workings are still clearly evident about 460 metres above Ordnance Datum, on a gentle rough grass-covered north-facing slope, to the north of the road between Two Barrows and Kinsford Gate. The remains, all grass-covered and all with associated spoil heaps, consist of the open worked east-west vein, the north-south adit and drift, together with another adit or drift some 200 metres due east of the main shaft (about SS 74613646). The actual adit entrances and shaft have been blocked or caved in so it is not clear where their exact entrances were. Fragments of old tram rails are laid on the surface near to the shaft. It is not clear which are the earlier workings refered to. (8) The remains of the iron workings at Hangley Cleave, consisting of openworks and associated spoil heaps, are clearly visible on several aerial photographs of the area. A complex drainage system can also be seen surrounding the working area, however there is no indication of tramlines as described above. It is possible that the linear drainage system has been misinterpreted as tramlines. (13, 14)

Sources/Archives (15)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1978. Ordnance Survey plan. 1:2500. SS7436.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. Field Investigators Comment. Sainsbury, I.S. 12/10/1995.
  • <3> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. Devon 11:10. 1890.
  • <4> Monograph: Orwin, C.S.. 1929. The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest. Oxford University Press. 1st Edition. P.121-147, Map on P.132.
  • <5> Monograph: Burton, R.A.. 1989. The Heritage of Exmoor. Roger A. Burton. P.147.
  • <6> Report: Juleff, G.. 1997. Earlier Iron-Working on Exmoor: Preliminary Survey. P.30, Table 1.
  • <7> Monograph: Orwin, C.S. + Sellick, R.J.. 1970. The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest. David and Charles Limited. 2nd Edition. P.184-185, 189-190.
  • <8> Survey: RCHME. Exmoor Survey. 1995. NMR site SS 73 NW 28.
  • <9> Survey: Western Archaeological Trust. 1980s. Exmoor Aerial Photograph Survey. 7436.
  • <10> Survey: Davis, J.D.. 1999. Hangley Cleave Iron Mine Ink Survey. 1:1000.
  • <11> Survey: Carpenter,. 1999. Hangley Cleave Iron Mine Pencil Survey. 1:1000.
  • <12> Unpublished document: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. Field Investigators Comment. Riley, H., Wilson-North, R. + Jamieson, E. 17/02/1999.
  • <13> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. RAF LHL CPE.UK.1980.4446. -/04/1947.
  • <14> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/96559 11-12. 07/05/1996.
  • <15> Monograph: Siraut, M.. Royal Forest, Exmoor: A guide to the Royal Forest of Exmoor. Exmoor National Park Authority. 11.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 7449 3660 (224m by 266m) (Estimated from sources)
Map sheet SS73NW
Civil Parish EXMOOR, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Related Articles (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 NW28
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 909533
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33017

Record last edited

Apr 25 2018 6:14PM

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