MSO7142 - 19th Century miners cottages at Cornham Ford (Monument)
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Type and Period (4)
"One of the most pressing needs in connexion with the development of the iron mines (in the Cornham Ford / Burcombe area) was the provision of housing for the miners. Frederick Knight agreed to build the houses and the Dowlais Iron Company would rent them".  In November 1856 on the north bank of the Barle below Cornham Ford, a terrace of six cottages was built to provide housing for some of the Dowlais miners and their families. A site plan in the Fortescue papers shows seven cottages were proposed and the ruins of seven can be traced on the ground but one of these was the mine office, which was erected at the same time. They were not built to the traditional terrace design, but alternately protruded 1.4 metres first to the front then to the rear. The two ground floor rooms measured 4.2 metres by 3.6 metres and 3 metres by 3.6 metres. The only other building in the immediate area of the miners cottages was the Blacksmith's shop, which stood close to the Cornham track between the cottages and the ford.  SS 7496 3873. These cottages are depicted (unnamed) on the Ordnance Survey map of 1889  as a terrace of seven conjoined yards, sub-divided and offset alternately. The second from the south west end appears to be without a division and may be the mine office referred to by Burton . The site of the cottages is still evident on the ground though they have been reduced to low footings and are heavily covered by bracken and brambles making any definite details impracticable. SS 7489 3868. Some 75 metres to the southwest of the cottages a square yard is depicted on the 1889 map and this is visible on the ground as a rectangular platform about 7 metres east-west by 4 metres. No other features are ascertainable but this is most probably the site of the blacksmiths shop referred to by Burton .  The row of cottages described above and depicted on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map of 1889 are visible on several aerial photographs of the area. However, they are heavily obscured by bracken, and are therefore difficult to discern. [5-7] Six miners cottages foundations on the north side of the river, east of the ford. Built for the miners to cope with overcrowding 1856. Smithy also built for the mine.  The six cottages and office were abandoned by 1871 and subsequently fell into ruin.  A study of the archaeology and history of peat exploitation on Exmoor’s moorlands mentions the miners cottages and has a photograph of c. 1890 with turf ricks close by.  The site of the cottages was recorded as SS 74961 38726 using GPS in 2010.  This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. 
- <1> SEM7231 Monograph: Orwin, C.S.. 1929. The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest. Oxford University Press. 1st Edition. 131-133.
- <2> SEM7230 Monograph: Burton, R.A.. 1989. The Heritage of Exmoor. Roger A. Burton. 148.
- <3> SEM6703 Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1889 (surveyed 1888), Somerset 44(12).
- <4> SMO7324 Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 21 September 1995 RCHME Field Investigation.
- <5> SMO4068 Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 543/2821 (F63) 173-74 27-APR-1964.
- <6> SMO4069 Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. NMR SS 7438/3 (18583/16) 12-OCT-1999.
- <7>XY SMO7572 Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 73 NW. MD002189. [Mapped feature: #35254 ]
- <8> SSO1774 Monograph: Orwin, C.S. + Sellick, R.J.. 1970. The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest. David and Charles Limited. 2nd Edition. 192-95.
- <9> SEM7997 Monograph: Siraut, M.. Royal Forest, Exmoor: A guide to the Royal Forest of Exmoor. Exmoor National Park Authority. 11, 32.
- <10> SEM8135 Report: Riley, H.. 2014. Turf Cutting on Exmoor: An archaeological and historical study - project report. 24.
- <11> SEM8715 Unpublished document: Harley, M.. 2010. Disused Mine Workings within the Authority's Estate. Site 13.
- <12> SEM7987 Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1050172, Extant 18 November 2021.
|Grid reference||Centred SS 7497 3873 (53m by 66m) Aerial Survey|
|Civil Parish||EXMOOR, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET|
Related Monuments/Buildings (1)
Related Events/Activities (3)
External Links (1)
- http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=1050172 (Pastscape entry: 1050172)
- Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO10927
- National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 NW39
- National Park: Exmoor National Park
- NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1050172
- Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33066
Record last edited
Nov 18 2021 12:13PM
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