MSO8595 - Ison Mine, Winsford (Monument)

Summary

Ison Iron mine operated between 1854 and 1877 and comprises extensive west to east workings covering some 1.5 kilometres and including some 13 adits and shafts. The alleged trackbed of a tramway is more likely to be a well made road. Summary from record MMO559: A new mine was opened at Eisen Hill in 1854. By the late 1850s a small level (Office Level) had been driven behind the mining company's office, but this was soon abandoned. The main working was at Poorsland Adit and at two adits in Hoe Combe. The results were disappointing and by 1860 abandonment was considered. Extension of the Poorsland Adit after 1861 lead to a temporary increase in production. By 1867 further extensions to workings were made in Hoe Combe and further westwards, but by 1877 all work seems to have ended. The shafts, bell pits and tramway or road associated with the Eisen Mine are clearly visible on vertical aerial photographs. Three of the shafts are surrounded by curvilinear enclosures. The majority of the workings date from the second half of the 19th century but some surface workings could be earlier 19th century exploratory workings or even earlier attempts at surface extraction. The main workings comprise, from west to east: three possible adits; Mold's Pit', a hollow 10 m diameter and 0.3 m deep; `Passmore's Pit', with a shaft 6.2 m in diameter and 7 m deep, and the surrounding area is covered in spoil; `Hoe Combe Drift' shown on the OS mapping as `shaft (disused)' has a hedged enclosure around the shaft; `Poorsland Adit' is an exceptionally well preserved adit. To the immediate south of the adit is a possible building platform cut into the hillside; further disused shafts are then annotated on the OS map; another adit and to the east a possible bridge across the River Quarme; On the eastern bank of the river a raised embankment or causeway 2.4 m high presumably to allow ore to be moved to the nearby road (now the A396); `Office Level', in the garden of Ison Cottage, is a rock-cut opening, now blocked, 1.3 m high and 2 m wide. A very well made track is thought to be a tramway but is more likely to be a carefully graded road which allowed ore to be removed by vehicle.

Please read the .

Type and Period (3)

Protected Status

Full Description

Sellick records that a 'new mine was opened at Eisen Hill in 1854'. By 1867 further extensions to workings were made in Hoe Combe and further westwards, but by 1877 all work seems to have ended. By the late 1850s a small level (Office Level) had been driven behind the mining company's office, but this was soon abandoned. The main working was at Poorsland Adit and at two adits in Hoe Combe. The results were disappointing and by 1860 abandonment was considered. Extension of the Poorsland Adit after 1861 lead to a temporary increase in production. By 1867 further extensions to workings were made in Hoe Combe and further westwards, but by 1877 all work seems to have ended. [1] The name `Eisen' is said to derive from the fact that German workers were employed in the mine. However, it appears on all Ordnance Survey map editions as `Ison', and that usage is followed here. [2] The majority of the workings date from the second half of the 19th Century. However, at SS 9057 3713 is an area of surface workings which, although possibly exploratory workings associated with the 19th Century phase, may represent earlier attempts at surface extraction. The main workings are located at the following locations from west to east: SS 8995 3713 (approx). Adit. See MSO8553 SS 9002 3717 (approx). Adit? SS 9005 3712 (approx). Adit? SS 9031 3789 (approx). `Mold's Pit'. A hollow 10 metres in diameter and 0.3 metres deep at the site of the National Grid Reference in improved pasture field. SS 90423 37104. `Passmore's Pit'. The shaft is 6.2 metres in diameter and 7 metres deep, and below the surface becomes a square, rock-cut opening before becoming obscured by rubbish. The surrounding area is covered in spoil. The shaft is surrounded by a hedged enclosure bank topped by a beech hedge. SS 9044 3706 (grid reference from MSO12612). Drift. No surface evidence, although ground surface is uneven in this area. SS 90632 37096 grid reference from OS 1st edition 25" mapping). Drift. In improved pasture field. No surface evidence. SS 90854 37105. `Hoe Combe Drift'. OS current edition 1:2500 mapping shows `shaft (disused)' and hedged enclosure around shaft. SS 90915 37113. OS current edition 1:2500 scale mapping shows `shaft (disused)'. SS 91042 37102. OS current edition 1:2500 mapping shows `shaft (disused)'. SS 9110 3712. (grid reference from MEM15392). Adit. SS 91493 37037. `Poorsland Adit'. An exceptionally well preserved adit. It comprises a stone arched opening 1.5 metres high and 1.6 metres wide. Water still isssues from the opening which runs back westwards into the hillside for 5 metres. To the immediate south of the adit is a platform measuring 6 metres by 3.5 metres, and cut by 1.5 metres into the hillside. It may have supported a building at the adit mouth. To the east of the adit (circa 20 metres) is the River Quarme. This was presumably bridged at SS 91522 37031, where traces of stone revetments, 7 metres long and 1.2 metres high, survive. On the eastern bank of the river a raised embankment or causeway 2.4 metres high presumably allowed ore to be moved to the nearby road (now the A396). SS 91608 37008. `Office Level'. In the garden of Ison Cottage is a rock-cut opening, now blocked, 1.3 metres high and 2 metres wide. Additional features are a very well made track which local tradition (unsubstantiated) suggests supported a tramway. It seems more likely that this track (which runs from SS 9093 3712 to SS 9152 3693) was a carefully graded road which allowed ore to be removed by vehicle. The Ordnance Survey 1st edition 25" mapping of 1889 (2) shows an area of spoil? And small structures? At SS 9105 3717. Field investigations were carried out as part of RCHME Exmoor Project in January 1998. [3] The shafts, bell pits and tramway or road associated with the Eisen Mine are clearly visible on vertical aerial photographs. Three of the shafts are surrounded by curvilinear enclosures. These features were plotted at 1:10,000 scale during the Brendon Hills Mapping Project. [4-6] The increase in ore production in the early 1860s, made the transportation of ore by road inconvenient and expensive. In 1864 a western extension to the West Somerset Mineral railway was therefore considered viable, but the plan was not pursued. A plan, probably drawn up to accompany the proposal which would have been required to obtain an Act of Parliament for the extension, indicates an 8 mile circuitous route from the Gupworthy terminus to the Quarme Valley was the considered course of the extension. [7] The 'extensive linear openwork with lode-back (i.e. surface prospecting) pits' identified as being at Hoe Combe during the Earlier Iron-Working on Exmoor preliminary survey may relate to Eison Mine, rather than particularly to the Hoe Combe drift. [8] Other remains include drifts and the Hoe Combe drift. [10] Double banks forming a trackway running to the south and west seen on aerial photographs. This was the road to Dunster. [11]

Sources/Archives (15)

  • <1> Monograph: Sellick, R.. 1970. The West Somerset Mineral Railway and the Story of the Brendon Hills Iron Mines. David and Charles Limited. Second. P. 12, 17, 19, 28, 38, 61.
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1889. 1:2500 1st edition, Somerset. Sheet Somerset 46.11.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 8 January 1998.
  • <4> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. RAF CPE/UK/1980 4345-7 (11 April 1947).
  • <5> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. Ordnance Survey OS/73087 574-5 (14 April 1973).
  • <6> Collection: RCHME: Brendon Hills Mapping Project, SS93NW.
  • <7> Article in serial: Bye, R.A. + Lovell, T.H.. 1977. A Proposed Extension of the West Somerset Mineral Railway to Eisen Hill. Journal of the Somerset Industrial Archaeological Society. 2.
  • <8> Report: Juleff, G.. 1997. Earlier Iron-Working on Exmoor: Preliminary Survey. P.30, Table 1.
  • <9> Report: Juleff, G., Rippon, S. + Wilson-North, R.. 2001. Exmoor Iron: An Exploration of the Impact of Past Iron Production on the Environmental and Cultural Landscapes of Greater Exmoor: Project Design. P.14.
  • <10> Monograph: Bryant T.C. 1980. The Hollow Hills of Brendon.
  • <11> Survey: Western Archaeological Trust. 1980s. Exmoor Aerial Photograph Survey. 9037, 9137, 9136 and 9236.
  • <12> Aerial photograph: 1947. LHL CPE/UK/1980. 3304, 3305 and 4345.
  • <13> Aerial photograph: 1971. HSL.UK.71-177 Run 91, September. 8691.
  • <14> Article in serial: Hayman, T.. 1973. Eisen Hill Mine. Shepton Mallet Caving Club Journal. 5. 6. P. 13-15.
  • <15> Unpublished document: Somerset County Council. Various. Somerset HER parish files - Exmoor records.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 90 37 (1595m by 394m) (Centred on)
Map sheet SS93NW
Civil Parish WINSFORD, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (15)

Related Events/Activities (4)

Related Articles (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO559
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11653
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 93 NW32
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1089174
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 34211

Record last edited

Mar 25 2019 11:31AM

Feedback?

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