MSO8858 - Burrow Farm Mine (Monument)


The shafts of an ironstone mine, in operation between 1860 and 1883. The mine remains are visible as earthworks on aerial photographs taken in 1947 and 1964.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

Full Description

ST 0089 3453 & ST 0090 3445.There are marks on the aerial photographs but no evidence on the ground. [1] These 'marks' fall within an area of the former Burrow Farm Iron Mine, and may be the result of mining activity. [2] Despite no aerial photographic reference given by [1], the "marks on the aerial photograph" are likely to be the earthwork remains of ironstone mining as suggested by [2]. The earthworks, mainly shafts, were mapped from aerial photographs and extend from ST 0069 3454 to ST 0134 3429, with the main concentration near the engine house. The shafts are in a linear pattern, aligned northwest to southeast, clearly following the ironstone seams, except for those at ST 0095 3443 which are aligned east to west and also have smaller scale workings. The mine was in operation between 1860 and 1883. A line of shafts to the north of the West Somerset Mineral Railway at ST 0087 3460 are assumed to be part of the same mining complex, as could isolated shafts to the east at ST 0140 3444. [3-7] Was one of the Brendon Hills Iron Ore Company mines. Shaft was sunk in 1860 and the mine was connected to the railway. Drift was 150ft deep by 1867 but closed soon after. Reopened in 1880 for a while with little success. The mine had four shafts, siding from railway and engine house. [6] The western extension to the West Somerset Mineral Railway reached Burrow Farm Mine in 1863. [8] A shaft was sunk through earlier workings in 1860, but the lode was inconsistent and the mine closed in 1868. It reopened in 1879 and the existing engine house was constructed. It is very well preserved - the only one in Somerset - and originally housed a Cornish pumping engine. To the south of the engine house is the site of the mine shaft and an adjacent spoil heap. These 19th Century remains appear to overlie earlier openworkings. Surveyed in March 1999 as part of RCHME's Exmoor Project. [8,21] The engine drift, circa 10 metres to the south of the engine house has been blocked, as have shafts at ST 0112 3445, ST 0111 3447, ST 0086 3456 and ST 0092 3450. The extensive openworks which may have attracted 19th Century miners have also been filled. [9] In 1990 the engine house was conserved for public display. [10] "Burrow Farm Pit (disused)" and "dry" marked on Ordnance Survey Archaeological Division 6 inch map and 25 inch map. [11-12] Cropmarks have been seen on aerial photographs at ST 0089 3453 and ST 009 03445 but they are likely to be connected with the mining activity. A short branch railway joined the mine to the West Somerset Mineral Railway. The mine finally closed in 1883. [15] Earthworks show on aerial photographs. [18-19] In a linear band some 50 metres wide and 500 metres long around the Burrow Farm mine Engine House are the remains of surface iron mining. The remains are visible on the ground as a swathe of disturbed ground. Their slightness may be due to deliberate infilling, and then subsequent agricultural improvements. The date of the mining is unclear, but it appears to predate the 19th Century mining, and open working of this kind is generally associated with earlier iron working - they may be medieval or even earlier. These remains were surveyed as part of a 1:1000 survey of the Burrow Farm mine complex carried out in Spring 1999 as part of RCHME's Exmoor Project. [21] The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the site a survival score of 0. [26] The site was surveyed in June 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. It was given a survival score of 7. [28]

Sources/Archives (28)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Map Collection Reference . Corr 6 inch (L V Grinsell 1962).
  • <2> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information or Staff Comments. R2 DJG, 29 January 1985.
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. CPE/UK/1944 3145-3146 (23 January 1947).
  • <4> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 543/2821 (F62) 0289-0290 (27 April 1964).
  • <5> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/70387 500-501 (25 September 1970).
  • <6> Monograph: Sellick, R.. 1970. The West Somerset Mineral Railway and the Story of the Brendon Hills Iron Mines. David and Charles Limited. Second. P. 28, 39, 40, 46, 47, 100.
  • <7> Collection: RCHME: Brendon Hills Mapping Project, ST 03 SW.
  • <8> Report: Jones, M.H.. 1995. Notes on some of the Brendon Hills Iron Mines and the West Somerset Mineral Railway.
  • <9> Report: Jones, M.H.. 1995. Report on Proposed Low-Key Visitor Access to Industrial Sites on the Brendon Hills. P.14.
  • <10> Report: Coate, S.. The Brendon Hills Iron Industry. P.5.
  • <11> Map: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1962. 6" ST03SW.
  • <12> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1904. 25" sheet. 58(3).
  • <13> Monograph: Bryant T.C. 1980. The Hollow Hills of Brendon. 6-7.
  • <14> Photograph: February 198. Slide (SCC Planning Department). 3.003.0030.
  • <15> Map: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1985. ST03SW. 20, 21.
  • <16> Map: Historic Environment Service 8ft:1" HBC 3.003.-6.
  • <17> Map: Historic Environment Service 8ft:1" HBC 3.003.-5 (reconstruction).
  • <18> Aerial photograph: Infra red, IRLS 2RAF2915 181504:29ZAPR94 RSTGT.
  • <19> Aerial photograph: 1993, 1994. DAP VU 1-2.
  • <20> Photograph: 3.3.94. Slide SCC 3.3.226-229.
  • <21> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 1999.
  • <22> Archive: Burrow Farm Iron Mine/ink survey. 1351092.
  • <23> Archive: Burrow Farm Iron Mine/pencil survey. 1351109.
  • <24> Report: Instone, E.. 1995. English Heritage Monuments Protection Programme Industrial Monuments Assessment, Step 3 Reports: The Iron Mining Industry.
  • <25> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1889.
  • <26> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2009. Final Results Table: Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment.
  • <27> Monograph: Buchanan, R.A. 1980. Industrial Archaeology of Central Southern England. P 115 (Illustration).
  • <28> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015.



Grid reference Centred ST 0101 3449 (693m by 240m) (Centred on)
Map sheet ST03SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO252
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO253
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11079
  • Listed Building List Entry UID: 265597
  • National Monuments Record reference: ST 03 SW20
  • National Monuments Record reference: ST 03 SW21
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 188486
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 188487
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 33376
  • ViewFinder: AA99/06791

Record last edited

Jul 25 2016 8:29AM


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