MSO8859 - Burrow Farm Engine House (Building)


An engine house for a Cornish pumping engine, built approximately 1860 at Burrow Farm Mine by Henry Skewis, Mines Captain. It has an associated drying shed to the west, used for drying miners' clothing.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

Full Description

[ST 00843451] Barrow Farm Pit (Iron Ore) Disused (NAT) [1] Burrow Farm Mine, one of a number of mines built in the Brendon Hills iron field, was first sunk about 1860. The engine house was probably built in 1880 [2] and housed a rotary beam engine serving the dual purpose of pumping and winding. The building was constructed of small killas slabs without worked quoins, with railway sleepers as lintels, and incorporates a round chimney with its upper courses of brick, on the Cornish pattern. A short branch railway joined it to the West Somerset Mineral Railway (Lin 103). The mine finally closed in 1883. [1-4] 19/1 Listed Grade 2 Burrow Farm Engine House. In a meadow close to the former West Somerset Mineral Railway and to the north east of Burrow Farmhouse. Dating from about 1860. It originally housed a large Cornish type rotary beam engine and did pumping and winding duty at Burrow Farm Mine. Rectangular Cornish features. Two main storeys. Mostly coursed flat rubble slabs. Tall tapering round stack at the north east corner with upper part of red brick. Large opening in north wall and other openings of various sizes in side walls. Some timber lintels. Ruined and roofless at time of survey (1975). [5] The engine house described by the previous authorities is visible on aerial photographs. The earthwork remains of Burrow Farm mine are described in ST 03 SW 20. [6,7] Extant ruined building, comprising of original chimney and engine house (boiler house removed) with later shed. [8] The building has been conserved by Exmoor National Park Authority. It is the last remaining example of a 'Cornish' type engine house in Somerset. [9] Remains of mine engine house and shed, dating to 1880. It was erected by Henry Skewis the mines captain. The building was constructed of local stone and is now a roofless ruin. The drying shed lays to the west of the engine house.This is the best surviving engine house on the Brendon Hills. (Greenfield, Exmoor Review, 1981). [10] 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 recorded under ST 03 SW 20. Surveyed in March 1999 as aprt of RCHME's Exmoor Project. [11-13] Engine house remains as a standing structure and is a listed building. [14] Monument scheduled on 3 September 2004 together with a stretch of mineral railway trackbed. [15] The buildings were visited in June 2013 as part of the rapid condition survey of Exmoor's Listed Buildings 2012-13. The engine house received a BAR score of 5A and the drying shed received a score of 4A. [16] In 1990 the engine house was conserved for public display. [17] The site was photographed in 1999 by the RCHME. [18] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [19] The site was discussed in relation to potential on site interpretation in a newsletter for the West Somerset Mineral Line Association. [20]

Sources/Archives (20)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1889. 1:2500 1st edition, Somerset.
  • <2> Monograph: Sellick, R.. 1970. The West Somerset Mineral Railway and the Story of the Brendon Hills Iron Mines. David and Charles Limited. Second. 39, 40, 46.
  • <3> Monograph: Buchanan, R.A. 1980. Industrial Archaeology of Central Southern England. P. 115 illustration.
  • <4> Article in serial: 1976. Notes and News: Burrow Farm Engine House. Journal of the Somerset Industrial Archaeological Society. 1. P. 46.
  • <5> Index: Department of the Environment. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest . June 1975.
  • <6> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/70387 501-502 (25 September 1970).
  • <7> Collection: RCHME: Brendon Hills Mapping Project, ST 03 SW.
  • <8> Report: The Hartley Conservation Partnership + David Sekers Consulting Partnership. 2004. West Somerset Mineral Railway Conservation Plan. P.34.
  • <9> Report: Jones, M.H.. 1995. Notes on some of the Brendon Hills Iron Mines and the West Somerset Mineral Railway.
  • <10> Index: 4/8/1986. 36th List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, District of West Somerset (Somerset)/Exmoor National Park..
  • <11> Technical drawing: Wilson-North, R. and Riley, H.. 1999. Burrow Farm Iron Mine/ink survey. 1351092. Paper. Pen and Ink.
  • <12> Technical drawing: Wilson-North, R., Jamieson, E., and Riley, H.. 1999. Burrow Farm Iron Mine/pencil survey. Unknown. Permatrace. Pencil.
  • <13> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, March 1999.
  • <14> Unpublished document: ENP. ENP to HBMC.
  • <15> Unpublished document: English Heritage. Letter from English Heritage to Somerset County Council.
  • <16> Report: Lawrence, G.. 2014. Exmoor National Park: Rapid condition survey of listed buildings 2012-13.
  • <17> Report: Instone, E.. 1995. English Heritage Monuments Protection Programme Industrial Monuments Assessment, Step 3 Reports: The Iron Mining Industry.
  • <18> Photograph: Hesketh-Roberts, M.. 1999. Job: Engine House At Burrow Farm. Unknown. Colour. Negative.
  • <19> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 188487, Updated 31 May 2022.
  • <20> Article in serial: Wilson, T.. 2020. Burrow Farm Board. The Old Mineral Line Newsletter. 9. November 2020, 4-6. 4-6.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (4A): 1648/5/11/2
  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (5A): 1648/5/11/1
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO10799
  • Local Heritage List Status (Rejected)
  • National Monuments Record reference: ST 03 SW 21
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NBR Index Number: 99/01480
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 188487
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33376
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 31331
  • ViewFinder: AA99/06791



Grid reference Centred ST 0085 3450 (19m by 13m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ST03SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Related Articles (1)

Record last edited

Nov 30 2022 10:19AM


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