MSO8962 - Gupworthy Old Pit (Monument)


Owned by the Brendon Hills Iron Ore Company. It was begun in 1858 and expanded with the extension of the railway in 1862-3. It briefly closed in 1879 and re-opened in 1881, being worked until 1885. The drying house still stood in 1984.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

Full Description

"Gupworthy Old Pit, disused" is marked on Ordnance Survey maps of 1904 and 1962. [1,2] The mine was owned by the Brendon Hills Iron Ore Company and was begun in 1858 but expanded with the extension of the railway in 1862-3. The underground pumping and winding engine was replaced by a surface engine. By 1867 main drift was 260ft with 10 levels. It was closed in 1879 but re-opened reaching a maximum depth of 461ft in 1881. It closed again in 1885, although there was some 20th Century re-working. Air shaft at SS96823524, main shaft at SS96673531 and engine house at SS96673532. Railway ran close to mine with siding. Spoil heap on south side of the line crossed by raised tramway. Powder magazine at SS96383528. The buildings were robbed for stone in 1907. [3,4] Most of the buildings are ruinous having been robbed for stone. Only the drying house was standing in 1984 and was evidence as a mortared stone slate-roofed structure. The spoil heap was in the process of removal and there was little other trace of workings. [5] Located at SS 9655 3527 is an area of disturbed ground in the region of the above mentioned Gupworthy Old Pit. The features were seen as slight earthworks and mapped from aerial photographs. [6-10] Gupworthy Mine shaft is located adjacent to the West Somerset Mineral Railway line, centred on circa SS 96673531. The pumping and winding engine house was located immediately to the north but has now been demolished, only three anchor bolts remaining on site. [11] Gupworthy Mine was the first opened on the Brendon Hills spathic ore deposits. [12] Initial smelting trials of ore extracted at Gupworthy by Lethbridge took place at Dowlais and Tredegarin south Wales in 1848. Both companies declined to take further ore and additional trials did not take place until 1852. [13] The remains of Gupworthy Old Pit consist of the shaft head now capped with concrete in the garden of a private house, at approximately SS 9667 3532. To the south, at SS 9666 3527, was a massive spoil heap adjacent to the WSMR. That has now been removed and no trace of it survives. [14] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [15] The mine is mentioned in a publication on the industrial archaeology of Somerset. [16]

Sources/Archives (16)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. County Series; 2nd Edition (1st Revision) 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1904.
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560. SS93NE.
  • <3> Monograph: Sellick R. 1970. The West Somerset Mineral Railway. 38, 45, 54, 59.
  • <4> Monograph: Bryant T.C. 1980. The Hollow Hills of Brendon. 5.
  • <5> Verbal communication: Various. 1900-. Somerset County Council / South West Heritage Trust staff comments. I Burrow, 11 April 1984.
  • <6> Aerial photograph: 1947. LHL CPE/UK/1980. 3339,3341.
  • <7> Aerial photograph: September 19. HSL.UK.71-177 Run 97. 8782.
  • <8> Aerial photograph: 1993, 1994. DAP VU 25-6, 28 (1993), WD31-3 (1994).
  • <9> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS9635A.
  • <10> Collection: RCHME: Brendon Hills Mapping Project, SS93NE.
  • <11> Report: Jones, M.H.. 1995. Report on Proposed Low-Key Visitor Access to Industrial Sites on the Brendon Hills. P.17.
  • <12> Report: Coate, S.. The Brendon Hills Iron Industry. P.2-3,5.
  • <13> Report: Lardner, E.. The Brendon Hills and the Iron Industry 1850-1880. P.24.
  • <14> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, March 1999.
  • <15> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1127718, Extant 19 April 2022.
  • <16> Monograph: Daniel, P. (Ed.). 2019. A guide to the industrial archaeology of Somerset. Association for Industrial Archaeology. 2nd Edition. p 70-1, W20.1.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO798
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11082
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO12307
  • Local Heritage List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 93 NE36
  • National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1127718
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33379
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 35435



Grid reference Centred SS 965 352 (272m by 161m) (2 map features)
Map sheet SS93NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Oct 11 2022 1:46PM


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