Historic Environment Record images

MSO7477 - Kennisham Hill Pit

ENPHER Number:MSO7477
Name:Kennisham Hill Pit
Type of Record:Monument
Grid Reference:SS 9698 3582

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Operated by the Brendon Hills Iron Ore Company, the mine had been worked before 1867 by a drift and long adit. It was closed in 1883 and the engine house was demolished in 1978. It is now visible only as earthworks.

Monument Types

  • IRONSTONE MINE (AD 19th Century - 1800 AD? to 1883 AD (Unclassified))
  • ENGINE HOUSE (AD 19th Century - 1867 AD to 1883 AD (Unclassified))

Designated Status: none recorded


"Kennisham Hill Pit, disused" is marked on the 6" 1962 map. it was one of the Brendon Hills Iron Ore Company works. It had been worked before 1867 by a drift 150 ft deep and a long adit which emerged 350 yards to the east. The lodes were wide but the ground was soft and so needed much timbering. Little development until 1873 when a new drift (Curtis's - SS96303608) was sunk which connected with the original adit and reached l00ft by 1874. Ore was carried to Langham pit by means of an aerial cableway called "The Flying Machine". It was closed soon after but repoened in 1879, when it saw its greatest output; Curtis drift reached 468ft. A tramway was laid to Gupworthy Station, the trams being pulled by horses. The mine was finally closed in 1883, with the engine house being demolished in 1973. It had a rotary beam engine which did the pumping and the winding with one winding drum. [1-2]

A water adit and well preserved entrance to the mine, inscribed "G. Collins Kennisham mine" are at SS96853595. [3]

Engine house demolished 1978 but recorded. [4]

There are earthwork remains visible of the mine workings. [7-9]

A single granite block (former cylinder anchor stone) from the original engine house lies within a flat clear area adjacent to the designated picnic site, approximatley 200 metres to the east of the former Engine House. [10]

The pumping and winding engine house was a copy of that at Burrow Farm. It became unsafe and was demolished in 1978, not 1973 as mentioned above. The building was surveyed in 1960 but the survey has not yet been published. [11-13]

The mine was visited by the Russell Society in August 2015. Within the limited time period during which the Russell Society members were able to examine the mineralogy of the dumps (2.5 hours) seven minerals were definitely confirmed, with one “probable” and two “tentative”. Much more field work will be required to get a fuller understanding of the mineralogy. More sites will need to be sampled and detailed chemical analysis in the laboratory will be required. It is hoped to plan a return visit sometime in the future to resume this work. [14]

<1> Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1962, 6" SS93NE (Map). SSO1627.

<2> Sellick, R., 1970, The West Somerset Mineral Railway and the Story of the Brendon Hills Iron Mines, 40, 44, 46, 51-2 (Monograph). SMO5787.

<3> Bryant T.C, 1980, The Hollow Hills of Brendon, 5 (Monograph). SSO815.

<4> Aston, M and Murles, B.J, 1979, Somerset Archaeology 1978, 146 (Article in serial). SSO798.

<5> Anon, 1981, Kennisham Hill Engine House, 40 (Article in serial). SSO733.

<6> Somerset Industrial Archaeology Society, 26.07.77, Somerset Industrial Archaeology Society to Somerset County Council 26.07.77 - destruction of engine house, Correspondence re: demolition, at SCPD (Unpublished document). SSO1942.

<7> Aerial photograph reference number , NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 3339-3340 April 1947 (Aerial photograph). SMO4067.

<8> Western Archaeological Trust, 1980s, Exmoor Aerial Photograph Survey, 9635-6 (Survey). SSO708.

<9> 1947, LHL CPE/UK/1980, 3339-3340 (Aerial photograph). SSO289.

<10> The Hartley Conservation Partnership + David Sekers Consulting Partnership, 2004, West Somerset Mineral Railway Conservation Plan, P.26 (Report). SEM6860.

<11> Jones, M.H., 1995, Report on Proposed Low-Key Visitor Access to Industrial Sites on the Brendon Hills, P.16 (Report). SEM7005.

<12> Jones, M., 1960, Plans, Elevations and Section Drawings of Somerset Mines. (Technical drawing). SEM7218.

<13> Coate, S., The Brendon Hills Iron Industry, P.5 (Report). SEM7045.

<14> Plant, S., 2016, The Russell Society Newsletter: Number 68 (Unpublished document). SEM8474.

Related records

MSO12309Parent of: Aerial ropeway between between Langham and Kennisham Hill Mines (Monument)
MEM15356Parent of: Curtis' shaft at Kennisham Mine (Monument)
MEM15357Parent of: Gregory's Shaft at Kennisham Hill Mine (Monument)
MEM15354Parent of: Kennisham Hill Mine adit (Monument)
MSO10370Parent of: Kennisham Hill Mine adit, Luxborough (Monument)
MEM15355Parent of: Mine shaft at Kennisham Hill Pit (Monument)
MSO11404Parent of: Roman coin find at Kennisham Hill (Find Spot)
MEM15358Parent of: Ventilation Shaft at Kennisham Hill Mine (Monument)

Other References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11389
  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 93 NE60
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1128112
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33745
Date Last Edited:Apr 24 2017 2:43PM


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