Historic Environment Record images

MSO8964 - Smoky Bottom Pit

ENPHER Number:MSO8964
Name:Smoky Bottom Pit
Type of Record:Monument
Grid Reference:SS 979 352

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Little is known of the pit's history but it had ceased operations by 1867. Owned by the Brendon Hills Iron Ore Company, it was also known as the Smallcombe Bottom Mine. An elongated spoil heap is visible as an earthwork on aerial photographs.

Monument Types

  • IRONSTONE MINE (AD 19th Century - 1800 AD? to 1887 AD? (Unclassified))

Designated Status: none recorded


"Smoky Bottom Pit" is marked on the 6" map of 1962 and the 25" map of 1904. [1,2]

Little is known of its history but it had ceased operations by 1867. It was owned by the Brendon Hills Iron Ore Company and was also known as the Smallcombe Bottom Mine. [3]

Located at SS 9785 3525 is elongated spoil heap associated with the above mentioned Smokey Bottom ironstone mine. The tip was seen as an earthwork and mapped from aerial photographs. [5,6]

By 1865 the depth of the shaft was such that the portable engine at Smoky Bottom Pit was not able to effectively drain the mine. Rather than construct a permanent engine house, Smoky Bottom mine was connected with the new engine drift at Langham Hill, approximately 350 metres to the north. The Langham Hill drift was sunk in 1886 and a cross cut driven south, undercutting and draining Smoky Bottom. Winding from the surface at Smoky Bottom subsequently ceased, the engine removed and timber structure dismantled. As at Langham Hill, the new owner of the Chargot Estate, James Harvey Insole insisted that all mining remains at Smoky Bottom be covered with spoil, presumably imported from Langham Hill. The engine house was excavated in 1985-1986 by the Somerset Industrial Archaeological Society. [9]

The shaft is situated at circa SS 97793512, its location marked by two beech trees. [10]

Following the partial uncovering of stonework adjacent to a 19th Century iron mine, members of SIAS began an excavation to record and interpret the remains. Although the mine's operating period was believed to be of short duration, preliminary results suggest at least two phases of construction. [11]

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

<2> Ordnance Survey, 1904, 25" sheet, 58(1) (Map). SSO1535.

<3> Sellick R, 1970, The West Somerset Mineral Railway, 40 (Monograph). SSO1911.

<4> Bryant T.C, 1980, The Hollow Hills of Brendon, 6 (Monograph). SSO815.

<5> 1947, LHL CPE/UK/1980, 3337 (Aerial photograph). SSO289.

<6> 1947, LHL CPE/UK/1980, 3338 (Aerial photograph). SSO289.

<7> RCHME: Brendon Hills Mapping Project, SS93NE (Collection). SMO6673.

<8> The Hartley Conservation Partnership + David Sekers Consulting Partnership, 2004, West Somerset Mineral Railway Conservation Plan, P.28 (Report). SEM6860.

<9> Jones, M.H., 1995, Notes on some of the Brendon Hills Iron Mines and the West Somerset Mineral Railway, P.12 (Report). SEM7046.

<10> Jones, M.H., 1995, Report on Proposed Low-Key Visitor Access to Industrial Sites on the Brendon Hills, P.15 (Report). SEM7005.

<11> Somerset Industrial Archaeological Society, 1990, Somerset Industrial Archaeological Society Visit to the Brendon Hills, P3-4 (Unpublished document). SEM7038.

<12> Murless, B, 1986, in Dennison, E "Somerset Archaeology 1986", 160 (Article in serial). SSO1413.

Related records

MSO8965Parent of: Smoky Bottom Level (Monument)

Other References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO799
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11084
  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 93 NE39
  • National Park
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1127751
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33381
Date Last Edited:Apr 30 2018 11:03PM


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