Report on Shaugh Iron Mine

by transcribed by Mike Brown, Dartmoor Press
Published December 2012

Further to the interesting summer visit to the industries at Shaugh Bridge, guided by Peter Roberts, members might be interested in a short report on the Shaugh Iron Mine, surveyed in 1874. The report, in the form of a letter dated 13th July 1874, was directed to C L Radcliffe, esq., and was written by Thomas Gregory. The addressee was Copplestone L Radcliffe, then land agent for the Maristow Estate. The surveyor was, I am sure, the person of this name who had been a mine captain at Furzehill Mine in Walkhampton from 1861-1863 (I am not sure where he later worked). He was the son of another Thomas Gregory who had in the early decades of the century been a mine captain at Eylesbarrow Mine in Sheepstor. The 1843 headstone to Thomas Gregory senior stands in Walkhampton churchyard. The family originally hailed from Bere Ferrers.

The report refers to a plan, but notwithstanding the absence of the latter (which unfortunately is too large to be reproduced) it is hoped the text alone will be of interest to members. Both documents (letter and plan) can be seen in the Plymouth & West Devon RO (874/MB 17/4/24). The report is transcribed in full below:

“Brogden Iron Mines, Shaugh. Agreeable with your instructions I have inspected this Mine, and for my assistance took with me one of the Miners from our own Mines, who for some years worked much of his time at the Brogden Mine. At A A A marked on the plan, most of the lode has been taken away at this depth. And from our own trial & searching the bottom of the Levels, at and about those places indicated, we broke very good Ore, which appears to be going down in a Satisfactory Manner, towards D on the plan.

To work this Ore, in an Economical & mine like way it will be necessary Either to Drive up the South Adit, at E, or put up a water wheel, with pumping gear attached, And clear up the Old Shaft at B. In this way the Mine can be kept drained very cheaply, and the Ore raised to surface. The line of the old or former Water Course to the mine over Shaugh Down, from the Cad Can be traced & which I presume is available for such purposes, as may be required at the Mine.

I am assured by Old Miners who worked here many years since that the Mine was in good Ore at the bottom of the shaft B, but the then enormous prices paid for Carriage of the Ore together with the low price of the same was the principal Cause of suspension at that time & not for want of Ore.

C C. Trial pits in search of the Lode, South of the Old Workings, or fault, have not in my opinion been Sunk at the required depth to prove the existence of the Lode, or otherwise from all the information I can obtain these pits have been shallow & its very possible not on the Main line of the Lode. I am of the opinion those trials should be continued yet deeper – Any little increase of water might be kept off by a Small hand pump.

Seeing there has been such large quantities of Ore raised in the shallow space of 5 fm below surface, And our trial proof this day of Ore going down well at A A I cannot for a moment entertain an opinion that the Ore is exhausted & the Mine worked out.

Deeper Sinkings Are required, therefore the shaft should be sunk and a few new levels at D see plan, or resume the south deep Adit at E – possibly the Erection of Water wheel &c will be found the Cheapest & quickest mode to develop the Mine, in length & Depth, when I have no doubt the Lodes will be found of Equal Value which will Yield a large & profitable output of Ore, for a long time to come.”

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