Gerald Bastable "Ramsley Mine", text only

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Ramsley Hill Copper Mine

Mining activities ??
Fursdon Mine. Adit opened 1850. Ramsley Hill. Last sett granted 1780. Ref: White 1850 p. 206.
Exploratory adit. Local syndicate, rights extending over whole of Ramsley Hill. Shaft sunk 10-20 fathoms and drained by small water-wheel.
Fursdon Mine, listed as Manor Mine 1854 at North foot of Ramsley Hill.
Lease sold to London Co. who started another adit in another part of sett. Lodes intersected at 25 fathoms from surface.
Manor Mine - reported North-South lead lode found yielding 15 ozs per ton. Series of Chancery suits followed.
Devon Copper and Silver Lead Mine. Advertised 1 Jan 1856.
Ramsley Hill Mining Company Ltd. Ref. MJ and Dines. Formed to take over Manor Mine liquidated 1858.
Fursdon Mining Company Ltd. for working of Ramsley Hill Mine.
February. George Fursdon - Lord of the Manor. Celebration of new 50'x4' wheel for shaft named sic "Ellen". South Tawton Silver Band at Oxenham Arms.
45 fathom shaft. 45 employed.
Fursdon Copper Mine. Main shaft 55 fathoms. (31 fathoms below adit.) A second wheel 45' diameter for crushing. Law suits and Company wound up in Stannary Court.
Property acquired by Fursdon Great Consolidated Mining Company Ltd. Languished - M. E. Jobling Manager. Ref. MJ, Dines, Spargo 1868, Williams 1862.
Fursdon Great Consolidated Mining Company Ltd. M. E. Jobling Manager 1862. But in 1876 the title was changed to Wheal Emily. Dissolved June 1883. London Gazette. (Whites Gazetteer 1878. Huel Emily ex Fursdon.) See note on Wheal or Huel.
Sett taken overy by Emily Copper Mines aka Wheal Emily. AGM of Dec. 1882 reports that two overshot wheels had been erected before the present Company bought the sett. M.E. Jobling ad friends had spent a considerable sum of money on the mine. A 77 fathom lode was being driven East of the shaft. The Engine shaft was being sun to the 82 fathom level.
Emily Mine.
Emily Copper Mines Ltd. Jobling was manager and also vendor.
Emily Copper Mines became South Tawton Copper Mines Ltd. Ref. MJ. MW and Dines. South Tawton Copper Mines Ltd. M.E. Jobling ex Emil Copper Mines Ltd. adjoined Ramsley Hill Mines.
Jan. 1900. Property acquired by Ramsley Exploration Company. Stated that Emily Mines ex Fursdon being worked by Company. M.E. Jobling was manager 1900-1910. Engine or Lamberts shaft on North lode adjoining the Exeter Road and sunk to 170 fathom level below adit. Western or Joblings shaft, 70 fathoms WSW of Engine Shaft, 73 fathoms deep. Adit exit level with road in Ramsley Hamlet.

Note. Wheal derives from Huel, still used in Britanny. (Celtic)

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There were other mining activities in the area:

Ford Farm Arsenic and Copper Works. Old shaft in wood 150 yds SW of farm. 1900 and 1910 local company ran out of money.
Cawsand Vale Mining Company Ltd. Ref:MJ, Sir W. W. Smyth, Ward Lock Guide to Dartmoor 1925 p. 17.
South Tawton Consols. Ref: Dines 1956 p. 753.
Zeal Manor Mine. (see above)
Zeal Manor Mining Company Ltd. Struck off. (see above)
South Zeal Consols aka Fursdon and Wheal Emily.
West Fursdon aka Owlsfoot. Ref: James Trace South Zeal.
(White-Gazette-1890. Trace-victualler-S. Zeal)

Various Directories mention the following in connection with the mine:

Post Office 1866 p. 1099
Fursdon Copper Mine. John Collins. Res. Manager. Great-grandfather of Mrs. Green. South Zeal Consols. Robert Brook Res. Manager.
Post Office 1873 p. 14
Fursdon Great Consolidated Mining Company Ltd. Man. Director M. E. Jobling. Mining Agent John Edwards. Res. Agent John Crocker.
Morris p. 631
Fursdon Copper John Edwards Manager.
" " 1870 p. 632
South Zeal Consols Robert Brook Manager.
Fursdon Great Consolidated Mining Company Limited.
" " 1878 p. 646
John Edwards Managing Agent, John Crocker Res. Agent.
Whites 1878/9 p. 727/8
Emily Mining John Crocker Res. Agent.
Kelly's p. 398/457
South Tawton. Emily Copper Mines Ltd.
" " 1883
Managing Director M. E. Jobling. Res. Agent Isaac Thomas.
" " 1889 p. 543
Emily Copper. Jobling and Warne.
" " 1890 p. 891
Emily Mining Company Ltd. Res. Agent D. S. Warne.
" " 1893 p. 594
ditto, Managing Director Jobling, Res. Agent D. S. Warne.
" " p. 667
Ramsley Exploration Syndicate. Managing Director M. E. Jobling, Res. Agent D. S. Warne (lived at Owlsfoot).

The Registers for 1851, 61, 71 and 81 show various miners. These would be those who were in residence on the day of the census. Many other tradesmen worked at the mine; such as masons and carpenters. Nor would the miners listed have necessarily worked at Ramsley and may have worked at several different mines. See page 19.

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Press cuttings - courtesy of G. Fursdon Esq.

[The archive contains a sheet with photocopies of a number of newspaper articles. Some dates are included but we are still trying to identify the newspapers. GB has transcribed these articles below; we have corrected his transcriptions in a few cases. The sheet was sent to GB by Mr E. David Fursdon on 9 January 1990 with an apology that he was not at that time in a position to do further research on this material. (WH, Nov 2015)]

May 15, 1858 Ramsley Hill. C. Henwood, R. Barkell. Since our last report we have set the following bargains:- A level to be driven west, on north lode, from adit cross-cut by four men, 4 fms, or the month, at £2.10s per fm. The lode in the end is 3 ft. wide, carrying a leader of ore on the footwall, worth 2 1/2 tons, or £25 per fm; the other part of the lode being composed of flookan, prian, mundic, and ore, good saving work. A level to drive west of said cross-cut, on south lode, by two men, 4 fms, stent, at £2.10s per fm. This lode being 14 or 15 ft. wide, we are driving on the north part of it, where we have a leader of copper, 6 in. wide, of good quality, which is enlarging going down, samples of which we have sent on to the Mining Journal. Pauly's stope in back of adit, west of cross-cut, let to two men, at 43s. per fm. This stope is not as well as last reported, as we are getting shallower; it will now turn out 1 ton of ore per fm. We are now engaged in dialing, levelling, etc. preparatory to sinking the shaft and erecting our engine-wheel. We have now at Copplestone Station 48 tons of copper ore; on the mine dressed about 15 tons, making 63 tons, which would have been at Copplestone, as stated in our last report, if we could have got carriers to take it. We beg to say the mine is never looking so well as it is at this present time.

Mining in Devonshire. Dec.1, 1858 The Ramsley Hill and Zeal Manor Mines. These mines are situated in the immediate vicinity of South Zeal, Okehampton, Devon, and are on the property of G. Fursdon Esq., and both setts have exhibited such indications of mineral wealth as to attract considerable notice, not only in the country but amongst persons connected with mining matters in the metropolis. The Ramsley Hill Mine has been worked to some extent under the name of the Fursdon Major Mine, and although the former adventurers were not remunerated for their outlay and the operations of the Company were suspended; the locality was considered to present such promising indications, that a new company was formed under the name of the Ramsley Hill Mining Company, and the works have been prosecuted with vigour and a remarkable degree of success. Since the operations were resumed parcels of ore of excellent quality have been raised from the mine and sold, and but little doubt is entertained that ere long, it will be in the dividend list. The mine is divided into 5,000 shares upon which £1.5s has been paid, and the current market value is £2.10s to £3 per share. A recent report states that in the shaft, not more than 5 fathoms below the adit level, there is a fine lode of copper ore of the full width of the shaft (6ft) from which rocks of copper ore of 1 to 5 cwt each are being raised, and the report further asserts that "there is not such another thing to be seen in the two Counties, leaving out the Great Devon Consols". The Zeal Manor Mine is separated from the Western boundary of the Ramsley Hill Mine by a water-course only, and the lodes of the one sett traverse the other. The course of the lodes is Westerly and dip from the Ramsley Hill sett into that of the Zeal Manor Mine. There is therefore, every reason to suppose that, at a shallow depth, the ore bearing lodes of the adjoining mine will be cut rich. The locality is one which geologists are unanimous in opinion is calculated to bear metallic ores in abundance, being at the junction of the granite and killas or clay slate, and there is every indication at present that

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the Zeal Manor Mine will furnish another proof of the correctness of the scientific inference. Since the commencement of the operations, about the middle of last August (the mine is a virgin mine) no fewer than 7 lodes have been intersected, varying in width from 18 inches to 30 feet, all of which present satisfactory indications of mineral. The plan of operations followed has been to commence an adit level, close to the Eastern boundary, which has been driven in a Westerly direction for some few fathoms, and there a cross-cut North was commenced, for the purpose of proving the ground and determining the best point for sinking the engine shaft, to command the various lodes on the sett. About 25fms have been driven in cross-cutting, and 7 lodes have been intersected, of which 5 are large champion lodes. The lodes are composed of flucan, mundic, gossan, sugar-spar and stones of copper ore of a highly promising character. The Company is divided into 6,000 shares of £1.2s.6d each, and is in the hands of private individuals, but a few dealings have taken place in the shares at £1.7s.6d to £1.10s per share. The discovery of the extensive deposits of copper ore at the Ramsley Hill Mine have excited great interest in the locality, and there can be little doubt but that if the present promise of the mines is realized to anything like the extent anticipated from the appearance of the lodes, and the character of the strata, that the district is likely to become as important as that in which Devon Great Consols is situated, some few miles to the South-west of the Ramsley Hill and Zeal Manor Mines.

Mining Notabilia. (Extracts from our Correspondence.)
No date. Sticklepath (Devon). The success at Ramsley Hill has caused excitement in this neighbourhood. Several setts have been secured, and will, it is said, be put to work forthwith. From this mine 50 tons of ore have been forwarded to Swansea. The weather here for the last day or two has been so very wet, that it has been impossible for the people to stand on the floors, thus retarding operations. The river at the mouth of the adit has swollen to such an extent as to be breast high; no ore could therefore be wheeled out, though broken. The leader of copper in the level driven North, and from which a considerable quantity of ore was raised, but which was disordered by a slide, has been re-cut by a cross-cut a few feet North; it is a fine branch of solid ore, about 5 or 6' wide, worth 1.5 to 2 tons/fm. On the West a large sett has been obtained from Mr. George Fursdon. On the East also an extensive sett has been taken from the runs of copper at Ramsley. There can be no doubt of the productiveness of these lodes on either hand. Had this mine been laid out as mines usually are, the returns could have been quadruped; but the capital of the company being supplied chiefly by one individual, who holds nearly two-thirds of the mine, and lives on the spot, none but the most urgent of expenses were entered into and even these were confined to purposes of discovery; therefore, now that the ore is found, and in large quantities withal, facilities are wanting to obtain it at the lowest cost. The air in the levels is so bad that the men cannot work as they could wis. Tramways are wanted for running out the ore; wheels for sinking below the water levels are requisite and are now about to be provided. It were well if a medium course were adopted; extreme caution has its disadvantages as well as over-sanguine endeavours in mining operations. We too frequently see dressing-floors laid out without ore being in the mine to decorate them, and fine count-houses and mine buildings erected for little more than ornament, or to

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become the property of the land-holder. The projectors of the neighbouring mines will do wisely if they profit by their neighbours example.

Ivy Tor. Commented on. South Tawton (Wheal Fortune between Gooseford and Ramsley). Commented on
At the Ramsley Mine injudicious dressing of the ore has ruined their first sample. The ore, being raised above the adit or water-level, and what is called gossany and black ore, is very light; this has been improperly crushed and put to water - the old-fashioned formulae practised, as a matter of course, involving considerable expense. The modern method, and certainly the proper one, would have been to have prevented even heavy rains from coming in contact with the ore of this nature. It should have been sent off as soon as possible, and in as large masses as could be procured free from waste; then crushed at Swansea, and sold for what it would fetch, instead of the treatment it has received. We commend these remarks to the proprietors which, if practised, they will find will much improve their sampling of low ores, and save their cost-sheets. The greatest drawback of mining here is the cost of carriage to a sea-port, Copplestone being the nearest railway depot to get the ores etc., to the coast at Fremlington or Barnstaple, whence the freight to Swansea is light. A railway is projected from this station to Okehampton, which, if carried out will be of vast benefit to the locality. A few good mines opening will undoubtedly be a great stimulus towards its being made, as the carriage of their ores and materials must necessarily form a considerable item in their returns.

A strong prejudice against mining operations is entertained by certain landlords who have properties here, induced in some degree by the gross mis-management hitherto practised. This will, however, be soon dispelled if a good mine or two be opened; nothing has a greater tendency to do so. The desire for increase of riches from beneath the soil is very infectious; it not only enriches the proprietor, but confers a benefit on the entire population. it is money found.

January 14th, 1865. Fursdon Copper
This is, so to speak, an old mine, but it is intended to become a new company. It makes no disguise of past failures, the causes of which reflect no discredit on the existing management. The original capital has been expended in providing the best and most capable machinery, and the true wisdom in doing so is being exemplified in the returns which are now being made. A trifle more of practical as well as zealous assistance is alone required to elevate the undertaking to a flourishing condition; and moreover, which is rarely to be met with these days, the board is quire prepared to receive into its numbers, by resignation of one or more of its present members, any active and experienced capitalist who would devote himself to its management. There is a frankness and open-ness in the whole concern which we heartily admire, and hence our confidence that an early and complete prosperity is about to dawn upon the undertaking. The new issue of shares, we should remark, extends to 5,000 of £1.10s each, but it is calculated that not more than one third of this number will be required to place the mine in thorough working order. Further information with copies of last Report and Balance-sheet, Inspector's report etc., may be obtained at the Offices of the Company, St. Michael's Chambers, Cornhill. Applications for shares can be made to the

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Secretary or any of the Directors.

Jan. 14th 1865. Fursdon Mining Co. Ltd.
Original capital £7,500 in 5,000 shares at £1.10s each.
Second issue, 5,000 shares at £1.10s each.
Lucius H. Fitzgerald Esq., St. Johns Wood N.W.
Charles R. Hoare Esq., 21 Old Sq., Linoln's Inn, W.C.
Walter L. Rogers Esq., 89, Montagu Sq. W.
Charles Fursdon Esq., Howden, Tiverton, Devon.
Secretary: John Hitchins, St. Michaels Chambers, Cornhill.
Solicitor: E. L. Hooper Esq., 37, Southampton Buildings, Chancery Lane.
Bankers: Paget & Bainbridge, St. Pauls Churchyard.

The Fursdon Mine is situated on the borders of Dartmoor, near the village of South Zeal, on the Exeter and Okehampton road. it is held on a lease of 21 yrs. (from June, 1860), with free water power, sufficient for all purposes, at a Royalty of 1/15. It has machinery in good working order, and ample for many years to come. During the four years that it has been worked by the present company, the Fursdon Mine has produced £6,000 worth of copper ore, for the monthly sales of which during the past year see the Mining Journal. But having been originally begun as a private adventure and its capital has been found insufficient and the lowest level driven is only 21 fms below the surface. The lode here is now being worked, and according to the last accounts, is worth £15 per fathom. The Directors have had the mine inspected from time to time by Captain Z. Williams and Mr. John Hitchins, who are satisfied with the soundness of the undertaking, and promising character of the ground, and strongly urge the vigorous prosecution of the works. Encouraged by such high authority as this, and the favourable results already obtained, the Directors have determined to make the undertaking public, as a mining investment of unexceptionable character, and more than ordinary promise. At a Special General Meeting convened for the purpose, the number of shares was doubled, but the Directors believe, according to the best estimate they have been able to obtain, that no more than one third of the second issue will be required, as they are raising 35 tons of ore (averaging £4 to £5 per ton) per month. About one quarter of this amount has already been allotted to, or applied for, by present share-holders, and as soon as a sufficient number has been subscribed for, the works will be pushed on with rapidity, and the opening of fresh levels, which, now that the position of the lodes is known, can be done without delay or speculation will render the issue of more shares unnecessary.

1870 THIS IS TO GIVE NOTICE, under the Provisions for that purpose contained in a certain Indenture, dated the fourth day of December, one thousand eight hundred and sixty one, and made between me the undersigned George Fursdon, late of No. 6, Westbourne Park, in the County of Middlesex, but now of The Avenue, in the Parish of Brampford Speke, in the County of Devon, of the one part, and the Fursdon Mining Company, of the other part, all and singular the Licences and Authorities granted by the said Indenture, have become absolutely forfeited, and I intend forthwith to enter and take possession of the limits and premises thereby granted, and the Mines therein, and the Ores and Minerals thereon.
George Fursdon.
Witness. WM. HENRY TOLLER, Solicitor, Barnstable. 12th May, 1870.

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South Zeal. Presentation.
The employees of the Fursdon Great Consolidated Copper Mining Company (Limited) and others residing in the neighbourhood of the mine, have presented on a recent Tuesday Mr. M. E. Jobling, the managing director of the company, with three handsome pieces of silver to show their appreciation of the successful and energetic manner in which he has been conducting the mine for the last 18 months. Proceedings commenced at 7.30 pm at the Oxenham Arms, where the Rev. J. Bliss, the newly appointed vicar, took the chair, and in a suitable speech, which was feelingly responded to by Mr. Jobling, made the presentation. A vote of thanks was passed to the chairman, who then retired, and the rest of the evening was spent in music and dancing, the magistrates having kindly granted an extra hour. The room was tastefully decorated by the ladies, of whom there was a good muster, and the pleasantness of the evening was further augmented by the presence of the Okehampton Band, who, in order to show their respect for Mr. Jobling, came over and played a choice selection of music. All thanks are due to Mr. R. J. Curson for his successful conduct of the proceedings.

[The next items are GB's notes on some published sources.]

Thomas Spargo, The Mines of Devon and Cornwall.

In 5,000 shares. 1850: first entry of miner in S. Tawton Parish Register. About 150 worked there later.
Manager. Captain John Collins, Sticklepath.
Depth of adit 24fms. No steam machinery. The water is pumped by a 50'x4' wheel; crushing is by a 35'x4' wheel.
Minerals sold in 1866: Copper ore 159t. 13cwt. 2qu. for £822. 6s. 4d.
The Company commenced operations in 1860, now being wound up by Stannary Court.

Kelly's Directory 1866

Fursdon Copper Mine. S. Tawton. o.5 miles form village. Nearest shipping for ores at Morwellham 24 miles. Nearest railway station at Belstone Corner 4 miles. Only one shaft, sunk to 50fms. The adit has been driven 60fms. Mine worked by water-power. 5 known lodes on sett running East and West. Managing Agent Captain J. Collins.

Post Office Directory 1873 p. 14

Fursdon Great Consolidated Mining Company Limited.
The nearest place for shipping ores at present is Fremington, but it is intended to convey the ores to Plymouth when the railway is completed between Okehampton and Lidford Junction, 24 miles from the mine and the nearest railway station is at Okehamption, 4 miles. Mine worked by water-power, 4 known lodes on sett running East & West. Managing Director M.E. Jobling. M. Agent J. Edwards, Res. Agent John Crocker.

[The next item seems to be notes of GB collected from various sources, not all named.]

General Notes.

Ramsley Hill is located on the Northern edge of the Dartmoor Granite mass and consists of metamorphosed culm measures with granite and greenstone intruding. The curring of the hill for the passing of the old A.30 showed a cross-section of country rock with lodes and branches of mispickel (mundic), fluorspar, pyrite, traces of copper ore and ferruginous quartz.
Exlporatory adits showed three beds (lods) dipping steeply also

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there are several vertical slides (see sections and John Collins notes.) The dumps on the West side (see plan.) carry limestone, actinolite, axinite sprinkled with chalcopyrite crustals, mispickel and pyrite. The varius prospectuses mention flucan (floocan), mundic, sugar-spar and prian.

Production details are given variously:

1858 211t.
1866 158t. Worth £822.6s.4d
1865 for last 4 yrs. Worth £6,000 (see prospectus)
1877 84t. 17qtrs. 3cwt. Worth £233.6s.5d. (Whites Gazetteer)
186101889 6036t.
1883-1887 966t. Worth £3,543.
1901-1909 3752t. Worth £20,762.

There were various shafts and lodes, at various depths and going in various directions. (see sections and plans)

1. The main Engine or Lamberts shaft (see O.S.maps) to 170fms. below adit which is 32fms. below ground (an adit level is near Dry Bridge in Ramsley Lane).

2. Wester or Joblings shaft about 70fms. WSW of Engine shaft to 50fms. below adit and connected to Engine shaft at 21 & 41fm. levels.

3. An old shaft, Pytch;s shaft, on the higher ground but not mentioned. [? not maintained (WH)]

1851. Small water-wheel and 10-12fm. shaft.
1859. 50'x4' water-wheel installed. (see Celebration in Oxenham Arms.)
1862. Mine 45fms. deep.
1868. 55 fms deep. 35'x4' crushing wheel.
1881. Two over-shot wheels erected. 72fm level being driven East of shaft. Engine shaft being sunk to 82fm. level. Turbine, air compessor and rock drills on site.
1900. Engine shaft to 170fm. Joblings shaft to 73fm. (but see surveys) Middle and South lodes to 60fm. level.
Double skips installed in Engline shaft, steam engine with Cornish lift pump installed. Water powered the plant and was carried across the Throwleigh Road on an aqueduct to the river (see old photographs and site plan). Steam engine also raied ore tubs which travelled by tramway to covered dressing floors. The metal flue from the steam engline which led to the chimney stack ran through the shed which allowed miners to dry their wet clothes. Heavy lifting gear for engine room shafts and cable drum axles was housed in a stoe wall at rear of shaft. The calbes ran up the shaft over pulleys to carry the pit cages. Water power was provided by an overshot wheel working plunger pumps in a shaft by means of a line of flat rods (see diagram). An angle-bob converted the horizontal motion of the flat rods to a vertical motion for the pump plungers. A balance box kept the rods in tension. The flat rods were either mounted on rollers on vertical stands or hung from "A" frames. On long runs balance boxes were required at both ends. They were extremely noisy in operation and there was considerable loss of power so the leat was extended as far as possible to cut down on the operating distance. (see artefacts in Museum)

[The next two items were transcribed from cyclostyled copies that are in GB's collection (STLHG55.20b). The origin and ownership of these documents is unclear. But since Hamilton Jenkin on page 105 of his Mines of Devon (2005) transcribes a diagram that is part of the second report, without any statement of its source, it seems that this material has passed into common ownership. (WH)]

Report on Ramsley Mine, North Plymouth Mining Syndicate. 1916? Ramsley and Wheal Emily (Copper)

There is a certain amount of doubt as to the naming of this mine, because the local people call the whole place |Wheal Emily". We have evidence from books showing that Ramsley is the name of the larger concern, so Wheal Emily is probably the smaller affair by the stream. In Collins book Ramsley and Wheal Emily are taken together.

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Ramsley was not worked on a lode in the true sense of the word, but on a bed of ore, dipping at a high angle and resembling a lode. The lode is supposed to extend 1.5 miles lengthways. The shaft is directly above the Exeter road; there were two cages and the head gear, with shutes, is in good condition. In 1916 there were signs that the property was being looked after and it is possible that information could be obtained from the house where the mine track joins the Exeter road. (otices were sighted warning people not to damage any thing.) Access could not be obtained to the interior of the winding-house, but a large steam engine could be seen by moving a loose board. There are several other houses but there was nothing of interest in them. Above the main part of the mine there is a sawmill where the timber for use underground was cut to shape.

Cornish lift pumps drained the mine. There is a fair sized wheel (formerly enclosed in a casing), near the road. The water delivered by the pumps was run over the wheel. Formerly there were a number of wooden sheds on the dumps, where the ore must have been treated. These were not there when the mine was visited, but a photo post card of the mine when working shows them. The dumps are not especially interesting. Between the years 1901-1909 Ramsley sold 3,572t. of ore for £20,762 (from Collins book).

The mine shut down in 1911. The mine is worth a visit.

The remains of Wheal Emily are below Ramsley, near a stream. There is an old house with a stack and wheel pit, probably a mill, and the remains of what might be dressing floors. There are some yellow sand dumps and some very overgrown burrows.

F. C. Ferguson. President.

Report on Ramsley Mine. Visited on 31st. August. 1920

Situated on Okehampton-Exeter road 4.5 miles from Okehampton. The mine was worked for copper - the deposit being a bed trhough called a lode locally, and shut down about 12 yrs. ago. About 100 men were employed according to information obtained locally, and much of the mineral was lost in dressing, as the plant is said to have been designed for gold mining. The mine was visited.

Winding house - Engine horizontal, steam. In place 1916.
Boiler house - No boiler.
Sawmill, powder house and several other sheds, chimney.

1 vertical, about 40fms. clear, then water of unknown depth. Divided into hoisting and pumping compartiments - timber rather rotten. 4 guides for 2 cages. Pumps and balance bobs in position. No ladderway observed, stonework at mouth.

For 2 pulleys, in fair condition, with ore bin and shute closed by iron doors. A prominent landmark, as it is built on the edge of a steep slope above the road.

Cornish lift, worked by - 'overshot water-wheel. The wheel is in fair condition - buckets rather rotten in places - iron rim castings &c, perfectly sound. The balance bobs and connecting rods have been removed, though in place in 1916. The leat is dry and mostly filled up and part of the wooden launder has been removed. The wheels supporting the moving rods and the woodwork have been taken away. The

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whole was more or less in working order in 1916.

Dressing floors.
There is a cement floor about 50 yds.x15 yds. on the edge of the hillside at the top of the dumps. There are tw roofless houses at either end, and pieces of glass and other debris lying about. A photo postcard taken when the mine was working shows that the dressing plant was roofed in.

Very extensive, sloping down to the road at a steep angle. They are largely sandy and loose, of reddish brown colour, composed mostly of treated material.

Mineral found. no details. This sub-para. is a blank.

An adit was found, opening on the road to S. Zeal and Tawton, a short distance from the bridge under the main road. It is driven into yellowish clay-slate, and as far as was seen, no timering had been used, the whole being in exellent condition. It runs in a N&S direction at the entrance, then bending in a SE direction. A few yards from the entrance a cross cut was observed on the left with possibly a winze (ventilation shaft cross-cut). At this point the level and cross-ct are flooded to a depth of about one foot and the exploration was not continued. The adit is in perfect condition as far as could be seen, but the water probably gets rather deep further in. The right side was hollowed out a little in one place; this and the winze on the left suggest that the adit is driven on the bed, which could underlie East.

The mine is interesting and well worth a visit. The adit should show the method of working and the character of the bed. The water should not be deep enough to prevent exploration.

The postcard referred to above may be obtained at S.Tawton or Sticklepath. Hutchings and Sons tea shop at West end of Okehampton is recommended to members.

F.C. Ferguson
Sep. 1st. 1920.

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[The following item must surely be one of the most interesting items in GB's collection on the Ramsley mine. It is a transcription of part of the resident mine manager's log for around 1866, passed down to his great-granddaughter Mrs Green (cf. page 2 above). Very few firsthand documents of this kind survive. But GB seems to give no indication of what kind of document he was working from. Did he transcribe directly from the log book, or has he copied a page of transcriptions? Is there more available? And who is Mrs Green? Tom Greeves has provided some clues on this last question. She was Mrs Mary Green, who lived in South Zeal and died around 2000; he remembers attending her funeral. It would be good to make contact with her family. (WH Nov 2015)]

Fursdon Mine, 1866
Report of Captain John Collins. (Mine Captain was an honorary title as opposed to one granted by Royal Commission; it was, however jealously and zealously upheld and recognized.) By courtesy of Mrs. Green.

Jul. 4th. The stope (a ledge in which copper is worked) in bottom of 21.west is looking better this week, though not rich. The lode in the pitch of the bottom of 11.east is worth about 12s. per fathom. At this place we are sinking by the side of the cross-course for stopes, the ground being easier for breaking.

Aug. 22nd. The load at the adit is worth £20 per fm. but we cannot make the progress we wish having to sink for stopes 4.5fms. below the bottom of the level. The lode in the 11.east is improving a little but not rich. Progress at this place is slow, having only two men employed. We calculate to sample for this month above 20t. of good quality ore. The produce of the last ore sampled is 8.5%.

Aug. 29th. The lode in the adit has been poor for some days past but at present it is looking favourable. I have not seen anything more promising for good returns since I have been here. The lode in the 11.east presents a promising appearance.

Aug. 31st. The lode at the adit is looking, at present, well worth about £25 per fm. for length of our working. At the 11.east the lode is likely to improve very much; where we have cut through the cross-course we find ore increasing, only heaved a little south. if this place turns out agreeable to our expectations we shall be able to place the coy. in a very different position. We are now in a position to pay considerably over the working cost.

Jan. 3rd. The east end at 31 is being driven 1fm. 4ft. The lode driven thus is worth £8 per fm. In the present end the lode is disordered by a hard bar of ground crossing it, now worth £3p.f.; it has the appearance of killas (clay slate); we have driven North 5ft. in search of the lode end, now in dark killas and more frain?. The pitch in back of 21.west is worth £5 p.f. The pitch in back of the adit level is poor. We shall not be ready to commence sinking again in less than a month.

Jan. 10th. The end in the 31.east is still in the hard bar of ground which makes the progress slow but promising ground for ore. The cross cut North in the 31.west is in a change of ground which appears part of the lode, but we are not in it far enough to be fully satisfied. The pitches are much the same in value as last week.

Jan. 17th. The cross-cut North in the 31.west is through the run of ground referred to last week, and now in dark coloured capel which runs parallel with the lodes trhoughout the mine. I believe this to be the same branch heaved by the cross-course, which we are driving on East in the 31. The branch in the 31.east is poor and the ground is still hard. I expect an improvement as soon as we get a more favourable change of ground. The pitches are the same in value as for some weeks.

Jan. 24th. The lode in the 31.east is turned a little South by the hard bar of ground we have had; we have cut into it and find it worth £3 p.f. and liekly to improve. We are driving the 31.west in a direction to come under the run of ore ground gone down in the bottom of 21.ewest; by driving in this direction we expect to intersect the branch now North of the present level; the ground is favourable for progress, driving at £3 p.f.. No change to pitches in back of 21 & 11.west. The pitch in the back of 11.east is improved.

(Page 12)
The lode is worth £8 p.f.. This is 2fms. above the back of of the 11.east of the winze leading from the adit to the 11.

Jan. 31st. We have not made much progress in the 31.east, having been employed in taking out the South side of the level, to see if we have all the lode; the lode is 6ft. wide, composed of capel, quartz and copper ore worth from £4 to £5 p.f. The end in the 31.west is still killas and favourable for progress, at the North side there is a little change, more black ground, not unlike the South side of the lode. The pitch in back of the 31 is still worth £8 p.f.. Other places without change to notice.

Feb. 14th. The end of the 41.east has improved; the ground more favourable for progress and from the present appearance we may expect an early improvement. The 31.west is still in killas now driving at 30s. p.f. No other changes to notice. The pitch back of the 11.west has a little improved, is worth £10 p.f.. We are now putting in timber to secure the shart and we shall begin to sink next week. We expect to sample next week about 30t. of ore.

Feb. 21st. The lode in the end of the 31.east is changeable, at present hard and not producing much ore. It appears we are not in settled ground, being interrupted by cross-coursing. We have taken the 11 men from the pitch in the back of 11 .west and put them with the end men at the 31. The shaft is secured and the sinking resumed at £18 p.f..

Feb. 28th. The Engine shaft is now 4ft. below the bottom flat at the 31 fm. level. The ground is moderate for progress and producing occasional stones of ore. The ground in the end of 31.west is a little harder and, letting out a little water. The end is now 12fms. from the shaft. A short cross-cut at this point would, I believe, intersect the North branch and this I would recommend being done at once. We expect to sample on Friday about 36t. of ore.

Mar. 6th. The Engine shaft is 2fm. 2ft. below the 31. We had 30t. of ore dressed which did not reach Morwellham in time to sample.

Mar. 28th. About 20t. of ore.

Apr. 4th.

Apr. 18th. If the lode continues good by end of month I believe it will be better to set it in tutwork with more men, as this is whole ground.

(Page 13)
Example of shipments at Morwellham
Courtesy of Mrs. Brown.

Vessel. Heroine.
Weight. 95.06.00. (21t. 1cwt. 1 quarter; 21cwt is long ton)

D/M/1872. 9.May.
Produce. 4.375% 3% 9.475%
D/M/1872. 21.May. 21.May. 21.May.
Purchaser. English Copper Co.Ltd. Vivian Sons. Sims Sons.
Gross weight. - 31.07.00. 16.12.00
Moisture/lb and draft.
3.5lbs. to3cwt.
Nett weight. 28.07.00 15.09.03
Price/cwt. £2.?.? £9.?.?
Gross Amount. £86.11.00 £70.16s.08d. £45.07s.03d.
Agents charges.
Nett amount.
Total. Gross Weight. Nett Weight. Gross Amount.
97.10.00. 88.15.03. £202.14s.11d

Amongst other vessels noted were the 'Maria', 'Lady Harvey', 'Aurora'.
In 1873 - 'Frolic', 'Heroine', 'Acorn', 'Express'.
In 1878 - 'Frolic', 'Lark', 'Alert', 'Brunswick'.
In 1879 - 'Brunswick' and 'Lewis'.
Purchasers noted were:
1872 - Williams Foster Co., English Copper Co., Vivian Sons, Sims Sons.
1873 - Williams Foster Co., English Copper Co., Sweetland Tuttle Co., C. Lambert, Landore Copper Co.
1878 - Landore Copper Co.
1879 - Landore Copper Co., Sweetland and Co.
1885 - Elliott Metal Co., C. Lambert and Co., Vivian Sons, William Foster Co.

Duke of Bedford's Papers. Tavistock Canal Ledgers.

Entries for copper ore received from Fursdon Mine for carriage to Morwellham.

Tons Cwt £. s. d.
1860. Aug. 21 - 15 9
Sep. 29 10 1 12 1 1/2
Oct. 3 2 3
Nov. 40 10 1 10 4 1/2
1861. Jan. 32 1 4
Feb. 29 1 1 9
Mar. 6 10 4 10 1/2
Apr.,May,Jun. NIL
Jul. 53 10 2 1 1/2
Aug. 34 1 5 6
Sep. 30 1 2 6
Oct. 27 1 - 3
Nov. 35 10 1 6 7 1/2
Dec. 49 1 16 9

(Page 14)

Miners and the Mine.

Captain John Collins was agent at Ramsley but also at Belstone Consols in 1872. (see MJ of Jan. 1873.)

In Apr. 1844 he married Anna Maria Palmer.

22 Jan. 1871. John Crocker - agent at Ramsley - married Miss Brookland at Belstone Parish Church. Celebrated at Devonshire Inn (the host was Mr. Knapman) in Sticklepath. The previous agent, Mr. Burgoyne, took the chair. (see Devon Weekly Times)

The Bolt family recollect their grandmother working at the mine and operating the ventilation shaft; between 6-12yrs. old, paid 6d a day, was a Wonacott, also related to Mortimer & Gillard. 1897?

Blanche Wonacott [sic] was great-aunt of Redstone.

Mrs. Letheren of Ramsley Cottages - her father, Arthur Rowe and her grandfather, Roy Cooper both worked in the mine but she has no other information.

Captain O'Neill - grandfathers report in Mining Journal. Redruth.

Mrs. Liz Morris great-grandfather was mining captain.

M/s Harvey was a oook for Mr. Jobling.

Freeman - aeroplane landed, Sopwith ? after WW1. Captain Oscar Gregg [sic], who was 8th. victim of the Red Baron.

Admiral Lauder?? collected minerals from mine.

Newcome - postcards - wife in Tedburn St. Mary.?

Mrs. Owens grandfather, who started his medical practice in Okehampton, acted as doctor for the mine.

It is said that the engine from the mine was removed and used for threshing.

Marriage Register. S. Tawton. 1850-1860.

28. Jul. 1850.
William Dunston - miner, father - miner, Susan Blackley. Witness James Crocker.
09. Jun. 1853.
Elijah While. - miner, rather John White - miner, Catherine Newcombe.
William Osborne - granite mason. Elizabet Holman.
14. Jul. 1958.
William Worden - miner. Mary Woods.
26. Dec. 1859.
William Holman - miner, father William Holman - miner. Eliza Cottle.
05. Feb. 1860.
Robert Roberts - miner. Jane Counter.
14. Nov. 1860.
James Friend - miner, father John Friend - miner. Elizabeth Cooper.

(Page 15)
Geology of Mine
[This section was written by GB himself.]

The mine lies to the East of the Sticklepath Fault just off a spur of the Dartmoor Granite mass in a continuation of the mineralized beds of the Carboniferous Group of the Lower Culm measure which runs in a narrow band on the fringe of North Dartmoor. It is intruded by a dyke (a wall of hot, molten rock formed below ground which has a vertical attitude unless subsequently folded.) The Sticklepath Fault extends from Torbay - the Bovey Basin - through Sticklepath to the Cockington Beds, near Bideford. As a result of this fault the Greenhil section of the bed slid North and the Ramsley section slid South giving a separation of about 2000 yds. A tremor occurred in Sticklepath in 1955 (ref: Percy Brooke.) Ramsley stream runs along the valley of the fault and joins the Taw at Taw Green. This stream provided and took away the water used in the mining operations via a leat and aqueduct.

The presence of copper bearing minerals is due to the formation of mineral beds vertically and laterally related to the thermal gradients which existed between the hot granite magma and the cooler land surfaces. Successive cooler zones were suitable for: first tin, then copper followed by lead/zinc and lastly iron mineralization. Minearals in each zone crystallized under a particular set of temperature/pressure conditions.

The old coach road used to run through S. Zeal and the cutting of the new A.30 road (now the old A.30) showed the folding of the ground. Because of the various faults and upheavals complex mine workings were necessary (see plans and sections). The lodes lie East and West; those to the West ending at the Sticklepath Fault. There were three main beds, the North lode being the richest and going down 170 fm. below the adit level which is 32 fm. below ground level which is on the 800ft. contour. (1212ft. below ground level). Stoping is reasonably extensive to 140 fm. (see sections.) The middle lode was similar but South lode only went down to the 60 fm. level. There are a considerable number of minerals associated with the site some of which can be found on the dumps.


rock composed of angular fragments.
containining lime.
anthracitic shale - Devonian for coal.
a group of basic rocks connecting the gabbros with the basalt and including many of the rocks once called "greenstone".
an igneous rock, comprising felspar and augite.
minerals consisting of anhydrous aluminium silicates combined with potassium, sodium or barium; part of many igneous and metamorphic rocks.
a mineral of black or greenish black colour found in volcanic rocks. Pyroxene.
flint, hornstone.
brittle, flinty variety of quartz.
igneous rock of felspar and augite.
a combination of silica with a base.
a silicate of aluminium and lime.
a zoolite which is a silicate of aluminuu and soda.
a petrified or fossilized animal substance.
Ray stone, a dark green variety of amphibole.

(Page 16)

Hornblende - silica of magnesia, lime, iron & aluminium.
combination of sulphur with iron, cobalt, copper, nickel.
sulphide of copper & iron.
sulphide of arsenic.
Floocan (Fluccan)
earthy clay in transverse mineral vein.
ore of arsenic. Compound of arsenic, sulphur & iron.
iron or arsenic pyrites.
acetate of lead.
loose, crumbling mix of ferruginous clay with or without a proportion of grey matter. Characteristic of copper.
a series of strata beginning immediately above the Cretaceous rokcs -> chalky -> uppermost formation of the secondary rocks. Intruded or extruded igneous rocks. 1st period of Cenozoic era: 2-65 million years ago.
shelf from which copper ore was extracted. Could be over or underhand.
small shaft sunk from one level to another for ventilation.
horizontal or inclined passage to or from mine for access, ventilation, drainage.

(Page 17)
Economics and Finances
[This section was written by GB himself.]

Adventurers and Share

The Lord of the Manor or owner of the sett employed a Toller who authorised a grant or Tollers licence to search for minerals on the sett. If found to be worth while then negotiations were started to form a company and raise capital, normally on a 21 year lease. For small mines the Cost Book System was used. This laid down the special laws, rules and regulations for running the mine. Originally the shares were 8 or 16 per mine then in multiples up to 1024 which was the limit for the Cost Book System i.e.: moving from a Private Partnership to a Public Company. Later, as more capital was required Companies started with 5/6,000 shares.

The Adventurers were the private individuals who were persuaded by the advertising to purchase shares with the hope of making a profit. The Cost Book gave the accounts and records of the Adventure together with a record of the leases and the shares per person and any transfer of shares. Also the appointments of the Manager, Purser, Agents, Mine-captains and etc. Meetings were held once a month to share profits and losses but later this became once every two months or worse, deferred in the hope of a good report. An adventurer could sell or transfer his shares or relinquish his shares to avid further liability. If calls were not paid for then the shares were forfeited; there was unlimited liability but the shareholder would only pay for his proportion of the liability. Managers etc. could be hired and fired and the mine even closed down.

If the mine was well run, this worked but investment in machinery and plant could be minimal and no provision could be made for reserve sums to cover periods of lost or poor production. The worst aspect was the taking out as found instead of maintaining reserves against hard times. In hard times repeated calls were made on shareholders so no one was interested except in a short slump. This system fell into disuse for obvious reasons and Companies were formed with limited liability.

The miners originally worked for about four hours but with improved ventilation this "core" time increased to six and eight hours. This meant a twelve hour day allowing for getting to the mine, going down the ladder and getting to the work face and returning. Time was told by candles, if these burnt out and they returned to the surface too soon then they lost pay. Ventilation was awful; later improved by the cutting of winzes and adits and shafts to the surface; by a water operated wheel which drove a fan or windmill at the surface which drew up the stale air. The working temperature was about 80-100 degrees F. Fortunately, since there is no methane in clay, there was no risk of fire damp.

There were various types of workers at the mine:

The mine captain or agent would decide a price for the pitch and tributers would bid downwards on settling day to work that pitch for a percentage of the ore. This gave scope for a lot of fiddles and needed an eagle eyed captain on sampling day.
Paid to work, generally by the fathom, on contract.
Surface or Dressing Labourers, Carpenters, Masons and etc.
Mine girls and Women.
The miner paired with a mate or mates.

(Page 18)
Wages. The Cornish Miner.
P. 230 Captains £80-90 per annum. Up to £100 at good mines.
P. 332 Miners 15-16s. per week.
P. 342 Mining Journal 19th April 1879.
1893 Mine girls 1-1/6 per diem; surface labourers £4 per month; Miners £3-3.10s per month.
De la Beche, p. 205 1836-1837 Average Monthly Wages - Tributers £2.18s.2d; Tutworkers £2.13s.8d; Dressing Labourers £2.2s.8d.

This was better than the average agricultural wage. There were "perks"; certain paid holidays, bonuses laid down by Stannary Law.
A main daily meal cost 2d.
A Senior Civil Servant at that time got about £250 p.a.
Miners paid into a fund, run by themselves to cover accidents and injuries since medical care was poor or non-existent although a hospital was eventually set up in Cornwall for miners. A local doctor might be called to the mine at 6d. a visit but generally the miners looked after themselves. Medical treatment was primitive anyway. The 'bal' club which the miners paid into could be raided by the agents and owners. cf. Mirror Group & Maxwell! Nothing is new. Various Commissions were set up to investigate the lot of the miners which meant well but the mining in this country was overtaken by events abroad and a lot of the miners had to emigrate to carry on their calling.

(Page 19)

1851. No miners listed in S. Tawton Parish. This seems odd, cf the Marriage Register.


John Arthur 42 Zeal
Richard Barkle 43 Zeal
James Callaway 45 Br.Cott.
William Cann 16 Zeal
George Cooper 16 Zeal
William Cottle 16 Zeal
Ann Cottle 13 Zeal
John Dawe 33 Prospect
Thomas Dawe 31 Zeal
Joseph Ellis 42 Zeal
James Friend 22 Zeal
William Holman 20 Zeal
George Hornbrook 52 Prospect
Henry Hornbrook 21 Prospect
William Jackman 20 Zeal
James Knott 35 Ramsley
John Knott 13 Ramsley
Robert Roberts 43 Zeal
John Rice 31 Prospect
Thomas White 21 Zeal
John Wood 50 Ramsley
William Pyne 21 Zeal
William Wolden 27 Zeal
Chas. Williams 26 Zeal


Will. Burgoyne 30 Prospect
Will. Clarke 27 Zeal
Anna Maria Collins 49 Zeal (wife)
George Cooper 38 Zeal
John Cottle 18 Zeal
George Counter 21 Zeal
John Counter 24 Zeal
Thomas Dawe 41 Zeal
William Holman 30 Zeal
Mary Jope ? Zeal (wife)
Robert Roberts 56 Zeal
Alex Robins 42 Zeal
James Tregoning 40 Zeal
John Warne 22 Zeal
Richard Webber 33 Prospect
Geo. Westaway 25 Prospect
Thomas White 31 Zeal


Will. Burgoyne 40 Zeal
George Cooper 34 Zeal
George Counter 29 Zeal
James Friend 41 Sticklepath
?? Friend 16 Bridge
George Hornbrook 16 Prospect
Richard Lentern 35 Ramsley
John Rice 51 Zeal
John Crocker 40
John Rouse 35
Geo. Westaway 33
John Rice 24 Zeal
Jas. Roberts 16 Zeal
John Rowe 37 Prospect
Elias Tucker 37 Zeal
Jas. Clarke 49 Sticklepath
Tho. Dawe 25 Sticklepath
Maria Martin ? Sticklepath (wife)
Tho. Osborne 58 Sticklepath
Tho. Osborne 28 Sticklepath
Wm. Osborne 34 Sticklepath
James Neill 34 Mine Ho. Belstone
Sam Oldridge 46 Village

1891 Fiche No;s 0274, 0275, 279, Exeter West Country Studies

D.S. Warne 46
John Stanlake 37
Geo. Endacott 35
Tho. Dawe 61
Sil. Wedlake 13
Joseph Endacott 12
John Rouse 13
Jas. Friend 52
John Hillier 36 Sticklepath
John Osborne 26 Sticklepath
Jas. Hillier 64 Sticklepath
Thomas John 50
Richard Lentern 43
Jas. Neill 44 Manager
Tho. Wedlake 19
Geo. Endacott 20
Alf. Wonacott 18
John Rice 61
Rob. H. Rice 35 Sticklepath
Tho. Dawe 28 Sticklepath
Will. Bennett 23 Sticklepath
Francis Hillier 18 Sticklepath

(Page 20)
1891. Fiche No. 0279. (0280 Sampford Courtenay Nil.)

Albert Hillier 29 Sticklepath

There were, also, a number of stone masons who probably worked at the mine and may well have worked as miners, cf. photographs.

Masons, Stone Masons, Stone-cutters and Stone-breakers: 1891 Census.

John Bennett 28 Sticklepath
Will Hillier 14 Sticklepath
Geo. Counter 59 S. Zeal
Geo. Osborne 17
Jas. Glanville 72
Jas. Cooper 39
Ed. Woods 30
Tho. Hamlyn 29
Will Counter 33
Rob. Cooper 46
Sam Knott 78
Will Counter 58 S. Zeal
John Endacott 30
David Osborne 57
Jas. Cottle 27
Will Osborne 30
Jas. Pearse 44
Geo. Counter 48
Jas. Ford 33
Jas. Madders 30
Rob. Cooper 24
Jas. Glanville 33
Geo. Glanville 41

John Crocker was Mine Agent (q.v.) and also Parish Clerk.
James Neill was also Mine Agent, but not for Ramsley.
For Agents, Managers and etc. c.f. page 2.

There are a very great number of books on mining in the South West and Ramsley/Fursdon is mentioned en passant in several of them but the information available has never been collected together. I should first like to thank various contributors and then mention a few of the publications.

Mrs. Green, Mr. Fursdon, Mr. Shaw, Mrs. Letheren, the Bolt family, Percy Brooks, Mr. Richardson of Totnes and especially Mr. J. Brooke of Marazion.

For any one wishing to read about mining the Devon Union List in the Okehampton Public Library lists books and where they can be found.

Jenkins A.K.H. The Cornish Miner, Mines of Devon N&E Dartmoor.
Collins, J.H. Observations on the West of England Mining Region.
Dines. The Metalliferous Mining Regions of S.W. England.
Broughton. Reprt on Geology, Mineralory & Mining of N.E. Dartmoor.
De la Beche. Report on Geology of Cornwall, Devon & W. Somerset.
Spargo. Mines of Devon & Cornwall.
Ward Lock Guide to Dartmoor.
Geology of the country around Okehampton.
Brooke, J. The Brooke Register.
The Mining Journals/
H.S.E. Mining Records of Abandoned Mines.
Okehampton Public Library, Devon Records Office, West Country Studies Library.
Census Returns. 1851-1891.
Kelly's Directories, Post Office Directories, Morris's Directory, Harrod's Directory, Whites Directory.
Photographs from Mrs. Green, Mrs. Wonacott & Mr. Hill. Taken originally by Mr. Newcombe.


South Tawton Local History Group has an active Facebook page with interesting historical and recent photographs regularly appearing.

Map of South Zeal

In 2013 the South Tawton Local History Group installed a board with a historical map of South Zeal at the South Zeal car park:

Map of South Zeal