Dan Snaith and his team from Devon Mine Explorers recently spent some time talking to Andrew Burch and exploring the old Chillaton and Hogstor mine. Dan wrote an article for the website for us on his findings. He is always interested in any further information we might have on the mine and those that worked in it.
In 1873 the mines directory published an article stating that the mine was held under a twenty one year lease from H. Chichester and that the proprietors and managers of the Chillaton and Hogstor Mine were the Sims Brothers.
The mine was most productive from 1870 to its closure in 1907 and during this time, the Chillaton and Hogstor mine produced a staggering 46,110 tons of manganese ore and consisted of six shafts and three adits, not including those from the Harris and Narracott mines which were also joined to the workings.
North of the Chillaton and Hogstor Mine there is another mine, which itself is not recorded. For this reason and the fact that it also lays on what would have been H. Chichester’s land I assume that this would have also been part of the Chillaton and Hogstor workings. This mine consists of two shafts of unknown depth and three much smaller adits.
I have recently explored and surveyed two of the adits and the third and two shafts are blocked. What appears to have been the main adit is 460 feet in length, at which point a vertical raise is met. The raise meets a short drive at 30 feet and continues at an incline in the opposite direction. I believe this adit would have been driven quite late in the mines life, possibly in the early 1900’s in a bid to find another body of ore to keep the Chillaton and Hogstor Mine afloat. The other adit is a measly 74 feet in length most probably driven as a trial, also in search of a body of ore.
It appears that Manganese was first found in the area around 1815 when the Manganese mines in the east of Devon began to fail in meeting production requirements. The first year showing a recorded output from the mine was 1856, showing that between then and 1860 including the output of the Lifton, Sydenham, Lewtrenchard and Coryton manganese mines, Chillaton and Hogstor mine produced 3,290 tons of manganese ore, Chillaton and Hogstor being by far the largest producer. At this point the mine was recorded to be 20 fathoms deep and employing seventy people, both as miners and surface workers.