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A ruined tor that may have been the original Snappers Tor

Mike Brown (SX 5761 6922) mentions "an apparently un-named tor", in this area. This is located on the edge of a deep tinners' gert, into which some large rocks have fallen. The tor must have been quite impressive when it was intact. He suggests in his CD-ROM Guide to Dartmoor (2001) that to clarify the situation, this tor, with the two fields adjacent called Snappers, should be named Snappers Tor. The two tors visible from Middleworth are then referred to as West Middleworth and East Middleworth Tors (athough I would think the names "Middleworth" and "Little Middleworth" would have been more easily used in the past). 

Brown then goes on gleefully to muddy the waters further! He points out that at 5768 6937 is Little Down Tor, with its poised rock that looks like a logan stone. As this tor is in the higher Snappers field perhaps it should be called Higher Snappers and the one pictured below should be Lower or Little Snappers. Ho-hum .....


Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

The original Snappers Tor?


The blue circle, superimposed on the 1905 25-inch OS map above indicates the position of the ruined tor, or what remains of it, on the edge of the tinners' gert.  

The field to the north of the gert, marked "1110" in the OS surveyor's notebook, is plot 1074 on the 1840 Walkhampton tithe map (see below). In the tithe apportionments this is called "Snappers" and is part of "West Middleworthy".

The field to the south, marked "1095" in the surveyor's notebook, is plot 1096 on the tithe map, and in the apportionments this is also called "Snappers" and is part of "Middleworthy". The smaller numbers are acreages. 

The tithe apportionments further say that the landowner was Sir Ralph Lopes and the occupier of both tenements was Henry Pearse.

It seems reasonable that, with these fields both being called "Snappers" and there being signs of a lost tor alongside, that the tor may also have been called "Snappers".


Devon County Council

Section of the 1840 Walkhampton tithe map


Area of scattered rocks at SX 57684 69298, near the site of the ruined tor .....


View from inside the gert showing some of the rocks ..... the large rock at the top right was recorded as being at SX 57639 69257 .....


A bushy lichen growing on the end of a broken twig .....


Fallen rocks in the gert .....


Another view ..... the gert is about 30 feet deep at this point .....


Looking north in the gert .....


The walking pole is 5 ft 3 ins (1.62 metres) in length .....


Looking south down the gert towards Middleworth Lane - it becomes quite narrow and somewhat deeper down towards the trees - these are alongside Middleworth Lane. 

The ruined Snappers Tor seen from across the gert.


Little Snappers Tor in the field marked 1096 in the tirhe map (called Snappers in the Tithe Apportionments), at SX 57530 69170.

The nomencalture here doesn't quite follow Mike Brown in his CD-ROM Guide to Dartmoor (2001) in that he suggests that the poised rock be Higher Snappers Tor and the ruined tor be Lower or Little Snappers Tor. The relevant sections from the guide .....


Further eastwards are the scattered rock piles of an apparently un-named tor, the non-cohesive piles of which consist mainly of immense granite boulders which seem to have been hurled in anger around the hillside by some unknown primeval force. Huge slabs totter on the brink of a deep tinners’ gert, and the rock face extends to the floor of this working into which a very large boulder has fallen. Low flatter outcrops of little significance occur further uphill. Interestingly, it is this pile which stands almost on the old boundary between the two Snappers fields — one located above, and one below, on the other side of the gert — so to resolve matters once and for all, perhaps this little rock pile should from henceforth be known as Snappers Tor, and the other two (see above) as West Middleworth and East Middleworth Tors. But there is yet more! —


The low scattered outcrops spread over quite a wide area on the western toe of Down Tor are referred to by some as Little Down Tor. A logan-type rock is poised atop an isolated outcrop at the western foot of the slope. This tor, larger than any of the others on the lower slopes of Down Tor, is also situated within the higher of the Snappers enclosure. So the nomenclature suggested above has to be immediately revised, and the name Higher Snappers assigned to this tor, and Lower or Little Snappers given to the less cohesive pile lower downslope.


Upon which note I shall leave the matter rest, before total confusion sets in!

He doesn't mention the small tor in the last photograph above - the naming of some tors can be a tricky business!


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