Dartmoor Explorations

A collection of walks, discoveries, insights and pictures of exploring Dartmoor National Park

Ilsington Water Works Fire Hydrant Stones

In the parish of Ilsington there are a number of “tombstone” shaped granite pillars which are all inscribed I.W.W near the top which stands for Ilsington Water Works, then F.H near the middle which stands for Fire Hydrant, then a “number” alongside FT near the bottom which stands for the distance in Feet the pillar is from the water hydrant. The author has found very little history about these markers but was advised by Tim Jenkinson that in the Book of Ilsington it is mentioned that mains water came to Haytor in 1914. Therefore it is suggested that the pillars date from around that period. These pillars are around 0.75m tall and are beautifully finished with deeply inscribed letters and numbers. Mike Brown in his Gazetteer of Dartmoor Names (Supplement) recorded eight of these pillars on page 28. This post covers nine pillars thus far known to the author together with their locations, which comprise seven from the Mike Brown Gazetteer plus two others. There may have been more of these pillars originally and they might have been replaced by the “modern” yellow freestanding posts (with plates) seen today. For example there is modern hydrant marker at Smokey Cross where another pillar may have been located.

Map
Map showing the locations of the I.W.W pillars. Numbers 1,2,4-10 were found by the author. Number 3 is not located but mentioned in the Mike Brown Gazetteer.
Map
Table showing the grid references of the I.W.W granite pillars split between the nine found by the author and eight mentioned in the Mike Brown Gazetteer. The one not found is shown in red. The author would like to thank Mark Fenlon for directing him towards the Mike Brown publication and to google earth which clearly shows no. 4
0. Ilsington
Ilsington sign. The location of the Water Works associated with this lovey Dartmoor village is unknown to the author.
1. IWW Haytor a
Ilsington Water Works (I.W.W) Fire Hydrant granite pillar No.1 is located next to the B3387, Bovey Tracey to Widecombe road.
1. IWW Haytor b
The I.W.W pillar No. 1 is located next to a modern Fire Hydrant concrete sign with plate. The pillar is semi-buried, so unfortunately doesn’t show the “distance” (feet) inscription.
1. IWW Haytor c
Contextual view of I.W.W pillar No.1, with Haytor in the distance.
1. IWW Haytor d
Another contextual view of I.W.W pillar No.1, showing its location near a gate.
2. IWW Haytor a
I.W.W pillar No.2 shows the distance to the hydrant as 9 Ft.
2. IWW Haytor b
Location of I.W.W pillar No. 2
2. IWW Haytor c
I.W.W granite pillar No. 2 is inscribed “I.W.W / F.H / 9 FT”
3. IWW Haytor a
Possible location of where I.W.W pillar No. 3 might have been (ref: Mike Brown Gazetteer – Supplement).
3. IWW Haytor b
Possible location of where I.W.W pillar No. 3 might have been (near Meadowside and Firs Trees Cottage). The author engaged a local in conversation and although they were not aware of the pillar did state there was a water tap / source outside of the property called Meadowside.
4. IWW Haytor a
I.W.W pillar No. 4 is in the centre of Haytor Vale (near Rock Inn) where there is still a fire hydrant cover in the road.
4. IWW Haytor b
I.W.W granite pillar No. 4 (after mud makeover) is shown as inscribed “I.W.W / F.H / 3 FT”
4. IWW Haytor c
Rock Inn, Haytor Vale
4. IWW Haytor d
I.W.W granite pillar No. 4 in relation to the modern “H” and hydrant cover in the road.
4. IWW Haytor e
More I.W.W granite pillar No. 4 contextual views.
5. IWW Haytor a
I.W.W granite pillar No. 5 can be found in the hedge line opposite a house called “The Shotts” at the west end of Gold Flake Lane.
5. IWW Haytor b
I.W.W granite pillar No. 5 is inscribed “I.W.W / F.H / 2 FT”
5. IWW Haytor c
On the opposite side of the lane to IWW (number 5) is a property caller “The Shotts” – in estate agent parlance, this is a 7 bedroom detached property with a “magical, fairy tale feel” as inside it has lots of exquisite Moroccan tiles. It has fabulous views.
6. IWW Haytor a
I.W.W granite pillar No. 6 can be found in the hedge line opposite a house called “Bluestone”
6. IWW Haytor b
I.W.W granite pillar No. 6 is inscribed “I.W.W / F.H / 10 FT”
6. IWW Haytor c
Entrance to “Blueburn”. The I.W.W pillars numbered 5,6 and 7 on the sketch map are all located along a lane known locally as Gold Flake Lane. This name is linked to a Violet Wills who lived in Bel Alp House (which is located between “The Shotts” and “Blueburn”) in the 1920s. Apparently the name is a reference to her family’s tobacco industry and how they made their millions. Source: Tim Jenkinson
7. IWW Haytor a
I.W.W granite pillar No. 7 can be found in the hedge line opposite a house called “Shott House”
7. IWW Haytor b
I.W.W granite pillar No. 7 is inscribed “I.W.W / F.H / 2 FT”
7. IWW Haytor c
Contextual view of I.W.W pillar No. 7, which is located at the east end of Gold Flake Lane
8. IWW Ilsington Country Hotel a
I.W.W granite pillar No. 8 can be found by a gateway outside the Ilsington Country Hotel
8. IWW Ilsington Country Hotel b
I.W.W granite pillar No. 8 is inscribed “I.W.W / F.H / 4 FT”
8. IWW Ilsington Country Hotel c
Contextual view of I.W.W pillar No. 8, which is located next to a modern hydrant post
8. IWW Ilsington Country Hotel d
Ilsington Country Hotel. The granite pillar is located at the west entrance
9. IWW Carpenters Arms a
I.W.W granite pillar No. 9 can be found opposite the Carpenters Arms in Ilsington. It is inscribed “I.W.W / F.H / 5 FT”
9. IWW Carpenters Arms b
On top of the I.W.W pillar No. 9 was this small stone with painted message.
9. IWW Carpenters Arms c
Contextual view of the location of I.W.W pillar No. 9
9. IWW Carpenters Arms d
Carpenters Arms
10. IWW Woodgate Cottages a
I.W.W granite pillar No. 10 can be found in Old Liverton near the lane leading to Woodgate Cottages and opposite Mill House. The picture was taken by Tim Jenkinson and can be found on FLICKR and has been included in this post as the light conditions on the stone were excellent and highlights the inscription. Thanks to Tim for allowing this to be included in this post
10. IWW Woodgate Cottages b
I.W.W granite pillar No. 10 is inscribed “I.W.W / F.H / 3 FT”
10. IWW Woodgate Cottages c
Contextual view for I.W.W pillar No. 10 which is opposite a modern fire hydrant sign

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