The whole of the Trowlesworthy tors ridge bears witness to the craft of the stone cutter with split rocks littering the hillside. Just north of Little Trowlesworthy tor sit a huge cylinder of granite which is trigged upon a large flat slab. In letterboxing terms this is known as ‘The Bandstand’. Nobody seems to know why it is so called because its intended purpose was very different. Hemery states:
“A few yards from the bury is an immense, rounded block of granite having the appearance of some monstrous cheese; it is the result of an over-ambitious nineteenth century project to provide a base for a flagpole at Devonport dockyard, the finished block proving too much for the transportations techniques of the day.”
Crossing briefly mentions the block by commenting, “The huge cylindrical block lying on the ground was intended for the base of a monument.” Date wise Hemery’s comments would certainly fit with Crossing’s writings of the late 1800’s. It is considered that a nearby quarry produced a particularly fine grade of red granite which could explain why the rock here was used for the base.
This does however serve as but one of many partially finished granite items on Dartmoor. These include stone troughs, millstones, apple crushers, and even some corbels that were destined for the old London Bridge. The reasons why they were abandoned can be varied, in some cases they simply split, in others they were no longer required or as above they were too heavy to transport. The whole reason for theses abandoned artefacts occur on the open moor is that in many cases it was easier to finish the item in-situ thus reducing the finished item’s weight as opposed to hauling a heavy full slab of granite off the moor and then cutting it to shape. Many of the locations of these abandoned artefacts are well known to regular moor walkers but sadly some of them are becoming the target of thieves. With today’s technology it is a lot easier to take them away and in an age when a granite trough can fetch several hundreds of pounds they are becoming easy targets.
Many of these artefacts along with the stone crosses and other features have become part of an initiative that involves small microchips being hidden on them. This will ensure that if any of them are stolen and offered for sale there is no argument as to where they came from.