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Roughly between 1870 and 1880 there was a demand in the larger towns of the Southwest for kerbstones and small blocks of granite for paving town streets. The small squarish blocks were known as setts, and it was here on the southern and eastern slops of the Staple Tors that much of the paving for Plymouth’s streets was manufactured.
First of all boulders of moorstone were drilled and split. The row of semi-cylindrical holes are still to be seen in many places. These were then laboriously split again into shorter lenths and trundled to the benches, or “bankers” at which the sett maker worked. These may be foumd either singly or in groups.
They consisted simply of a flat boulder mounted at a slight angle on two stout supports and set well in to the slope. Here the sett makers would stand or kneel. With hammer and chisel the blocks would be cut and squared to the required size. A worker might produce about forty during a day’s toil. The finished stone were loaded on to carts and then taken to the railway station at Tavistock.
Although a few of these bankers have been discovered elsewhere there is nowhere such a concentration of them as on these slopes.
William Duke who developed Merrivale Quarry in c1874, had been involved with the nearby Foggingtor Quarry, the stone cutting then took place inside the Merrivale Quarry and the bankers ceased to be used.
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum