HISTORY OF CLEARBROOK
There is no evidence of the existence of "Clearbrook Hamlet" before 1850; this is supported by the lack of any identification of Clearbrook in White's Directory for that year. It is known however that at that time two farms covered the area what is now known as Clearbrook. Mabor Farm had the land to the north of the road and Ham tenement (now Hanns Cottage) the land to the south of it and along the river Meavy, with one interesting exception: Ham also included Parsons field on which the west end of the "Hamlet" is built. By chance the earlier parts of the east end are built on another of Ham's fields, Gussey Park. (Ref. Tithe map 1843). Although at this period in time there is still no evidence of the existence of a hamlet or village bearing the name of Clearbrook. It has come to light that the original deed of "Moor Cottage" (1847), refers to "Parsons Field otherwise Clearbrook Field", but there is no explanation for the change of title. The buyers of the original piece of Parsons field were named as a miller and five miners, who sold off parcels of land as potential building sites.
Mining is considered to be one of the reasons for the eventual establishment of Clearbrook as a hamlet, with the first recorded information of this being in 1600. At this time it was established that Roborough Down was crossed by a number of east-west lodes of tin extending from Yeoland Farm to the river Meavy, in all about 10 lodes. On 15th November 1600 a letter sent by Sir Walter Raleigh to Sir Robert Cecil reads: " A gentleman, Mr. Crymes, hath erected certain clash-mylls upon Roburghe Down to work the tynn (tin) which upon that place gott with extreme labor and charge out of the ground. And because the townsmen of Plymouth seeke to procure all the commoditie thereabouts into their own hands, they allege that their mylls are prejudiciall to them and that the course of their water, which runneth through Plymouth, is diverted, contrary to a statue". Sir Walter came down on the side of the minners. (Spelling as the original document).
There is evidence that the Yeoland mine, situated between what is now Clearbrook and Yelverton was in operation in the 1770's, although it is likely that it was copper being mined at this time rather than tin. It has been identified in various historic references of the time, that in 1780 an isolated farmhouse existed in the area which was converted into an Alehouse for the miners, and which in later years was to become the "Skylark Inn". In 1823 the Plymouth and Dartmoor Railroad known locally as 'the tramway' was built which existed west of the Plymouth Leat. The old building on the edge of the golf course was Tyrwhitt's stable, where the ponies were changed, fed and stabled between Yelverton and Plymouth. The Tramway exists until about 1880, but operates intermittently beyond 1840.
By 1859 the Great Western Railway branch line from Plymouth to Tavistock had been completed, although at this stage there was no station at Yelverton, which was not completed until 1885, and the halt at Clearbrook did not exist until 1929. By 1862 the isolated farmhouse had become an alehouse with the conveyance of the property to a George Rolestone.
Mining was still the main source of employment, and in 1866 a Captain Joel Manley of Horrabridge was putting down a shaft at Elderwood (Olderwood on maps), at a depth of 7 fathoms and was finding about 200lbs of black tin to the ton of ore. In 1881 a new company is formed called Yeoland Consols Mining Co. Ltd. with a starting capital of £60,00.The chief agent was Joel Manley from 1881 to 1884 and employed 6 underground and 2 surface workers. The mine continued to operate and by 1883 it employed 15 underground and 15 surface workers, but only produced 16cwt of tin, which was sent to Redruth Tin Smelting Company. No machinery had been erected and no arrangements had been made to bring water to the mine. From this point onwards the mine was in a state of decline through lack of investment and went into liquidation in 1887 and by 1892 it closed down and the owners went to America.
Clearbrook today is still very much a hamlet although normally referred to as Clearbrook Village. There are about 100 adults now residing in Clearbrook, with a variable number of children as additions to families are born and older members of the family leave school, go off to university and fail to return to the family home. Some 30% to 40% of the residents are retired from full time employment, with the majority of the remainder ether running a business or employed within a 10mile radius of Clearbrook.
In 1998 Clearbrook said a sad farewell to its almost 100year old corrugated iron clad Reading Room which had served them well as a Meeting Place, Village Hall and Polling Station for so long.
The New Village Hall which was built with 50% funding from The Millennium Commission, has made a big contribution to well being and enjoyment of Clearbrook residents, and has proven to be an enjoyable site for the numbers of employees and staff of the many organizations who use the facilities for staff training.
It has also been a very popular venue for wedding receptions, birthday parties both children and adults.
Clearbrook is reasonably quiet during the weekdays with walking groups and a few visitors to the Sky Lark Inn. At the weekends and especially during the summer months, Clearbrook comes alive with cyclist young and old, families, and cycling groups using the Route 27 Cycle Path from Plymouth in the south and from Tavistock and Yelverton in the north.