Three Hares2

Come and visit Chagford and see how many Three Hares you can find! It is believed that the tinners used the three hares symbol which was then known as the ‘Tinners Rabbits’.

Once Tinners Rabbits

Now hares of granite

Their meaning a mystery

Obscured in history

Some carved in wood

Some made of clay

Some easy to find

Some hidden away

The three hares of Chagford

Are there to be found

Ears joined together

Going round and around

The beautiful and ancient town of Chagford, known as the ‘Jewel of Dartmoor’ is nestled on the north eastern side of the moor. In 1305 Edward 1st granted it the right to become a Stannary Town and the tin miners from the area had to take their tin to Chagford to be assayed, stamped and taxed. 

It is believed that the tinners used the three hares symbol which was then known as the ‘Tinners Rabbits’. Tin mining was prosperous during the fifteenth century and some of their wealth was used to enlarge and rebuild some of the Dartmoor churches in which you will find some carved wooden bosses of the three hares dating to this period and St Michaels Church in Chagford has two fine examples. 

The symbol is now the towns logo and can be found all over Chagford.

The symbol is actually very ancient and dates back to Buddhist caves in China 581 AD. The Three hares run in a circle with their ears joined together appearing as if they each have two ears when in fact they share three. In this version you can see one hare made of wood referring to those found in the churches, one made of tin referring to the Tinners Rabbits and one of Granite the new symbol of Chagford.

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