MDE11723 - Post-medieval granary or mill at Lower East Lyn Farm (Monument)


Farm buildings to the north of the farmhouse appear to have contained machinery driven by a horse whim, which seems to have been replaced in the mid 19th Century by a waterwheel driven by a leat fed from a nearby stream.

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Type and Period (4)

Protected Status

Full Description

SS 7340 4804. McDonnell reports a small dam with a leat to the north and a possible house platform seen on aerial photographs. He suggests that it is the site of a mill. [1,2] The 'leat' seen by McDonnell is modern overflow connecting the dammed pond to a stream at SS 7344 4810 and his 'possible house platform' is not a mill site but an amorphous area of disturbed ground at SS 7343 4808. On the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map, a small dammed pond is shown with a leat running north, via an aqueduct, to farm outbuildings on the north side of Lower East Lyn [3]. None of these features are shown on the 1976 Ordnance Survey map; however the dam is still extant, though the pond is now much silted up. The leat, now dry, is traceable through pasture fields to the farm some 230m to the north of the dam. The aqueduct, which took the water over a farm track at SS 73406 48186 and is shown on the 1904 Ordnance Survey map, has gone except for a stone built pillar used to support it [4,5]. The water drove a wheel situated on the southwest wall of a farmbuilding at SS 73408 48192. The wheelpit, still containing part of the iron wheel, is covered with a mass of farm debris and all that can be seen is the central axle of the wheel and one of its spokes. The wheel, which appears from the height of the aqueduct pillar to have been overshot, was about 1m wide and 5.7m in diameter. No machinery could be seen inside the building which is now in use as a cattle byre. No trace of the mill tail-race was found. At the north end of this building on the same side as the wheelpit are the dilapidated remains of a round outbuilding (now overlaid by a rectangular building) which probably once contained a horse whim to work farm machinery. This building probably became redundant when the wheel was introduced, presumably in the 19th century. The mill, dam, leat, etc. are not shown on the 1840 Tithe Map so probably postdate it [6]. [7-9] A derelict building with the remains of an iron wheel, shaft and arms partially buried in the demolished stonework of the mill race. Water was supplied from a pond. The launder apparently used to cross over the lane on raised supports. One stonework support remains. Known to have been in use in 1964. [10] The big buttressed barn to the north of the farmhouse was noted during a site visit in January 1997. [11] A large barn at Lower East Lyn with upper threshing floor and possible former water-driven machinery. A tall backward leaning pillar 25 metres to the north-west of the farmhouse is probably the remains of the aqueduct shown on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map. Lower East Lyn has four 19th Century or earlier farm outbuildings, all built of local stone rubble and shales. The most prominent is a buttressed two-storey granary about 50 metres north-north-west of the farmhouse. This has an external stone stairway to the main upper level, with workshops beneath. The presence of a former aqueduct here suggests the possibility that this building may once have had water driven milling facilities. The more precise history of this interesting building needs further research. [12] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [13] A combination barn formerly served by an aqueduct and presumably once housing a water wheel. It is probably 19th Century on the ground floor, with an external staircase to the main upper level, which has a threshing floor. [14]

Sources/Archives (14)

  • <1> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS7347B, SS7348A.
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF/CPE/UK/1980/4049 (April 1947).
  • <3> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1854-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1888, Devon Sheet 3(14).
  • <4> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1976. 1:2500. 1:25,000. SS 7347.
  • <5> Map: Ordnance Survey. County Series; 2nd Edition (1st Revision) 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1904, Devon Sheet 3(14).
  • <6> Map: 1840. Lynton and Lynmouth Parish Tithe Map and Apportionment.
  • <7> Collection: RCHME Exeter. 1993-1999. Exmoor Project.
  • <8> Technical drawing: Sainsbury, I.. 1994. Lower East Lyn Mill/Antiquity Model . 1:2500. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <9> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation.
  • <10> Monograph: University of the Third Age. 1995. Watermills in North Devon 1994. University of the Third Age. A5 Paperback. 73.
  • <11> Report: Schofield, J.. 1997. Exmoor Farmsteads: An evaluation of old steadings within Exmoor National Park. Farm reference 125.
  • <12> Report: Fisher, J.. 2005. Exmoor Farmsteads: Conservation Area Appraisal. Exmoor National Park Authority. 7, 8, 14, 15.
  • <13> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 926219, Extant 15 December 2021.
  • <14> Report: Pratt, N.. 2018. Exmoor Farmsteads Conservation Area: appraisal document. Exmoor National Park Authority. EL6, p 9, 16, Figure 11.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS74NW/69
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 18095
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 54319
  • Devon SMR: SS74NW/24/1
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20744
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE21570
  • Local Heritage List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 NW63
  • National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 926219



Grid reference Centred SS 7335 4807 (121m by 263m)
Map sheet SS74NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Nov 21 2022 3:12PM


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