MDE20393 - Post-medieval water power at Woolhanger Farm (Monument)


A waterwheel, made by William Floyd of Brendon, was used to drive the organ within the music room at Woolhanger. Water was transported to the wheel from a pond half a mile away through a series of pipes and open conduits.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

At Woolhanger Farm, a cast iron waterwheel in situ on the south side of a wooden shed. Launder survives. No machinery surviving within shed, though presumably the wheel drove a sawmill or farm machinery. Maker's name on wheel. Probably early 20th Century. [1] The site was visited in 1989. This was not a mill but a water powered organ. It is of considerable local interest. The wheel has gone and is being restored somewhere in Hampshire. The bellows for organ were driven by shaft from the waterwheel. [2] Now no sign of the machinery which once worked the windpumps for an organ in the music room. The wheel was 15 feet 6 inches in diameter and 3 inches wide. It was made by William Floyd of Brendon and turned by water from a pond half a mile away, carried to the site in 9 foot cast iron pipes and open conduits through the woods. The leat is not visible. [3] There was insufficient water at Woolhanger to work a wheel, so a pond was dug about half a mile up on the moor and water taken to the wheel via a 9 inch cast iron pipe. The wheel, inscribed "Floyd Brendon", was 15 feet 6 inches in diameter and 3 feet wide. From gearing on the wheel shaft, power was transferred to a lay shafting between wheel and bellows. William Floyd of Oaklands, Brendon, was a carpenter, wheelwright, wagon maker and undertaker, whose workshop operated from at least 1870 until 1952 when it was devastated by the floods of that August. The wheel was latterly used to work a small sawmill. [4]

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Archive: Devon County Council. Various. Devon SMR / HER records / parish files - Exmoor records. Visit by Greeves, 17 December 1980.
  • <2> Monograph: Thorpe, J.. 1989. North Devon Watermills. North Devon Archaeological Society Report. 5. 57.
  • <3> Monograph: University of the Third Age. 1995. Watermills in North Devon 1994. University of the Third Age. A5 Paperback. 116-7.
  • <4> Archive: Devon County Council. Various. Devon SMR / HER records / parish files - Exmoor records. D Warren, in H Eardley-Wilmot, 1989. Copy of article in Parish File.

External Links (0)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 14241
  • Devon SMR: SS64NE/23/1
  • Local List Status (Unassessed)



Grid reference SS 6981 4534 (point) (Estimated from sources)
Map sheet SS64NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (3)

Related Events/Activities (0)

Record last edited

Oct 28 2020 3:22PM


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