MDE21277 - Heasley Mill watermill (Building)


A watermill thought to date to the mid to late 19th Century. It includes the remains of a former mill or tannery of a likely early 19th Century date. The wheel pit is still extant and includes the remains of a probable overshot waterwheel.

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Type and Period (1)

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Full Description

The mill was visited by the North Devon Archaeological Society in 1974. It was noted that the overshot waterwheel is constructed of cast iron with wooden buckets, which were rotten. The wheel is 12 foot 6 inches in diameter by 4 foot 6 inches wide. There are two pairs of millstones in situ. A sack hoist, a wooden pulley wheel, troughs and some small tools still existed. The leat is 3 foot wide by 1 foot 6 inches deep. The granary is constructed of stone with a corrugated iron roof in good condition. The mill is used as a plumbers' store. The house opposite was the mill house. A further visit in 1989 confirmed that the iron wheel rims, axle and two spokes were still in place. No buckets survived. There was a sluice gate in situ at the leat above the wheel. The launder is blocked off but the leat was still running. The building had been recently repaired and re-roofed and was still used as a builders' store. This is probably the site of a medieval mill documented in 1314 and 1316. [1] Watermill. Probably mid to late 19th Century, incorporating remains of former probably early 19th Century mill or tannery. Uncoursed stone rubble with gable-ended corrugated iron roof. Plan and development: Mill aligned approximately north-west/south-east. It was constructed from the remains of a much larger building (known from old photographs) which was aligned approximately north-east/south-west and was of 4 storeys. It was probably reduced (and the alignment altered) in the later 19th Century. South-east wall of watermill incorporates part of south-east wall of former mill (including fenestration). Two storeys and loft. Exterior: Gable end to south-east has openings (part of former large mill building) offset to left, including 2-light wooden loft casement with wooden lintel, first floor 2-light wooden window with wooden lintel, stone segmental relieving arch and internal wooden shutters with strap hinges, and ground-floor 2-leaf boarded door with strap hinges, wooden lintel and stone segmental relieving arch. Gable end to north- west approached at first-floor level (land higher to rear) has boarded door to right with brick segmental-arched head. South-east side has pair of first-floor small- paned windows with pegged frames, wooden lintels and stone segmental relieving arch. Ground-floor boarded opening to left with wooden lintel and stone segmental relieving arch. Wheel pit to south-east side of mill with sluice gate (retaining raising gear) to north-east. Remains of probably overshot waterwheel, with 2 cast-iron rings, wooden arms and cast iron wheel shaft. Formerly with wooden floats, since removed or rotted. Opening in wall above wheel, with splayed jambs. Interior: Complete set of machinery including 2 sets of stones on first floor with two-step spurwheel drive from pit wheel in ground-floor. Drive machinery enclosed in wooden housing. Secondary drive taken off pit wheel, with belt to hoist pulley. [2] The watermill probably dates from the mid to late 19th Century, incorporating remains of former probably early 19th Century mill or tannery. Uncoursed stone rubble with gable-ended corrugated iron roof. [3] The mill and cottage were originally owned by the Poltimore Estate. They passed to a daughter of Lord Poltimore, Lady Stuckley, in 1951. She sold them in 1959. The mill was converted into a house in the 1980s and much of the gearing was built over in this conversion. The main wheel remained, without hoppers. The bearings could be reinstated fairly easily to make the wheel turn. The overshot wheel is 13 feet in diameter, 4 feet 4 inches wide, and has 8 inch side plates. It has 42 buckets, 6 arms and a 6 inch round axle. Various other parts were seen 100 yards away, near the village chapel. The leat had been rebuilt of local stone and was in a good condition. It was originally used as a woollen and grain mill. [4] The building was visited in September 2012 as part of the rapid condition survey of Exmoor's Listed Buildings 2012-13. The mill received a BAR score of 6 and the wheel pit a score of 5A. [5] Additional bibliography. [6] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [7]

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Monograph: Thorpe, J.. 1989. North Devon Watermills. North Devon Archaeological Society Report. 5. 42.
  • <2> Index: Department of the Environment. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest . HHR: North Molton (24 November 1988) 128.
  • <3> Archive: Devon County Council. Various. Devon SMR / HER records / parish files - Exmoor records. Site visit, B.D. Hughes, 1978. Photograph album held..
  • <4> Monograph: University of the Third Age. 1995. Watermills in North Devon 1994. University of the Third Age. A5 Paperback. 53-54.
  • <5> Report: Lawrence, G.. 2014. Exmoor National Park: Rapid condition survey of listed buildings 2012-13.
  • <6> Serial: Somerset Industrial Archaeological Society. 1975-. Somerset Industrial Archaeological Society Bulletin. Volume 63, August 1993.
  • <7> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1305491, Extant 1 December 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 7375 3219 (14m by 14m)
Map sheet SS73SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (2)

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Other Statuses/References

  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (5A): 1549/10/159/2
  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (6): 1549/10/159/1
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 37536
  • Devon SMR: SS73SW/30/1
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 SW27
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1305491
  • South West Textile Mills Project number: 373

Record last edited

Dec 1 2021 2:35PM


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