MEM21943 - Weir on the River Barle, Dulverton (Monument)

Summary

The earliest reference to a mill in the manor of Dulverton was in 1331 and a weir has been present on the current site since at least 1556 (the manor had six mills in 1568). It is still in use today.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

The weir is marked on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map and is still in use. [1-2] A weir was in existence by 1790, but its earlier history is unknown. [3-4] 38 wooden stakes were recovered from Dulverton Weir during repair works in September 2014, of which 13 with the highest dendrochronological potential were sub-sampled. Oak timbers with the most rings and / or best survival of sapwood were the main considerations. Two of the 13 sampled steaks contained less than 50 rings but all 13 ring series were found to match together to form an 87 year chronology spanning AD 1717 to AD 1803. No bark could be identified on any of the samples but five samples appeared to have full surviving sapwood. Two stakes appeared to have been sourced from a tree felled in around AD 1784 (suggesting a tentative repair or construction phase at this time), with a group of stakes having felling dates between 1801 and 1803, suggesting a further phase of repair. As weirs are often damaged by floods and repaired, these stakes may not necessarily be as old as the weir itself. [5] The weir was damaged by flooding in December 2012, causing two breaches in the structure. A temporary repair using 'dumpy bags' failed and a second temporary repair was made in August 2014 using gabions. This produced a number of wooden stakes, for which local residents commissioned dendrochronological dating. The report suggests that the weir is a multi phase structure, possibly feeding the mill recorded in Dulverton in 1331 or dating to an earlier period. The current structure is virtually straight and around 65 metres long, with the southern (downstream) end consisting of a 26.7 metre section constructed from stakes and rounded stones faced with flat larger stones. The central section was repaired in sandstone in 1993 and 2000 and the northern end is of large rocks that serve as a fish pass, built in 1993 to remedy the collapse of a section of the original weir structure. There is a feeder leat that directs water to the main town leat (MEM21911) to the south, with the current associated sluice and side weir dating to c. 1999, reconstructed in 2012. The leat was suggested to originally extend further to the north, with surviving stone still visible in the river bank. The structure also appears to be partly buried below an area now known as "the island". [6] A survey of the structures which make up Dulverton weir, together with research into its history, was undertaken in 2015. The earliest reference to a mill in the manor of Dulverton was in 1331 and a weir has been present on the current site since at least 1556 (the manor had six mills in 1568, although this reference may refer to the number of water wheels and accompanying millstones, or "milling units", more than one of which may have been housed in the same building). The first time the weir appears on a map is in 1790, where it is labelled "The Ware" and depicted as a straight line (perhaps the edge of a stone wall). There is the potential for the survival of more of the historic weir in an area known as ‘the island’. The work has also highlighted the history of the mill buildings at Dulverton and suggests several areas where further research and survey is needed. [7] A report of the Dulverton Weir project appeared in the Somerset Industrial Archaeological Society bulletin in 2017. [9] An application was made in 2018 for the weir to be added to the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest; however, it was decided not to add the building to the List. [10]

Sources/Archives (10)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap.
  • <3> Article in monograph: Gathercole, C.. 2003. English Heritage Extensive Urban Survey: An Archaeological Assessment of Dulverton. The Somerset Urban Archaeological Survey. English Heritage. P.11.
  • <4> Map: 1790. Plan of Manor of Dulverton.
  • <5> Report: Moir, A.. 2014. Dendrochronological analysis of oak timbers from Dulverton Weir, Northmoor Road, Dulverton, Somerset.
  • <6> Report: Dulverton Weir and Leat Conservation Group. 2015. Dulverton Weir: A report by Dulverton Weir and Leat Conservation Group on the history, structure and condition of Dulverton Weir.
  • <7> Report: Riley, H.. 2015. Dulverton Town Weir, Exmoor: Historical research, recording and assessment.
  • <8> Report: Edgeworth, M.. 2016. Archaeological survey of the weir and leat system at Dulverton, West Somerset.
  • <9> Serial: Somerset Industrial Archaeological Society. 1975-. Somerset Industrial Archaeological Society Bulletin. (Anon.) "Dulverton's ancient urban watermill landscape", 11-14.
  • <10> Unpublished document: Freeman, R.. 2018. DCMS advice report: Dulverton Weir, Northmoor Road, Dulverton, Somerset, TA22 9DH; 1454498.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 9138 2833 (46m by 120m) (Estimated from sources)
Map sheet SS92NW
Civil Parish DULVERTON, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (4)

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Other Statuses/References

Record last edited

Apr 3 2020 8:50PM

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