MSO10729 - Piles Mill and Millhouse, Brandish Street (Building)


A 16th Century millhouse and mill of red sandstone rubble with overshot waterwheel, now a dwelling and museum and part of the Holnicote Estate. It was altered and enlarged in the 17th and mid 19th Centuries.

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Type and Period (4)

Protected Status

Full Description

Millhouse and mill with overshot waterwheel, now dwelling and museum. C16 altered and enlarged c17, and mid C19. Red sandstone random rubble, triple Roman tiles to mill millhouse, outbuildings triple ridge tiles, external stone stack right gable end and lateral stack at rear. T-plan, house flanked by outbuildings facing south, set into hillside at west end, mill in wing at rear. South front: 2 storeys, house all C20 casements, most with sills; 2 windows left and one right of full height, stair turret with small leaded light, ground floor inserted large 3-light window with relieving arch of smaller window above, square headed plank door to right of stair turret, 2-light window beyond with 4 step mounting block; to left store under same roof, square headed doorway with window right, set into hill side with gable end entrance to loft at ground floor level, plank door; to right of house set at 30 degree angle stable with loft over, 3 doors and 2 windows, loft door on right return, evidence of rebuilding on rear elevation. Interiors not seen. Mill: east front steeply pitched roof, square headed large stable door with Arts and Crafts style hinges, small glazed opening to right, C20 weatherboarding on right return gable end with iron frame overshot water wheel, wooden paddles; lit on west front abutting left rear wing of mill house, one window first floor, 2 on ground floor. Interior: 3 pairs of jointed cruck trusses, partly renewed, rising from pads set half way down wall, collar beams, ground floor chamfered beam with step and runout stops, late C19 corn milling machinery in situ. (Photograph in NMR). [1] English Heritage Listed Building Number: 265509. First Listed on 02/01/1986. [2] L-plan. Stone, Random rubble walls. Cruck, Gabled roof [3] Piles Mill (Corn) marked on old OS map. [4] The mill pond is unusually positioned in front of the water wheel which may suggest that this was a constructed to form an attract feature as part of the designed landscape around Holnicote rather than having any practical function. In fact it would appear rather to hinder the flow of water. [5,6] A rare survival of an early mill with a later range of outbuildings, of late 16th or 17th Century date with 18th Century additions. The Tudor-headed door frame in the hall (room B) suggests a 16th or 17th Century house, of which this, the jointed cruck (room N) and possibly the beam and fireplace (room C) are the surviving remnants. Alternatively, the house may have been aligned eastwards from the mill, with room C added as a rear wing in the later 16th or early 17th Century. Room A with its beam and fireplace were either added as a wing, or built as part of a south facing house in the 16th or 17th Century, with the east end of the house being rebuilt in the late 18th Century, providing room A and the bedroom above. The house is of red sandstone rubble, with a triple Roman tile roof that replaced thatching in the late 19th or 20th Century. The mill originated as a grist mill and dates to the 16th or 17th Century, built or rebuilt probably on a much older site. Parts of the mill were rebuilt during the late 18th or early 19th Century. It contains its machinery in situ, which was renewed in the late 19th Century, probably from all-wood to nearly all metal. The overshot mill-wheel was repaired in the late 20th Century. As well as the mill, the building also includes a cider house (18th Century) and calf house (19th Century). [7] The building was visited in May 2012 as part of the rapid condition survey of Exmoor's Listed Buildings 2012-13. The millhouse received a BAR score of 6 and mill a score of 4A. [8] This structure is visible on the 1841 Selworthy Tithe map. [9] The buildings are depicted and labelled on the 2020 MasterMap data. [10] Recorded by NRIM. Photos available. [11] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [12]

Sources/Archives (12)

  • <1> Index: 2/1/1986. Thirty-fifth List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, District of West Somerset (Somerset)/Exmoor National Park.
  • <2> Unassigned: Webster CJ, Historic Environment Record. 2005. Staff Comments, Somerset County Council.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Somerset County Council. Various. Somerset HER parish files - Exmoor records.
  • <4> Map: Ordnance Survey. c1903. 1:2500 Second Edition.
  • <5> Report: Watts, M.. 2002. Piles Mill, Selworthy, Somerset: A Report on the Condition of the Mill and Leat for the National Trust, Holnicote Estate.
  • <6> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information. Site visit re proposed repair of water wheel.
  • <7> Report: Richardson, I & Vile, C. 1993. Vernacular Building Survey: Piles Mill, Selworthy.
  • <8> Report: Lawrence, G.. 2014. Exmoor National Park: Rapid condition survey of listed buildings 2012-13.
  • <9> Map: 1841. Selworthy Tithe Map and Apportionment.
  • <10>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 2020. MasterMap data. 1:2,500. [Mapped feature: #40073 ]
  • <11> Archive: Council for British Archaeology. 1963 - 1980. National Record of Industrial Monuments. 128323, Recorded by MT Tucker, April 1969.
  • <12> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1568028, Updated 16 May 2022.



Grid reference Centred SS 9059 4659 (30m by 22m) MasterMap
Map sheet SS94NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (4)

External Links (3)

Other Statuses/References

  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (4A): 1076/25/96/1
  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (6): 1076/25/96/2
  • Coastal Risk 2014: Flood Zone 2 fluvial
  • Coastal Risk 2014: Flood Zone 3 fluvial
  • Coastal Risk 2016: Flood Zone 2 fluvial
  • Coastal Risk 2016: Flood Zone 3 fluvial
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO10248
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 94 NW230
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • National Trust HER Record: MNA139833
  • National Trust HER Record: MNA168187
  • NBR Index Number: NRI01
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1568028
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 16715
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 31225

Record last edited

May 16 2022 8:46PM


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