MSO11183 - Bank Down, Codsend Moor (Monument)


Remains of a stone built farm and mill buildings are shown on the tithe map. They are associated with a large leat to the west, which may also have acted as a catchwater leat.

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Type and Period (3)

Protected Status

Full Description

Site of farm and mill shown on tithe map forming an estate of 65 acres. [1] Some buildings shown on 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch map and remains on aerial photograph. The site is labelled Bank Down. [2,3] Only small enclosures shown on Ordnance Survey 6 inch map from 1962. [4] Mill completely collapsed. [5] Group of small enclosures and the remains of three buildings seen on aerial photographs. [7,8] Remains of stone-built farm and mill buildings situated on the south east side of Codsend Moor. The site is approached from the east along a former road, now a track, from the hamlet of Codsend. A main group of buildings and two other building are visible as ruins in various states of decay. All are clearly discernible. A - SS 8816 4012. The main group; consisting of a long range alongside the track on its south side, with another range heading south from its west end, making an L-shape. In the angle of the L is an enclosed yard with a small building at its east corner. The mill machinery was situated in the west range alongside a stream. Water power was provided by two streams draining due south and south east off Codsend Moor, augmented by an artificial leat taken off the River Quarme 700 metres west at around SS 8746 4007. The leat joined the south east flowing stream at SS 8807 4018 and is still visible, as a silted channel with upcast bank on the downslope, for much of its course. At SS 8813 4015 the streams joined and just below the confluence are the remains of a small holding pond which abuts the trackway on the south. A headrace culverted under the trackway is visible leading south east towards the west range and there is also a side channel leading off it west to the stream; presumably a regulatoror divestor of flow. The headrace leads into a small building which housed an overshot or high breast-shot wheel, part of the wheel pit isvisible though now largely filled with rubble. The wheel dimensions are estimated at c. 4 metres maximum diameter and 1 metre width acrossthe buckets. The covering building appears to be an after-thought to the main west range. Immediately east of the wheel room is another small room with the remains of a wooden shaft and a fragment of millstone. The tail race is culverted underground and emerges at SS 8814 4010 on the edge of an artificial platform. From here water dropped back to the stream. B - SS 8018 4014. On the north side of the trackway is a stone-built barn entered through a waggon-door with a brick faced arch over. Its west gable remains 3.5 metres high. A dog kennel has been built into the south wall of its west end. C - SS 8021 4010. On the south side of the trackway is a small building, possibly a cottage, with two small yards or gardens adjacent. [9] To the west, and crossing the field system is a leat constructed at some time between 1804 (Inclosure map) and 1842 (Tithe map) [1]. The leat was taken off the Quarme at approximately SS 8746 4007, a point now lost, and ran to SS 8807 4018 where it joined a stream also feeding the mill; a distance of c. 630 metres with a fall of c. 6 metres. Some 530 metres of its course is visible. It is now a silted channel with upcast bank downslope, following a fairly straight course and varying considerably in preservation. The best section is just east of a point SS 8785 4012 where it takes a pronounced south loop to negotiate a local obstacle. Here, it is U-shaped, 1 metre wide by 0.7 metres deep with an upcast bank 2.3 metres wide by 0.7 metres high. Elsewhere it is more silted and in places the bank broken down. [10] A leat or water channel is visible on aerial photographs as an earthwork, centred on circa SS 87884012 on the south facing slopes of Codsend Moors, running above the River Quarme, from which it is fed at circa SS 874400. It is probably of a post medieval type known as a head main, the function of which primarily seems to have been to supply the settlements on the fringes of the moor with fresh water from the upland springs. Several extensive head mains have been recorded on Exmoor, the longest examples reaching several kilometres in length. This earthwork is just 600 metres in length and may have supplied the now deserted Farmstead of Bankdown with water. However, head mains may also have had a dual function, acting as a simple catch water systems when required. Usually found on combe sides or hill slopes, catchwater water meadows are designed to irrigate pasture by diverting water from a spring or stream along the slope via one or more channels or gutters. When irrigation was required the channels were blocked, causing water to overflow, thereby irrigating the slopes. This film of water prevented the ground freezing during the winter and raised the temperature of the grass in the spring, thereby encouraging early growth, particularly important during the hungry gap of the March and April. This channel is not marked on the First Edition Ordnance Survey map of 1889 but has been noted to cut boundaries of possible medieval or post-medieval date and is therefore probably itself post-medieval in date. [12-16] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [21,22] The site layout appears to be partly preserved as extant features shown on the 2022 MasterMap data. [23]

Sources/Archives (23)

  • <1> Map: 1842. Cutcombe Tithe Map and Apportionment.
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey. County Series; 2nd Edition (1st Revision) 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1904, 46(5).
  • <3> Aerial photograph: 1947. LHL CPE/UK/1980. 4306.
  • <4> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560.
  • <5> Unassigned: Warren, D. 24.11.77. Somerset Industrial Archaeology Society.
  • <6> Article in serial: Aston, M. 1983. Deserted Farms on Exmoor and the Lay subsidy of 1327 in West Somerset. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society. 127. 90.
  • <7> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS8840.
  • <8> Aerial photograph: September 19. HSL.UK.71-177 Run 89. 8666.
  • <9> Unpublished document: Pattison, P. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 24 February 1988.
  • <10> Map: 5/10/1988. SS84SE Site visit. 86.
  • <11> Map: RCHME. 1987. 1:2500.
  • <12> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3275-6 (11 April 1947).
  • <13> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/73109 963-5 (29 April 1973).
  • <14> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1854-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1889.
  • <15> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 28-29.
  • <16>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 SE. MD002185. [Mapped feature: #39915 ]
  • <17> Map: Day and Masters. 1981. Map of Somerset 1782. SRS. 76.
  • <18> Map: Ordnance Survey Map Collection. 1803-4. 2 Inch Drawing. 2 Inch.
  • <19> Monograph: Allen, N.V.. 1978. The Waters of Exmoor. The Exmoor Press. 58-59.
  • <20> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. Ordnance Survey 73/109/963-5.
  • <21> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 36137, Extant 15 March 2022.
  • <22> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1473591, Extant 15 March 2022.
  • <23>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 2022. MasterMap data. 1:2,500. [Mapped feature: #39916 ]



Grid reference Centred SS 8786 4013 (762m by 113m) (2 map features)
Map sheet SS84SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (2)

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO2300
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO9197
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SE178
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SE65
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1473591
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 36137
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 33513

Record last edited

Mar 15 2022 3:06PM


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