MSO11496 - Post-medieval water wheel at Yenworthy Farm (Monument)


An overshot water wheel and wheelpit was recorded in 1995 at the farmstead. Made by WC Radford of Barnstaple, it was fed water from a pond formed by an earthen dam via a leat and was used to power a barn thresher.

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Type and Period (3)

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Full Description

Fed by a pond and water piped to wheel pit. Was an iron wheel 16 feet diameter and 3 feet wide. The wheel and machinery is covered by the collapsed roof of the barn making further investigation impossible. The wheel was made by WC Radford of Barnstaple and was used to work a barn thresher. [1] SS 80658 48741. The collapsed barn has been removed and the site cleared. The stone built wheelpit, 6.8 metres northeast to southwest by 2.4 metres has been excavated to a depth of about 3 metres revealing the top half of the in situ iron wheel. It is 4.4 metres in diameter and 0.9 metres wide with some of its wooden paddles still in place. The wheel was overshot and was fed from a pond formed by an earthern dam some 50 metres to the south. The old leat chanel from the pond, collapsed and partly infilled, is still evident though the water has been rechannelled underground and now exits in the wheelpit below the original leat. It is channelled away under a modern building and can be seen briefly at SS 80672 48759 before it rejoins its original stream. Engraved on the wheel is WC Rafarel Barnstaple though no date is evident. The pond appears on the 1888 Ordnance Survey map as well as a roundhouse on the site of the wheel so it may well have been in use by then. [2,3] The Tithe Map for Oare shows a pond sited at c. SS 8068 4876, with a leat carrying water around the eastern side of the farm buildings at Yenworthy. The pond and associated leat still appear to be extant on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map, but by the time this map had been surveyed the leat had been diverted to the south of the farmyard to form a further pond (mentioned by 2 as the pond formed by the earthen dam) at SS 8066 4868, and a water channel drawn from the leat from c. SS 8068 4871 to flow to the engine house recorded under MSO10660. The remaining route of the leat is not clear. This arrangement is repeated on the 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey map but, while the engine house appears to have been demolished, the southern pond is still apparently extant, although in a reduced form. [3-6]

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information. D Warren, Somerset Industrial Archaeology Society, 29 November977.
  • <2> Survey: RCHME. 1998. Exmoor survey. SS 84 NW 32.
  • <3> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1890, Somerset 22(14).
  • <4> Map: 1842. Oare Tithe Map and Apportionment.
  • <5> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <6> Map: Ordnance Survey. 2016. MasterMap.



Grid reference Centred SS 8066 4870 (28m by 87m) (Historic mapping)
Map sheet SS84NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (2)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO7760
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 NW32
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1107117
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 33873

Record last edited

Aug 17 2020 12:23PM


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