MSO7075 - Simonsbath Sawmill (Building)
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Type and Period (1)
An estate sawmill at Simonsbath. It was converted from a water wheel to turbine powered mill at the turn of the 19th Century and continued in use until 1952, when it suffered extensive flood damage.  Simonsbath Sawmill was purchased by Exmoor National Park Authority, and detailed surveys have been undertaken.  The sawmill was first mentioned in 1845 on the Estate of Frederic Knight.  A record was created before and during repair works to the water turbine at Simonsbath Sawmill in December 2001 to December 2002. The machine had been substantially the same as when it was built in 1896, with main components such as the runner and shaft found to be redeemable and the cast iron casings and covers requiring no more than blast cleaning and painting. The bearings in which the main shaft runs had to be replaced completely, using more modern materials and technology, to allow for switching power supply between the turbine and stationary engine, to redeem the runner and shaft in situ and to reduce servicing issues. The draft tube was also replaced, as it was badly corroded and had been welded together in place in 1947.  The sawmill has been restored through the Restoration of the Simonsbath Sawmill Project which won recognition for the work. [5-8, 10] The sawmill is now used to mill timber for use by Exmoor National Park Authority. [7-9] In the 1890s a new sawmill was built, which was was used for cutting chaff and crushing feed as well as sawing wood. The later conversion to a turbine allowed the sawmill to also provide electricity for lighting the hotel and some of the houses.  A survey of the area to the north of the sawmill buildings and a watching brief in advance of groundwork for an access track and storage area were carried out in May 2016. The survey recorded the 19th Century leat which powered the original waterwheel at the sawmill; a section of gearing found during the groundwork is probably part of the rim gear of this waterwheel. It was suggested that the whole of the north wing of the sawmill was constructed when the sawmill was first built and a waterwheel was sited in a gap in the centre, driving sawbenches in the eastern portion and carpentry machines in the west. A stone lined pit below floor level, between the carpenter's shop and sawmill, now forms the tailrace for the turbine and is thought to have formed the wheel pit for the water wheel. 
- <1> SEM7230 Monograph: Burton, R.A.. 1989. The Heritage of Exmoor. Roger A. Burton. 170.
- <2> SMO7329 Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 28 October 1994.
- <3> SSO339 Unpublished document: Somerset County Council. Unknown. Notes on Simonsbath Sawmill.
- <4> SEM8489 Report: Gannon, A.. 2003. Simonsbath Sawmill: Repairs and rebuilding of water turbine and associated machinery.
- <5> SEM7118 Article in serial: Exmoor National Park Authority. 2004. Restoration of Simonsbath Sawmill. Exmoor Park Life. 15.
- <6> SEM7119 Article in serial: Exmoor National Park Authority. 2005/2006. Restoration. Exmoor Visitor.
- <7> SEM7122 Article in serial: Exmoor National Park Authority. 2004. Historic Sawmill Re-opens. Exmoor Visitor.
- <8> SEM7118 Article in serial: Exmoor National Park Authority. 2004. Restoration of Simonsbath Sawmill. Exmoor Park Life. 15.
- <9> SEM7185 Article in serial: Jones, M.. 1998. Simonsbath Sawmill. Somerset Industrial Archaeological Society Bulletin. 77.
- <10> SEM7997 Monograph: Siraut, M.. Royal Forest, Exmoor: A guide to the Royal Forest of Exmoor. Exmoor National Park Authority. 12, 25.
- <11> SEM8280 Leaflet: Wills, G.. 2015. Three Simonsbath Carpenters.
- <12> SEM8284 Report: Unknown. 2015. Simonsbath Conservation Statement.
- <13> SEM8340 Report: Riley, H.. 2016. Survey and watching brief, Simonsbath Sawmill, Exmoor: Project report.
|Grid reference||Centred SS 7716 3917 (32m by 22m) (Estimated from sources)|
|Civil Parish||EXMOOR, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET|
Related Monuments/Buildings (2)
Related Events/Activities (3)
Related Articles (1)
External Links (3)
- http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=1029803 (Original Monarch entry: 1029803)
- http://www.simonsbathsawmill.org.uk/joomla_sawmill/index.php?option=com_content&view=featured&Itemid=2 (Sawmill website)
- National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 NE65
- National Park: Exmoor National Park
- Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1029803
- Somerset SMR PRN: 35749
Record last edited
Mar 10 2021 2:10PM
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