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Mill, Attached House and Former Drying Kiln, West Crewkerne

Description: Mill, Attached House and Former Drying Kiln

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 23 May 2011
English Heritage Building ID: 1400079

OS Grid Reference: ST4191707942
OS Grid Coordinates: 341920, 107942
Latitude/Longitude: 50.8681, -2.8267

Locality: West Crewkerne
Local Authority: South Somerset District Council
County: Somerset
Country: England
Postcode: TA18 8PP

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Listing Text


Water-powered corn mill (disused), attached house and drying kiln. Dated 1793 with earlier origins and some minor C19 and C20 alterations.

Reason for Listing

The mill, attached house and former drying kiln at Hewish Mill Farm are designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

Architectural: for the striking architectural treatment of the elevations of the mill, which are largely unaltered
Intactness: despite the removal of the waterwheel, a good proportion of mill machinery survives including a Hurst frame, sets of mill stones and their timber housings, and intact grain bins which aid understanding of the operation of a small-scale water-driven corn mill
Rarity: the associated grain-drying kiln is a significant rarity in a regional context
Group Value: the buildings and the associated water management system form a cogent grouping


There has been watermill on this site in Hewish since at least the late C13, but the existing mill dates from the late C18. There are C16 and C17 references to a corn mill at Hewish. It was called Downham's mill in the mid-C17 and was again known as Hewish mill by 1730. A lease of 1737 describes a 'Newly built house and stable beside the mill, the use of an oat mill and drying house & payment of 1s'. In 1793 the mill was destroyed by fire but was rebuilt in the same year by Robert Hull of Dowlish Wake who assigned a lease to John Bartlett in 1795. A newspaper advertisement of 1829 refers to 'Hewish Mills Crewkerne, together with a dwelling house, bake hse, cottage and other necessary buildings'. By this date it would appear that the kiln which was described in 1737 as a 'drying house' was being used as a bake house.

The mill continued to operate until 1925 when the site became a farm and was re-named Hewish Mill Farm. The overshot waterwheel and ironwork were removed during the Second World War and the sluice was taken out in 1976.


Water-powered corn mill (disused), attached house and drying kiln. Dated 1793 with earlier origins and some minor C19 and C20 alterations.

MATERIALS: the MILL is constructed of Hamstone ashlar with red brick to north-east gable end; in places the walls are lined internally with brick. Attached HOUSE is of Hamstone blocks to front and stone rubble to rear, under a slate roof; former KILN has walls of stone rubble, though the eastern bay is built of random rubble, coursed Hamstone blocks and brick. Plain tile roofs with stone slates at the eaves; the roof of the house is clad in slate.

PLAN: the complex has an irregular plan consisting of a rectangular range formed by the water-powered mill to the south-west end and the lower two-bay house to the north-east. The late-C17 former corn-drying kiln is set at right angles and linked to the house by a C19 addition. This linking corridor and the pigsties attached to the kiln are not of interest.

EXTERIOR: the four-bay MILL building which is built into a slope, has two storeys with a cellar and a loft. Windows are square-headed mullions with hollow-chamfered surrounds and leaded lights. The front (south-east) elevation has timber double doors under a timber lintel to the left-hand (south) bay which open onto the wheelpit. The overshot waterwheel was removed in the mid-C20. To the right are two three-light windows and a small opening at a lower level providing access to the cellar. The principal entrance is to the far right and has a beaded surround and a flat moulded hood over. It is approached by a short flight of stone steps. The first floor has three equally-spaced windows each of three lights. The south return has a second opening to the wheelpit and a four-light mullioned window to both the first and attic floors. The rear elevation has an off-centre doorway with a flat hood and a plank door which is accessed from the embankment of the mill pond. To the left is a three-light window and beyond this, a window at ground-floor level.

Lower two-bay HOUSE is of two storeys. It has a symmetrical front with a central entrance, accessed from the single-storey linking corridor, and a window to either side. To the first floor are two three-light casements. There are C19 and C20 windows in the south return. The rear has a long catslide roof along much of its length and a tall window with glazing bars to the right (south-west) which may mark the original position of the staircase. To the south-east of the house is the former KILN where grain would have been dried prior to grinding. It is a one and a half storey building of late-C17 date that was extended eastwards by a single bay, probably in the late C18 when the mill was rebuilt. The south elevation has a three-light casement window under a timber lintel, and a doorway with a stable door to the eastern end; the rear has an inserted window. The pigsties attached to east gable wall are not of interest.

INTERIOR: the MILL is well preserved. Although the waterwheel has been removed, the cast-iron launder survives at the rear of the wheelpit. The ground floor of the mill has heavy, pit-sawn beams to the ceiling and the remains of a Hurst frame (internal framework that supported the gears to prevent damage to the building from the vibrations of the workings) and the main shaft. There are timber stairs between the floors to attic level, and a blocked doorway to the first floor provided access through the miller's house. The first floor also retains two sets of millstones, along with evidence for a third, as well as their wooden housing, though some is no longer in situ, including the tun (removable wooden case enclosing millstones), horse (wooden frame supporting the hopper), shoe and hopper for each set. No other machinery survives, except for the control mechanism for the sluice at the rear of the building. The third or bin floor has a central raised walkway with a series of grain bins to either side; the sack hoist and its mechanism survive beneath the walkway. A plaque set above the attic window is inscribed: 'W B / Bought 1737 / Rebuilt / Finished / in 1795', although the latter date may read '1775'.

The interior of the HOUSE is of lesser interest, but does retain an inglenook fireplace and, although the roof has been renewed, late-C18 collared trusses and a row of purlins remain in situ. The interior of the KILN building appears to have been used for domestic purposes since at least the late C19. The drying kiln hearth survives but a fireplace with C19 timber surround has been inserted in its west wall. Also to the ground floor is a late-C17 chamfered ceiling beam with angled straight-cut stops. A staircase leads to the attic storey.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: To the rear of the mill are further associated features including the earthworks of the leat and a mill pond with brick retaining walls. The mill race enters the mill through a flat-arched opening at the south-east corner of the pond.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.