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Town Mill, Honiton

Description: Town Mill

Grade: II
Date Listed: 22 June 2012
English Heritage Building ID: 1408761

OS Grid Reference: ST1589900410
OS Grid Coordinates: 315898, 100409
Latitude/Longitude: 50.7971, -3.1947

Locality: Honiton
Local Authority: East Devon District Council
County: Devon
Country: England
Postcode: EX14 1DU

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Listing Text


Town Mill, Honiton is a mill building believed to date from the C18, retaining its late-C19 water wheel and internal machinery, together with a small subsidiary building attached to the south-east.

Reason for Listing

Town Mill, Honiton is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Historical Interest: as a town mill building with origins in the C18, retaining significant historic fabric;
* Intactness: for the survival of its late-C19 mill wheel, and a good proportion of internal machinery.


A mill on the site of the Town Mill, Honiton, is referred to in a deed of 1691. The mill is shown as 'George Yonge's Mill' on the earliest map of the area, made in 1780, as a complex of buildings occupying a rectangular site, and set around an open area. The mill was also known as Thomas's Mill during the C18 and, after its purchase by John Channon, as Channon's Mill. The current building stands at the south-west corner of the site occupied by the complex in the C18, and is thought to date from that century, whilst the other buildings have been replaced. In 1866 'The Honiton Town Mills' had flour machines, two pairs of stones, and a water wheel, whilst associated buildings included stores, a dairy, a cart-linhay, cow sheds and cellars. On the first and second edition Ordnance Survey maps, published in 1889 and 1905, the principal mill building is marked as a corn mill occupying the same area as today. The existing building is thought to be of C18 date, but having undergone considerable change since that time. The mill was supplied with water from a leat brought from the river Gissage to the south, which was then directed eastwards to drive the waterwheel, and thereafter passed through the brewery on the west side of Mill Street to rejoin the river at the iron foundry beyond. The mill continued in use until 1968, when flooding destroyed the leat. The existing overshot waterwheel of 1898 bears the name of the ironfounder and millwright, Walter Mickelburgh, whose premises lay to the east. The building was saved from demolition in 1981, and partially restored and converted to residential use. It is now unoccupied, and some of the windows are boarded up. Until recently an Archimides screw lying within the wheelpit was fixed to the wall to the south of the sluice; this is thought to have been used in the circulation of water, and may have been a C20 intervention. Standing at the south-east corner of the main mill building is a small subsidiary building. Other buildings on the site of the C18 complex appear to relate to the mill's C19 history.


MATERIALS: built of chert rubble, with red brick quoins, and red brick to some window surrounds. The wall within the wheelpit, to the south of the building, is rendered. The roof, which is of a fairly shallow pitch, appears to have been replaced, and has a slate covering; there is a tall brick stack to the rear. All the windows appear to have been replaced or removed.

PLAN: the principal mill building has a rectangular footprint; the building was extended to the north, probably in the C19, with a catslide roof. The mill is set back from King Street, with the wheel pit to the south. The building is accessed via a bridge to the right of the wheel pit, which leads to the main door opening. Attached to the south-east is a small subsidiary building.

EXTERIOR: in the south elevation, the building is entered at ground-floor level, through the doorway to the right. This door opening has been altered in the C20; the opening is roughly framed with brick, and there is a thin wooden lintel. The two square window openings have also received some alteration, and new lintels and sills, whilst the area between them appears to have been partially rebuilt. The three first-floor windows are not placed directly above the ground-floor openings. The roof eaves now sit immediately above the window openings. The west gable end of the building has a window at ground-floor level, and another window above, in the gable; both windows have flat brick arches, and both openings appear to have been altered. There is a further window to the extension, in this elevation. The 1898 overshot waterwheel remains in situ in the wheelpit before the building; this is of cast iron, with iron shaft and buckets, and timber arms. The wheel is embossed with the name of the maker: 'W. Mickelburgh'. At the west end of the wheelpit, the chert wall has been heightened in brick, with an opening for the sluice. The sluice gate survives, but is much decayed.

INTERIOR: the interior of the building has not been inspected, but photographic evidence indicates that although the building has received some alteration as a result of its conversion to residential use, much of the C19 internal machinery survives, though some has been lost and there has been some repair and renewal. The axle still links the water wheel and internal pit wheel, and the gearing - of applewood and iron - appears to remain intact on both ground and first floors, with the wallower, spur wheel, and crown wheel in place on the upright shaft.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the subsidiary building standing at the south-east corner of the mill is of two-storeys, the lower storey being below the ground floor of the main building, owing to the changing ground level. The lower storey of the subsidiary building is of chert, as is the west gable end, but the upper storey of the street elevation is of painted brick. This building has a door opening with a brick arch at the far eastern end of the building; above, two windows with new lintels.

A low wall separates the mill site from the street, with a gap allowing access to the building. At the west end, the tall leat wall borders on the street. At the east end, affixed to a raised section of wall is a plaque giving information about the history of the site.

Source: English Heritage

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