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Description: Entrance Lodge to Higher Flax Mills
Date Listed: 18 March 1986
English Heritage Building ID: 262042
OS Grid Reference: ST6347232400
OS Grid Coordinates: 363472, 132400
Latitude/Longitude: 51.0897, -2.5229
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CASTLE CARY CP TORBAY ROAD (South side)
5/109 Entrance Lodge to Higher Flax
Detached cottage, entrance lodge to mill complex. Probably mid C19. Cary stone cut and squared, red brick dressings;
plain clay tile roof with overhung gables with decorative bargeboards; ornamental clay tile ridge; brick chimney
stacks. Two storeys, 2 bays to road. Lias stone plinth; brick quoins and toothed dressings to openings; cast iron
lattice casement windows of honeycomb pattern set in wood frames, 2-light to bay 1, single-light upper bay 2 and below
an angled bay window of 1+2+1 lights under hipped tiled roof. Entrance on west gable, in projecting open porch with
boarded door and flanking slim windows, with 2-light window over, and vent in gable, all to match. Interior not seen.
HISTORY: Sources indicate that mills have been present at the site of Higher Flax Mills from at least the C17, and that it was used for the flax industry from at least the C19. All the extant buildings date from the late C19, when the site was rebuilt and extended as a flax, hemp and tow factory by the firm of T.S. Donne and Sons. It functioned as an integrated flax factory, combining a water and steam-powered mill with covered and open walks and large-scale warehousing, producing thread, linen warps for the horsehair fabric industry, twine, rope, cordage and webbing. T.S. Donne and Sons closed in the early 1980s. Much of the site is now occupied by the firm of John Boyd Textiles Ltd, who produce horsehair cloth at the site. It is considered to be the only horsehair fabric manufactory in the world which uses powered looms, some of which date fromt he c.1870s.
SUMMARY OF IMPOTRANCE: Higher Flax Mills is one of the largest and best preserved rope and twine works in the West Country; an unusually complete and coherent survival. The mill complex provides clear evidence of the production process for rope and twine manufacture and the type of structures which characterise a significant regional industry in the C19. The current use of much of the site by John Boyd Textiles is of added significance; the company is unique in being the only horsehair weaving factory in the world which uses power looms.
SOURCE: English Heritage, "Higher Flax Mills, Castle Cary, Someret" 2001, NBR No. 105517. McGarvie M, Castle Cary: Avalon Industries, 1980.
Listing NGR: ST6347032401
This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.