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Lapford Mill House

A Grade II Listed Building in Lapford, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.8562 / 50°51'22"N

Longitude: -3.806 / 3°48'21"W

OS Eastings: 272976

OS Northings: 107850

OS Grid: SS729078

Mapcode National: GBR L2.V9MN

Mapcode Global: FRA 26XT.WKZ

Entry Name: Lapford Mill House

Listing Date: 17 April 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1425004

Location: Lapford, Mid Devon, Devon, EX17

County: Devon

District: Mid Devon

Civil Parish: Lapford

Built-Up Area: Lapford

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Lapford

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

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Summary

A circa C15 mill house, with possible C14 origins, part of a corn-mill complex, used as a village post office from the mid-C19 to the late-C20, extended in the second half of the C20. Excluding the attached single-storey glazed timber porch joined at a right-angle to the south side of the main house.

Description

A circa C15 mill house, with possible C14 origins, part of a corn-mill complex, used as a village post office from the mid-C19 to the late-C20, extended in the second half of the C20. Excluding the attached single-storey glazed timber porch joined at a right-angle to the south side of the main house.

MATERIALS: a jointed-cruck frame with cob walls rendered in modern cement on a stone plinth, rendered brick and stone extensions, and a tile roof.

PLAN: a single-depth rectangular building with a lean-to on the north side, all on an east-to-west alignment.

EXTERIOR: the south elevation has a 12-pane, double-leaf casement window to the left of a lateral chimney. The chimney has an attached cloam oven and a large brick stack rising from the roof. To the right are two curved 24-pane bay windows with two 24-pane dormer windows above. To the right is a 1970s two-storey flat-roof extension, with multi-pane windows on both floors and the modern entrance. The east end has been built into the adjacent bank and has a tall, rendered, end stack. The west elevation has irregular fenestration, with one window to the ground-floor and two first-floor casement windows. The mid-C20 pitched lean-to on the north elevation includes a partially-glazed C20 door and casement windows at either end. Beyond is a single-storey, flat-roofed late-C20 infill extension between the house and the boundary wall.

INTERIOR: the southern entrance opens into the 1970s extension. An opening in the formerly external cob wall leads into the smaller of two rooms that are divided by an oak plank-and-muntin partition on an exposed stone plinth (indicating that the floor level has been lowered). The partition contains a plank door with applied fillets on one side: although the timber appears to be of some antiquity, the door furniture is later and the door may have been reused and inserted at the same time that the floor level was altered. The face of the timber partition looking into the larger of the two rooms (to the west) has been decorated with chamfer-and-stop detailing, denoting its higher status. The smaller room has exposed timber ceiling joists and an arched alcove that may be an in-filled doorway. The larger room also has exposed ceiling timbers, including a central chamfered cross beam and joists. In the middle of the south wall is an inglenook fireplace. It is topped by a large oak bressumer that is supported at one end by a timber corbel and the cob wall at the other. Within the fireplace, to the right, is a cloam oven with a metal door, and, to the left, is a small alcove beneath a conical funnel that corresponds with a basin in the room above. There are in-built cupboards within the south and west walls which may relate to the building’s former use as a post office. A set of steps leads up to the single-storey lean-to, within which are mid-C20 internal timber doors and a staircase with a late-C20 timber stick banister. On the first floor are three bedrooms and a bathroom, and a shower room in the 1970s extension to the east. The central bedroom is above the inglenook. The chimney breast is visible and incorporates a timber ledge with a sunken basin that corresponds with a funnel visible in the fireplace below. Part of a jointed cruck is visible in this room. The west-end bedroom has a blocked window. The 1940s roof structure encases the earlier smoke-blackened jointed-cruck frame roof, including purlins, rafters and a ridge beam. There is also a fragment of lath-and-plaster partition in the attic.

History

The Lapford Mill complex stands on the east side of the road leading into Lapford. It has a central cobbled yard surrounded by buildings on three sides, including a mill house, stables, corn mill linked to a mill leat, and the remains of an overflow and pond within its grounds. The mill house is the oldest building on this site and is believed to date from the late-C14/early-C15 when the site was occupied by the Gater family, with whom it remained for almost 400 years. The remains of a smoke-blackened roof is likely the result of an open-chamber house exposed to the roof. An oak-panelled screen, circa C15, indicates the date at which an upper floor was created. The inglenook fireplace also dates from this period. In 1787 sales particulars recorded a seven-bedroom house, with a kitchen and two parlours, as well as a cellar, pantry, dairy, stable, walled garden and a grist (corn/flour) mill. The mill complex appears on the Lapford Tithe Map (1842), when it was owned by Croote Williams. The map shows the mill house with a range of outbuildings joined at a right angle, and a detached mill with an associated leat to the south. On Friday 16 September 1887 a fire completely destroyed the mill, owned at the time by Mr Stoneman who also lived in the mill house. The mill was rebuilt soon after. In the mid-C20 a lean-to was added to the north side of the mill house. A thatched roof survived until a fire in 1948. A new tiled roof encased the earlier timber structure that was retained beneath. Extensive renovation work was carried out in 1971, including the construction of a two storey extension with a modern kitchen and shower room. The mill house was used as a post office from at least the late-C19 until the late-C20. It is now (2015) a residential dwelling.

Reasons for Listing

The circa C15 Lapford Mill House, with later additions, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: it is a pre-1700 vernacular building which retains a significant proportion of its early building fabric including a largely intact smoke blackened roof, a decorative timber partition and inglenook fireplace;
* Historic interest: as the principal dwelling for a rural mill complex, and a prominently positioned building which has also served as a village post office;
* Legibility: the building’s early plan form and the subsequent phases of alterations are still legible in the surviving fabric;
* Group value: it has strong group value and a functional relationship with the mill (listed Grade II).

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