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Lapford Mill and associated leat system

A Grade II Listed Building in Lapford, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.856 / 50°51'21"N

Longitude: -3.8059 / 3°48'21"W

OS Eastings: 272985

OS Northings: 107830

OS Grid: SS729078

Mapcode National: GBR L2.V9NT

Mapcode Global: FRA 26XT.WNM

Entry Name: Lapford Mill and associated leat system

Listing Date: 17 April 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1425005

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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Lapford

Summary

A late-C19 water-powered corn mill and leat system, rebuilt on the site of an earlier mill, closed in 1948 and restored in the late-C20.

Description

A late-C19 water-powered corn mill and leat system, rebuilt on the site of an earlier mill, closed in 1948 and restored in the late-C20.

MATERIALS: stone with brick dressing to the openings and the quoins, all under a slate roof.

PLAN: a rectangular building on an east-to-west alignment with a leat extending to the south-east.

EXTERIOR: the mill is three storeys with an attic. The front (north) elevation has an entrance with a timber stable door. There is one window to the left and two to the floor above; all are nine-pane casements. The eastern gable-end has a six-pane ground-floor window and a nine-pane window to the first floor and attic. The breast-shot water wheel is attached to the south elevation, and sits in a stone and concrete lined wheel-pit. Above the wheel is a six-pane ground-floor opening, two nine pane windows to the first floor and the remains of a metal shaft. The west elevation includes a first-floor taking-in opening with a timber stable door and concrete cill. Above is a projecting timber hoist loft with a two-pane window and a trapdoor for the hoist in the base, all on timber brackets supported by stone corbels. All of openings in the mill are topped by brick, double-course, segmental arches, and have quoins and cills.
INTERIOR: the mill machinery is arranged over three floors with the main shaft rising through the centre of the building. Fixed timber ladders lead up to each floor. The ground floor is subdivided by timber partitions that enclose the iron axle that links to the external water-wheel, as well as the pit-wheel and spur-wheel. The second floor is open and includes the tun (containing the millstones), the associated hoists and wheels and a rotating flour bin connected to the chute above. The third floor has been converted to living accommodation and contains two former timber-partitioned storage bays on either side of the main shaft. Above this level is central timber catwalk and partitioned storage areas in the eaves, including a bathroom with a flush lavatory.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the concrete and stone-lined leat, repaired in the late C20, extends for circa 18m to the south east to a weir, with a restored sluice gate and a 10m section of the stone-lined overflow.

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. 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. It has been proposed that the current water wheel predates the mill. The outer rings are marked ‘J Dicker, Millwright, Chaford and W G Bodley Bonhay Exeter and the hubs marked ‘W G Bodley, Bonhay’; the wheel likely dates from existence of the WG Bonhay Foundry, in the mid-C19. The mill stopped working in 1948 when the business was taken over by Copplestone Mill. Part of the building’s third floor has been converted into domestic use. In 1994 the building underwent renovations. The leat and associated sluice gate were also restored in the late C20. In 1995 the water wheel was restored. Following storm damage in 2012 the water-wheel timber bucks and the sluice gate are undergoing repairs in seasonal timber (March 2015).

Reasons for Listing

Lapford Mill, a late-C19 water-powered corn mill, and the associated leat system is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Historic interest: as a good example of a water-powered corn mill which retains a significant proportion of historic fabric;
* Intactness: the mill machinery is remarkably intact including a waterwheel, gearing system and tun which aid understanding of the operation of a water-powered corn mill;
* Functional interest: the function of the mill remains evident in the surviving historic fabric of the building and intact machinery;
* Group value: it has a strong group value with the listed mill house (Grade II).

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