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Former Saw Mill and Farm Buildings at Severnleigh

A Grade II Listed Building in Forden with Leighton and Trelystan, Powys

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Latitude: 52.6437 / 52°38'37"N

Longitude: -3.1248 / 3°7'29"W

OS Eastings: 323988

OS Northings: 305703

OS Grid: SJ239057

Mapcode National: GBR B1.6FBN

Mapcode Global: WH79P.ZT43

Entry Name: Former Saw Mill and Farm Buildings at Severnleigh

Listing Date: 20 March 1998

Last Amended: 20 March 1998

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 19573

Building Class: Agriculture and Subsistence

Location: Approximately 0.3km SW of Leighton Church on E side of B4388. Farm buildings are N of farmhouse and have buildings of White House farm attached on N side.

County: Powys

Community: Forden with Leighton and Trelystan (Ffordun gyda Tre'r-llai a Threlystan)

Community: Forden with Leighton and Trelystan

Locality: Leighton

Traditional County: Montgomeryshire

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Erected in the 1850s with an integral saw mill, which was powered by a turbine fed from Lower Farm Pool. Inside the saw mill a Whitelaw or 'Scotch' turbine has been discovered, a type manufactured between 1839 and the 1850s, and one of only 2 such turbines surviving in situ (the other at Sutton Poyntz Waterworks, Dorset). Above the saw mill was a shed for parking traction and ploughing engines which were used to power ancillary machinery on the Leighton Estate farms.

The Saw Mill and Farm Buildings were part of the Leighton Estate, acquired by John Naylor in 1846-47. Naylor embarked on an ambitious programme of building, principally Leighton Hall, church and Farm, and continued to extend and improve the Estate until his death in 1889. His grandson, Captain J.M. Naylor, sold the Estate in 1931. The saw mill reflects the wide range of economic activity at Leighton, Naylor having developed timber production in conjunction with farming, and with the engine shed represents Naylor's introduction of new technology to the estate.


Consisting of 2 pairs of end to end ranges linked by a short range to give an H-plan oriented E-W. On the W side is the main farm yard. Of brick with slate roofs (roofs of link and SW ranges replaced with corrugated asbestos cement). The NW range consists of an engine shed and hay store, with a basement storey (the saw mill) entered from W gable end, which has 2 segmental-headed basement openings, with a bullseye opening in the gable. In the yard are 4 openings to the basement under tooled stone lintels at yard level. At the W end, to L, is the traction engine shed with full-height boarded doors. The hay store has 4 blind round-headed windows with breathers, the window to R cut by a modern doorway under concrete lintel. Centrally-placed is a doorway with flattened elliptical head and boarded stable door (and with segmental-headed casement to L). Above are 4 loft openings with boarded doors, under timber lintels to L and R, the central 2 with flattened elliptical heads. The central link range and SW wing, both cow houses, are lower and have stable doors and mid-hung casement windows under flattened elliptical heads. An additional cow house is on E side of link range, and projections at angle between link and SW ranges contain the milking machinery. Both are C20. The E ranges are higher than W ranges and have stable doors and boarded loft openings.


The interior of the saw mill is mostly intact. In the NE corner is the capstan of a valve control for the turbine. The turbine itself is housed in a pit against the N wall, beside which is a long work bench with circular saw. The saw mill has exposed cross-beams supported by 2 cast iron piers. In the SE corner of the mill is a tunnel-vaulted recess. The NW range has a king-post roof with raking struts. The SW and link ranges have similar roofs, but modern concrete floors and mangers. Other ranges not entered.

Reasons for Listing

The Leighton Estate is an exceptional example of high-Victorian estate development. It is remarkable for the scale and ambition of its conception and planning, the consistency of its design, the extent of its survival, and is the most complete example of its type in Wales. The Former Saw Mill and Farm Buildings represent the scale and diversity of activity undertaken at Leighton. The saw mill is an especially-well preserved example of a highly specialised building type with its power supply system (including a rare surviving example of a Scotch turbine) virtually intact, and with the engine shed demonstrates the application of advanced technology at Leighton.

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