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Latitude: 50.6595 / 50°39'34"N
Longitude: -3.3031 / 3°18'11"W
OS Eastings: 307986
OS Northings: 85235
OS Grid: SY079852
Mapcode National: GBR P7.71LJ
Mapcode Global: FRA 37ZB.DYT
Entry Name: Otterton Mill Including Mill Leat and Sluices to North
Listing Date: 11 November 1952
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1334034
English Heritage Legacy ID: 86377
Location: Otterton, East Devon, Devon, EX9
District: East Devon
Civil Parish: Otterton
Traditional County: Devon
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon
Church of England Parish: Otterton St Michael
Church of England Diocese: Exeter
OTTERTON THE GREEN, Otterton
SY 08 NE
3/176 Otterton Mill including
mill leat and sluices to north
Working corn mill and museum. Present mill is C18, much rebuilt in the mid C19,
but is on the site of a monastic mill which is probably one of the 3 around here
mentioned in the Domesday survey. Largish roughly-dressed blocks of brown-coloured
local conglomerate sandstone with red brick relieving arches over the windows; slate
Corn mill built over a leat containing 2 breast shot waterwheels and milling
machinery in a block facing on to the road to the north-north-east (say north). An
outshot to right rear now contains a bakery but once housed some machinery belt-
driven from the machinery in the main block. Most of the mill appears to be mid
C19 but sections of the rear wall are more rubbley and are probably C18 or earlier.
Main block is 2 storeys with lofts.
Regular but not symmetrical 4-window front of C19 and C20 replacement casements, all
with low segmental arches of brick. The leat runs under the mill to right of
centre. To right and left are 2-window sections but the left pair have a ground
floor doorway and first floor loading hatch between; both are C19 plank stable-type
doors. Deep plain eaves and roof is hipped each end. Similar casements on first
floor each end. The rear elevation is less regular but includes similar windows
and doorways each end (the left one behind the outshot). The window to left of the
right window has stone jambs and is presumably from the pre-C19 mill. Bakery has
leanto roof and 4 flight of external steps up outer side to the loft over.
Good interior. The structure is intact and complete with water wheels and
machinery. The wheels and machinery divide the floors into workshops of unequal
size; the eastern ones larger than the western ones. The structural carpentry is
plain and sturdy and all of it is exposed. Even the steep staircases appear to be
original (that is to say mid C19). There is one set each end of the building. The
2 breast shot sheels are set between brick crosswalls with a corridor along the
front which contains the sluice controls. The left wheel has timber buckets and is
not used. The working wheel has iron buckets. 2 sets of machinery rise through the
building either side of the wheels. The eastern set of machinery is working, the
other set is less than complete. They are separated by a brick crosswall which is
taken up into the loft space as high as the eaves.
The roof is mid C19; 7 bays, tie beam trusses with queen posts and raking struts.
The queen posts provide a passageway through the loft which is raised above timber
storage bins and grain hoppers each side. The platform and floors below include
hatches for the hoisting of sacks of grain. On the working side there is an iron
chain and mechanical hoist arrangement connected by a belt to the machinery below.
The wheel of the other hoist mechanism is a reused crown wheel maybe as old as the
C17. The rest of the machinery is basically mid C19 although some of it has been
reused from earlier machinery and there are later mendings. The gearing on the
ground floor is complete both sides, the main wheels with applewood cogs. There
were 4 pairs of grindstones on the first floor, 3 are still in situ. 1 set of
composite stone wheels is working in a C20 timber housing. The sets not working
are French. They have cast-iron ballances and are inscribed around the centre; one
reads 'This stone first used tis true, May 1 1862', the other was first used in
1859. The mill now produces about 3/4 ton of wholemeal flour each week.
The mill leat probably has pre-Conquest origins. To north of the mill it leaves the
River Otter above a weir. The flow is controlled by a late C19 cast iron vertical
sluice set into stone rubble walls. Some of the leat is still lined with elm
planks. Nearer the mill a second sluice comprising 2 narrow vertical timber gates
separated by a granite post. Both sluices are still working.
Otterton Mill is an important working water mill that has been little altered since
the mid C19. Because of this it is an excellent museum and interpretation centre.
It is also visually an important building in the attractive village of Otterton and
close to other buildings with which it is historically connected. The monastry
which originally owned a mill here stood on nearby Church Hill and the C12 tower of
the Church of st Michael (q.v.) survives from the monastry. At the Dissolution the
mill was bought by Richard Duke whose family memorials can be found in the church
and whose arms are displayed on the porch of the former manor house, now 1, 2, 3,
and 4, St Michaels Close (q.v.) next to the church. Duke initials were once
displayed on the garden walls (q.v.) opposite the mill. In 1785 the mill was sold
to the Rolles of Bicton House and this family rebuilt the church as it now stands
and indeed most of Otterton Village.
Sources. Devon SMR and conversation with Densa Greenhow, Director of Otterton Mill
Listing NGR: SY0798685235
This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.
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