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French Mill and Tidal Barrier

A Grade II* Listed Building in Carew, Pembrokeshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.699 / 51°41'56"N

Longitude: -4.8354 / 4°50'7"W

OS Eastings: 204155

OS Northings: 203831

OS Grid: SN041038

Mapcode National: GBR GB.94HL

Mapcode Global: VH2PJ.4KLF

Entry Name: French Mill and Tidal Barrier

Listing Date: 29 September 1971

Last Amended: 6 February 1997

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 6038

Building Class: Industrial

Location: The Tidal Barrier lies across the estury of the Carew River about 300 m W of Carew Castle. The French Mill stands on it near to the left (S) bank, over the deeper water where the natural river channel

County: Pembrokeshire

Town: Tenby

Community: Carew (Caeriw)

Community: Carew

Locality: Carew village

Traditional County: Pembrokeshire

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Carew

History

The first mention of mills here is in 1541. In 1615 there is mention of a causeway with floodgates. Old prints show that at high tide shipping used the causeway as a wharf. Early references are to two mills, and the 1865 O S map indicates a small mill building, about 10 m in length, with a wheel at each end. This may have been the early arrangement, i.e. two mills in one building. The N wheel of the building indicated on the map may be, judging by its position, that now serving as the N wheel in the centre of the present building; the wheel carries the date 1801.

The present building consists of two parts, a N wing and the main mill, not quite aligned. The main building is of three storeys, and may date from 1872/4 when, after a vacancy, B G Jones took a new tenancy of the 'dilapidated' mill and a large mortgage.

The mill was used mainly as a corn mill but also briefly as a bone mill in its last years. It ceased production in 1937. It was seen and described by Rex Wailes before it closed down: he described the two undershot wheels of wood and iron with wooden buckets on iron shafts 225 mm square; both 4.8 m diameter, one 1.65 m and the other 2.1 m wide; each drove three pairs of stones on the first floor. Both sets of gearing were on low hursts on the ground floor. He also reported that the mills were semi-tidal.

The mill is the only remaining tidal mill in Wales. It is now managed by the National Park and was opened to the public in 1985 after restoration.

The name 'French mill' is thought by some to be simply because of the use of imported French millstones, but there is a tradition, reported by Wailes, that the original mills were built by French millwrights.

Exterior

Three storeys plus attic, built of local limestone, rendered, with a slate roof. Range of five windows in each of the main elevations, facing E and W, and a range of two windows in the gable ends. The attic is lighted by single windows in the gables. Small windows with cambered brick arches and 16-pane tilting casements, all restored. External steps lead down to the basement level at the S end. Several remedial tie rods stretch across the mill and are anchored into external tie plates. The building is now entered through the N extension wing.
The Tidal Barrier lies across the estuary of the Carew River about 300 m W of Carew Castle. A stone faced causway with a clay core about 150 m long with central floodgates and spillway at the N end. When functioning the barrier impounded a pool of over 9 hectares and there was an available head of water of 3.3 m.

Interior

The top floor is the bin-floor; beneath it is the stone-floor; and the ground level is the meal-floor. The machinery has been restored with the exception of the N wheel. In the N extension is the reception area, with an audio-visual room in its loft.

Reasons for Listing

Listed II* as a well preserved mill and tidal barrier, of great importance to industrial archaeology as the last remaining tidal mill in Wales.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

  • II French Mill House
    At the S of the French Mill in Carew, reached by the same access lane. The house stands in its own grounds with a garden to the E. Rubble boundary wall with light wrought-iron gates.
  • I Carew Castle
    At the W of Carew Castle, 600 m N of the A477
  • II Castle Entrance Gatepiers and Old Cobbler's Shop
    At the entrance to Carew Castle, nearly opposite to the Carew Inn.
  • I The Carew Cross
    In Carew village, in a small roadside enclosure taken from Castle Green opposite the Carew Inn.
  • II Carew Inn
    At the junction of the village main street and the A4075. At the front are cast-iron railings on a high plinth wall of rubble masonry.
  • II Wesley Chapel
    In Carew village, at the E side of the road approaching Carew Bridge. The Chapel stands back from the road behind a high wall with gatepiers and wrought-iron gates.
  • II No 1 & 2
    In Carew village, adjacent to the Carew Inn. There is a white-painted stone wall at the front with a slate coping and neat iron railings, and two large gate-piers.
  • II Old Stable Cottage
    In a mid position in the row attached at the E of the Carew Inn.

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