HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Devon & Dartmoor HER Result
Devon & Dartmoor HERPrintable version | About Devon & Dartmoor HER | Visit Devon & Dartmoor HER online...

See important guidance on the use of this record.

If you have any comments or new information about this record, please email us.

HER Number:MDV10560
Name:Otterton Mill


18th century watermill much rebuilt in 19th century with two internal waterwheels that formerly each drove two pairs of stones. Probably on site of medieval monastic mill. Mill ceased working in 1960s but was restored in the 1970s. One set of machinery now turns again, grinding flour. Outbuildings converted to craft workshops, bakery and tearoom.


Grid Reference:SY 079 852
Map Sheet:SY08NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishOtterton
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishOTTERTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SY08NE/36
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II*)
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SY08NE16

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • WATERMILL (Unknown date)

Full description

Greenhow, D. + Wailes, R., Otterton Mill (Leaflet). SDV339731.

History of mill and survey of mill machinery.

Unknown, Untitled Source (Un-published). SDV339730.

Clipping from Western Morning News, 11th August 1977 entitled 'Water wheel turns again to boost revival of rural arts and crafts'. Otterton Mill recently opened to the public. One of the 2 waterwheel now working again, grinding corn. Other details: Photograph.

Oliver, G., 1846, Monasticon Diocesis Exoniensis, 248-149 (Monograph). SDV57424.

The Manor of Otterton was purchased from Henry VIII by Richard Duke who built a house on the Otter which drove the mills under his house.

Department of Environment, 1949, St Thomas RD, 91 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV339051.

19th century building on old site. Formerly 4 pairs of stones.

Department of Environment, 1952, Otterton (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV339734.

Otterton Mill including mill leat and sluices to north. Working corn mill and museum. Present mill is 18th century, much rebuilt in the mid 19th century, 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 roof. 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 19th century but sections of the rear wall are more rubbley and are probably 18th century or earlier. Main block is 2 storeys with lofts. Regular but not symmetrical 4-window front of 19th century and 20th century 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 19th century 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-19th century mill. Bakery has leanto roof and a 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 19th century). 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 19th century; 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 17th century. The rest of the machinery is basically mid 19th century 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 20th century timber housing. The sets not working are French. They have cast-iron balances 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 19th century 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 19th century. 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 monastery which originally owned a mill here stood on nearby Church Hill and the 12th century tower of the Church of St Michael survives from the monastery. 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 next to the church. Duke initials were once displayed on the garden walls 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. Other details: LBS No 86377.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1953, SY08NE16 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV339715.

The present mill stands on the site of the mill belonging to the monastery. No confirmatory remains were seen.

Devon County Council, 1974, Survey of Watermills in Devon: Gazetteer (Report - Survey). SDV83967.

Phillips, M. C. + Wilson, R. E., 1974 - 1977, Water Mills in East Devon, 305-306 (Article in Serial). SDV42946.

Three mills at Otterton are mentioned in the Domesday Survey, but only one of these is likely to have been in the actual village. They belonged to the Abbot of St. Michael of the Mount, Normandy. The mill was associated with Otterton Priory and was run by the monks. The present building is of stone and slate housing 2 undershot wheels. One millstone is inscribed with its date, 1869. There is evidence of fulling in its history, but chiefly it had been a grist mill. Milling ceased for some time in 1962 and at the time of writing the building was being used as a depot.

Greenhow, D., 1978, Restoring Otterton Mill (Article in Serial). SDV339733.

Article on restoration of Otterton Mill in later 1977. Mill machinery surveyed by R. Wailes. Waterwheel restored by Mr Pook of Tiverton. Craft workshops created in outbuildings. The next phase is to harness the mill machinery and grind flour again.

Greenhow, D., 1979, More Water by the Mill. The Restoration, Machinery and History of Otterton Mill, Devon, 309-25 (Article in Serial). SDV339719.

A mill on this site has existed since Saxon times, probably one of the 3 mills recorded in Domesday. Granted by William the Conqueror to the Abbey of Mont St. Michel the mill remained in French hands until the 15th century when it was granted to Syon Abbey. Sold at the dissolution to a family named Duke and again in 1785 to the Rolle family. A mill house was built in the mid 18th century of cob and the last rebuilding took place in 1854. Restoration of the mill and its machinery are described.

Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, 1982, Mills Index (Un-published). SDV12998.

Mill is working.

Bodman, M., 1998, Water-Powered Sites in Devon, 21 (Report - non-specific). SDV305931.

Other details: No 9.

Bodman, M., 2003, Watermills and Other Water-Powered Sites in Devon, 172-174 (Report - Interim). SDV325576.

Otterton Mills is described in 1811 as having 2 waterwheels with 4 pairs of stones. The mill is on the same site as the medieval manor mill and was restored in 1977. Building of two storeys of local brown stone. One wheel is in working order and the mill stones are in situ.

Exeter Archaeology, 2003-2004, East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Archaeological Survey, Site No. 2020 (Archive - Survey). SDV351568.

Otterton Mill. Present mill built 19th century Listed Grade II*. Recorded as Otterton Mills and Yard on Tithe Map/Tithe Apportionment with Mill Meadow to south; owner William Stone/occupier John Uglow (Tithe Apportionment Nos 1231/1232). Leat shown on modern map. 3 mills mentioned in Otterton in Domesday. Possibly on site of medieval mill associated with Otterton Priory. Chiefly grist mill but some fulling. Walls of walled garden mostly 17th century date with possible reused earlier features. Listed Grade II.
SMR; Otterton Tithe Map/Tithe Apportionment 1844/1843.

National Monuments Record, 2010, 448537 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV339732.

An 18th century water-powered corn mill, rebuilt in 1854 and restored in 1977 as a museum. It was built on the site of a monastic mill, the surrounding earthwork remains may be medieval. Other details: SY08NE16. Record last updated: N/A.

Wailes, R., Unknown, Otterton Mill: A Survey by Rex Wailes (Leaflet). SDV358770.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV12998Un-published: Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. 1982. Mills Index. Mills Index. A4 Stapled.
SDV305931Report - non-specific: Bodman, M.. 1998. Water-Powered Sites in Devon. A4 Spiral Bound. 21.
SDV325576Report - Interim: Bodman, M.. 2003. Watermills and Other Water-Powered Sites in Devon. A4 Spiral Bound. 172-174.
SDV339051List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1949. St Thomas RD. Historic Houses Register. Unknown. 91.
SDV339715Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1953. SY08NE16. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV339719Article in Serial: Greenhow, D.. 1979. More Water by the Mill. The Restoration, Machinery and History of Otterton Mill, Devon. Industrial Archaeology. 14.4. A5 Paperback + Digital. 309-25.
SDV339730Un-published: Unknown. Scrapbook. 1. Paperback Volume.
SDV339731Leaflet: Greenhow, D. + Wailes, R.. Otterton Mill. Photocopy.
SDV339732National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2010. 448537. National Monuments Record Database. Website.
SDV339733Article in Serial: Greenhow, D.. 1978. Restoring Otterton Mill. Devon Conservation Forum Newsletter. 1/78. A4 Single Sheet + Digital.
SDV339734List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1952. Otterton. Historic Houses Register. A4 Spiral Bound.
SDV351568Archive - Survey: Exeter Archaeology. 2003-2004. East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Archaeological Survey. East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Archaeological Survey. Digital + Mixed Archive Material. Site No. 2020.
SDV358770Leaflet: Wailes, R.. Unknown. Otterton Mill: A Survey by Rex Wailes. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV42946Article in Serial: Phillips, M. C. + Wilson, R. E.. 1974 - 1977. Water Mills in East Devon. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 33. Unknown. 305-306.
SDV57424Monograph: Oliver, G.. 1846. Monasticon Diocesis Exoniensis. Monasticon Diocesis Exoniensis. Unknown. 248-149.
SDV83967Report - Survey: Devon County Council. 1974. Survey of Watermills in Devon: Gazetteer. Devon County Council Report. Unknown. A4 Bound.

Associated Monuments

MDV40304Related to: Leat (Monument)
MDV69665Related to: LEAT in the Parish of Otterton (Monument)
MDV60662Related to: WALL in the Parish of Otterton (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Oct 19 2016 2:03PM