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HER Number:MDV10611
Name:Dotton Mill, Colaton Raleigh


Dotton Mill was demolished in 1968. No above ground evidence remains apart from the remains of the weir that directed water from the River Otter into the leat. The site dates back to the 16th century at least and may possibly be the site of a mill recorded at Dotton in the Domesday Survey. Excavated by Channel 4's 'Time Team' in July 2006. Finds included pottery dating back to the 13th century, two millstones set in the floor of the mill, bits of 19th century mill machinery and the remains of the wheelpit.


Grid Reference:SY 086 885
Map Sheet:SY08NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishColaton Raleigh
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishCOLATON RALEIGH

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SY08NE/17
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II)
  • Royal Albert Memorial Museum Accession Number: 220/2007

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • WATERMILL (Unknown date)

Full description

Davidson, J. B., 1880, Datton Mill and Donitone, 464-475 (Article in Serial). SDV113557.

Dotton Mill and Mill House, in the Manor of Denitone. It may have been part of Yarcombe parish.

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

'Dotton Mill (Corn)' marked on 1880s-1890s 25 inch Ordnance Survey map.

Department of Environment, 1952, St Thomas RD, 39 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV129122.

Mill building is of tarred brick. Attached Miller's Cottage in poor condition, with weather-boarded outshot at rear. Both listed.

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

Other details: Gazetteer. Site visit c1973.

Phillips, M. C. + Wilson, R. E., 1974 - 1977, Water Mills in East Devon, 81 (Article in Serial). SDV42946.

Weir on the River Otter, sluice gates and leat, still traceable, supplied water to overshot/breast shot wheel. There were possibly two mills at the time of the Domesday survey. In 1532 a lease suggests the mill's association with Dunkeswell Abbey. A mill was in operation on the site until 1946.

Bodman, M., 1998, Water-Powered Sites in Devon, 21, 10 (Report - non-specific). SDV305931.

Lane, H., 2001, Dotton Research Bulletin (Pamphlet). SDV113474.

Lane, H., 2001, Dotton Research Bulletin (Pamphlet). SDV359105.

Lane, H., 2001, Letter with reference to Dotton (Correspondence). SDV113965.

Dotton Mill was completely demolisehd in 1968. No trace of mill or leat now visible. Two photos of mill c.1925 in parish file. Other details: Photos.

Bodman, M., 2003, Watermills and Other Water-Powered Sites in Devon, 168 (Report - Interim). SDV325576.

Documentary reference to 'Dotton grist mills' in 1706. Notes from A. Speight, 'Dotton Mill. The Devon Famility Historian. 1982, 24, 11-16' suggest that Dotton is not the Donitone of Domesday as originally thought but Ostris. Ostris had a mill, Donitone did not. Brief history of 19th/early 20th century millers given. Other details: Draft.

Exeter Archaeology, 2003-2004, East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Archaeological Survey, Site No. 2057 (Archive - Survey). SDV351568.

Site of Dotton Mill and mill house. Domesday survey refers to possibly 2 mills. Suggested associated with Dunkeswell Abbey. Mill operated until 1946. Demolished 1968.

Lane, H., 2004, The Story of Dotton; A Hamlet Lost in the Passage of Time (Monograph). SDV319545.

It is suggested that the mill was in existence prior to 1066. The mill was not mentioned again, after the Domesday Book of 1086, until 1532, when a lease of lands from Dunkerswell to William Stofforde included 'a pond, mill and watercourse'. 'A watermill' was also included in the sale of Dotton Manor to Richard and John Duke, in 1543. The mill was then mentioned on various occasions until it was demolished in December 1968 as it had become derelict and a danger to children. No above ground evidence remains, though there is evidence of the weir which directed the water out of the River Otter.

Whittock, L., 2005, Dotton Mill (Un-published). SDV363321.

Dotton Mill was a three storey building with an undershot wheel. It supplied flour to bakers in the neighbouring villages. It ceased working in the 1930s and was demolished in the 1960s.
Part of the mill boundary walling survives in the hedgeline along the lane and a modern shed on the site also incorporates part of a former outbuilding to the mill. Lumps of masonry are visible where the mill buildings stood. Finds recorded during fieldwalking on the site of the mill and its outbuildings included part of a millstone, 2 clay roof tiles, milk bottles and pottery, much of which was 20th century. (It was noted that much of the larger pieces of masonry had fallen from an agricultural scrap yard on top of the cliff adjacent to the site.)
The line of the leat is visible across the field and much of the weir system remains. The tailrace is also still visible leading from the mill back to the river.

GSB Prospection, 2006, Dotton Mill, Devon (Report - Geophysical Survey). SDV338951.

Geophysical survey carried out at Dotton Mill to locate any features associated with the mill and leat. The work formed part of the wider investigation being carried out by 'Time Team'. Two areas were surveyed using Ground Penetrating Radar and one of the areas was investigated by resistance survey. The resitence results show a band of low resistence which corresponds with the course of the leat. A number of high resistence zones may represent building remains associated with the mill. The GPR data also show the course of the leat and there is good correlation with the resistence data. Within Area 1 evidence for the wheel pit and associated building can be seen. Area 2 shows a pipe or small culvert and potential palaeo-surfaces.

Parker, H., 2006, Time Team Dig at Dotton, 14-16 (Article in Serial). SDV351623.

Wessex Archaeology, 2007, Dotton Mill, Dotton, Near Otterton, Devon. Archaeological Evaluation and Assessment of Results (Report - Evaluation). SDV338950.

Archaeological evaluation by undertaken Channel 4's 'Time Team' in July 2006 to investigate the development of a watermill from the medieval period to the 20th century. The evaluation did not reveal any structures or features which could be dated to the medieval period. The rebuilding of the mill in the 17th or 18th century, potentially on the site of the original mill, and the re-digging of the leat at a similar time is likely to have removed any evidence of the medieval mill. It was possible to show, however, that the mill had undergone a series of refurbishments with a major phase occurring during the 19th century which saw the rebuilding of the wheel pit and repair to the main walls of the mill. Areas of the attached mill house were also located including the kitchen floor.
Historical summary given. Domesday Survey records a mill at Dotton paying 5 shillings. Mill not mentioned again until 1532 when Dunkeswell Abbey leased a fulling mill to William Stoford. The manor of Dotton, including the watermill was granted to John Lord Russell at the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539 and sold to Richard and John Duke in 1543. Referred to as 'water grist mills' in a will of 1785. In 1792 John Lightfoot was charged with building a 'dwelling house and sett of mills'. Joel Roger Carter listed as miller at Dotton in 1841 census. He appears to have considered refurbishing the mill. Remained in Carter ownership until 1891 when Edward Cody is listed as miller. Run by Richard Lethbridge from 1914-1936 and thereafter by Lionel Creed. Mill thought to have ceased working in 1946. It was demolished in 1968.
Following geophysical survey of the site, five trenches were excavated, 1 and 3 on the site of the mill building, 2, 4 and 5 across the line of the leat. In Trench 1 the remains of the mill building were uncovered, including a 19th century wheel pit, its curved back wall indicating that the mill had been powered latterly by a breastshot wheel. Beneath concrete floor of wheel pit was part of a timber beam which must belong to an earlier phase, and the original rock cut wheel pit. Within the mill building a concrete floor with two millstones incorporated into its surface was found to overlie an earlier brick floor, probably of 19th century date. The remains of mill machinery and parts of the waterwheel were found in the cog and wheel pits. Trench 3 was positioned to investigate the domestic area of the mill building. Beneath demolition deposits was a tiled floor thought to be part of the kitchen. The east wall of the mill, against the wheelpit was of stone, the north and south walls of cob. The earliest structures of the mill building appear to be no earlier than the 17th or 18th century and some parts may be that built by Lightfoot c1795. However, the rock-cut wheel pit, worn smooth by the continuous action of water-borne pebbles could have been part of an earlier mill. Medieval pottery dating to the 13th century was recovered from demolition/levelling deposits within Trench 1. Most other finds relate to occupation of the mill in the 17th and 18th centuries. See report for full details. Other details: figures and photos.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV113474Pamphlet: Lane, H.. 2001. Dotton Research Bulletin. Dotton Research Bulletin. 1. A4 Folded + Digital.
SDV113557Article in Serial: Davidson, J. B.. 1880. Datton Mill and Donitone. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 12. Unknown. 464-475.
SDV113965Correspondence: Lane, H.. 2001. Letter with reference to Dotton. Letter and Photos to SMR. Letter + Digital.
SDV129122List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1952. St Thomas RD. Historic Houses Register. Unknown. 39.
SDV305931Report - non-specific: Bodman, M.. 1998. Water-Powered Sites in Devon. A4 Spiral Bound. 21, 10.
SDV319545Monograph: Lane, H.. 2004. The Story of Dotton; A Hamlet Lost in the Passage of Time. The Story of Dotton; A Hamlet Lost in the Passage of Time. A4 Spiral Bound.
SDV325576Report - Interim: Bodman, M.. 2003. Watermills and Other Water-Powered Sites in Devon. A4 Spiral Bound. 168.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV338950Report - Evaluation: Wessex Archaeology. 2007. Dotton Mill, Dotton, Near Otterton, Devon. Archaeological Evaluation and Assessment of Results. Wessex Archaeology Report. 62507.01. A4 stapled + Digital.
SDV338951Report - Geophysical Survey: GSB Prospection. 2006. Dotton Mill, Devon. GSB Prospection Report. 2006/54. A4 Stapled + Digital.
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. 2057.
SDV351623Article in Serial: Parker, H.. 2006. Time Team Dig at Dotton. North Devon Archaeological Society Newsletter. 12. A5 Stapled + Digital. 14-16.
SDV359105Pamphlet: Lane, H.. 2001. Dotton Research Bulletin. Dotton Research Bulletin. 2. A4 Folded + Digital.
SDV363321Un-published: Whittock, L.. 2005. Dotton Mill. 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. 81.
SDV83967Report - Survey: Devon County Council. 1974. Survey of Watermills in Devon: Gazetteer. Devon County Council Report. Unknown. A4 Bound.

Associated Monuments

MDV1890Related to: Dunkeswell Abbey (Monument)
MDV73864Related to: Leat to Dotton Mill, Colaton Raleigh (Monument)
MDV126835Related to: Weir on River Otter to north of Mill Lane, Colaton Raleigh (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4266 - Time Team at Dotton Mill
  • EDV4267 - Geophysical Survey at Dotton Mill

Date Last Edited:Nov 7 2019 12:33PM