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HER Number:MDV11689
Name:Limekiln at Bucks Mills, Woolfardisworthy

Summary

19th century limekiln on east side of beach.

Location

Grid Reference:SS 354 236
Map Sheet:SS32SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishWoolfardisworthy (North Devon)
DistrictTorridge
Ecclesiastical ParishUNKNOWN

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS32SE/12
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • LIME KILN (XIX - 1801 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

Read, N., 1960 - 1964, Bucks Mills Limekilns (Un-published). SDV340063.

Unpublished notes and sketches.


Cook, R. M. L., 1971, Second Report of the Industrial Archaeology Section, 252 (Article in Serial). SDV19178.

A steep inclined plane leading from the kilns to the village also survives. Lime was drawn up the steep plain by horse-whim system. Belongs to Pine Coffin estate.


Minchinton, W. E., 1973, Industrial Archaeology in Devon, 14 (Monograph). SDV7016.

Bucks Mills Limekilns. These kilns, in a dramatic position on the North Devon coast, have now been restored. To unload, vessels stood on hards on the beach and discharged via a gangplank arrangement.


Clarke, E. L., 1976, Lime Kiln (Worksheet). SDV16200.

Condition good.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1978, SS32SE9 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV340064.

Both kilns in good condition. Western one is 4 metres high, top grass covered. Eastern one 7 metres high, built on spur of rock, with a masonry incline to the east.


Hubbard-Fielder, D., 1980, The Story of Bucks Mills and Bucks Cross (Monograph). SDV4804.


Department of Environment, 1989, Woolfardisworthy (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV15502.

Lime Kiln to east of beach access with access ramp.
Lime kiln and access ramp. Nineteenth century. Rubble. A large kiln built directly off the rock at the back of the beach, and with an access ramp dropping steeply from the cliff to the west. Roughly square on plan, rising up to 6 m from the rock to flat grassed surface partly contained in parapet wall. A horizontal thin stone course projects externally at the upper platform level. Segmental-headed opening towards the west, and two openings on south face. On the east side a very steep ramp descends from the adjoining cliff face, and contains one large plain arched throughway.
Another kiln lies to the west of the beach access and the two items are important physical survivals and reminders of the earlier activity on this north Devon coast. Other details: LBS number 432883.


Brown, S., 1997, Bucks Mills Limekiln Archaeological Survey (Report - Survey). SDV340062.

Two disused limekilns. Eastermost kiln surveyed prior to demolition of seaward wall, which has suffered structural damage. Kiln comprises masonry block containing 2 kiln pots dating from mid 18th century and is said to have been in use for 100 years during which time an inclined plane was built for hauling lime to cliff top. According to davey, in hubbard-fielder, limestone was imported from caldy island, s. Wales, using appledore 'stone hackers' or 'muffies'. The large square kiln with ramp was built in 1760 and worked for exactly a century until part fell over the cliff. The west kilns, of which there are 1, were much older and probably dated to elizabethan times when the old quay was in existence. The 'culm' or small anthracite, was latterly brought to bucks by smack. Read's notes indicate that limestone was thrown overboard at high tide and collected at low tide. Lime was probably originally removed by cart; latterly by trucks operated on steep ramp at east corner of kiln. Kiln of double burner type. Originally a rectangular passage with pointed arched roof; vent arches on left and right of passage; south west core had 3 vents; probably e core also had 3 but only 2 remain. South west core is complete. East core demolished now incorporated into a seaman's shed. At a later date the south west end was extended, the south west wall being extended seaward beyond original building; an additional nw wall was also added. From the beach looking up at the north east corner one can see the remains of the outer wall, also remains of the original inner wall. Little of the west kiln is recognisable as it was blocked up soon after it ceased functioning. Survey (1997) shows most of the original structure surviving intact and in fairly good condition. A cliff fall on the seaward side has removed part of its upper level, including a length of perimeter wall, access ramp and store platform. The fall reportedly took place in mid-late 19 th century and resulted in closure of kiln. Another landslip in 1996-7 caused collapse of top of inclined plate, together with an area of adjacent ground on which was formerly a large building, possibly the 'machine shed' alluded to by Read.
The surviving portions of the north perimeter wall are now threatened by further cliff falls. One part, which has been repaired at least once in modern times, shows numerous sheer cracks. Lesser damage has occurred elsewhere. The easternmost of the 2 pots has suffered partial demolition and infilling. A small portion of its rim is exposed amongst dense vegetation on top of the kiln. The capping of this masonry is, however, 20th century. Kiln is much overgrown. Seaward side of upper level is in part inaccessible. Remains of stone platform and associated features on upper level, as well as surface of inclined plane, are obscured by grass and soil. Kiln structure comprises a pair of pots encased within an approx rectangular masonry block almost 10 metres tall and 12 metres wide, by more than 18 metres long. West pot still open and accessible, east pot partially demolished and infilled. The west pot is 3.3 metres in diameter at its upper rim and 1.7 metres at its lowest accessible level. It is cylindrical from the rim to about half way down then tapers to the base. It has 3 draw holes leading out from its base, each opening into an arched recess built into the 3 metres thick kiln walls. The recesses average 2 metres high and have splayed sides, increasing in width from about 1metres at the draw hole to 2.4 metres -2,.8 metres at the mouth. They were provided for firing access, stoking and removing the burnt lime. To west of the westernmost recess is an arched workroom or store measuring 4.4 metres by 3.4 metres by 4.6 metres high. The front (south) wall of this room abuts the masonry of the pot wall (as noted by Read, who interpreted the room as a secondary addition) but is nevertheless tied in higher up, as parts of its rear wall appear to be. This suggests that it formed part of the original construction but that its walls were built up largely after those of the pot. The room has a doorway on its south and a window opening or loading bay on its west.
The east pot has 2 surviving draw holes with recesses (on its west and south) similar to those of the west pot except that each has a small stoking-hole measuring 20 centimetres square (both now blocked with masonry) set on average 1.4 metres above the draw hole opening. The east pot may possibly have had a third draw hole in its east side in an area now obscured by the inclined plane and covered over by masonry and earth infill. Alternatively, there may never have been a draw hole in this position since the main access ramp to the top of the kiln rose up the east side of this pot, so there may not have been enough room. Some masonry exposed amongst dense vegetation on the upper level of the kiln may possibly mark the external wall of this pot on its north side.
Between the 2 pots there is a central arched, tunnel-like lobby, providing access to both kilns as well as a sheltered working area. There are a number of sockets visible in the west elevation of the kiln. These are shallow and vary in size. Other sockets may survive beneath the extensive ivy cover. The sockets appear to be original features of the kiln structure and may possibly have been associated with some kind of timber structure or structures adjoining the west side of the kiln. Two similar holes at ground level are almost certainly drains built into the structure at construction; they emit water when it rains. The upper working level of the kiln is marked out on the west external elevation and part of the south external elevation by a projecting string course set 2 metres below the present wall top, above which there is a plain parapet or perimeter wall (the upper part of this perimeter wall has been rebuilt in recent times). There are indications that an extensive stone-paved working platform survives around the upper rims of the 2 kiln pots. The platform appears to extend north to a retaining or revetment wall marking the upper end of the access or loading ramp. The middle section of the ramp has now been lost due to cliff falls but its former course seems reasonably clear. In order to reach the upper working level, it must have first passed around the front (south) side of the kiln at ground level, then risen up the slope to the e of the east pot, continuing to rise along the north of the 2 pots to emerge onto the large flat open area at the west end of the upper level. The lower course of the ramp, probably little more than a track, which must have risen from the beach to the kiln, is now barely recognisable, since it has been covered over by debris from another landslip.
The physical relationships which can be discerned between the various parts of the structure indicate that construction began with the laying out of the 2 circular pots, complete with their 3m-thick walls and draw holes and then proceeded to the surrounding block or containing structure. The kiln was then built up in stages, each stage begun by raising the walls of the pots a little further, followed by raising the other stonework around them. In places, the masonry surrounding the pots clearly abuts them; in others, it appears that the builders attempted to key the various parts of the structure together. Like the majority of disused, large stone-built kilns at quarries, harbours and estuaries, the kiln at bucks mills was almost certainly used as a continuous draw kiln (or perpetual or running kiln), a type which came into widespread use about 1750 for continuous firing over an extended period.
Between the 2 pots there is a central arched, tunnel-like lobby, providing access to both kilns as well as a sheltered working area. There are a number of sockets visible in the w elevation of the kiln. These are shallow and vary in size. Other sockets may survive beneath the extensive ivy cover. The sockets appear to be original features of the kiln structure and may possibly have been associated with some kind of timber structure or structures adjoining the w side of the kiln. Two similar holes at ground level are almost certainly drains built into the structure at construction; they emit water when it rains.
The upper working level of the kiln is marked out on the w external elevation and part of the s external elevation by a projecting string course set 2 metres below the present wall top, above which there is a plain parapet or perimeter wall (the upper part of this perimeter wall has been rebuilt in recent times). There are indications that an extensive stone-paved working platform survives around the upper rims of the 2 kiln pots. The platform appears to extend north to a retaining or revetment wall marking the upper end of the access or loading ramp. The middle section of the ramp has now been lost due to cliff falls but its former course seems reasonably clear. In order to reach the upper working level, it must have first passed around the front (south) side of the kiln at ground level, then risen up the slope to the east of the east pot, continuing to rise along the north of the 2 pots to emerge onto the large flat open area at the west end of the upper level. The lower course of the ramp, probably little more than a track, which must have risen from the beach to the kiln, is now barely recognisable, since it has been covered over by debris from another landslip.
The upper working level was probably provided with a number of drains. One drain spout still projects from the north wall close to the north west corner, 0.7 meters below the string course. Both the kiln and the inclined plane are built of local slate stone with occasional beach cobbles, bonded with a white lime mortar containing a little sand aggregate. The masonry can be described as random rubble occasionally brought to course. The mortar bonding of the inclined plane has a few coal flecks within it. The mortar bonding of the rebuilt lower part of the south west corner of the kiln has many coal flecks and fragments within it. An arch over one of the draw holes (west pot, east draw hole) has been rebuilt using hand-made brick of 18th or early 19th century date.


Lancaster University Archaeological Unit, 1997, Lime, Cement and Plaster Industries, Site Number 5 (Worksheet). SDV241175.

Site Number 5 (SX 355 237).
Site visit on 14th February 1997. Description: Spectacular, restored 19th century limekiln situated on rock outcrop above beach at Bucks Mills. Action: Possible delist and schedule.


Lancaster University Archaeological Unit, 1997, MPP Lime, Cement and Plaster Industries: Step 3- Introduction to site assessments, Site Number 5, Appendix 3, 2. (Report - non-specific). SDV357966.

Site Number 5 (SX 355 237).
Buck’s Mills lime kilns.
Grade II Listed Building. Post-medieval. Site of clear national importance.


Chitty, G., 2001, Lime. Cement and Plaster Industries, Monument Protection Programme, Step 4 Report, Site 5 (Article in Serial). SDV362968.

Retain existing listed status and review list grading and/or description.


Collings, A. G. + Manning, P. T. + Valentin, J., 2007, The North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Phase 1. Archaeological Survey. Summary Report, No. 106 (Report - Assessment). SDV339712.


Ordnance Survey, 2015, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV357601.

Limekiln (disused) marked.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV15502List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1989. Woolfardisworthy. Historic Houses Register. A4 Spiral Bound.
SDV16200Worksheet: Clarke, E. L.. 1976. Lime Kiln. Worksheet + Digital.
SDV19178Article in Serial: Cook, R. M. L.. 1971. Second Report of the Industrial Archaeology Section. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 103. A5 Paperback. 252.
SDV241175Worksheet: Lancaster University Archaeological Unit. 1997. Lime, Cement and Plaster Industries. English Heritage Monuments Protection Programme Step 3 Site Assessments. A4 Bound + Digital. Site Number 5.
SDV339712Report - Assessment: Collings, A. G. + Manning, P. T. + Valentin, J.. 2007. The North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Phase 1. Archaeological Survey. Summary Report. Exeter Archaeology Report. 06.22 (rev.1). A4 Stapled + Digital. No. 106.
SDV340062Report - Survey: Brown, S.. 1997. Bucks Mills Limekiln Archaeological Survey. Stewart Brown Associates. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV340063Un-published: Read, N.. 1960 - 1964. Bucks Mills Limekilns. Bucks Mills Limekilns. Unknown.
SDV340064Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1978. SS32SE9. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV357601Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2015. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #76218 ]
SDV357966Report - non-specific: Lancaster University Archaeological Unit. 1997. MPP Lime, Cement and Plaster Industries: Step 3- Introduction to site assessments. Monument Protection Programme. 1997-98/(016)/AUA7568. A4 Comb Bound + Digital. Site Number 5, Appendix 3, 2..
SDV362968Article in Serial: Chitty, G.. 2001. Lime. Cement and Plaster Industries, Monument Protection Programme, Step 4 Report. A4 Comb Bound. Site 5.
SDV4804Monograph: Hubbard-Fielder, D.. 1980. The Story of Bucks Mills and Bucks Cross. The Story of Bucks Mills and Bucks Cross. Unknown.
SDV7016Monograph: Minchinton, W. E.. 1973. Industrial Archaeology in Devon. Industrial Archaeology in Devon. Paperback Volume. 14.

Associated Monuments

MDV58156Related to: Inclined Plane to Buck's Mill Limekilns, Woolfardisworthy (Monument)
MDV75411Related to: Lime Kiln west of Beach Access, Buck's Mills, Woolfardisworthy (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Apr 16 2019 10:31AM