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HER Number:MDV121987
Name:The Fountain, Noss Mayo

Summary

Next to the village hall is an area where fishermen once cleaned and gutted their catch. Formerly called The Chute, it is now known as The Fountain. Set in the wall, next to it is a Fitzroy Barometer given to the fishermen by the RNLI in the 1860s or 70s.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 547 475
Map Sheet:SX54NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishNewton and Noss
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishREVELSTOKE

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • TROUGH (Built, Post Medieval to XIX - 1540 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

South Hams District Council, 2008, Noss Mayo Conservation Area Appraisal, 7 (Report - non-specific). SDV355371.

Next to the village hall is an area where fishermen once cleaned and gutted their catch. Formerly called The Chute, it is now known as The Fountain. Next to it is a Fitzroy Barometer given to the fishermen by the RNLI in the 1860s.


Google, 2018, Google Streetview (Website). SDV360654.

Recessed stone walled area, with a fountain and trough. The barometer is set in the wall next to the fountain.


Ordnance Survey, 2018, MasterMap 2018 (Cartographic). SDV360652.

Recessed area shown with walled stream shown.


Historic England, 2018, The Fountain Including Fitzroy Barometer, Noss Mayo, Noss Mayo, South Devon, PL8 1EB (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV361075.

Notification of an application to add the fountain, including the Fitzroy Barometer to the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.


Historic England, 2018, The Fountain, Foundry Road, Noss Mayo, Devon (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV361680.

Notification that 'The Fountain' has not been added to the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. It is considered that the criteria for listing are not fulfilled.
The Fountain as an entity has local significance due to its connection with the local fishing industry but the wall, barometer, former water spout and gully as a group and as individual assets are not considered to have sufficient interest in a national context to merit listing.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION DECISION
‘The Fountain’, Noss Mayo is not recommended for listing for the following principal reasons:
Lack of architectural interest:
* the wall is of standard construction in local materials, with no architectural embellishment;
* the water spout has some interest in its biblical inscription, but is not of any architectural interest;
* the gully is not technologically innovative and has been altered;
* the buildings or structures with which other Fitzroy Barometers are associated have special interest in a national context to merit listing;
* there is no evidence that ‘The Fountain’ as an entity was built in the 1850s, as has been suggested, and probably dates from the late 1870s.
Degree of historic interest:
* the Fitzroy Barometer is interesting for its historic connection to Admiral Fitzroy and the development of the modern weather forecast, but it is one of hundreds that were distributed to coastal communities in the C19;
* as a celebration of the fishing industry and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution 'The Fountain’ is of no more than local interest.
Lack of group value
* ’The Fountain’ is not directly associated with the adjacent Grade II-listed Village Hall and therefore there can be no claims to group value.
The various features which form 'The Fountain' are interesting and eclectic. However, the wall, water gully and water trough are relatively modest structures of the later 19th century. Although 'The Fountain' does not merit listing, the ensemble represents an asset to the conservation area.
See report for full details.


Historic England, 2018, The Fountain, Foundry Road, Noss Mayo, South Devon, PL8 1EN (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV361349.

Historic England are considering The Fountain for listing and have completed a report on which they will base their recommendation. 'The Fountain' comprises a C19 wall, within which is an encased Fitzroy Baromoter, a disused water chute and stone gully. The Fitzroy Barometer is thought to be one of the earliest examples of its type, given by the RNLI, and in its original position.
History
The Fitzroy Barometer at Noss Mayo was presented by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) to the fishing community of the village in the C19 as a means of forecasting the weather, and therefore saving lives. In gratitude of this, the fishermen built the area known locally as ‘The Fountain’, including a water spout within an arched surround over a stone gully flowing downstream, where they would gut and clean their catch.
Robert Fitzroy (1805-65) was a hydrographer and meteorologist, and aside from his contribution to the present-day weather forecasting system, is probably best known as captain of the ‘Beagle’ during Charles Darwin’s voyage to the Galapagos from 1831 to 1836. During the voyage Fitzroy took astronomical observations at certain ports, accurately fixing their longitudes. His achievements as a surveyor were widely acclaimed: he was awarded the Royal Geographical Society gold medal in 1836 and was highly commended by the hydrographer Sir Francis Beaufort (creator of the Beaufort Scale for wind force). In 1845 Fitzroy formulated the Mercantile Marine Act. He retired from active service in 1850, but in 1854 was appointed meteorological statist by the Maritime Board of Trade, and in 1863 was promoted to vice-Admiral. It was from this time that Fitzroy compiled charts of winds and currents across the oceans, encouraged weather logs to be supplied by ships’ captains, and worked on investigations into the specific gravity of sea water. This led to the provision of ‘coastal’ or ’fisheries’ barometers (also referred to by the folk term ‘weather glass’) for display at ports and harbours around Britain which implemented ‘Fitzroy’s Rules’ for weather forecasting. The first 40 barometers were made by Negretti & Zambra, distributed by the Crown, and in many cases loaned to the poorest coastal communities; purchase was to be by subscription or from a wealthy benefactor. Fitzroy’s idea to save lives by stopping small boats from sailing when bad weather was forecast led him to be elected onto the RNLI committee in 1859. The wrecking of the Royal Charter off the coat of Anglesey in a storm that October, with the loss of 459 lives, encouraged Fitzroy further. He developed ‘synoptic charts’ for showing weather conditions across a wide area, therefore predicting storms. The term ‘weather forecast’ and the foundations of today’s Met Office were born. Despite this apparent success his mental health deteriorated, and he took his own life at home in Surrey on 30 April 1865.
After his death, Fitzroy Barometers - a siphon barometer with attached thermometer and Fitzroy’s Rules - were manufactured for the Maritime Board of Trade and the RNLI until the late C20. The barometers were usually mounted in an oak case, with a porcelain register plate, and were intended to be easily interpreted by fishermen. They were generally installed in a public place, often a Lifeboat Station, with a ‘volunteer’ to look after it; and sometimes placed within a stone ‘house’ for protection. A combination of the barometer’s predictions and the fishermen’s tacit knowledge made the barometer programme as success.
Little is known about the presentation and installation of the barometer in Noss Mayo, nor of the construction of the area now known as ‘The Fountain’ (historically known as ‘The Chute’). A lifeboat was given to the Yealm River, upon which Noss Mayo is located, by a benevolent lady in February 1878. A numerical list produced by the RNLI references barometers located at Newton Ferrers and Revelstoke in April 1878, and at ‘Newton Noss’ with its instrument number being 123. 1878 may also be the date of the Noss Mayo barometer’s presentation. Further notes from 1927 suggest the ‘one outside the reading room to be retained’, the ‘one at Noss Mayo to be sold’, and of the third there is ‘no trace’. The Fountain is located opposite Noss Mayo reading room (former school, later The Tilly Institute). The approximate position of the gully is labelled on the 1913 Ordnance Survey map as a water tap (WT).
Details
MATERIALS
Granite and slate-stone wall; granite slab surround and slate slab facing to water spout; glazed oak case to Fitzroy Barometer; gully of concrete and granite construction; granite setts to surround.
DESCRIPTION
‘The Fountain’ faces north and comprises four historic elements: the water gully; a granite and slate-stone wall; a former drinking fountain or water spout set into an arched surround; and a Fitzroy Barometer set into the wall. The area is laid with granite setts with a low coped granite wall with a concrete capping and simple iron railings to the road edge. Two large granite blocks are set against the wall for seating.
The water gully is rectangular, approximately two-feet wide and ten-feet long, running from south to north from a source below the road. It has low granite walls with a concrete capping and each side is stepped down to water level. The wall runs along the back of the area, from east to west, with curved sections flanking the central part which houses the fountain and barometer. It is built of rubble granite and slate stone with a coped granite top. The former drinking fountain or water spout is set above the water gully, within a slate slab and with a pointed-arch surround of granite. The surround is inscribed: ‘WHOSOEVER DRINKETH OF THIS WATER SHALL THIRST AGAIN BUT / THE WATER THAT I SHALL GIVE HIM SHALL BE IN HIM A WELL OF / WATER SPRINGING UP INTO EVERLASTING LIFE. JOHN IV. 13.14’. To the east of the fountain is the Fitzroy Barometer, set in a rectangular oak display case and recessed within the wall. The barometer itself is oak with a porcelain register plate, inscribed at the head with ADMIRAL FITZROY’S / STORM / BAROMETER, and the makers’name Egretti & Zambra.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV355371Report - non-specific: South Hams District Council. 2008. Noss Mayo Conservation Area Appraisal. South Hams District Council. A4 Stapled + Digital. 7.
SDV360652Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2018. MasterMap 2018. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #111505 ]
SDV360654Website: Google. 2018. Google Streetview. http://maps.google.co.uk. Website.
SDV361075List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Historic England. 2018. The Fountain Including Fitzroy Barometer, Noss Mayo, Noss Mayo, South Devon, PL8 1EB. Notification of Application to Add Building to List. Digital.
SDV361349List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Historic England. 2018. The Fountain, Foundry Road, Noss Mayo, South Devon, PL8 1EN. Notification of Addition to List. Digital.
SDV361680List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Historic England. 2018. The Fountain, Foundry Road, Noss Mayo, Devon. Notification of Decision Not to Add Building to List. Digital.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Aug 17 2018 8:29AM