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HER Number:MDV127268
Name:Former mill buildings, Meavy


Recent (2017) excavation has revealed traces of two former mills on the site, on a different alignment to the later, early 19th century mill. Mill 1 may date to the 17th century and was only partly revealed by the work. Mill 2 is thought to be later and may have utilised the same wheel pit that lay between the mill buildings. This is thought to have accommodated two water wheels parallel to one another.


Grid Reference:SX 539 672
Map Sheet:SX56NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishMeavy
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishMEAVEY

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CORN MILL (Constructed, XVII to XIX - 1601 AD to 1899 AD (Between))
  • WHEEL PIT (Constructed, XVII to XIX - 1601 AD to 1899 AD (Between))

Full description

Hemery, P., 1999, The Book of Meavy. Dartmoor Parish, Village and River, 23-4 (Monograph). SDV357795.

The date on the existing mill building, now a dwelling house, of 1834 is suggested by Hemery as a restoration date as there had been a mill in Meavy for centuries, although the site is now understood (see 2019 report) to be more complex and had at least two previous mills on the site.

Webb, P. + Waterhouse, R., 2019, The Mill, Meavy, 25 (Report - Watching Brief). SDV363466.

The archaeological monitoring at The Mill, Meavy identified a total of 25 features dating to the post-medieval and modern periods. They reflect at least three phases of mill construction, the earliest being perhaps of 17th century date; the latest of 19th century date (see MDV5539).
The partial remains of three sequential mills found during the excavations provide information on their plans, positions and construction. Two wheel pits were found, with the likely dimensions of four overshot waterwheels which were mounted in them during the 17th-19th centuries are provided by pit dimensions and axle positions, while wear marks from the third waterwheel on the site and surviving fragments of the fourth give important details of the 19th century mill. Whilst none of the finds are attributable directly to the earlier phase of mill building, the recovery of 15th-16th century ridge tile within the demolition material suggests that either this or an earlier structure was early post-medieval.
Two pre-19th century mill buildings abutted the base of the valley slope and lay on a west-northwest to east-south-east alignment, flanking a central, shared wheel pit. Mill 1 lay to the west, but its interpretation is hampered by significant destruction of walling when Mill 3 was built in 1834, while further parts of its structure remain unseen, though possibly surviving in-situ beyond the northern limit of excavation. Although these two mills appeared to have been an opposed pair with a shared central pit (Wheel Pit A), differences in their axle positions and variations in wall thicknesses suggest that the mill building to the west (Mill 1) may have been the earliest. Mill 2 was altogether more substantial and while its back wall may continue the line of that of Mill 1, and that of the rear wall of Wheel Pit A, its size clearly suggests that it is of a different date. This mill is thought to have burnt down.
Documentary evidence quoted by M. Watts in the report that traces the mill's origins back to the mid-16th century and documents from the 16th and 17th centuries refers to the 'mills' at Meavy, implying the use of more than one Waterwheel (not unusual in post-medieval Devon).

Sources / Further Reading

SDV357795Monograph: Hemery, P.. 1999. The Book of Meavy. Dartmoor Parish, Village and River. The Book of Meavy. Dartmoor Parish, Village and River. Hardback Volume. 23-4.
SDV363466Report - Watching Brief: Webb, P. + Waterhouse, R.. 2019. The Mill, Meavy. South West Archaeology. 171221. Digital. 25. [Mapped feature: #123697 Approximate location of former mills digitised., ]

Associated Monuments

MDV77830Related to: Meavy Barton farm, Meavy (Monument)
MDV5539Related to: Meavy Corn Mill (Building)
MDV28265Related to: Mill leat, Meavy (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8219 - Excavation and monitoring at the Mill, Meavy (Ref: MMM17)

Date Last Edited:Jan 13 2020 2:34PM