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HER Number:MDV13151
Name:Manor Mill, South Brent


Also known as 'Brent Mill', this mills history has been traced back to at least 1277. It was originally a corn mill, but became a flock mill by 1873. Functioned as a flock mill until 1923. Used more recently for the manufacture of bedding. Current buildings are likely to be 19th century in date.


Grid Reference:SX 698 596
Map Sheet:SX65NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishSouth Brent
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishSOUTH BRENT

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX65NE/233

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CORN MILL (First mentioned, XII to XIII - 1200 AD to 1277 AD (Between))
  • FLOCK MILL (Altered, XIX - 1843 AD to 1873 AD (Between))

Full description

South West Heritage Trust, 1838-1848, Digitised Tithe Maps and Transcribed Apportionments, Plot 1580 (Cartographic). SDV359954.

Tithe Map shows Brent Mill (plot 1580) on the Apportionment lists 'Cottage, mill house, other buildings etc.' Owner John Elliott and Henry Heath, occupier: Henry Heath.

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

'Manor Flock Mill' shown on late 19th century historic map as a large L-shaped building with additional buildings to the north-west.

Ordnance Survey, 1904 - 1906, Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map (Cartographic). SDV325644.

'Manor Flock Mill (disused)' marked on the early 20th century (1906) historic map.

Ordnance Survey, 1963-1996, 1963-1996 National Grid OS Metric (Cartographic). SDV350058.

'Manor Mills' indicated on the mid-20th century (1969) historic map.

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

Estimated 1973, (Anonomous) 19th century flock mill.

Robinson, R., 1979, Brent Mill or Manor Mill (Worksheet). SDV144364.

By tradition this mill in the hamlet that also goes by the name of 'Brent Mill' is the site of the Manor mill or the Lords' customary mill. Many early leases among the Buckfast Abbey title deeds in the Petre papers specify "all corn grown and used on the premises to be ground at manor mill" e.g.: The Bullsthorne deed of 1277 among the earliest.
The mill remained a corn mill until at least 1843 but by 1873 it had become a flock mill. This use continued with fire outbreaks in 1913 and 1923. Latterly it has been used as a centre for the manufacture of ‘Slumberland’ bedding.
Description of site (with sketch)
The mill leat is led from a substantial weir just below ‘the Island' and is still in good repair. The existing buildings appear to be 19th century in date and may have been purpose built for the flock mills. The adjacent dwelling house of Brent Mill farm may be the miller’s house built in the mid-17th century by William Thorne (see historical details referenced in source), and its appearance bears this out.
The wheelpit is now in the centre of a long rectangular two storey building, stone built with brick arched doorways and granite quoins and windows (one older, seeming granite arch is present). It would appear that it was originally on the gable end of building A (on plan) and that building B has been added later (there is a join in the masonry) thereby enclosing the wheelpit. An old granite wall survives (C on plan), which may be the outer original wall of the wheelpit.
The leat has a well-preserved sluice gate where the water now permanently passes down the rock cut bypass channel. The leat, now dry, continues on to a substantially built raised bank opposite the wheelpit. The wheelpit is about 2.0 metres wide (the wheel now removed). In part it is rock cut. There is a step in the side wall carrying a substantial beam on either side tp take the wheel bearings. D on the plan is a more recent building.
A few metres to the north-east there are parts of another stone building traceable in a much altered modern shed but it is not possible to recover the plan.
The tail race of the leat is taken in an underground channel to the Avon just above Brent Bridge and still causes subsidence problems on the factory site (according to the ‘Slumberland’ factory foreman).
Source includes a comprehensive list of documentary sources relating to the mill; see source for full details.

Robinson, R., 1980, An Archaeological Check-List for South Brent, Pages 475-478 of 821 (Report - non-specific). SDV150007.

Brent Mills. Extant. Originally the manorial mill. Present buildings 19th century, earliest reference is from the 13th century. Grist mill, later a flock mill.

Bodman, M., 1998, Water-Powered Sites in Devon, 1, 11 (Report - non-specific). SDV305931.

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

Modern mapping shows 'Manor Mills', with the old 19th century mill building to the north-west of Brent Mill Bungalow. Massive modern buildings to the north and north-west of the remaining mill building.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV144364Worksheet: Robinson, R.. 1979. Brent Mill or Manor Mill. Parish Checklist. Digital.
SDV150007Report - non-specific: Robinson, R.. 1980. An Archaeological Check-List for South Brent. DAS/DCRA Publication. 8. A4 Comb Bound. Pages 475-478 of 821.
SDV305931Report - non-specific: Bodman, M.. 1998. Water-Powered Sites in Devon. A4 Spiral Bound. 1, 11.
SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV350058Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1963-1996. 1963-1996 National Grid OS Metric. Digital Mapping. Digital.
SDV359954Cartographic: South West Heritage Trust. 1838-1848. Digitised Tithe Maps and Transcribed Apportionments. Tithe Map and Apportionment. Digital. Plot 1580.
SDV360652Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2018. MasterMap 2018. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #80786 ]
SDV83967Report - Survey: Devon County Council. 1974. Survey of Watermills in Devon: Gazetteer. Devon County Council Report. Unknown. A4 Bound.

Associated Monuments

MDV121120Related to: 1-6 Beacon View, Brent Mill (Building)
MDV121125Related to: Almshouse Cottage, Brent Mill (Building)
MDV121123Related to: Avon Cottage, Brentmill Bridge (Building)
MDV27796Related to: Brent Mill hamlet (Monument)
MDV80404Related to: Brent Mill Leat, South Brent (Monument)
MDV13148Related to: Farmhouse at Mill Farm, Brent Mill (Building)
MDV121121Related to: Three cottages at Brent Mill (Building)
MDV102759Related to: Weir at South Brent (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Feb 23 2018 2:20PM