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HER Number:MDV1621
Name:Bidlake Mill, Bridestowe


Bidlake Mill was built in the 16th century on the site of an earlier mill. Wood working machinery at the southern end of the mill was still in use until 1956


Grid Reference:SX 485 880
Map Sheet:SX48NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBridestowe
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBRIDESTOWE

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX48NE/14
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II): 94289
  • Old SAM County Ref: 751

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • WATERMILL (XII to XIX - 1200 AD to 1900 AD)

Full description

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

'Bidlake Mill (Corn)' marked on 19th century map.

Ordnance Survey, 1907, 87NE (Cartographic). SDV335985.

Hoskins, W. G., 1942 - 1946, Devonshire Gentry in Carolean Times, 323 (Article in Serial). SDV44634.

Bidlake Mills held by Henry Bidlake at the end of the civil wars of the 17th century, according to the records of the Committee of Compounding.

Ordnance Survey, 1964, SX48NE (Cartographic). SDV338898.

'Bidlake Mill' shown on 1964 map.

Ministry of Public Building and Works, 1969, Bidlake Mill and Leat (Schedule Document). SDV338896.

Bidlake Mill and leat. Manorial mill, first mentioned in a document of 1268. Small building of two storeys, built of local shale and rubble, with simple pitched roof, slatecovered. The trusses have long since given way and have been given extensive first aid treatment. At some time, the building was enlarged to the north east, forming a housing for the present wheel and machinery. There is a blocked axle port in the original part. The addition contains a fireplace and window. The wheel is fed by a leat off the river Lew, and thence by a short launder. It is overshot, made of cast iron, except for the paddles which are wooden. Within, the main cog is also of cast iron, but with applewood teeth, and this drives the machinery all of wood. There were originally two pairs of stones, but the wheel now only drives a circular saw - still in active use. The two pairs of stones survive, they are probably from Dartmoor. Only one hopper, bin, etc survives. Other details: Monument 751.

Weston, S., 1983, List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1983 (Un-published). SDV343247.

Department of Environment, 1987, Bridestowe (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV338897.

Watermill. 17th century. Slate rubble walls. Scantle slate roof gabled to right end, half-hipped to left. At right hand end is a chimney constructed of 4 upright slates. Rectangular plan of 1 room on each floor with overshot water wheel against rear wall. Two storeys. Asymmetrical front with wide doorway to the left and a small window to its right. Built into the hill at right hand end where a doorway leads to the 1st floor room. The wooden overshot water wheel survives at the rear and water is brought to it on wooden launders. Interior: some original roof trusses survive with lapped and pegged collars and mortices for threaded purlins; now considerably repaired. The mill machinery appears to have survived intact. The mill was used to grind corn until the 1930's after which the wheel was geared for carpentry machinery and used for such until 1956.

Bodman, M., 1998, Water-Powered Sites in Devon, 28 (Report - non-specific). SDV305931.

Other details: No 44.

Bodman, M., 2003, Watermills and Other Water-Powered Sites in Devon, 208 (Report - Interim). SDV325576.

Documentary references from 1586-1857. In 1998 the mill had an overshot wheel but once had two smaller overlapping waterwheels. The mill had a dipping slate roof.

Watts, S., 2004, Tour Notes compiled for the Mills Section, SPAB, Weekend Mill Tour, Devon, 2-5 September 2004, 7 (Un-published). SDV323972.

Although there has been a mill at Bidlake since at least 1268, the present building probably dates from 1565 when, according to documentary evidence the 'leate was finished and the myll reedified'. The mill formerly had two waterwheels, one of which was used initially for dirving stocks or hammers for fulling cloth. Around 1800 the two wheels were replaced by a single, larger diameter wheel and a layshaft installed to drive two pairs of stones. It is understood that the mill continued to grind grain until the 1930s and that woodworking machinery in a shed once attached to the southern end of the mill was operated by an extension to the layshaft until 1956. Subsequently the mill powered a circular saw bench on the ground floor of the building. The present overshot wheel is probably a replacement of that installed around 1800. The millstones and one set of stone furniture are still in place. The millstones are of granite. Granite millstones were once quite common in Devon but it is now unusual to find them still in their working positions.

English Heritage, 2010, Historic Houses Register (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV154869.

Bidlake Mill was Listed on 7th September 1987. Other details: LBS Number 94289.

Ordnance Survey, 2010, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV344030.

'Bidlake Mill' and 'Water Wheel' shown on modern mapping.

Historic England, 2023, Bidlake Mill and Leat, Bridestowe (Correspondence). SDV365287.

Application for scheduled monument consent for proposed repair and renovation of the waterwheel.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV154869List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: English Heritage. 2010. Historic Houses Register. Historic Houses Register. Website.
SDV305931Report - non-specific: Bodman, M.. 1998. Water-Powered Sites in Devon. A4 Spiral Bound. 28.
SDV323972Un-published: Watts, S.. 2004. Tour Notes compiled for the Mills Section, SPAB, Weekend Mill Tour, Devon, 2-5 September 2004. A4 Stapled + Digital. 7.
SDV325576Report - Interim: Bodman, M.. 2003. Watermills and Other Water-Powered Sites in Devon. A4 Spiral Bound. 208.
SDV335985Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1907. 87NE. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 6 inch Map. Map (Paper).
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV338896Schedule Document: Ministry of Public Building and Works. 1969. Bidlake Mill and Leat. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled.
SDV338897List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1987. Bridestowe. Historic Houses Register. A4 Spiral Bound.
SDV338898Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1964. SX48NE. Ordnance Survey 6 inch map. Map (Paper).
SDV343247Un-published: Weston, S.. 1983. List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1983. Lists of Field Monument Warden Visits. Unknown.
SDV344030Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2010. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #81748 ]
SDV365287Correspondence: Historic England. 2023. Bidlake Mill and Leat, Bridestowe. Application for Scheduled Monument Consent. Email.
SDV44634Article in Serial: Hoskins, W. G.. 1942 - 1946. Devonshire Gentry in Carolean Times. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 22. Unknown. 323.

Associated Monuments

MDV1622Related to: Leat to Bidlake Mill, Bridestowe (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Jan 31 2023 4:43PM