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HER Number:MDV18431
Name:Dartmouth Tide Mills

Summary

The mills date from the 13th century when an earthen dam called La Fosse was constructed across Townstal Creek; Documentary evidence indicates that the mills were in operation by 1243. Roope's map of 1619 shows two mills at the northern end of the Fosse. The implication from 18th century adverts is that the mills had four or five pairs of stones and ground wheat, barley and malt. The mills had fallen into disuse by 1800 and the mill pool was infilled in 1816.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 877 514
Map Sheet:SX85SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishDartmouth
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishST.SAVIOURS

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX85SE/66
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SX85SE33

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • TIDE MILL (Early Medieval to XVIII - 1066 AD to 1800 AD (Between))

Full description

Watkin, H. R., 1929, Proceedings of the 68th Annual General Meeting, 35 (Article in Serial). SDV341200.

Mill of Hardness situated on Browns Hill Road (formerly Slippery Causeway). The mill and fosse are mentioned in the early 13th century, when Normans used tidal water to drive a grist mill by means of an under-shot wheel.


Minchinton, W. + Perkins, J., 1971, Tidemills of Devon and Cornwall, 10, 32 (Monograph). SDV114474.


Minchinton, W. + Perkins, J., 1971 - 1973, Tidemills in Devon and Cornwall: Part 2, 5-6 (Article in Serial). SDV114469.

Dartmouth Town Mills, a tidal mill referred to on a lease on 1250. The site is clearly shown on a map of 1619. There were two buildings with undershot wheels facing each other. Even by the beginning of the 14th century the mill's effectiveness was being reduced and by 1800 it had fallen out of use altogether. The pool was filled in after 1815.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1979, SX85SE33 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV341207.

Leland visiting Dartmouth in about 1538 noted two mills standing on a bay and driven by the ebb tide. The bay was crossed by a stone causeway and two bridges.


Martin, M., 1980, Changes in the waterfront of Dartmouth 1000 to 1970, 129-36 (Article in Serial). SDV337580.

The first major change to Dartmouth waterfront was probably between 1000 and 1050 when a dam was built across the creek on the present day Foss Street which was used to power corn mills built on the dam. A map of circa 1600 shows 2 mills on the north half of the dam, with sluice gates where Flavel Street and Union Street now cross Foss Street. The continued embanking of land eastward, and silting, caused the mill pool to dry up by 1750.


Higham, R. A., 1988, Devon Castles: An Annotated List, 2, Fig. 1 (Article in Serial). SDV341278.

Roope's map of 1619 records the mills and waterwheels. The waters of the mill pool powered two large mill wheels on the falling tide.


Smart, I. H., 1993, The Development of Dartmouth Millpond to 1846, 191-223 (Article in Serial). SDV340279.

At beginning of the 13th century an earth dam called 'La Fosse' was constructed to create a triangular tidal reservoir bounded by North and South Ford Lanes to drive a tidal mill at 'Hardness' operating on the north side of the dam by 1243. The mills had ceased operation by about 1800 and the two mill houses were demolished before 1808 when Henry Holdsworth leased the site on the east side of Foss Street. A grist mill was proposed next to the Mill Gullet in 1812 but never built.


Smart, I. H., 1994, The Development of Dartmouth Millpond to 1846, 2-6 (Article in Serial). SDV341248.

An earth dam called 'La Fosse' was constructed at the beginning of the 13th century between Hardness and a point directly opposite on the Spithead side.The dam created a reservoir to drive a newly built tidal mill at the Hardness end of the dam. Records indicate that the mill was operating by 1243. The reservoir became known as the Millpond or Mill Pool. Silting of the pond began immediately in the southeast corner and spread along the southern edge of the pond and by 1619 the mill could only operate for a short period at each tide. By the early 19th century the mills had ceased operation. The mill pool was still in existence in 1825 when Ford Stream was contained to drain the millpond area to allow construction of New Road.


Freeman, R., 1998, The History of the Castle Hotel Dartmouth, Fig. 1 (Article in Serial). SDV341077.


Bodman, M., 1998, Water-Powered Sites in Devon, 8.4-5 (Report - non-specific). SDV305931.

Dartmouth Tide Mills. One for grist and malt and the other for barley.


Ravenhill, M. R. + Rowe, M. M., 2000, Early Devon Maps, Map 18 (Monograph). SDV357430.

Two mills are shown at the northern end of The Fosse on N. Townsend's map of Dartmouth, 1619(1620). The map was drawn in connection with the trial and verdic against John Roope regarding a dispute over maintenance of the way across the fosse.


Stephenson, G., 2001, Archaeological Desk Top Study: Flavel Centre, Dartmouth (Report - Assessment). SDV319967.


Bodman, M., 2003, Watermills and Other Water-Powered Sites in Devon, 74, 83 (Report - Interim). SDV325576.

The mill is referred to in a lease of 1250. The effectiveness of the mill was reduced in the late 13th and 14th century, firstly by the building of houses along the innter margin of the dam and secondly by the miller selling land near the sluice which restricted the tital flow. Leland, who visited Dartmouth circa 1538 wrote that 'there is only a bay fillid by fludes with salt water, driving at the ebbe 2 milles'. Townsend's map of Dartmouth of 1619 shows two buildings with undershot wheels facing each other. By 1800 the mill was disused and the mill pond was infilled in 1816 (after H.R. Watkin).
In 1771 mills were described as comprising two wheat mills, one barley and two malt mills which had been completely repaired, although another advert in 1778 refers to four mills, viz one wheat, one barley and two malt mills.


Waterhouse, R., Unknown, Dartmouth Conservation Area: Archaeology, 8-9 (Un-published). SDV355585.

In 1296 Philip Rurde is recorded as paying £200 for the lease of the mill. The first mill was augmented by a second in 1344 and the two mills are shown on maps of 1619.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV114469Article in Serial: Minchinton, W. + Perkins, J.. 1971 - 1973. Tidemills in Devon and Cornwall: Part 2. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 32. Unknown. 5-6.
SDV114474Monograph: Minchinton, W. + Perkins, J.. 1971. Tidemills of Devon and Cornwall. Tidemills of Devon and Cornwall. Unknown. 10, 32.
SDV305931Report - non-specific: Bodman, M.. 1998. Water-Powered Sites in Devon. A4 Spiral Bound. 8.4-5.
SDV319967Report - Assessment: Stephenson, G.. 2001. Archaeological Desk Top Study: Flavel Centre, Dartmouth. Exeter Archaeology Report. Project 4995. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV325576Report - Interim: Bodman, M.. 2003. Watermills and Other Water-Powered Sites in Devon. A4 Spiral Bound. 74, 83.
SDV337580Article in Serial: Martin, M.. 1980. Changes in the waterfront of Dartmouth 1000 to 1970. The Mariner's Mirror. 66. Unknown. 129-36.
SDV340279Article in Serial: Smart, I. H.. 1993. The Development of Dartmouth Millpond to 1846. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 125. A5 Paperback. 191-223.
SDV341077Article in Serial: Freeman, R.. 1998. The History of the Castle Hotel Dartmouth. Dartmouth History Research Group. 25. A5 Paperback. Fig. 1.
SDV341200Article in Serial: Watkin, H. R.. 1929. Proceedings of the 68th Annual General Meeting. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 61. A5 Hardback. 35.
SDV341207Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1979. SX85SE33. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV341248Article in Serial: Smart, I. H.. 1994. The Development of Dartmouth Millpond to 1846. Dartmouth History Research Group. 13. A5 Paperback. 2-6.
SDV341278Article in Serial: Higham, R. A.. 1988. Devon Castles: An Annotated List. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 46. Paperback Volume. 2, Fig. 1.
SDV355585Un-published: Waterhouse, R.. Unknown. Dartmouth Conservation Area: Archaeology. Digital. 8-9.
SDV357430Monograph: Ravenhill, M. R. + Rowe, M. M.. 2000. Early Devon Maps. Early Devon Maps. Hardback Volume. Map 18. [Mapped feature: #9018 ]

Associated Monuments

MDV56926Related to: Dartmouth Tidal Millpond (Monument)
MDV56922Related to: La Fosse, Dartmouth (Monument)
MDV63578Related to: Mill Gullet, La Fosse Dam (Monument)
MDV53835Related to: Old Mill, Old Mill Creek, Dartmouth (Building)
MDV18507Related to: Tide Mill at Old Mill Creek, Townstal, Dartmouth (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Nov 24 2014 8:38AM