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HER Number:MDV21305
Name:Chagford Woollen Mill (Higher Factory)

Summary

Site of Chagford Woollen Factory at Factory Cross, established by John Berry after 1800. The site housed a tucking-mill and power looms and drying shed. In the early-mid 19th century the mill was a major employer but the industry declined and finally ceased operations around 1880. Site was used after 1890 by Mr Reed who set up as an agricultural merchant, threshing and haulage contractor, millwright and engineer. It now houses the kennels of the mid-Devon Hunt.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 693 878
Map Sheet:SX68NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishChagford
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishCHAGFORD

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX68NE/134

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • WOOLLEN MILL (Built, XVIII to XIX - 1800 AD to 1880 AD (Between))
  • KENNELS (XIX to Late 20th Century - 1900 AD? to 1999 AD? (Between))

Full description

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

‘Chagford Woollen Factory (Disused)’ depicted on the First Edition Ordnance Survey map (approximately 1880s in date).

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

Site visited in 1973 (estimate). Building in ruins. Tail-race remains. Leat still visible.

Bodman, M., 1998, Water-Powered Sites in Devon, 39.40 (Report - non-specific). SDV305931.

Rice, I., 2002, The Book of Chagford. A Town Apart, 68-9 (Monograph). SDV356605.

Mr Berry of Ashburton arrived in Chagford in 1800 and created a woollen manufactory to rival that in Buckfast. After building the Mill Street site (now Moorlands) and the fulling-mill on Padley Brook, Berry constructed his main mill on a site adjacent to Chagford Bridge (now the kennels of the mid-Devon hunt). It was fed by a substantial leat from a weir at Holy Street. The complex included a tucking-mill and power looms, driven by a 14 feet diameter by 14 feet breast. There were two large structures on the site, housing the main looms and associated machinery, with a further large wooden drying shed or 'rack' in the field on the opposite side of the road, now known as Rack Park, which fell into disuse and collapsed after a storm in 1861.
The products of this mill were yarn, felt and serges and were taken by road to Ashburton for further finishing or sale onwards. The Lower or Blanket Factory was built around 1820 and between this time and mid-19th century, the mill complex was a major employer for the town, swelling the population to over 1800.
The Dartmoor woollen industry went into decline in the mid-19th century, as war, political unrest and the growth of the competing woollen industry in Yorkshire made it unviable to continue. The Chagford operation first closed in 1848 but was taken over by a Mr Vicary from North Tawton, who was very active in the town over the next 30 years. The factory finally ceased production in about 1880 and lay empty for a considerable period.
The site was taken over in around 1890 by Mr G. H. Reed to set up as an agricultural merchant, threshing and haulage contractor, millwright and engineer. He also took over Rushford Mill to use as a sawmill and for producing agricultural implements and his business prospered greatly.

Ordnance Survey, 2011, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV346129.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV305931Report - non-specific: Bodman, M.. 1998. Water-Powered Sites in Devon. A4 Spiral Bound. 39.40.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #83071 ]
SDV356605Monograph: Rice, I.. 2002. The Book of Chagford. A Town Apart. The Book of Chagford. Hardback Volume. 68-9.
SDV83967Report - Survey: Devon County Council. 1974. Survey of Watermills in Devon: Gazetteer. Devon County Council Report. Unknown. A4 Bound.

Associated Monuments

MDV114190Related to: Chagford Gasworks (Monument)
MDV21306Related to: Chagford Woollen Mill (Lower Factory) (Building)
MDV80475Related to: Leat, Chagford (Monument)
MDV33261Related to: Moorlands Hotel (the old Town Mill), Chagford (Building)
MDV33318Related to: Pond Cottage, Chagford (Building)
MDV62963Related to: Power Station, Chagford (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Oct 11 2019 4:02PM