HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Devon & Dartmoor HER Result
Devon & Dartmoor HERPrintable version | About Devon & Dartmoor HER | Visit Devon & Dartmoor HER online...

See important guidance on the use of this record.

If you have any comments or new information about this record, please email us.

HER Number:MDV21306
Name:Lower Mill; Chagford Woollen Mill


Also called the Blanket Factory or the Down Mill this fulling mill lies on the site of an earlier grain mill and was established by John Berry in 1820, along with the Higher Mill to the west, producing serges and blankets. It ceased production in around 1880 and had a variety of uses before being mostly converted to housing in the early 20th century.


Grid Reference:SX 269 087
Map Sheet:SX20NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishChagford
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishCHAGFORD

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX68NE184
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 1305631
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX68NE/135

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CORN MILL (XVIII to XIX - 1750 AD? (Between) to 1820 AD? (Between))
  • HEAD RACE (Built, XVIII to XIX - 1800 AD (Between) to 1875 AD (Between))
  • MULTI STOREY MILL (Built, XIX - 1820 AD (Between) to 1820 AD (Between))
  • WOOLLEN MILL (Built, XIX - 1820 AD (Between) to 1820 AD (Between))

Full description

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

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

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

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

Site visited in 1973 (estimate). 18th century mill. In present use as council housing. Leat in good condition passing under building.

Griffiths, D. M., 1997, Lower Mill (Correspondence). SDV218670.

(11/11/1997) A row of 3 and 4 storey mill buildings and housing. Dated early to mid 19th century with evidence of several major phases of development and rebuilding. The entire site has now been converted to housing. An open head race and leat are located to the west of the site and a tailrace located to the east. There is a roughly central wheel chamber which is unlikely to be intact. The front elevation which faces west is rendered. End and rear elevations show exposed rubble stone. The building has small segmental headed windows throughout.
Despite its conversion the overall form of the mill is intact and may be a significant early survival. The building is formerly associated with other textile sites in the Chagford area. A central 4 storey block of 4 bays projects forward of flanking blocks. A rear elevation with a projecting tower at its north end and an adjoining fragment of a redundant gable wall. The central part of the site may have been rebuilt to the south of the gable wall. There is also a south block of 4 storeys and 3 bays. Its rear elevation has smaller windows suggesting an earlier date. The north end block is 3 storeys and approximately 4 bays.

Bodman, M., 1998, Water-Powered Sites in Devon, 39.39 (Report - non-specific). SDV305931.

Rice, I., 2002, The Book of Chagford. A Town Apart, 69 (Monograph). SDV356605.

The latest and largest of Chagford's woollen-mills was the Lower or Blanket Factory, built around 1820 on the site of the original riverside tucking-mill. It took water from the same leat as the main mill (subsequently known as the Higher Factory) at Factory Cross. The new factory had a wide range of power-driven looms as well as felting tables and various finishing processes.
Berry's mill complex was a substantial enterprise in its day and at busy times gave full employment to up to 120 local men and large numbers of other part-time workers, both in the mill and as 'outworkers'. Many children were also employed by the mill until well into the 1870s and the Chagford population peaked at this time at just over 1800.
After the decline of the woollen industry and the closure of the mills in around 1880, the Blanket Factory, which is a substantial structure on four or five floors, had a variety of subsidiary uses before finally being converted into houses at the start of the 20th century. Even today, parts of this large building lie unused.

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

Bodman, M., 2015, Mills on the Teign. A gazetteer of water-powered sites on the Teign and Bovey and their tributaries, 62-63 (Monograph). SDV360401.

Woolen Mills, Chagford - Lower Factory SX 6975 8791. Also known as Blanket Factor or Down Factory, this factory was on the site of an earlier grain mill. Fulling mill was established slightly later than Higher Mill (MDV21305; established in 1800), the Lower Factory was operational by 1820. A rack park adjoined it where fullers would have stretched fulled cloths on tenters. Served by the same leat as the Higher Factory.
The mills were taken over and a gas works (MDV114190) was established in 1869 to provide light for the new enterprise while new power looms were introduced, again producing blankets and serges. The venture did well during the Franco-Prussian war in 1870 but production declined in the late 19th century and closed in 1882 or earlier.
This mill building still stands and has been converted into residential apartments or cottages, the leat runs under the building, where the waterwheel was once installed. Three-storey building constructed in granite. Images included.

Historic England, 2021-2022, NRHE to HER website, Accessed 18/03/2022 (Website). SDV364039.

[South West Textile Mills Project Number: 1027] Aerial photograph listed the only details given: 18030 / 28, 15 - 19

Sources / Further Reading

SDV218670Correspondence: Griffiths, D. M.. 1997. Lower Mill. Letter. Unknown.
SDV305931Report - non-specific: Bodman, M.. 1998. Water-Powered Sites in Devon. A4 Spiral Bound. 39.39.
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 Survey 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #83072 ]
SDV356605Monograph: Rice, I.. 2002. The Book of Chagford. A Town Apart. The Book of Chagford. Hardback Volume. 69.
SDV360401Monograph: Bodman, M.. 2015. Mills on the Teign. A gazetteer of water-powered sites on the Teign and Bovey and their tributaries. Mills on the Teign. A gazetteer of water-powered sites on the Teign and Bovey and their tributaries. Paperback Volume. 62-63.
SDV364039Website: Historic England. 2021-2022. NRHE to HER website. https://nrhe-to-her.esdm.co.uk/NRHE. Website. Accessed 18/03/2022.
SDV83967Report - Survey: Devon County Council. 1974. Survey of Watermills in Devon: Gazetteer. Devon County Council Report. Unknown. A4 Bound.

Associated Monuments

MDV80475Related to: Leat, Chagford (Monument)
MDV33318Related to: Millpond, Chagford (Building)
MDV33261Related to: Moorlands Hotel (the old Town Mill), Chagford (Building)
MDV21305Related to: Upper Mill; Chagford Woollen Mill (Building)
MDV21305Related to: Upper Mill; Chagford Woollen Mill (Building)
MDV21305Related to: Upper Mill; Chagford Woollen Mill (Building)
MDV21305Related to: Upper Mill; Chagford Woollen Mill (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8699 - RCHME South West Textile Mills Project (Ref: RCH01/063)

Date Last Edited:Feb 27 2024 2:12PM