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HER Number:MDV24454
Name:Thorverton Mill


Thorverton Mill was rebuilt in 1898 following a fire. Had roller milling plant powered by 2 turbines. Impressive, rural industrial building of grey limestone with brick dressings. The complex also has massive late 19th century granolithic silos. The previous mill had contained 6 pairs of stones driven by 3 waterwheels.


Grid Reference:SS 935 017
Map Sheet:SS90SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishThorverton
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishTHORVERTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS90SW/91
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II)
  • Royal Albert Memorial Museum Accession Number: 160/2008

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • MILL (XIX - 1801 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

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

'Thorverton Mill (Corn)' shown on 1880s-1890s 25 inch Ordnance Survey map as a large irregular shaped building across the leat with an adjoining L-shaped group of buildings with a pump.

Griffith, F. M., 1985, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV340051.

Thorverton Corn Mill. Modern, still working 1985. Leats, now disused, run from and to the Exe, in part utilising that of the earlier mill. A now dismantled sideline ran to the mill from the railway at SS93310186

Department of Environment, 1987, Thorverton (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV340052.

Thorverton Mill. Flour Mill. 1898, rebuilt after a fire. Grey limestone with brick dressings; 2 span bitumen-painted slate roof, gabled at ends. The internal arrangements of this large working mill have been altered for current usage. The original arrangements are described in detail in The Miller but, in brief, consisted of a roller milling section and wheat-cleaning department separated by a solid wall, each section separately roofed. The mill was powered by 2 water turbines driven by the Exe and was connected to the Exe Valley railway by a siding. The mill was lit by electricity and included granolithic silos described as "a pioneer installation" (The Miller). The water turbines and granolithic silos are still in use.
4 storeys. Imposing exterior, 5 bays to the sides; 3 to the gabled ends with timber casement windows with glazing bars and segmental brick arches. On the south east side there are 2 segmental brick arches where the leat flows out from under the building.
Interior : The massive late C19 grain silos are constructed of granolithic, a type of cement based on crushed granite, patented by Stuart's Granolithic Stone Company, Limited, of Regent Dock, Limehouse London. Comparatively thin slabs of the material
were considered to have extraordinary pressure-resistance in 1898. The original machinery was installed by Messrs Thomas Robinson and Son, Limited, of Rochdale who also erected the silos. The "Leffel" water turbines have diameters of 52 and 40 inches respectively; the original electrical supply was installed by Messrs Christy Bros. of Chelmsford with a dynamo driven by one of the turbines. An imposing rural industrial building. For a complete account see The Miller "British and Irish Flour Mills : Mr E.J. Coombe's New Roller Plant at Thorverton", October 3, 1898. p.p. 528-529. Other details: :BS No 438293.

Bodman, M., 1998, Water-Powered Sites in Devon, 13 (Report - non-specific). SDV305931.

Other details: No 36.

Bodman, M., 2003, Watermills and Other Water-Powered Sites in Devon, 135-136 (Report - Interim). SDV325576.

Documentary references to Thorverton Mills from 1805. Referred to as Manor Mills in an advert of 1859 with 6 pairs of millstones driven by three waterwheels. A 'thrashing and apple machine driven by water power' are also mentioned. In 1869 the mills are described as containing 'six pairs of stones, hoists, smut machines, flour dressing machines and a bunt; a dwelling house, garden..stabling, with couryards attached; farm buildings, pound-house, apple-engine and cider press, barn, with thrashing machine driven by one of the water wheels'. There was also an orchard. A new larger mill was built in 1898 following a fire. Milling ceased in October 1989.

Watts, M., 2008, Thorverton Mill, Thorverton, Devon (Report - Survey). SDV344448.

Thorverton Mill was built circa 1885 superseding an earlier mill of medieval origin which was situated to the south-west of the present complex. The mill, which was set up as a roller mill by 1889, was destroyed by fire in 1897. It was quickly rebuilt and enlarged, the building on the footprint of the 1885 building containing the wheat cleaning and millstone plant and a new block of similar size and construction containing a roller plant. 'Granolithic' grain silos were incorporated into the rebuildings and further silos were added in the 20th century. The mill, which was driven by two turbines, closed in 1989. The main mill buildings are of grey limestone with brick dressings under slated gable roofs with a central valley gutter. The slates are covered with a bituminous surface finish. Both roofs are of 5 bays with 4 queen-post trusses. The floors are varnished pine boards. Most of the milling plant was removed when the ;mill closed but the turbines, layshaft and gearing and millstone supports survive on the ground floor the millstone building. There is also the remains of the dust extraction plant on the third floor while on the first floor are the remains of a millstone crane. Pivot points for locating the top of the crane are visible on the beams over the former millstone positions. The roller mill building is largely empty. See report for full details.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV305931Report - non-specific: Bodman, M.. 1998. Water-Powered Sites in Devon. A4 Spiral Bound. 13.
SDV325576Report - Interim: Bodman, M.. 2003. Watermills and Other Water-Powered Sites in Devon. A4 Spiral Bound. 135-136.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV340051Personal Comment: Griffith, F. M.. 1985. Not Applicable.
SDV340052List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1987. Thorverton. Historic Houses Register. Comb Bound.
SDV344448Report - Survey: Watts, M.. 2008. Thorverton Mill, Thorverton, Devon. THO 170/08. A4 Stapled + Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV69660Related to: Leat to Thorverton Mill (Monument)
MDV1282Related to: RAILWAY in the Parish of Rewe (Monument)
MDV24453Related to: Site of water mill, Thorverton (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4614 - Historic Building Recording at Thorverton Mill

Date Last Edited:Mar 11 2010 2:28PM