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HER Number:MDV377
Name:Raleigh Mill, Pilton, Barnstaple

Summary

First recorded as a corn mill in 1699, Raleigh Mill was extended in the later 18th century to include cotton and worsted mills. The textile mills were largely destroyed by fire at the end of the century and in 1821 a lace factory was established on the site. This subsequently became a woollen factory which together with the corn mill is listed in a letting notice of 1862. The 1880s-1890s 25 inch Ordnance Survey map records Raleigh Factory as a furniture factory. Presumably the corn mill continued to function as it is shown on earlier 20th century mapping. The other factory buildings appear to have been mostly demolished, the eastern end of the site becoming a laundry. The corn milling machinery and waterwheel were taken out in 1951. The buildings were last occupied by a firm of sausage skin manufacturers. All the mill buildings have now been demolished. The leat survives, however, and also a cottage, recorded on modern mapping as Rough Cottage.

Location

Grid Reference:SS 563 341
Map Sheet:SS53SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBarnstaple
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishPILTON
Ecclesiastical ParishWEST PILTON

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS53SE/3

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CORN MILL (XVI to XX - 1501 AD to 2000 AD)
  • WATERMILL (XVI to XX - 1501 AD to 2000 AD (Between))
  • CARDING MILL (XVIII to XIX - 1701 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FULLING MILL (XVIII to XIX - 1701 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WOOLLEN MILL (XVIII to XIX - 1701 AD to 1900 AD)
  • LACE FACTORY (XIX - 1801 AD to 1900 AD)

Full description

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

'Raleigh Factory (Furniture)' shown.


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

Grist Mill marked on the 1904-1906 25 inch Ordnance Survey map. Comparison between this and the 1880s-1890s map shows the large buildings immediately east of the mill to have been demolished. A Laundry is shown at the eastern end of the site.


Ordnance Survey, 1930 - 1939, Fourth Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map (Cartographic). SDV336668.

Grist Mill marked on the 1930s 25 inch Ordnance Survey map. Comparison with the 1904-1906 map shows the laundry building to have expanded considerably.


Slee, A. H., 1938, Some Dead Industries of North Devon, 214 (Article in Serial). SDV60673.

Tucking mills at Raleigh, or Rawleigh, are briefly referred to in an article on local industry.


Shorter, A. H., 1947 - 1949, A Classification of Old Mills in Devon and Cornwall, 279 (Article in Serial). SDV102853.

At Rawleigh, Pilton, a leather mill was advertised for sale in 1807.


Bone, M., 1973, Barnstaple's Industrial Archaeology, 22 (Monograph). SDV78228.

The Raleigh Tucking mill. Fulling or tucking had appeared in Barnstaple by the early 14th century; a deed of covenant between the Mayor of Barnstaple and the Bishop of Exeter being drawn up in 1320 to erect 'one mill or several corn, fulling and other mills on the Poltimore (now Coney) stream'. It is not certain when the Raleigh mill was built but it is referred to as being a corn mill in the deed of April 1699 which empowered a company to take water from the mill leat at this point. The mill building has been put to many uses since this time; in 1897 part of it was used for the preparation of gut for conversion into violin strings. The buildings now house a sausage casing firm, but the remains of an old undershot wheel can still be seen.


North Devon Archaeological Society, 1989, North Devon Watermills, 49, 56 (Monograph). SDV337776.

Visited 1974. Raleigh Mill, Pilton. The wheel, machinery and buildings were demolished in 1951. The mill was worked by a powerful overshot waterwheel which worked three pairs of stones, flour and smut machines. The North Devon journal of 19 August 1869 carried an advert seeking tenders from the valuable flour and grist mills called Raleigh Mills, including dwelling house, garden, stable, linhay, together with the western part of Pantile Meadow.
Visited 1988. The shaft for an undershot wheel can still be seen. The building is still in use for some industrial purpose. The leat is beginning to get silted up. It is not clear if the present building has ever been used for tucking but Bone refers to this as being a 'tucking' mill'.


University of the Third Age, 1995, Watermills in North Devon 1994, 94 (Monograph). SDV74915.

Visited approximately 1994. the building is now occupied by a firm of sausage skin manufacturers. The building is sound, with shaft for an undershot wheel still in position, and wheel supports on the mill leat. The wheel and machinery were taken out in 1951. The mill was purpose built as tucking mill circa 1820 and changed used in 1903. Documents refer to large wooden waterwheel.


Bodman, M., 1998, Water-Powered Sites in Devon, 33, No. 28 (Report - non-specific). SDV305931.


Exeter Archaeology, 1999, Archaeological assessment of a site in Lower Raleigh Road, Barnstaple, 4, 7, 8 (Report - Assessment). SDV337863.

The manor cornmill of medieval origin was probably on the site later occupied by Bryant's Mill at the western end of the mill complex. Three fulling mills, eastern, middle and western, presumably included in the five referred to in a 1506 account. They were still present in 1819 along with a leather mill. An 1841 lease implies that none of the fulling mill buildings had survived to that date. A subsequent lease of 1852 indicates that at times of drought the woollen mill was to be given priority for water over the corn mill.


Bodman, M., 2003, Watermills and Other Water-Powered Sites in Devon, 259-261 (Report - Interim). SDV325576.

Raleigh Corn Mill was mentioned in a deed of 1699. It was originally called Rawleigh Mills and is described in fire insurance policies of the 1770s at a 'Water Corn Millhouse' of 'brick and stone built and slated'. A woollen cotton manufactory was built there in 1774. An auction notice of 1789 describes the mills as consisting of a carding house, a spinning house and corn mill with a dwelling house adjoining and workshops. At this time the corn mill had two overshot wheels, of 12 and 13 feet diameter respectively. The waterwheel for the carding house was 18 feet diameter and located in the centre of the building while that for the spinning house was on the east side of the building and was 29 feet diameter. In a subsequent auction notice of 1793 the property is described as 'Water Mills called Rawleigh Works' and comprised a four storey cotton mill with an adjoining six storey building designed as a worsted factory together with a large linney and wash house, warehouses and weaving shops and also a grist mill. The works are described as recently erected. The factory made Rawleigh flannels and employed 1000 workers and by the end of the 18th century had three large fulling mills. The factory was destroyed by fire at the end of the 18th century, probably arson as a result of protests due to increasing mechanisation. In 1810 there is a reference to the western fulling mill supplied by a never-failing stream of water with a plot of ground adjoining. A bobbin net factory was established in the remains of the mills in 1821. A letting notice of 1849 states that Rawleigh Factory has for many years been in use as a lace factory and lists the principle building, of five floors together with offices, warerooms, blacksmiths and carpenters shops, gas works and steam warming apparatus. Two 'powerful' waterwheels and mill gear are also mentioned and 30 mechanics cottages. The lace factory subsequently became a woollen factory. The factory, flour mills and cottages are listed in a subsequent letting notice in 1862. The woollen factory is stated to be of four floors with a 20 foot iron overshot waterwheel and the flour mill is described as having three pairs of stones and a single 20 foot diameter waterwheel. There was also a fall for another wheel below.
The corn mill remained in use until 1906 when the last miller died. The buildings were demolished in the early 1950s.


Pugh, G., 2011, Goodleigh Road, Barnstaple, Devon, 12 (Report - Assessment). SDV351296.


Ordnance Survey, 2012, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV348725.

All the mill buildings have now been demolished. The leat survives, however, and several sluices are marked on it on modern mapping.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV102853Article in Serial: Shorter, A. H.. 1947 - 1949. A Classification of Old Mills in Devon and Cornwall. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 23. Unknown. 279.
SDV305931Report - non-specific: Bodman, M.. 1998. Water-Powered Sites in Devon. A4 Spiral Bound. 33, No. 28.
SDV325576Report - Interim: Bodman, M.. 2003. Watermills and Other Water-Powered Sites in Devon. A4 Spiral Bound. 259-261.
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 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #89586 ]
SDV336668Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1930 - 1939. Fourth Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Fourth Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV337776Monograph: North Devon Archaeological Society. 1989. North Devon Watermills. North Devon Watermills. A5 Paperback. 49, 56.
SDV337863Report - Assessment: Exeter Archaeology. 1999. Archaeological assessment of a site in Lower Raleigh Road, Barnstaple. Exeter Archaeology Report. 99.02. A4 Stapled + Digital. 4, 7, 8.
SDV348725Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2012. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital).
SDV351296Report - Assessment: Pugh, G.. 2011. Goodleigh Road, Barnstaple, Devon. CgMs Consulting Report. GP/13482. Digital. 12.
SDV60673Article in Serial: Slee, A. H.. 1938. Some Dead Industries of North Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 70. A5 Hardback. 214.
SDV74915Monograph: University of the Third Age. 1995. Watermills in North Devon 1994. Watermills in North Devon 1994. A5 Paperback. 94.
SDV78228Monograph: Bone, M.. 1973. Barnstaple's Industrial Archaeology. Barnstaple's Industrial Archaeology. A5 Paperback. 22.

Associated Monuments

MDV63563Parent of: Waterwheels at Raleigh Mill, Pilton Barnstaple (Monument)
MDV63560Related to: Leat to Raleigh Mills, Pilton, Barnstaple (Monument)
MDV378Related to: Raleigh Cottages, Pilton, Barnstaple (Building)
MDV57988Related to: Raleigh Laundry, Barnstaple (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Oct 4 2013 2:35PM