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HER Number:MDV38865
Name:Malthouse, Alexandra Road, Barnstaple

Summary

Site of a 'Malthouse' shown on 19th century map in Alexandra Road in Barnstaple which had been a clay pipe factory in the mid 19th century More recently it was an agricultural warehouse but the buildings have now been demolished and the site is part of a carpark.

Location

Grid Reference:SS 561 332
Map Sheet:SS53SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBarnstaple
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBARNSTAPLE

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • North Devon District Council Rescue Archaeology Unit Site Code: site 129
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS53SE/476

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • MALT HOUSE (XIX - 1801 AD to 1900 AD (Between))
  • FACTORY (XIX - 1859 AD to 1879 AD)

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1855-1895, First Edition 1:500 Town Map (Cartographic). SDV338879.

Malthouse marked comprising buildings ranged around three sides of a yard on the west side of Alexandra Road.


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

Buildings shown but not named.


Grant, A. + Jemmett, D., 1985, Pipes and Pipemaking in Barnstaple, Devon, 467 (Article in Serial). SDV354868.

Pipemaking factory built by John Seldon in 1858-9. According to an article in the North Devon Journal for 3rd February 1859 the new factory was in Shute Lane, now Alexandra Road, near the junction with Bear Street and was expected to employ 30-40 people. The building was designed by R. D. Gould, a leading local architect. It was 90 feet by 72 feet with spacious well-ventilated rooms. A dinner dance was held at the factory to celebrate the opening and Seldon was commended for 'promoting the propserity of the town and providing remunerative employment for the labouring population'. Unfortunately, the factory did not live up to expectations; the 1861 census shows only a handful of people employed in pipemaking in Barnstaple and who lived in the poorest parts of the town. Its lack of success was probably due to the fact that briar pipes, which were far less fragile than clay pipes, were coming into general use.


Richman, A., 1986, Clay pipe factory found (Article in Serial). SDV361412.

One of the last clay pipe factories in the country has been unearthed by archaeologists in Alexandra Road, Barnstaple along with hundreds of broken pipes. John Seldon and Son which opened in 1859 and closed 20 years later, mass produced cheap disposable pipes, probably made from wither Fremington clay or Marland Clay from Torrington.

The pipes, some of very ornate design with stems as long as 22inches, were mainly bought by pubs and often given away free with tobacco. Traditional production methods were used and all pipes were handmade.


North Devon District Council Rescue Archaeology Unit, 1986, Interim Report on Small Sites Work, Barnstaple (Report - Interim). SDV90724.

Excavations in 1986 of the 'Malthouse Period' of the site revealed a cobbled area, a wall and slate paving close to Alexandra Road in Barnstaple. A considerable number of 19th century pipe stems were recovered. Some iron slag and fragments of glazed tile were likely to have been associated with a kiln/furnace. Sherds of green glazed pottery and some sgraffito ware were also recovered.


Express & Echo, 1986, Stemming from past industry (Article in Serial). SDV361413.

An early pipe factory has been unearthed by archaeologists in Barnstaple. Excavators have discovered thousands of broken clay pipes on a site alongside Alexandra Road.

The John Seldon and Son factory opened in 1859 and closed 20 years later. It produced clay pipes which were sold for less than a farthing.
Barnstaple was a centre for pipe making in the 19th century. Raw materials were available either locally or from North Cornwall and the town was famous for its pottery kilns.


North Devon District Council Rescue Archaeology Unit, 1987, An Excavation at Bear Street, Barnstaple: Summary Report (Report - Excavation). SDV342310.

Site of a mid 19th century clay tobacco pipe factory in Alexandra Road in Barnstaple owned by John Seldon. The factory building was designed by R D Gould and was 90 feet (27.4 metres) by 72 feet (21.9 metres) with well-ventilated rooms. Evidence for the construction of a muffle kiln was exposed during the 1986 excavation but the kiln itself lay outside the scope of the excavation. The factory was later used as a malthouse, then stables, before becoming Norrington and Huxtables agricultural warehouse. The site had been part of an orchard in 1843 when Alexandra Road had been called Shute Lane.


Egan, G., 1987, Post-Medieval Britain in 1986, 288 (Article in Serial). SDV75188.

Bear St (Alexandra Road). The Alexandra Clay Tobacco-pipe Works was excavated in 1986. The works is known from documentary sources to have opened in 1859. Although the period of manufacture was short, many examples of the varied forms of the product were recovered.


North Devon District Council Rescue Archaeology Unit, 1990, Archaeology in Barnstaple: 1984-90, 22 (Report - non-specific). SDV342524.

John Seldon's clay pipe factory in Alexandra Road operated from 1859-1879. Excavations in 1986 produced 1,500 pipe bowls and over 40,000 fragments of pipe stem. Other details: Illustration of Kiln.


North Devon District Council Rescue Archaeology Unit, 1991, North Devon Archaeological Site Code Index, Site 129 (Report - non-specific). SDV63429.

Surface collection in Alexandra Road included a clay pipe.


Ordnance Survey, 2013, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV350786.

The site is now part of a car park.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV338879Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1855-1895. First Edition 1:500 Town Map. First Edition 1:500 Town Map. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #90034 ]
SDV342310Report - Excavation: North Devon District Council Rescue Archaeology Unit. 1987. An Excavation at Bear Street, Barnstaple: Summary Report. North Devon District Council Rescue Archaeology Unit Report. 8. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV342524Report - non-specific: North Devon District Council Rescue Archaeology Unit. 1990. Archaeology in Barnstaple: 1984-90. North Devon District Council Rescue Archaeology Unit Report. A4 Stapled + Digital. 22.
SDV350786Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2013. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.
SDV354868Article in Serial: Grant, A. + Jemmett, D.. 1985. Pipes and Pipemaking in Barnstaple, Devon. The Archaeology of the Clay Tobacco Pipe IX: More Pipes From the Midlands and Southern England. BAR British Series 146. A4 Stapled + Digital. 467.
SDV361412Article in Serial: Richman, A.. 1986. Clay pipe factory found. North Devon Journal. A4 Single Sheet + Digital.
SDV361413Article in Serial: Express & Echo. 1986. Stemming from past industry. Express & Echo.
SDV63429Report - non-specific: North Devon District Council Rescue Archaeology Unit. 1991. North Devon Archaeological Site Code Index. North Devon District Council Report. A4 Stapled + Digital. Site 129.
SDV75188Article in Serial: Egan, G.. 1987. Post-Medieval Britain in 1986. Post-Medieval Archaeology. 21. Unknown. 288.
SDV90724Report - Interim: North Devon District Council Rescue Archaeology Unit. 1986. Interim Report on Small Sites Work, Barnstaple. North Devon District Council Rescue Archaeology Unit Report. A4 Stapled + Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV46510Related to: Boundary Ditch, Alexandra Road, Barnstaple (Monument)

Associated Finds

  • FDV1385 - POT (XVIII to XIX - 1750 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FDV1386 - SLAG (XVIII to XIX - 1750 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FDV1387 - TILE (XVIII to XIX - 1750 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FDV1384 - PIPE (SMOKING) (XIX - 1850 AD to 1879 AD)

Associated Events

  • EDV4506 - Excavation at Bear Street, Barnstaple

Date Last Edited:Jun 8 2018 3:20PM